We all know how important it is to save money, but the actual practice of saving money can be difficult. It’s not as simple as making one small adjustment and then watching the dollar bills stack up.
That kind of savings advice was going around a few years ago when millennials were being told that they would be able to save money if they only cut their weekly lattes. You remember that, right?
The guy who created the “latte factor” (his name is David Bach) claimed that you could save $950,000 simply by cutting your daily lattes for the next 40 years. So if you started in your 20’s you would have enough saved for retirement.
There are a number of problems with his plan – the annual cost of lattes was off, the investments were too risky, and he didn’t adjust for taxes or inflation. Basically, it was bad math.
The truth is that cutting out your daily latte equals closer to $25,000 when adjusted for inflation.
While I don’t recommend giving up lattes as a viable retirement strategy, you can see how a small adjustment would add up. And the reality is that there are lots of things you can change that require you to give up your lattes. You can:
- Save on monthly expenses like finding a cheaper cell phone service and negotiating for lower car insurance rates
- Create a long-term plan by taking advantage of your company’s 401(k) match and refinancing your house
- Reduce how much you spend by trying the 30-day rule and buy used when you can
- Start a side hustle and make an extra $1,000/month
When you put all of those things together, you create an actionable plan that helps you really save money. This is how you save for retirement, put a downpayment on a house, or go on your dream vacation.
Learn How to Save Money | 50 Strategies That Will Help You Save More Money
How to save money on regular expenses
1. Find a cheaper cell phone plan
If you are paying more than $50 a month for cell service, you could be saving money. There is a growing list of budget-friendly and reputable cell phone providers. These companies offer contract-free plans that run as low as $15/month.
Most of the budget cell service providers are considered mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). They use the cell towers put up by T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon so you get nationwide service at a lower price. The trade-off is that sometimes data speeds are lower.
You can easily save $50/month or more by switching cell carriers.
Learn about the options in The Best Cheap Cell Phone Plans of 2020. I compare 6 of the top options.
2. Cut cable
Cutting cable is getting easier and easier with so many different options for streaming TV. Some of the most popular options, like Netflix and Hulu, can run $15/month or less.
But if you still want live streaming TV plus your favorite cable networks, I recommend Sling TV. There are different packages for sports lovers and families and those looking for news and entertainment. Sling is just $30/month.
My one warning with switching from cable to subscription-based TV streaming services: only pay for what you’re using. It’s easy to add a new service after hearing about a new show and then never cancel the service you already have.
If you only pay for one at a time, you can save more money in the long run.
3. Start meal prepping to save money on food.
Food is one of those budget categories that easily starts to creep up on you. It’s also easy to justify overspending because food is… well, it’s a necessity.
Spending a few hours each week creating a meal plan, grocery shopping, and meal prepping can help eat out less and use what you already have in your kitchen.
Meal prepping was a big help when my wife and I were both working full-time as teachers. We’d come home from work exhausted, and instead of eating junk or doing take out, we would have something ready to eat in the fridge.
4. Stop wasting food
I just mentioned how you can save money on food by meal planning and prepping, but consider addressing how much food you waste. Wasting food = throwing money away.
Here are a few tips to help you stop throwing away food (and money):
- Make your leftovers fancy. Some people hate the idea of eating leftovers, but you can repurpose leftovers and make them entirely new meals. This is stuff like turning over pasta or rice into a casserole, putting leftover meat or vegetables in tortillas with salsa, and using up roasted vegetables or grains in salads.
- Stop buying pre-cut produce. Not only is pre-cut food more expensive, but it goes bad faster than produce that hasn’t been cleaned and cut for you.
- Learn how to store food properly. A quick Google search will tell you exactly how to store produce, dairy, eggs, bread, and the rest of your household food supply. This helps food stay fresher longer.
5. Get rid of your car payment
One of the biggest things that helped me pay off my $40,000 student loan debt in 18 months, was that I didn’t fall for a lot of the things my friends were doing. And a big one was never taking on a brand new car payment.
Cars are depreciating assets. New cars lose between 20-30% of their value in the first year and around 60% of their value after 5 years. New cars also cost more to insure, more in taxes, and car loans cost more in interest.
Making the choice to buy used means you’re banking the hit someone already took on a new car, and that means you save money. It’s more long-term savings and more room in your budget each month.
Learn how to ditch your car payment and pay cash for a used car in How to Get Rid of Your Car Payment: The Ultimate Guide.
