If you’re like most of us, you’re always wondering how to save money. Whether you’re trying to save up for your next vacation or building an emergency fund for a rainy day, saving money is always a good idea.
The question is, how can you save money in today’s troubled economy? Maybe you’ve been trying to save up your cash and you’re having trouble. Or maybe you’ve recently had some bad luck and you’re not sure how to start saving money again.
Whatever your situation is, don’t get discouraged! This guide will teach you 11 proven ways to save money and create a nest egg. No matter what your circumstances are, you can still set some money aside every month. Keep reading for valuable advice and saving tips.
Resell Your Unused Items
Do you have a lot of possessions that you don’t always use? Are your closets crammed with clothes that you never wear? Is your kitchen counter cluttered with appliances that are gathering dust?
Most of us have unused items around our homes, whether it’s jewelry, clothing, technology, or other items. The good news is that you can sell these items very easily.
Sites like Poshmark, eBay and DeCluttr are great ways to auction off your unwanted items. You can also list your for-sale possessions on social media. Or, if you’re comfortable with it, you can have an old-fashioned garage sale.
Take the proceeds from your sale and put them straight into your bank account. Right away, you’ve got a little nest egg. Selling off your unused possessions takes very little work, and it’s usually a quick, straightforward process.
As a side benefit, you’ll also get rid of some of the clutter in your home. And you’ll enjoy knowing that somebody else is enjoying the items you weren’t using. It’s a win-win situation.
Start a Side Hustle to Make Money
These days, it seems like just about everyone has a side hustle. In fact, one in three Americans has a way to make money on the side. And even more people say they’re looking into building up a side hustle in the coming year.
There are plenty of different ways to start a side hustle. You may simply go out and get a part time job to supplement your existing income. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, you may be able to find work during the hours your children are in school. You may also find a job that allows you to stay home during the week and go to work on the weekends or in the evenings.
Of course, the digital age has opened up a lot of new options. Instead of getting a traditional part-time job, you may prefer to go a less traditional route and join the gig economy. Sites like Upwork and Fiverr have thousands of opportunities every day for energetic freelancers looking for short-term work.
Not sure what kind of freelance work you’re qualified for? Ask yourself, what are my skills? Where can I add value? Where do I stand out from the pack? Those areas are good starting points when you’re looking for part-time or freelance work.
If you browse Reddit, you’ll find a number of websites that are dedicated to ways you can earn cash online. Survey Junkie is one example. You can fill out surveys from the comfort of your own home, on your smartphone, tablet, or any other device. It’s a great way to earn extra cash while entertaining yourself.
Whatever you choose as your side hustle, put all of the earnings in the bank. Then sit back and watch your savings grow. Congratulations – you earned this.
Automate Your Bill Payments
Are you still paying your bills the old-fashioned way, by mailing in a check every month? Or, are you going to a store and making cash payments in person?
If so, you’re missing out on a very easy way to save a little bit of money every month. Automating your bill payments takes the hassle out of paying bills, and it saves you some cash, too.
When you pay your bills manually, you run the risk of falling behind on your payments. It’s all too easy to mail your payment in late, especially if you’re busy and stressed with work. Paying bills manually is time-consuming and tedious. That’s why so many people procrastinate on paying bills.
Unfortunately, late payments can cost you money. In many cases, you’ll have to pay a late fee. Even if you don’t get hit by a late fee, your credit score will be impacted by late payments, and that can impact your financial future.
When you set up automatic bill payments, you’ll never be late for a payment again. You’ll be able to build up a higher credit score, and of course, you won’t face any more late fees. You can automate just about any bill: utilities, phone, car payment. It’s a good idea to set all of your regular monthly bills to automatic payment.
Of course, before you automate your bills, you should make sure you have a steady income, and that you’re earning enough to cover all your bills each month. If you’re regularly coming up short, or if you’re struggling with heavy debt, then before automating your payments, focus on the first part of this blog about building a side hustle. You can also consider opening a checking account at a bank that does not charge overdraft fees.
Create an Automated Savings Account
Sometimes people want to save money but they have a hard time getting started. Your paycheck comes in, and you spend it all before you even have time to consider setting some of it aside for a rainy day. Maybe you have bad spending habits, or you’re just not great at planning. Whatever the reason may be, you struggle to save your money.
Fortunately, there’s an easy hack to make sure you save some of your money from every single paycheck. Many banks allow you to create an automated savings account so you can save without thinking about it.
Every time you get a paycheck, your bank will automatically deposit a certain portion of the check into your savings account. You won’t have to transfer the money, or decide how much to save. Your bank does it for you.
