Are you fired up about paying off your debt or working hard to start investing more for retirement? Then you need to learn how to save money fast!
Even though I think that increasing your income with a side hustle is one of the best ways to make your financial goals happen, there are still lots of ways to save money fast that don’t involve starting a completely new side gig.
BTW, if you are interested in starting a side hustle, read 21 Best 2019 Side Hustle That Are Actually Worth Your Time.
Now, there’s no magic pill to learning how to save money quickly. All of the ideas on this list require some work on your end, but I think you’ll be surprised by how easy many of them are. The more ideas the try, the more money you’ll save… but you already knew that.
How to save money fast: 36 ways to save more money
1. Switch to a better bank account
The majority of people probably don’t know how much interest they’re earning with their current bank. If you’re like most people, you opened your checking account years ago and never thought about your APY ever again. I honestly know some people who are still using the same bank account their parents set up for them a couple of decades ago.
If any of these situations sound like yours, then you are missing out on one of the easiest ways to save money — finding a bank with a higher than average APY.
Banking has gotten more and more competitive, which is good for consumers. Online banks, especially, are competing for new business. They’re offering higher than average interest rates and sometimes even cash bonuses when you sign up.
You can find accounts that will earn you 2% or higher on your savings, which might not seem like much, but it’s better than 0.05% or less than your current bank offers.
Read more at Best Online Savings Accounts for 2019.
2. Check your tire pressure
Not having your tires properly inflated means you end up replacing them more often than you need to. It costs you more in gas, and it even increases your chances of getting into an accident.
The thing is, checking your tire pressure and inflating them to the correct PSI is really freaking easy, and you don’t need a mechanic to help you do it.
Keep a tire pressure gauge in your car (they’re just a couple of bucks at the gas station or auto parts store) and read your car’s manual to see what pressure level your tires should be inflated to.
3. Sell your stuff to save money fast
I bet there are a ton of things sitting around your house that you could sell to save money fast, like an old armchair taking up space in your basement, unused electronics, clothes, and a ton of bizarre things (seriously people… #4, #6, #8, #14… I’m dead).
Weird stuff, normal stuff, whatever, there are lots of places to sell your things online. Here are some of the best apps and platforms to use:
- Facebook has local buy/sell/swap groups and Marketplace, giving you lots of options on an app that you’re probably already using.
- Decluttr is specifically for electronics.
- Letgo is a good place to find buyers in your local area.
- CPlus is an app that makes it easy to list your stuff on Craigslist using your phone.
For more options, read 21 Apps to Sell Your Stuff Online (and How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off).
4. Refinance your student loans
$47,671 — that’s the average student loan debt burden in 2018. However, many people have student loan debt that reaches into the six figures and will spend the next decade struggling to pay it off.
This is why I hate student loan debt. It’s a necessary evil that causes a tremendous amount of financial stress for years after you finish college.
One of the best ways to save money fast is to refinance your student loans through Credible. Credible isn’t a lender; they are an online marketplace where you can compare rates and terms in just two minutes. And a lower rate can potentially save you thousands of dollars throughout your student loan repayment.
5. Keep dressing like a scrub
When I was paying off my nearly $40,000 student debt, I pretty much refused to get new clothes, not even new-to-me used clothes. I was committed to dressing like a scrub because I knew that it would help me save money.
Sometimes learning how to save money takes going against everything you’ve been taught in the past, like buying brand new clothes every season, the latest model phone, and financing a brand new car every few years.
Now that I’m in a much better place financially, I still struggle with buying new clothes. Fortunately for everyone, my wife takes care of making sure I’m no longer walking around with holes in my shoes.
6. Get rid of your car payment
I will never quite get the obsession with financing brand new cars (aka debtmobiles). They depreciate the minute you drive them off the lot, and you can find a decent used car for a fraction of what a new one will cost you.
Getting rid of your car payment is one of the best ways to save money fast because you save on your car payment, higher insurance costs, higher taxes, etc.
Learn more about this money-saving tip at How to Get Rid of Your Car Payment: The Ultimate Guide.
7. Negotiate your credit card rates, or get a balance transfer card
If you are struggling to pay off your credit card balance every month, then you are inevitably spending extra money on interest rate charges. Credit cards have notoriously high-interest rates, from 15% to 21% or even more, which makes it easy for those interest charges to rack up every month.
