We all know it’s important to save money. But how do you do that when inflation is up, mortgage rates have increased, and rents are rising? Oh, and don’t forget – extra spending is coming with the holidays around the corner. Yet even in tough times, there are strategies to help build savings fast.
How To Save Money Fast
Stop Paying for Convenience
Necessity can be an excellent way to reduce time and money. Increase your cash flow if you take a few extra hours to make coffee. Do your own laundry. Mow your own lawn. You do not need to keep paying people to do easy things you can do.
Learn How to Budget and Understand Your Finances
You must be aware of your cash inflow and outflow before you start saving. That means identifying and understanding all revenue sources. It also means understanding your expenses, such as debt repayments, monthly bill payments, and savings.
There are many budgeting methods. Regardless of which one generates more hype, they all work. The trick is to find the budgeting style that works for you.
Create a Designated Savings Account
To save money quickly, you need to avoid spending your money. Create separate bank accounts. Have one for your monthly spending and another solely for savings. Refrain from withdrawing from your savings.
Use an Envelope Budgeting System
A good life hack that helps save time is using Dave Ramsey’s envelope budget system. To do this, divide your monthly income into separate envelopes for fixed expenses, like rent, and then envelopes for variable costs, like food.
This method forces you to use a budget, and you physically see where the money comes and goes. To save money fast, have one of the envelopes be a savings account, and do not take anything out of it.
Designate a No-Spend Day
Pick one day a month to spend nothing. Once you get the habit, increase it from three days per week to three days if you want more savings. When you do this strategy, avoid binge-spending the day before and after your no spend day. Otherwise, you are defeating the purpose.
Save Money When Eating
Save Money When Dining Out
It’s ok to dine out occasionally, just don’t forget the menu item does not reflect the full price. You also have to add gratuity and taxes. That’s another 20-30% on top of what it says on the menu.
When eating out, cut back on the add-ons. Is that bacon on your cheeseburger making you $4 happier? (It’s even more than that when you factor in tax and tip on those two slices of bacon.)
Many restaurants have opportunities to save if you know where to look. Some also have coupons, deals, and discounts. For example, grab some Chuck E Cheese coupons before taking your kids to get pizza.
Cook Your Own Meals
Food is often an essential part of your budget. Get ready to prepare a quick meal. Make a list of all the items you want to buy. Even when you don’t use supermarket coupons, cooking at home is much cheaper than eating out at a restaurant.
Reduce Your Grocery Spending
Try to plan your meals. Then you can determine what you are going to buy when you go shopping. The savings will surprise you if you cut down your weekly grocery spending.
Eat less meat and dairy, which might cost more. Check out items on our lower shelves.
Save Money While Shopping
Look for Coupons and Sales
Planning with coupons and looking into deals can make a significant difference. For online stores, use browser plugins like Paypal Honey Browser, which automatically searches for coupons to cut your final cost at the checkout.
Save Money Shopping on Amazon
Make a List
Fight instant gratification. Get in the habit of making a list before you go to the store and stick to it. It will curb your compulsive spending.
Sign Up for Rewards and Loyalty Programs
Sign up for programs so you can get discount coupons for supermarkets and drugstore stores. Use them regularly when shopping for products and earn rewards on your next purchase.
Earn Cash Back on Purchases
Many apps and chrome extensions can help you earn cash back on things you buy. You can also find credit cards that pay cashback on your spending.
Save Money on Housing Costs
It’s expensive to keep a roof over your head. Here are some ways to trim expenses so you can save quickly.
Make Your Own Household Products
Did you know you can make your own household products and cleaning supplies? Many cleaners are harmful and expensive. But you can make household cleaning products easily.
Take Care of Your Appliances
Repairing kitchen appliances is expensive. Most repair technicians charge $50-150 an hour, plus a service charge of $50-100 just to show up. Add in spare parts and emergency fees, and the bill becomes larger. HomeAdvisor found that, on average, it costs $174 to improve kitchen appliances.
The good news is that you can easily extend your kitchen appliances’ life.
The trick to avoiding costly repairs and replacements is to know when to clean your kitchen appliance.
Find a Roommate
If you currently live alone, you can find a roommate. This will help you split the rent, the bills and perhaps share other costs of living.
Negotiate With Your Landlord
Having been a landlord for over two decades, I can let you in on our little secret – most of us just want stability. Landlords certainly want to know they’re going to get the rent they are owed. They also want the confidence that tenants maintain the house properly. Landlords are willing to negotiate rent if you give them a reason to.
Refinance Your Mortgage
It’s tough to refinance your mortgage right now with rates rising. But refinancing a mortgage can save you money quickly if you consolidate debt into your mortgage. Another strategy is to extend the life of your mortgage.
For example, if you have 18 years left, you could refinance to another 30-year term. Be careful with the strategy, though, because you may end up spending much more over the life of the mortgage.
Try To Fix Things Yourself
You can save some money by fixing the stuff that breaks. You can fix almost anything online thanks to YouTube and sites like HomeTalk.
Appeal Property Tax
Did you know you can appeal your property tax? There are law firms that will do the appeal for you. Often if they win, they get paid half of the savings. If they lose, then you pay them nothing. You can also represent yourself.
Save Money on Banking and Insurance Policies
Set Up Automatic Deposits
One of the easiest ways to save money quickly is to set up direct deposits. Doing direct depositing of funds helps shift the mentality that savings and spending are two different needs.
Shop Around for Insurance
Shopping around for insurance is an easy way to cut expenses. Sometimes you can find more savings as a customer. Bundling different insurance plans can save you even more. Insurance companies generally rotate which ones have the lowest premiums depending on where they are in their loss cycles. So shop around.
Get Out of Debt
Stop wasting money on interest and fees. Pay off your debts.
Put a Spending Limit on Your Card
Set personal limits on your credit card balance. It will prevent overspending and encourages the person to reevaluate their daily expenditure at the earliest opportunity. Most banks provide such services.
Save On Recurring Expenses
Cancel Unnecessary Subscription Services and Memberships
Look at all of your subscriptions and memberships. Cancel some. You can set up a credit card account for recurring expenses. That helps you track and easily see opportunities to trim back.
Cut Back on Your Utility Bills
Another excellent tip for saving fast is to use less water and electricity.
Buy Cloth Diapers
Disposable diapers cost four to five times more than cloth diapers for one child. The expense is even more dramatic if you have more than one child. If you have little kids, save money on diapers by buying cloth diapers instead of disposable ones.
Save Money Fast
There are many ways to save money quickly. The general theme with the tips listed here is to slow down. Focus on buying what you need, find coupons, and be conscious about spending less.
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.
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Greg is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) with 22+ years of experience in Financial Services. He has held numerous FINRA Securities licenses (series 7, 63, 65, and 66) and is an investment product and financial planning expert. Greg has 22+ years of experience as a real estate investor and degrees in Psychology and Philosophy. Greg and his wife Erin own ChaChingQueen and ClothDiaperBasics.