6. Negotiate for lower rates on car insurance
Speaking of cars, there is a good chance you can negotiate for a lower rate on your car insurance bill or switch to another insurance company and save money. Car insurance is one of those bills that some people blindly accept and never try lowering, but it can be done.
Last year I called my car insurance company, asked if there were any new discounts I could take advantage of, and my rate was lowered by $40/month. My editor shopped around for car insurance a few months ago, and she was able to save over $1,200 a year by switching companies and raising her deductible by $500.
That brings up another major point: raising your deductible typically lowers your deductible, but make sure it’s an amount you’re comfortable with and keep it in savings.
To negotiate for lower rates, here are a few tips:
- Know that you have a good driving record – they are less likely to lower your rates if you’ve been in accidents or have tickets.
- Ask about discounts – safe driver discount, auto-pay, paperless, multi-car, military, student, etc.
- Ask about options to bundle your payment with your homeowner’s insurance.
7. Use LED light bulbs
A couple of years ago, my wife and I switched to LED light bulbs and we’re now saving money every month on our electricity bill. LED light bulbs are a little more expensive, but they have continued to decrease in cost as they’ve become more widely available.
One of my readers said he was able to purchase them through his energy company at a cost of $0.16/bulb.
Read more about how to buy the right LED bulbs and when they make sense in Are LED Light Bulbs Worth the Money? (Yes and Here’s Why).
8. Switch to a smart thermostat
Smart thermostats help you save money by regulating the temperature in the house for you. This means your house isn’t being heated or cooled when it doesn’t need to be. These thermostats either learn your schedule or you can be manually programmed, and then they adjust the temperature for daytime, nighttime, and when you’re away from home.
My wife and I have this EcoBee one, and I’m now convinced smart thermostats are the way to go. They have a reported savings of 12-23% annually.
9. Lower the temperature of your water heater
Some manufacturers set the temperature of water heaters to 140°F, but most people can stand to lower the temperature to 120°F. That 20° difference can save you up to 22% of your energy savings annually, and you’ll stop burning yourself in the shower.
Before you change the temp, read up on the pros and cons of lowering it. There are some people who should keep it set at 140°F.
10. Eat at home and bring your lunch to work
I put these two together because these are things you already know. This is the kind of personal finance advice that you hear time and time again, and that’s because it’s 100% true. You can save money by eating out less.
I know it’s fun to go out to eat, and sometimes it might even taste better. But think about how short-term money saving strategies add up.
- You eat dinner out one less time every week, saving you $40/week = $2,080/year
- You bring your lunch to work one more day each week, saving you $15/week = $780/year
- You stop ordering take out one less time per week, saving $30/week = $1,560/year
Added together, that’s $4,420 saved in one year. That’s a vacation. It’s getting close to the maximum yearly contribution limit for an IRA. When you pair this with other strategies, you can start to see how real change happens.
11. Make your own cleaning products
This is a small savings, but making your own cleaning products is really easy to do, and you can find instructions online to make cleaning wipes, wood cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, and more. You probably have most of the things you need already at home.
12. Start travel hacking
Travel hacking is when you strategically use credit cards to earn points and miles that are redeemed for travel expenses, like flights, hotels, and upgrades. It takes planning and being really good with credit cards to make travel hacking work, but you can save a ton of money on trips when you do it well.
My wife and I used travel hacking to pay for our flights to Italy and France last year, and we earned more points when we paid for our AirBnB. We even upgraded to first-class on the way home for free.
And someone on my M$M team used travel hacking to take their family of 5 to the Bahamas for 10 days for less than $1,000 total. Their flights were completely paid for in credit card points, saving them over $3,000.
One of the most popular ways to earn all of those points is by opening a credit card with a major sign-on bonus. 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months, for example. Depending on the card and how you redeem your points, sign-up bonuses can be worth anywhere from $500-$750.
People reach the minimum spend for those bonuses by doing things like:
- Planning around large expenses. Earn those points by using your card to pay for big planned purchases like a new appliance, major home repair, new laptop, etc.
- Pay your taxes with your credit card. There is a small processing fee, but you can earn points by paying a large tax bill.
- Use this card to pay your bills. Groceries, some utilities, cell phone, maybe insurance premiums – these are fixed expenses in your budget.
But here’s the real key: do not go into debt to travel hack. You should be leveraging your planned expenses to earn rewards, and that means you have the money to pay your balance in full every single month.
