You may have a big have a goal you want to achieve or an upcoming financial obligation and you need to figure out how to save money fast. I should know, I was once a thousand dollars short for my tuition and had less than a month before the college I attended dropped me from my classes.
I was able to figure it out, but that one lesson in circumstances changing at any time has stayed with me even as an adult. If you find yourself needing money, you're not alone. Here is a list of ways for how to save money fast!
21 Ways for how to save money fast
As you go through our tips and suggestions below on how to save money fast, keep in mind that you don't need to do it all at once. You can start with one or two and then add on to them as you make progress! Also remember, that as you save money with these tips, you want to be intentional about putting that money into savings. With that being said, let's get into the list!
1. Sell unused items
Look around your house to see if you have anything you're not using to see if you can sell it. There is a Facebook group for everything these days. I'm almost sure you can figure out how to sell something between that and apps like Mecari and Offerup. I sold my last iPhone after I upgraded on Facebook and used the money towards a vet bill. I've also sold, in no particular order, purses, video games, furniture, decor items, and a sewing machine. I could probably make a lot more money, but I end up giving a lot of stuff away before I remember I could have sold it.
2. Return any new items you can
I have a confession to make. I am the queen of returning things ( I know!). Yup, I legit just heard everyone in retail roll their eyes at me, but I'm not going to apologize! I don't return used items like clothing or bedding. Cut me some slack. But I do return items that don't fit quite right, home decor I didn't end up using, or holiday items. If you're like me, you probably have very similar items that you can return to grab a few bucks.
3. Consider moving banks for cash bonuses
Financial institutions want your money, plain and simple. You are doing them a favor by letting them keep your money safe for you. So it's only right that you take them up on special offers, like cash bonuses, if you open a new account. Based on the payout stipulations, you can get a couple of hundred dollars in hand by the end of the month.
4. Set bills up on automatic pay to get a discount
A lot of companies offer a discount if you set a recurring expense on autopay to automate your bill payment. My car insurance company offers $2 a month if I pay this way. It may seem minuscule, but when you need money, every little bit adds up.
5. Consider a cash envelope budget
Cash is not a thing of the past, and if you catch yourself swiping a bit too much, a cash envelope budget would be great for you. Grab a stack of envelopes and assign a category to each one. Stick an appropriate amount of cash per envelope, and once the money is gone, it's gone.
6. Look into hidden bank fees
Pull up your checking account information online and glance over your account to see if you are paying any hidden fees. Banks are pretty good about waiving them if you have direct deposit or save a certain amount of money, but you never know. It's always a good idea to double-check.
7. Look into refinancing a loan
Just because you received a loan from one lender doesn't mean you have to stay there. Look at other financial institutions to see if it's possible to refinance your current loan for a lower monthly payment. Some lenders offer a delayed first payment, so that might be another way to take advantage of extra cash flow.
8. Change your retirement contributions
One of the quickest ways to up your cash flow is to change the withholding on your paycheck. Speak to HR about changing your dependent status on your income tax or alter your contributions to your retirement account. Contributing less is not forever, just temporary.
9. Look into your employee benefits
Many employers offer discounts and free services. For example, I can get 12% off my cell phone plan, and last year during a bad breakup, I used my employer's free counseling service for a few sessions. Check with your HR department to see what you have access to so you're not leaving any money on the table.
10. Focus on increasing your income
Women make statistically 84 cents to every dollar a white male makes. Black women fair worse at 63 cents and Latinas round out the bottom at 55 cents. I am a firm believer that all women need to make more money but especially women of color.
When you make more money, your savings can add up quickly and with less stress. You can only cut so many expenses before you become discouraged, so think about ways to grow your income. Is it starting that catering business you've meant to? Has someone shared a talent you have with an emphasis on you making money? Now's the time to get the wheels turning and see what you can do to bring it in.
11. Use coupon apps
Use your smartphone to save some extra cash. When you're at the store, check your retailer's app to see what discounts and coupons you could use while you're there. Some apps like Ibotta and Fetch Rewards allow you to scan the receipt once your shopping trip is complete. I love my Target app and will sometimes grab other people's items to save them money.
12. Use a bank account with automatic round-ups
There are several banks that now allow you to save money without thinking about it. You can set up your bank account so that anytime you make a financial transaction it's rounded up to the nearest dollar and the difference is put in a savings account. I already do something like this with my current checking account. Every time I use my debit card, one dollar goes to my savings account. It's an excellent way to save anywhere between $50-100 a month without having to think about
13. Cut any unnecessary subscriptions
Look at your checking account to see if you've been paying for a subscription you haven't been using or just one you can pause to free up some cash. I know everyone is addicted to Hulu and Netflix, but with many premium subscriptions, they add up over time. I know a few people who are paying for so many streaming services. They would be better off just getting cable.
