Maybe you’re trying to save for a car, rebuild your emergency savings fund, or pay off debt. Or maybe you’re just trying to figure out how you’re going to cover your bills this month. Whatever the reason, you need more money . . . like, now.
Well, you’re in luck! I’ve got 10 ways to save money fast. These tips will help you get some quick cash in your pocket and get more money flowing into your bank account for the future. Let’s do it!
How to Save Money Fast
- Cut extra spending.
- Save on the essentials.
- Create a meal plan.
- Sell stuff.
- Pick up a side hustle.
- Shop around for insurance.
- Pause investing.
- Adjust your tax withholding.
- Gamify your saving.
- Make a budget.
1. Cut extra spending.
The fastest way to save money is to cut those expenses you simply don’t need. What I mean is, instead of doing the most, it’s time to start spending the least (who would’ve thought?).
Start by logging in to your bank account and taking a good, hard look at your purchases from the last month. Take note of the wants vs. the needs. If I were you, I would put the kibosh on those wants for a while to get that money back in my pocket!
Yeah, I said it. I want you to hold off on splurge purchases—like getting your nails done, going to a sports game, and even things like TV subscriptions and morning coffee runs—at least for now. Those are all good and fun, but they’re not necessary (I know some of y’all are going to come at me for that, but it’s true).
Here are some ideas of expenses to cut:
- Streaming services or cable
- Gym memberships
- Subscription boxes
- Amazon Prime
- Clothes shopping
- Going to the movies
- Sports tickets
- Trips to the hair or nail salon
- Coffee shops
- Over-the-top pet care costs (Fido is getting washed at home this month)
2. Save on the essentials.
What about those expenses you can’t cut? There are plenty of ways to lower the cost of home expenses—like being mindful of your water usage. Turn the water off while you brush your teeth, people, and fix that pesky running toilet. You’ll be shocked at the savings!
Or even something as simple as adjusting the thermostat can help lower your electric bill. You can also get your phone bill down by switching to a more basic plan or canceling the monthly insurance.
And when it comes to saving money on gas, use an app like GasBuddy or Waze to find the cheapest gas prices in your area. Or carpool to work if you’re real serious about saving—even if it’s just a few times a week, that can add up to hundreds of dollars a month, depending on your commute!
3. Create a meal plan.
Food will literally eat up your paycheck like nothing else. If you’re trying to save money fast, you need to break up with McDonald’s and tell Chick-fil-A you’ll catch ’em on the flip side. My mom used to say it, and it’s true: “We have McDonald’s at home.” And so do you.
Because starting today, you’re going to go to the store to buy your groceries and cook your own food at home. Yep, it’s time to meal plan! A meal plan does for your food what a budget does for your money—it gives you an organized plan to save you money and stress (more on budgets later).
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Start by doing an inventory of your pantry. Then, choose a couple of budget-friendly meals for the week based on ingredients you already have (see, we’re saving money already!). From there, grab what you need from the store and decide which nights you’ll cook and which nights will be leftovers.
I love planning meals I can freeze for later. Then, when you come home exhausted from work, instead of hunger-ordering DoorDash and paying double the cost in delivery fees, you can simply reheat your delicious homemade lasagna. Wow, my mouth is watering . . . and my bank account is growing!
As you create your meal plan, try out some of these ways to save money on your next grocery run:
- Raid your pantry before you shop (I call this “taking inventory”)
- Stick to a list
- Choose generic
- Buy what’s on sale
- Make meatless meals
- Shop at a cheaper grocery store
- Buy in bulk (when it makes sense)
- Only bring cash (this will keep you from dropping unnecessary extras into your cart)
4. Sell stuff.
You want to save money fast? It’s time to clean your house! Seriously. You’ve probably got more money than you know hiding in your closets, cabinets and garage. I’m talking about selling your stuff.
So, do some spring-cleaning (even if it’s not spring) and find things you can sell and turn into cold, hard cash. Old sports equipment, hobbies you gave up on, clothes you don’t wear anymore, that framed art print you got as a gift but never hung up—list it all online or have a garage sale.
If you’re questioning whether or not to sell something, my advice is to just let it go. Most things you can buy later if you really need to, but chances are, you won’t. That exercise bike has cobwebs, and you’ve yet to use the ice cream maker. Stop being delusional. Sell them.
