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How to save money fast? That’s the real question we all ask ourselves when we need money to buy a house, pay off debt or even do a big trip.
In my opinion, saving money is more about habit than about a set number of rules, it’s a lifestyle! When you become frugal and learn how to enjoy things without the need to spend loads of money, it’s when you start saving more even without realizing.
It’s true that determination will help you stop/delay buying stuff but it’s such a hard and tiring battle.
Instead… play to be smart!
There are loads of tricks that you can apply just by using common sense.
I’ve been analyzing my family expenses since I got married 6 years ago, and there is a bunch of things I’ve learned during this time that I would enjoy sharing with you.
In this article, I’m sharing some common-sense tips you can apply to save money, and be a step closer to reach financial freedom.
Save money doing stuff that you are already doing
Start with something simple.
Have a look at things that you do on a regular basis – is there any way to turn that into a saving-money opportunity?
Things like online shopping or browsing on your phone are activities that can give you some recurrent income.
The easiest way to make money is the one you do without even realizing it.
Let’s have a look at some ideas that can save you money/
#1 Swap points for money with Swagbucks
Swagbucks give you points for watching videos, using it as a search engine (just like Google), online shopping, and trying new promotional products.
It helps me earning gift cards which I can use at Amazon, and it’s very easy. You can also claim your points as a cash check.
Then you can redeem these points for gift cards. Every couple of months I redeem at least one Amazon gift cards for $50 and it feels great.
#2 Cut down your expenses overnight
I’m pretty sure that you still have some subscriptions that don’t need but have not time (or forgotten) to cancel.
Others might be services that increased the price year after year and now feel quite expensive compared to competitors.
Instead of spending time trying to figure it out, why don’t let somebody do it for you? Or even better, what if I tell you there are apps that can do it for free?
Yes, there are loads of apps that offer this service, but according to reviews one of the best is Trim App.
This app analyzes your spending, negotiate your bills, and find subscriptions to cancel, isn’t it fantastic? I wish it’s available in the UK but it only works in the US.
#3 Paid online surveys
You can get paid by completing surveys either on your laptop or your phone.
I’ve been doing online surveys for over 7 years already! I still remember it used to be my only source of extra income before I started blogging.
While now I don’t spend that much time doing surveys, I still complete some from time to time. I’m listing below my two favorite right now
Vindale is my forever favorite online survey company.
You can earn some side extra money every month just by doing a couple of these surveys a week (while watching Netflix).
The best thing is that before taking any survey you’ll be able to see how much will they pay and the time to complete. I generally do the ones which pay between $2 to $20.
Survey Junkey, is now my second favorite.
When I run out of surveys with Vindale I always continue with Survey Junkie.
It’s 100% legitimate and they always pay on time. You can join Survey Junkie here.
#4 Ebates (now Rakuten)
Just by signing up with Rakuten, you will receive a 3.0% cash back anytime you buy at Amazon, and 10% discount in Walmart.
Since I started using it a couple of years ago, I’ve received over $2,000 cash back from Rakuten.
It is just so easy to use!
There are other products from which you can earn up to 40% cash back on every purchase.
Plus, if you sign up using my link you will get $10 when you make a purchase over $25.
You can signup now and claim your $10 months later.
How to save money by cutting on expenses
It’s in the small details where you can start making a difference.
You might not realize, but saving a few dollars here and there can mean a few hundred per month.
The best about cutting on expenses is that they tend to be recurrent every month, and by the first-year mark, you could have extra saved a couple of grands.
#5 Pay off your debt asap
I can’t stretch more the importance of paying your debt as soon as you possibly can.
Ideally, you don’t want to have any debt, but sometimes asking for a mortgage or financing a car it’s inevitable.
I’m guilty to have over $200,000 in debt as part of our mortgage. We reduced this amount from $250,000 in just six months.
That’s $50,000 less to pay on interests.
With a 3% interest rate, that means we are saving $1,500/year in debt (which we will use to pay the debt sooner and keep saving more money).
Related article: How To Pay Off Your Debt In 7 Steps
#6 The need/want rule
Before you buy something online (unless it’s something urgent) ask yourself… ‘do I need it or do I want it?’
There is a real difference between wanting something and really need it.
This doesn’t mean that you should only buy things you need, you also deserve to treat yourself, but do it wisely, choose things that will bring you joy and happiness.
At home, to control our urge of buying online, we put things in the basket, and then on Sunday evening my wife and I go through the items and decide what we really want/need.
If you do this, you’ll realize how many things are just rushed decisions that will end up in a box and never used again.