If you have a good credit record with your credit card company, you can make a quick call to see if they can lower your interest rates. Asking about a lower rate will not hurt your credit score or affect your relationship with your credit card company.
Another option is to find and apply for a balance transfer card. These cards usually have 0% interest intro periods, but your rates will eventually go up, so pay your balance off as quickly as possible.
8. Bring your lunch to work
If you buy lunch at work, how much do you spend on average? $10/day? $15? If you regularly do that twice a week, that’s $80-$120/month that you’re spending on work lunches!
Instead of wasting your money on eating lunch out, pack something from home. It’s a simple solution to save money fast.
9. Meal prep
We’ve all been in situations when we’re too tired to cook. This is when it’s tempting to order takeout or hit the drive-through.
That money trap is too easy to fall for, and what’s the saying? You have food at home!
When you meal prep, you have more than components of meals at home; you have fully prepared meals that are waiting to be heated up and eaten.
Meal prepping takes a time investment, but it’s well worth it. Really, it doesn’t have to be a big ordeal where you take the entire weekend to cook for the next couple of weeks. You can start by cooking one meal. Make it some it something easy like a big pot of chili or steak fajita filling.
Learn more at 9 Meal Prep Tips & Ideas to Help You Save Money
10. Get to know your library
Libraries have always been amazing places for books, movies, and music, but they’ve gotten even better in the past few years. Many libraries now loan digital cameras, telescopes, laptops, digital projectors, laptops, and even 3D printers.
Just remember always to bring things back when they’re due. Libraries can send your account to collections if you are overdue on bringing things back.
11. Pay attention to costs when grocery shopping
Per unit prices at the grocery store will tell you if the sale on individual cups of yogurt is actually cheaper than the large container. You’ll learn if that giant box of cereal is worth the extra dollar or two it costs.
I’ll admit that I’m not great about checking unit costs, but when I pay attention to them, I always save money on my groceries because those small amounts add up.
12. Get rid of any subscriptions or services you aren’t using
When was the last time you looked at all of the subscription services you were paying?
It’s probably been a while.
If you aren’t using those streaming services, getting the value out of your meal planning service, or using that gym membership, cut those subscriptions out of your budget to save more each month.
13. Buy used when you can
New things are almost always going to cost more than used items. We all know that. But, new doesn’t always mean better, especially if you’re looking for ways to save money fast.
One way to buy used is to shop around at thrift stores and secondhand shops, but the problem with these options is that you’re limited to what’s in store. Fortunately, there are lots of apps and online marketplaces to find high-quality used at items at a fraction of what they would cost new.
- Local buy/sell/swap groups on Facebook
- Facebook Marketplace
- Decluttr for refurbished phones, game consoles, and other tech
- Letgo connects you with local sellers in your area to find clothes, electronics, sporting goods, home and garden, movies and books, and much more
- Poshmark has clothes, shoes, and accessories for women, men, and children
14. Make your own gifts
Pinterest is your friend when it comes to making handmade gifts, and there are ideas that even a non-crafty person like me can successfully pull off. You can bake bread or cookies, make spice mixes, decorate a frame and stick a photo in it, make candles or soaps, and more.
I would be so freaking happy if someone baked me cookies and brought them over for my birthday. Making something for someone else shows your friends and family that you care enough about them to spend time doing something for them.
Learn more at 7 Easy Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget
15. Stop speeding
Okay, so driving fast can feel fun, but there are several reasons it can cost you. Speeding tickets are expensive, and so is paying a lawyer to “take care of them.” Too many tickets can increase your insurance rates.
Driving efficiently (not driving aggressively) can reduce your fuel mileage by 10%-40%.
There are also a growing number of car insurance companies that offer optional discount programs for safe driving:
- Allstate rewards you for driving at safe speeds, during safe hours, and making safe stops. You can earn a 3% discount on your policy and up to 15% cashback after your first 50 trips.
- Nationwide rewards you a 10% to 40% discount for safe driving, which they measure by four factors: miles driven, hard braking and accelerating, idle time, and nighttime driving.