If you’re interested in learning more, I highly recommend you check out my Beginner’s Guide to Travel Hacking: How to Take Your First Free Trip. You will learn different ways to travel hack, get credit card recommendations, and learn how to redeem your points.
How to save money for the future
13. Avoid debt
Debt is expensive. Most of us have accepted that fact. But do you know how expensive it can really be?
- Taking out a $200,000 mortgage to buy a house (5% interest over 30 years) costs you an additional $186,511.57.
- Taking out a $35,000 loan for a brand new car (4.3% interest over 60 months) costs an additional $4,959.65.
- $40,000 in student loans (average interest rate of 6% or 10 years) will cost an extra $13,289.84.
- Only making the minimum payments on a $10,000 credit card with an interest rate of 17% will cost an extra $7,518.
When you add all of that up, that $285,000 total debt is costing an extra $212,279.06!
While avoiding debt completely is hard to do, making a decision to avoid future debt and to actively pay off the debt you have can save you money over time. Fortunately, a lot of the ideas in this article will help you avoid debt!
It takes reducing your expenses, being prepared for emergencies, and paying more than the minimum payment each month. Even an extra $20-$100/month towards your debt can make a massive difference over time.
You can start taking control of your debt by reading this step-by-step debt payoff plan.
14. Start a budget
A budget is a plan for how you spend and save your money, and a good budget will help you identify where you’re overspending and how that money can be used for long and short-term savings.
Here are the steps to starting a budget that works for you:
- Start tracking your income and expenses. You can use spreadsheets or budgeting apps, but learn how much money is coming in and out each month.
- Make a list of your debts. Your debt may make up a pretty large part of your monthly spending, and knowing the total amount of your debt will help you come up with a plan to pay it off. You should list what your debts are, minimum monthly payment, how much you owe, and your interest rates.
- Set some goals. These can be long or short-term goals, from saving for a vacation to planning for retirement. You’ll use your budget to help you reach those savings goals.
- Organize and add up your expenses. Categorize your expenses and see how much you’re spending in different budget categories.
- Finalize your budget. This is where you set limits in different spending categories so you can pay off your debt and meet your savings goals.
- Make adjustments as needed. Make changes to your budget when you start making more money, if your income decreases, and as your life changes.
There are a couple of different budget strategies you can use to manage your money. Zero-based budgeting is one that asks you to give every dollar a job – you take the amount you make and subtract expenses all the way down to $0.
The 50/30/20 budget suggests you put 50% of your income towards needs, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings and debt. This strategy is a good baseline that you can adjust to fit your needs.
15. Create an emergency fund
An emergency fund is money saved specifically for large, unexpected expenses. This could be needing to suddenly replace a defunct appliance, repairing your roof if it starts leaking, or even recovering from job loss.
An emergency fund helps you cover those costs without taking on debt. Saving for emergencies is a proactive step that can help you save money over time.
The general rule is that you should have 3-6 months worth of expenses saved, but even $500-$1,000 set aside is better than nothing. Learn more about emergency funds and how to start building one in Emergency Fund: Why It’s Important & How to Get Started.
16. Set goals
I’m a big fan of setting goals – business goals, savings goals, personal goals, etc.. They help me stay focused and motivated.
When you set goals for yourself, you can start developing a clear path to reach those goals and you can make sure you’re using your money in a meaningful way. Instead of saving for the sake of saving, you’re saving for retirement, new car, dream house, family vacation, and more.
My wife and I have a money date night each month – we open a bottle of wine, go over our accounts, and then talk about our goals. We’ve been doing this for years, and it’s how we made a plan for me to quit my teaching job, how we bought our house, and afforded anything we’ve ever saved up for.
17. Start a retirement account
This is serious long-term savings, but starting a retirement account is an important step for your future. Start by seeing if your company offers a retirement plan, this would be a 401(k) or 403(b). These retirement accounts are funded by pre-tax payroll deductions.
An IRA is another good option – IRA stands for Individual Retirement Account. It’s not tied to your work, and you can save with an IRA and an employer-sponsored account. There a few different kinds of IRAs:
- Roth IRAs use after-tax money
- Traditional IRAs are tax-deductible
- SEP IRA tax-advantaged accounts are for self-employed people
18. Use your company’s 401(k) match
Your company’s 401(k) plan is a tax-advantaged retirement account that is funded with pre-tax payroll deductions. And if your company offers a match, it’s basically free money.