In order to make this happen, you need to receive your paychecks by direct deposit. Ask your bank if they’ll allow you to set up a recurring deposit straight from your paycheck into a savings account. You can also set up a regular payment to a retirement account, like a 401K, if you prefer.
Remember to start with reasonable goals. If you haven’t been saving until now, it might feel strange at first. That’s okay. Your goal, for the first few months, should be to get comfortable saving money. Even if you set aside just a few dollars every paycheck, you’ll soon see your savings grow. It’s often a good idea to start small, by saving $10 or $20 every month, and then build up from there as you become more comfortable with the habit of saving money.
Put a Spending Limit on Your Credit Card
Does your credit card spending get out of hand sometimes? If you’re like many other Americans, you may have trouble getting your credit card spending on track. It’s easy to get carried away and spend too much money with a card, whether you’re doing some online shopping or hitting the stores in person.
And of course, the more you spend on your credit card, the less money you have to save. If your credit card has a high interest rate, it’s even harder to save. You could end up in increasing debt, with high monthly payments.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to curb your spending habits, even if they’ve gotten out of control. And this method doesn’t even require will power.
Many credit card companies allow you to put a spending limit on your credit card.
American Express, for example, allows you to set a spending limit as low as $200 per month. If you try to run up charges that are above the $200 limit, you’ll be automatically blocked from paying out the money. Barclays and Citi also allow customers to set limits on their spending.
Placing a spending limit on your credit card has other benefits, too. A spending limit will prevent hackers or identity thieves from stealing your credit card information and using it to run up charges on your account. That could be financially disastrous for you, making it even more difficult to save money.
So, go ahead and put a spending cap on your credit card. You’ll save money every month, because you won’t be spending as much with your credit card. Make sure you deposit your savings into an account, and then sit back and watch your nest egg grow.
Cancel Unused Subscriptions and Gym Membership (Work-Out at Home)
The average American consumer spends $273 every month on subscription services. That can include cable and internet services, gaming systems and other entertainment services.
Fitness has also turned into a major expense for many people. The average cost of gym memberships in the United States is $507 for the first year.
Remember, many people subscribe to services they don’t even use. How many people do you know who pay for a gym membership they never use? Similarly, plenty of people sign up for costly subscriptions which they rarely use.
If you want to save money, spend some time thinking about subscriptions you actually use. Check to make sure you’re really watching all the channels in your cable bundle, for example. If not, you can look for a cheaper deal – and put the money you save straight into the bank.
In the same way, you can save money by canceling your gym membership. That doesn’t mean you should give up on your fitness goals. You can get in shape by jogging in the park, swimming at a free local pool, or even working out in the comfort of your own home. There are countless free workout videos online that can show you how to get in great shape right in your living room, without the hassle of going to the gym.
Take the money you save on the gym and put it into a savings account, where you can see your nest egg grow.
Earn Cash Back on Your Purchases
Do you like to shop? You may be able to earn cash back on your purchases. That means extra money which you can put into your savings account.
Some credit cards offer cash back to their customers. You can get cash back on gas, groceries, or other items, depending on the terms of the credit card.
Your bank may also offer a cashback checking account, which earns cash for shopping with certain companies or paying bills. Your online bank might offer rewards too. Every little bit of free money adds up, and before you know it, you could be looking at a sizable savings account.
Websites like Rakuten and Ibottaoffer cash rewards in return for shopping through their portals. Just be careful not to overspend! Cashback systems work best when you’re shopping for items that you would have bought anyway.
Make sure you put your rewards in the bank right away, and enjoy the feeling of seeing your savings grow!
Use Coupons While Grocery Shopping
A study from Coupon Follow found that the average American family can save as much as $316 every year, just by using online coupons at the grocery store! The study found that families could save another $272 per year by using digital coupons for household items.
That’s money you could be putting in the bank, or even investing in your retirement fund.
Of course, you can still clip your coupons from newspapers and circulars, the old fashioned way. But today’s digital coupons make the process easier and more convenient. There’s no clutter, and you don’t have to worry about forgetting your coupons at home when you go to the supermarket.
It takes time and practice to learn how to take advantage of coupons. Coupon Follow says that big, nationwide supermarket chains tend to offer the best coupon deals. Certain seasons, like the spring and the fall, tend to be better for couponing too.
If you decide to coupon, be careful that you only buy what you actually need. Sometimes, shoppers get excited at the chance of a discount, and they end up buying items that they have no use for, losing money in the process. But if you’re careful, you can save real money by couponing.
Sign up for Rewards and Loyalty Programs
If you’re a smart shopper, you can use store loyalty programs to save money on your regular purchases.