- State Farm gives customers a 5% to 30% discount for safe driving. The factors they measure are quick acceleration, hard braking, fast cornering, speeding, and distracted driving.
The way these companies measure their safe driving factors is by connecting to location services on your smartphone in their apps.
16. Start bartering
If you have a good or service that you can offer someone else, you can trade that for another good or service and not spend a dime.
Bartering is an age-old tradition, and there are a ton of different ways to barter.
17. Learn how to fix things around your house
While there are some home repairs you should outsource… for me, this would be electrical work or plumbing… one of the ways you can save money fast is to start making repairs on your own.
From weatherstripping, fixing small leaks, cleaning your gutters, fixing holes in your walls, here are 100 home repairs you can do on your own.
The same goes for learning how to do basic car maintenance and repairs, like changing your oil and other fluids.
18. Stop spending so much money on razors
Ever since I grew my beard out, I’ve been saving a lot of money on razors. I still have to trim it for the wifey, but I don’t go through nearly as many razors.
I also decided to start shaving with better razors. Disposable drugstore razors might feel inexpensive — it’s cheap plastic that you’ll throw away, right?
Cheap plastic is right, but cheap doesn’t always save you money.
With a company like the Dollar Shave Club, you can purchase high-quality razors for as little as $4-$10/month. You get a quality razor and refillable cartridges that have 2 to 6 blades. Dollar Shave Club automatically sends you refills as often as you like.
19. Find a rewards credit card
With a rewards credit card, you earn points that you can exchange for cash, statement credits, airline miles, hotel stays, and gift cards. Some cards give you more points for travel spending, while others give you extra points for grocery and restaurant purchases.
Rewards credit cards only help you save money if you use them responsibly. If you can’t pay your balance in full every month, those interest charges can quickly negate any of the rewards you’re earning.
Learn more at 10 Things You Need to Know to Start Travel Hacking.
20. Start exercising at home
Getting in shape has been one of my recent goals… I’ve already lost over 20 lbs… and while I do go to a gym, you don’t need a gym membership or even fancy equipment in your house to work out.
YouTube is full of at-home workout videos to keep you fit, but you can also go for a run, ride your bike, lift canned vegetables, whatever. If you’re looking for ways to save money fast, quit the gym and start working out at home.
21. Automate your bills
Setting up autopay on your bills is one of those “set it and forget it” things, and it’s one of the easiest ways to save money fast on late fees, interest charges, and more.
I recently learned that many of the most popular streaming services have unofficial policies on sharing.
- Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has publicly said, “We love people sharing Netflix [...] That’s a positive thing, not a negative thing.”
- HBO Go officially says you can share your account and password with up to three people in your household, but they’ve also admitted that sharing is a “terrific marketing vehicle.”
- There is nothing in Hulu’s official policy that says you can’t share your account and passwords, but you are responsible for the questionable actions of others.
Should you really share your streaming services? Ehhh… that’s up to you. This is a gray area that can help you save money but proceed with caution.
23. Get rid of your landline
The number of households without a landline has surpassed the number of families that still have them. Cell phone use is a significant factor because lots of people have realized they don’t need to pay for both.
Cutting your landline can save you around $15-$30/month.
24. Make a budget and stick to it
When you think of learning how to save money, making a budget is an obvious suggestion. A budget does much more than tell you how much you have to spend. A budget lets you plan out large purchases. You can use it to work towards financial goals. And, a good budget can help you get out of debt.
To help you create a budget and stick to it, here are some of my top budgeting articles:
25. Cut the cord and get rid of cable
Whenever I talk to someone who is struggling to find ways to save money fast, I’m shocked by how many of them are still paying for cable TV. Cable can easily cost you $100/month or more, and according to Consumer Reports, the costs continue rising.
If you want to learn how to save money fast, stop paying for cable.
There are a dozen or more cable alternatives that offer high-quality and award-winning programming that rivals what you get with cable. Bonus, many of these services don’t have commercials!
26. Map out large purchases
One of the rules of adulting is that you will inevitably have to replace some pretty expensive things in your house, like your dishwasher, dryer, or fridge.
Because you know you will have to replace these things eventually, you should know which months are the best for finding deals. Here is a guide on what to buy and when.