Companies use different formulas for their matches – it might be a certain dollar amount or a certain percentage of your contribution.
An example of a match is if your company matches 100% of your contributions up to 4% of your salary. That means if you make $60,000/year, your employer is willing to contribute up to $2,400 a year to your 401(k). Anything beyond that goes unmatched.
19. Pay yourself first
This is the practice of regularly putting money in savings before you do anything else with your paycheck. That means putting money away before paying your bills, buying groceries, or going out to eat.
When you pay yourself first, you’re making a decision to save money before everything else. You’re no longer waiting until the end of the month to see if there’s any money left to save.
Not only does this build good saving habits, but you’re also prioritizing your long-term financial health. It works best if you split your direct deposit between accounts or set up an automatic transfer into a dedicated savings account.
20. Refinance your house
Refinancing your mortgage is a good way to save money if interest rates are lower now than when you first bought your home, and if you have a good to excellent credit score. Here’s an example of how you can save money refinancing a $200,000 mortgage with a 30-year-loan term:
- You pay $186,511.00 in interest at a rate of 5.00%.
- You pay $133,443.00 in interest at a rate of 3.75%.
That 1.25% interest rate difference saves you over $50,000, and you can usually find lower interest rates if you refinance for a shorter loan term. Your payments will be slightly higher each month if you go for a shorter term, but you’ll save considerably more. Using the example above, refinancing at a rate of 3.75% for 15 years reduces the total interest to $61,800.
I mentioned having a good to excellent credit score, and that’s important! The lowest rates and best loan terms go to people with credit scores of 740 or higher.
Refinancing your mortgage can help you save money, but if you add too much time on your loan, even at a lower interest rate, you can actually pay more over time.
21. Refinance your student loans
Refinancing your student loans is when you bundle all of your student loans together in one lump sum and borrow that amount from another lender at a new rate.
You save money over time when you borrow at a lower interest rate (like refinancing your mortgage), but it can also simplify your payments because you’re not paying on a bunch of smaller loans.
If you’re interested, I highly recommend refinancing with a company like Credible. You can learn more about the student loan refinancing process and whether or not you’re a good candidate in The Ultimate Guide to Refinancing Your Student Loans.
22. Learn how to invest
Whenever I talk to people who haven’t started investing yet, I get a couple of different reasons. I don’t have enough money to start investing -OR- I don’t know how to start investing.
Those perceived barriers are one of the reasons I’m really excited about the growing number of micro-investing apps on the market right now. Micro-investing is investing with small amounts of money – think spare change – and while it won’t make you rich, it can teach you the basics of investing.
Most micro-investing apps have a small monthly fee, and they will help curate and build a diverse portfolio of ETFs (exchange traded funds) that matches your risk tolerance. Here are a few of the most popular choices:
- Acorns is known for rounding up transactions from a linked debit card and investing the difference in one of five different portfolios. Acorns has options for personal and retirement accounts.
- Stash does round-ups and gives you the option to invest in curated portfolios or choose your investments. This micro-investing app has tons of educational content for newbie investors.
- Betterment is the most like a traditional brokerage, and there’s the option to pay extra for financial planning advice from a Certified Financial Planner.
23. Pay more for quality items
When I was paying off my student loan debt, I was extremely frugal. I avoided spending money at all costs, and when I did have to buy something, it was often the cheapest version of whatever I needed.
It was a good way to save money in the moment, but long-term, a lot of those cheap things I bought fell apart and cost me more to replace.
The next time you need a new mattress, pair of shoes, appliances, etc., consider spending a little more and buying something that will last longer. I like to use Consumer Reports to research what I buy, and I read product reviews on blogs too.
The key to using this strategy to save money is don’t trade up for a new model as soon as something comes out – hold on to quality things for the lifetime of the product.
24. Get a better savings account
If you are saving money in a brick-and-mortar bank, you might be missing an opportunity to save more money each month with a higher than average APY from an online bank.
Online banks are able to offer higher APYs because they don’t have the same overhead costs that brick-and-mortar banks face – paying for a physical location, paying tellers, etc. Online banks are able to pass those savings on to their customers in the form of higher interest rates.
For example, an APY of 0.02%-0.06% is pretty common with brick-and-mortar banks while you can find an APY of 1.50% or higher online.