And if you want to get radical (which I am a huge fan of) and save a lot of money real fast, you can always sell your car and get a cheaper model. Do you hear that? It’s me screaming, “Sell your car!” That may sound crazy, but it can literally get you thousands of dollars just like that! And life without a car note could mean millions of dollars more for you down the line.
5. Pick up a side hustle.
What’s a good place to go when you’re broke? To work. If you need money fast, getting a side hustle can really help—especially if you don’t have to wait a whole month to get paid.
Some examples of fast-paying side hustles include:
- Driving for Uber or Lyft
- Delivering food or packages
- Cleaning houses
- Waiting tables
- Babysitting or house-sitting
- Walking dogs
- Taking photos
- Selling cakes or baked goods
- Mowing lawns
- Offering lessons in a skill set you have
And if you’re not in too much of a hurry, you can also increase your income by taking on more hours or extra shifts at your current job, doing freelance work, or even asking for a raise. Whatever your time frame, there are plenty of things you can do to get more money in the door ASAP.
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6. Shop around for insurance.
When it comes to insurance, most people set it and forget it. But you could be overpaying every month and not even know it!
That’s why it’s important to reevaluate and shop around for insurance every year. You might even be paying for coverage you don’t need—like accidental death insurance or whole life insurance (both are total rip-offs, by the way).
Use the Coverage Checkup to find out what insurance you need to add, tweak or drop. Then use an independent insurance agent to shop around for the best rates. Those monthly savings will make a huge difference! I just finished my annual insurance checkup, and we ended up with more coverage for less cash. Winning!
7. Pause investing.
This tip won’t apply to everyone. But for some of you, it’ll get a good chunk of change coming back into your budget starting next month.
Here’s the deal: If you have debt or if you don’t have an emergency fund of at least 3–6 months of expenses, stop investing. Don’t look at me like that—this is just for a short period of time. Why? Because you’re trying to do too many things at once.
Look, you don’t have to explain to me the importance of investing. I want you to save for retirement (I really do). But first, you need to make sure you have enough to cover those emergencies that will pop up—so your 401(k) doesn’t become your emergency fund! Investing while still having debt is like filling up a bucket with holes in the bottom. It’ll all leak out, leaving you with nothing but fees and penalties.
So, pause your investing—and use the savings to knock out your debt and build up a solid emergency fund. Then, you can go back to investing at least 15% of your gross household income. Trust me, when you don’t have debt holding you back, you’ll be able to invest way more than before!
8. Adjust your tax withholding.
Hot take: Getting a huge tax refund isn’t actually a good thing. It just means you overpaid on your taxes throughout the year and let the government borrow that money interest-free for a full year. Yikes! That’s money you could’ve been saving for other expenses!
Instead of handing the IRS too much of your hard-earned cash, take home more of your paycheck by adjusting how much you pay in taxes. You can calculate your tax withholding to get an idea of how much you need to set aside each paycheck for taxes.
Or a simpler way is to just look at your refund from last year. Let’s say you got back $4,000. Take that amount and divide it by 12 if you get paid once a month or 24 if you get paid twice a month. Use that number to lower your withholding on your W-2. In this case, you would pay $333 less in taxes each month. If you’ve been overpaying, it’ll feel like getting an immediate raise!
9. Gamify your spending.
Let me just say, saving money ain’t always easy or fun. But there are ways to make it easier and more fun! And the more motivated you are, the faster you’ll save.
Why not turn your savings goal into a game by doing something like the 100 Envelope Challenge? Or make it a competition between you and your spouse for who can spend less money than the other that week (loser has to give the dog a bath because we’re saving money on grooming).
It also helps to give yourself visual reminders of your goal—whether that’s a picture of the thing you’re saving for or a savings tracker you color in for every $25 saved. Don’t be afraid to get creative and find what works for you!
10. Make a budget.
You can do all the tips I just mentioned above, but if you’re not making a plan for your money every month, you’re not going to see much progress with your savings. That’s why you need a budget.
A budget doesn’t confine your money. It defines your money. It’s you deciding ahead of time exactly how and when you plan to spend the money you have. And having a written plan keeps you on track to spend less and save more.
Not sure where to start? The EveryDollar budgeting app makes it super easy to create your first budget and get your money in order. And get this: On average, first-time EveryDollar budgeters immediately find an extra $332 in their budget and cut their monthly expenses by 9%!
Finding money just by making a budget? It doesn’t get easier than that, guys!