Many supermarkets and other stores offer rewards to loyal customers. That might mean offering cash back once you’ve spent a certain amount of money in the store. Some stores offer discounts for first-time customers. Or it could mean rewards for shopping with a store a certain number of times. Autozone, for example, offers customers 20% cash back for shopping with them five times in a year.
Other stores offer discounts for first-time shoppers, or for customers who take out an in-store credit card. There are endless possibilities for rewards and loyalty programs.
Just remember that loyalty programs are a little bit like coupons. They’re a great way to save money – as long as you only buy things you actually need. Make sure you don’t get tempted to make unnecessary purchases for the sake of earning a reward.
Start Budgeting Your Personal Finances
Creating a household budget, and sticking to it, can save you a lot of money. If you’re not sure what budgeting means, don’t worry. It’s much simpler than you think, and the benefits are huge.
You can start by making a list of all of your normal expenses. Rent or mortgage payments should go on your list; so should groceries, utility bills, and any recurring subscriptions you have. You can also add fun items like vacation, date night and takeout.
Figure out your monthly income, and decide how much you can spend on each category once you’ve paid your fixed costs (like housing and car payments). Then, over the course of the month, track your spending in each category and make sure you avoid overspending.
You might also consider ways to reduce your fixed costs, like refinancing your mortgage, bundling your student loans, or changing your car insurance provider.
You’ll also be able to save a lot of money on groceries by meal planning and always going to the store with a shopping list, instead of just wandering through the aisles.
When you’re making your budget, build in a section for savings. It’s a good idea to plan on saving a certain amount of money every single month. Even if it’s a small amount at first, you’ll reap the benefits down the road. Setting aside even $10 a month can get you into the habit of saving money for the future.
Set Up an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is money set aside to pay for unexpected expenses. If you or your spouse loses a job, for example, your emergency fund can tide you over until you get back on your feet again. You can also use your emergency fund to pay for medical bills, property damages, or car repairs.
How much do you need in your emergency fund? It’s a good idea to save up at least three months worth of income in your fund. If you work in the gig economy, or if you’re at risk of losing your job, then you might want to save more money. You might want to aim for saving up to six months of income.
All of the tips and tricks in this article are great ways to start saving money toward an emergency.
FAQS on How to Save Money Fast
Here are some of the most common questions about how to save money fast.
What are 5 tips for saving money?
Set a clear goal.
Decide how much money you want to save. It helps to think about what you’re going to use the money for. Do you want to build up an emergency fund? Are you saving up for a down payment on a home or car? Or do you want to take a vacation in Hawaii?
Whatever it is, set a savings goal and write it down so you won’t forget it.
- Create an action plan.
How are you planning to save money? Are you going to look for a side hustle? Are you going to sell off your unwanted items? Are you going to create a budget and start couponing?
There are lots of great ways to save money. Pick the method, or methods, that suit you best, and you’ll be off to a great start.
- Set monthly financial goals.
You already decided on how much you want to save for the year. Now, break it down into monthly sums. Having short-term saving goals, or benchmarks, makes it a lot easier to see progress. And the more you see progress, the easier it becomes to stick to your savings plan.
- Make sure you’re saving your money.
This one sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget! Sometimes people focus on saving money but forget to actually put that money into a savings account. If you put your extra cash back into your checking account, you could wind up spending it. And that defeats the whole purpose of saving.
So, make sure you’re putting your saved money into a savings account, or a retirement fund!
- Track your progress.
Keep a written record of how much money you’re saving every month. You should also track your progress toward your annual goal. There are lots of different ways you can do this. You can use an app, a spreadsheet, or even a piece of paper. The main thing is, keeping track of your progress will inspire you and ensure that you meet your goals.
How much should I save each month?
How much you save depends on your income and your expenses. A general rule of thumb is to save 20% of your income every month. If you can save more, great. But if 20% is too high, don’t worry. Even if you’re living on a very tight budget, you can still make a plan to set just a little bit of money aside every month.
What is the 30 day rule?
The 30 day rule is a great way to stop making impulse buys. Basically, if you see an item you want, don’t buy it right away. Wait 30 days.
If you still want the item at the end of those 30 days, go ahead and buy it. In many cases, you won’t want it anymore, which means you shouldn’t waste your money on it. Following the 30 day rule is a great way to kiss impulse purchases goodbye!
Saving money is a great way to build a better life for yourself and your family. By setting aside a little bit of money every month, you can create a safety net, plan for important purchases, and prepare for your retirement.
Filling out surveys with Survey Junkie can earn you extra cash to build up your savings account – and you can do it from the comfort of your own home. Visit us today and get started right away.