It’s a marginal difference, but most online banks also offer zero monthly maintenance fees, and those fees add up to larger savings over time.
25. Save your windfalls
A financial windfall is a large, unexpected chunk of money. This could be a work bonus, birthday money, inheritance, tax refund, etc. Instead of using that money to splurge on yourself, stick it in savings. This is a good way to boost your savings balance.
You can still splurge a little, but set a limit and use the majority of the windfall for savings.
26. Automate your savings
Automating your savings gives you a mindless way to save money. It’s good for people who forget to save… this is a real thing.
There are a number of great automated savings apps that can make the process really easy and even kind of fun.
- Set savings triggers with Qapital. This automated savings app lets you set different ITTT (if this, then this) triggers that automatically move money to savings when you complete certain actions. For example, you can tell Qapital to move $5 to savings every time you update your Facebook status.
- Use Twine save with a partner. This app is meant to save with a partner, spouse, or friend. You can set goals together, automatically save, and keep track of your progress.
- Digit will save the perfect amount for you. The Digit app uses algorithms to learn your spending habits and then find out how much extra you have for savings.
27. Pay attention to your credit score
There are some people in the personal finance world who will tell you that credit scores aren’t important and that you can just pay cash for everything. But the reality is that the vast majority of people will need to borrow money at some point in their lives.
Your credit score is a marker of your overall financial health, and a high credit score can help you save when you need to borrow money – better loan terms, lower interest rates, more likely to be approved, etc.
Your score is based on your payment history, utilization rate (how much debt you have), age of credit, number of inquiries, and what kind of accounts you have.
Checking your score on a regular basis will show you how to start raising your credit score, and it can also help you spot fraud on your accounts.
You can check your credit score for free at AnnualCreditReport.com, and this is the site that the FTC recommends using.
28. Take care of your health
Healthier people generally have less long-term health costs. I’m not a doctor, but here are a few things that will help you stay healthy:
- Go in for your annual doctor’s visit
- Move your body every single day
- Quit smoking (or never start)
- Drink plenty of water
- Get enough sleep at night
- Cut back on unhealthy foods
29. Keep up with regular home and car maintenance
This is similar to the last tip – it’s like keeping up with the health of your car and home.
Doing regular maintenance will prevent things from breaking, or at least make you aware of potential issues before they turn into major ones. Sometimes it makes sense to outsource maintenance work, but many of them are easy enough for you to learn how to do on your own.
Here’s a general list of routine car and home maintenance:
- Check tire pressure and tread depth
- Make sure all of your lights are working
- Check and change fluids as needed (oil, coolant, transmission fluid)
- Check and replace spark plugs, air filter, serpentine belt
- Check the HVAC system filters for you home
- Inspect grout and caulking
- Make sure indoor and outdoor air vents aren’t blocked
- Clean your gutters
- Check your water heater for leaks
- Inspect your roof for missing, loose, or damaged shingles
This is just a short list, and a quick Google search will give you a full checklist for your home and car.
30. Consider a balance transfer card
Balance transfer credit cards can be a good option for anyone who’s actively trying to pay off credit card debt. These cards work by allowing customers to transfer over high-interest rate credit card debt to a card that has a 0% interest rate for a limited period – sometimes as long as 18-21 months.
The best cards have low or zero balance transfer fees and no annual fees, but they’re reserved for people with the highest credit scores.
Money saving tips that will help you spend less
31. 30-day rule
If impulse spending is preventing you from saving money, try the 30-day rule. It’s a rule that teaches delayed gratification, so you learn to manage satisfying your immediate wants with your future needs.
Here’s how the 30-day rule works:
- See something awesome that you want right now
- Tell yourself, I’m not buying this now (this is honestly the hardest part)
- Make a note of what you wanted to buy, how much it costs, and put that note in your phone or on your calendar
- After the 30 days are up, you can make the purchase if you still want it and can afford it (meaning you’re not taking on debt to afford it)
Most people change their mind about the purchase, but it’s also a chance to find a better price, research product reviews, or see if you have something similar already.
32. Buy used
You’ve already heard how I feel about buying used cars over new cars, and you can follow the same principle for all kinds of things – clothes, appliances, electronics, furniture, kids stuff, and more.
There is a lot of really good used stuff out there, seriously high-quality goods that are donated to thrift stores or sold for cheap online. A lot of times there’s really nothing wrong with the things you find – people just like buying new things.