Don't look only at entertainment. Some subscriptions could be the gym if you're not using it, food and drink subscriptions, like a wine club or maybe a beauty one. Cutting out the treats now doesn't mean you can't have them again later.
14. Look for ways to reduce fixed expenses
Fixed expenses are up for negotiation e.g cell phone plans, insurance plans, warranties, etc. Call any competitor and see if you can find a better plan than you currently have with your current provider. Sometimes companies will offer new customer bonus rates, which would allow for some quick cash flow.
Even if you choose not to change providers, you can still call your current one and ask if there is any way you can lower your bill. I have contacted my internet provider several times over the years to ask for a loyal customer discount.
15. Utilize credit cards smartly
There's using credit cards, and there's utilizing your credit cards! When used smartly, credit cards have so many benefits you can cash in on, especially when money is tight. Cashback on purchases, discounts to stores, and points to cash in for gift cards or hotel accommodations are just some of the benefits you can use to stretch your buck further. Pay before the due date to avoid interest and finance charges, especially if you're trying to save money in the first place.
16. Consider a roommate
If you have space, open up your home. Rent a room out for a few months to a friend or a family member who may need a place to stay. You can both help each other out. If you don't know anyone personally looking for a roommate, consider asking for a recommendation. I highly recommend vetting people before allowing them to come live in your home or even stay period. You can never be too safe, so with this and any recommendation, take proper precautions.
17. Utilize your local resources
There are many community resources that you can utilize to get back on your feet. Utility companies have a program where they will waive your bill if you meet specific criteria. Some non-profits and foundations can help with bills and other day-to-day living expenses. Programs like Dress for Success also offer professional clothing and items to get back into the workforce, like gas cards. Please visit your local community center, library or call your state's hotline for more information.
18. Try a no-spend challenge
No spend challenges are popular for a reason. You're not spending money! This type of challenge may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Make a list of items needed for purchase that are essential to your survival, and if it's not on that list, don't buy it. When I go on a no-spend challenge to save money fast, I limit myself to groceries (only purchase items off a list), gas and medicine. It doesn't sound fun, but this is a quick way to get your spending habits under control and save money fast.
19. Focus on the small convenient expenses
Society as a whole is obsessed with convenience: fast food, coffee, Amazon prime. I'm not going to lie because I am obsessed with a good drive-thru latte. If you need to save cash, limit easy purchases. Grind coffee beans and make your coffee at home. Start packing a lunch. Eat the food you purchased for your meal planning. Start borrowing movies from the library instead of renting them with an on-demand service.
Not having the world at your fingertips can save you money.
20. Compare your day-to-day spending choices
When trying to save money fast, take it day by day. Ask yourself what you can do today that will pay off tomorrow? Go to the cheaper grocery store even though it may take five minutes longer. Consider using a tool like GasBuddy to help you find cheap gas. Utilize gift cards you have, even if it's a store you don't typically use. Look to see if everyday items are more affordable somewhere else. No one believes me when I say the grocery store has laundry soap cheaper than Walmart, but it's okay. I'll save the good stuff for me!
21. Check out your local no-buy groups
Your local no-buy groups are a person on a budget's dream. You can get anything for free. I've seen people score brand new baby gear, clothing, a water dispenser, workout equipment, books, and even food. A lot of people have excess and feel like sharing it, which is a beautiful thing. Take them up on it.
Things to consider when saving money fast
Now that you have ideas for how to save money fast, here are a few key things to keep in mind.
Make every dollar work for you
Zero-based budgeting is when you make your money work for you. With this budgeting method, you assign every dollar a job before it leaves your checking account. You don't budget to have money left over, just in case. Leftover money is typically seen as bonus money and can disappear in a snap.
Give yourself a deadline
I mentioned earlier that you have to know your why when you start this crazy money-saving journey. I also want to press that you need a timeline. As I mentioned above, I needed to come up with at least $1,000 to be dropped from my classes. I had a month to get my finances together, which lit a fire under my butt. I could have sulked, but every minute I wasted doing that was one minute I didn't have.
Be nice to yourself
Don't forget to please be nice to yourself. Your own worst critic, and most meaningful, is yourself. Unexpected financial challenges happen to the best of us, so don't think any less of who you are as a person and what you're able to handle. You can manage this circumstance, and you got us in your corner.
In closing: Remember your why!
As corny as this sounds, it's essential to know your way. Mindset is everything sometimes. If you don't have a clear picture of why you are trying to save money in the first place, you have nothing to work towards. If you have nothing specific to work towards, it's harder to find the light at the end of the tunnel. Remember, you can do this; we're excited to see how much you can save!