In addition to that, using the budget you created in #24, you can start saving for large purchases months in advance and have cash on hand when it’s time to shop.
27. Bundle your bills
Bundling some of your bills, like using the same insurance provider for homeowners and car insurance, is a quick way to lower some of your monthly bills. Bundling your cell and internet service is another option to save money fast.
For more ideas that will help you save money on everyday costs, read 29 Ways to Lower your Monthly Household Expenses
28. Make good use of windfalls
Just got a bonus at work? Looking forward to that tax return? It can be tempting to splurge on something big, but you’re smart about it, you can do some really good things with a windfall.
So, the next time you receive an unexpected chunk of money, here are a few ways to make the most of it:
- Consider protecting your money in a high-interest rate savings account. You’ll still have easy access to it, but you’ll earn a little interest while you decide how to use it.
- Using a windfall to pay off high-interest rate credit card debt can save you stress and money.
- If you don’t have a fully-stocked emergency fund, bulking it up will help you avoid credit cards when emergencies come up.
- Think about your retirement savings. Investing some or all of your windfall will help you prepare for your future.
One of my biggest suggestions, though, is to not fall for a lifestyle upgrade. A brand new car, new phone, etc. — spending your windfall on these things won’t help you save money. It’s okay to splurge a little but think about your goals first.
29. Buy generic
Going generic on things — prescriptions, food items, even clothes — are ways to save money on things you regularly purchase. More often than not, house or generic brands will be just as good as their more expensive brand name counterparts.
30. Try the 30-day rule
What is the 30 day rule?
Glad you asked… the 30-day rule is simple in theory. You take 30 days to decide whether or not to purchase something. Say you want a brand new TV and even have the money available. Instead of buying it now, wait a month to see if you still feel as strongly about it.
The reason this tip can save you money is that often, we’re just looking for instant gratification. If 30 days sounds too long, you can try a 24-hour, 48-hour, or one week rule.
31. Increase your deductibles
If you have enough money in your emergency fund, raising the deductible on your health, car, and homeowners insurance will reduce your monthly premium.
32. Start turning out your lights to save on your electric bill
We’ve all heard this, but seriously, turn the lights off when you leave the room. It’s a small thing that can save you money on your electric bill.
33. Adjust your thermostat
Adjusting your thermostat by a degree or two can start saving you money on heating and cooling costs in just a few months. I know that’s not the fastest way to save money, but these things add up over time.
To make it easier to save on heating and cooling, invest in a smart thermostat that lets you adjust the temp from your smartphone. God, I love technology.
Some states even offer rebates for smart thermostats. You can contact your energy company for more information.
34. Start saving your spare change
Micro-savings and micro-investing apps help you collect and make the most of your spare change. Some round up your transactions to the next dollar amount and save the rest. Others automatically save money when you set off a trigger, like any time you post a Facebook status update.
These apps make saving and investing your money a mindless process. Here are a few of the best options for 2019:
- Stash is a micro-investing app that does round-up and scheduled deposits. You can pick which funds to invest in. Read more at Stash Review 2019.
- Acorns is a micro-investing app that’s part Robo-advisor. You answer a series of questions to determine your risk tolerance, and Acorns invests your spare change into one of five different portfolios. Learn more at Acorns Review 2019.
- Digit is a micro-savings app that uses algorithms to save “the perfect amount every day.” Read more at Digit Review 2019.
- Qapital has dozens of ITTT (If This, Then This) triggers to set off automatic savings. Learn more at Qapital Review 2019.
35. Travel better
Travel is expensive, but you can save money by:
36. Keep up on preventative care
Your health insurance plan covers preventative care for a reason — it keeps you healthy and reduces their costs. This saves you money overall, too.
If you go in for your yearly check-up, you can talk to your doctor about small issues before they become big ones. You can stay up-to-date on your vaccinations. And your doctor will talk to you about potential risks and warning signs.
My wife and I no longer use traditional health insurance, but our health care sharing ministry also covers preventative care.
Are you interested in health sharing? Learn more at Is a Health Care Sharing Ministry Right For You?
The final word on how to save money fast
Look at that, 36 ways to save money! Some of them will help you start to save money today, while others will take a little time to show you big rewards. But the goal is the same… when you have financial goals, learning how to save money can help you realize them.