33. Buy generic
Buying generic or store brands at the grocery store is an easy switch that can help you save money. I promise you, the majority of the time, you really can’t even tell the difference. Generic brands are sometimes even made in the same factory as name brand foods.
34. Use the library
I recently learned that tons of libraries are now starting to lend out more than just books and movies. There are seriously some awesome things at local libraries, including telescopes, museum passes, 3D printers, cameras, drones, GoPros, camping tools, sports gear, and even baking equipment.
These things are lent out just like books: you check them out using your card library card and have so many days to return them.
35. Think about purchases based on your working hours
If you knew that dinner out would cost you two working hours, would it still be worth it? What about trading 15 hours for a new TV?
Thinking about your spending in terms of how much you earn might change the way you spend and save your money. Even salaried worked can calculate a rough estimate of your hourly wage:
- Figure out how many hours you work a week
- Multiply that amount by 52
- Divide your annual salary by that amount
A 40-hour workweek equals 2,080 hours a year, so if you make $70,000/year, your hourly wage is approximately $33/hour. We’re not accounting for taxes or benefits to make it easier, but you get the point.
36. Try a no-spend challenge
A no-spend challenge can motivate you to check your spending so you can start saving more money. The idea is to push yourself to eliminate the number of days you’re allowed to spend money.
You can do a no-spend week or month where you either:
- Don’t spend any money at all. This includes essentials, and you’ll have to plan in advance with groceries and paying your bills.
- No spending on anything but essentials. You can still stick to your routine spending but eliminate anything beyond needs.
- Have a small allowance. Give yourself an amount of money to spend during the challenge and get creative with your how make it last
37. Delete apps or credit cards numbers from your phone
If you have things set up on your phone in a way that makes it too easy to spend money, then put up some barriers. Delete shopping apps or apps that make it really tempting to spend money. Remove cards from your virtual wallet. Turn off Amazon 1-Click ordering.
You’re basically putting a little extra space between you and spending, and in the space, you might change your mind.
38. Use store loyalty programs
This one is a no-brainer IMO, especially if the programs are free. Store loyalty programs all work a little differently, but the general idea is that loyal customers are rewarded with discounts and points they can redeem for free stuff.
39. Repair things instead of throwing them away
Sometimes repairing things costs more time and money than it’s worth. Once I spent two days trying to fix the dishwasher, spent money on a plumber, and in the end, I still needed to replace it.
But there are some things that are easy to repair on your own:
- Learn to sew buttons back on your shirts
- Use shoe glue to reattach the sole of your shoe
- Sew up little holes in pillows, blankets, clothes, etc.
- If the screen rips on your window screens, replace just the screen instead of the entire window
- Repair the wiring in your lamps instead of buying new ones
- Learn how to remove water rings and scuffs from wood furniture
- Remove rust from outdoor furniture (then store it better next year)
40. Cancel your subscriptions
There are subscription services for all kinds of things these days – streaming services, meal services, razors, beauty bags, apps, the list goes on and on.
This payment model often gives customers high value for a small investment, and it’s often really convenient. But you can wind up spending a lot on subscriptions if you aren’t paying attention.
To cut these monthly expenses out of your budget, go through your bank and credit card transactions to see if there’s anything you’ve forgotten about, then cancel the services you aren’t using anymore.
You can also try a service like Truebill or Trim – these are apps that find and cancel services for you. They can also negotiate for lower rates on cable and telecom services, and both have budgeting functions.
If you have marketable skills or are willing to trade goods, bartering is a decent way to save money on all kinds of things. You and your friend can trade babysitting services so you can both have a night out. You can trade landscaping services for an oil change.
I read an article a couple of years ago about someone who was trading home renovation work for eye exams and glasses. Just make sure you and your trading partner are comfortable with the trade and clear on what it involves.
42. Find free stuff in your area
Open another tab on your browser and search “free things to do [where you live].” You can tailor this if you're looking for kids ideas, weekend events, or pet-friendly activities. You’re probably going to find more than you expected.
Save money by making more of it
43. Run Facebook ads
Running Facebook ads for small businesses is simply digital marketing through Facebook, which continues to be one of the best online platforms for small businesses to increase their traffic and visibility. And, you can make around $1,000-$1,500 per month/per client with just a few hours of work each week.
This is the exact side hustle I started after I quit my teaching job to blog full time. I started with one client, then another, and another. And a few months later I was legitimately out earning what I made as a teacher.
The reason this is hands down, one of the best ways to make extra money is because Facebook has a massive reach that small business owners are just starting to tap into. Big companies have been doing this for a while, but many small business owners lack the resources and time it takes to run an effective ad strategy.
Check out the Facebook Side Hustle Course to learn more, including why clients are willing to pay you to run ads, and what some of my students are saying.
44. Sell your stuff
To make money fast, selling stuff from around your house might be the best option. There are some easy-to-use apps made just for selling stuff, although Facebook Marketplace and buy/sell groups are an easy option too.
You can even turn this into a long-term side hustle and learn how to flip things you find at yard sales, thrift stores, and flea markets.
45. Start a blog
Blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme, so this is a long-term way to make more money to save. But it’s my favorite way to make extra money (for obvious reasons).
I had no clue how life-changing my site would be. I’ve traveled a ton these past few years, my wife was able to retire early, and I’ve started another business. That’s all because I had this crazy idea that I wanted to talk to other people my age about money.
Blogging is a long-game, and it can take months to earn a few bucks, but you can grow your blog in the evenings, on your lunch break, and on the weekends.
If you’re interested in starting a blog, a WordPress blog hosted through Bluehost ($2.95 per month) is the way to go for new bloggers, and if you’re feeling like the setup and installation is a little too overwhelming, check out Launch That Blog. It’s completely free when you go with Bluehost.
46. Start freelancing
Freelancers made up 35% of the U.S. workforce in 2019 and earned nearly $1 trillion dollars. Besides small business owners like me having a team of freelancers, companies have started outsourcing to freelancers as a cost-saving measure.
- Graphic design
- Web development
- Virtual Assistance
- Customer service
- Transcription work
- Data entry
- App development
- Podcast editing
- Sound design
- Film editing
47. Teach English online with VIPKid
VIPKid is a website that connects its teachers to young Chinese students with the goal of helping them learn English. The hours are flexible, you work when you want, and you can earn up to $22/hour with VIPKid.
To start teaching through VIPKid, you start with an application and interviewing process that involves doing a practice lesson. It’s less stressful than it sounds, trust me. Also, you don’t need to be a certified teacher to teach through VIPKid – you just need experience working with children, which can include:
- Raising your own children
- Working at a daycare
As a former teacher, I really appreciate how easy it is to teach with VIPKid – lessons are only 25 minutes long and VIPKid handles all lesson planning.
48. Deliver food
In an article by U.S. News, it was reported that the average person has two to three food delivery apps on their phones, and uses them around three times per month. Grocery and food delivery services have become a convenient way for consumers to get food at home.
You can earn anywhere from $12-$20/hour delivering food for companies like DoorDash, Instacart, and Postmates. Delivery drivers like the flexibility of being able to schedule their hours in advance or hopping on the apps and seeing what deliveries are available in their area.
You can learn more about each service and how they compare in:
- DoorDash vs. Postmates: Which is a Better Side Hustle?
- Shipt vs. Instacart: Which One is Better for Shoppers?
- Instacart vs. DoorDash: Which One is Better for Drivers?
49. Complete tasks on TaskRabbit
TaskRabbit is an online platform people use to find help completing random tasks around their house. It can be moving furniture for $75, mounting a TV for $30, or cleaning a house for $60. There are even people who get paid to wait in line on TaskRabbit.
The gist of it is that you create an account, select the kinds you are willing to do, set your rates, and create a quick pitch for potential clients.
It’s a very low-commitment side hustle, and once you’re signed up to start taking jobs, it’s a good way to save money fast.
50. Take online surveys
I have mixed feelings about online surveys – they don’t pay well and you can’t scale them into a business. But if you pair this with other ideas in this article, you can start crushing your savings goals.
Survey Junkie is a legit survey site that pays in points that convert to cash. Again, it’s not much money (around $1-$3 an hour), but you can take surveys while watching Netflix, waiting at the doctor’s office, even while waiting in the grocery store checkout line.
The final word on saving money
Phew… you just learned 50 different ways to save money.
Learning how to save money can’t be simplified into “cut your lattes.” Saving money takes a comprehensive plan that addresses your money holistically – seeing how habits, routine spending, and making more money all come together to help you save.
Now it’s your job to take these tips and make a plan. Find at least one tip from each section and keep track of how much you’re putting in savings. Your future self will thank you.