#7 Set up a budget (and stick to it)
If you think that budgets are for poor people…
…you are 100% wrong!
I truly believe everyone should have a budget.
Making more money doesn’t necessarily make you save more money, the key is to budget your income.
What you make – What you spend (budget) = What you save
Easy right? Well, there is still a large percentage of people who spend more than what they make and, of course, they will never save any money.
Setting up a budget is not as horrible as you might think.
You can read my article on how to make a budget plan for your family and download my free budget sheet below.
#8 Store brands instead of branded items
Store brands can be as tasty and nutritious as other more popular brands.
A common mistake is that many consumers tend to associate price with quality which is not always the case.
Big brands spend hundreds of millions on marketing and advertising, which is paid indirectly by the consumer
Instead, store and generic brands simply focus on the product.
Plus, did you know that generic brands may be manufactured in the same production facilities as name-brand products?
Related article: 43 Hacks To Save Money On Groceries
Start a Side hustle
There are many ways to earn a few extra bucks with a side hustle, however, depending on your skills, some will fit better for you.
Some will be great for quick cash while others are more as long term side hustles.
The important is that they will help you increase the monthly income which will help saving more money.
#9 Get a part-time job
If you are over 21, you have a driving license and have your own car, you can become an Uber driver.
This is probably one of the most convenient part-time jobs as you don’t have any scheduled working hours.
Another option if you don’t have a car is to sign up for Deliveroo. You can do it with simply a bicycle, plus it will help you to become fitter 😉
Related article: 12 Things I’ve Done To Make Extra Money
#10 Start your own project (much better than the above)
There are thousands of projects you can start.
With some hard work and luck, you can even make them a business.
Become a Virtual Assistant
Basically you can get paid to play on Pinterest; create pins, write pin descriptions, schedule pins, and apply to group boards.
In this course, Gina and Kristin explain each of the areas to start a career as a Virtual Assistant.
There is a waiting list you can join and they’ll notify you when it’s open for enrolment.
Start Your Own Blog
Blogging it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme but a long term project.
It will take some time to start making money, but if you keep working on it and add new content regularly, you’ll start seeing results.
During my first few months, I made under $100, but now I’m making a few $1,000s per year with minimum effort.
You can start your own blog for as little as $2.95/mo, that’s what a Starbucks coffee will cost you.
Related article: How To Start A Money Making Blog Step By Step
Keep expenses low
The less you spend, the more you save.
Let’s dive into some areas that will help you keep the expenses low.
#11 Bargain prices and get extra quotes
Whenever you need to get something fixed at home, you can always try to do it yourself.
Even if you don’t know how to do it, there are plenty of resources on the internet to learn. YouTube is a great source for anybody who wants to learn DIY.
Need to put up wallpaper?
Chances are you’re going to be charged a lot for the job. If you learn how to do it yourself, you will not only save a lot of money but will develop a new skill.
Plus, if you do it with your family it can be fun and a great bonding exercise.
As a last resource, if you can’t do it yourself, make sure you get several quotes for the same job.
Learn how to bargain and you’ll get massive discounts.
As an example, when we bought our first home, we needed our garden to be re-designed. In the first quote, we were asked for over $10,000. In the end we got it done by another contractor for under $4,000.
#12 Netflix and microwave popcorn
The average price of a cinema ticket is around $9 in the US.
For a family of 4, you would be paying $36 plus the popcorn and drinks (if you fancy like me), bringing ii easily to $60 for a movie.
The other option would be paying a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or Disney+ ($10 to $15/mo).
Prepare some microwavable popcorn (a couple of dollars) – love that smell!
Just by watching one movie, it would make the money worth it.
Plus, if you need to stop for a reason you won’t miss anything from the movie.
It’s true that I still go to the cinema from time to time to watch some last releases, but I’ve reduced the number of times I go dramatically just by watching Netflix (and saved hundreds of dollars last year).
#13 Plan your meals (so that you only buy what you need for the week)
As I mentioned in one of my articles, food waste can cost you an average of $53 per month.
Creating a menu is one of the best ways to save money. By doing this, you will only but the ingredients you need for your menu.
If you do the grocery shopping weekly, then plan the menu for 7 days.
This will also help you have a more balanced diet – as you will buy fewer snacks. Also, you will have a chance to distribute proteins, fats, and carbohydrates evenly through the week.
If you feel that meal planning is not for you, you can try the $5 Meal Plan.
The $5 Meal Plan is a weekly meal plan service that can make your meal planning as simple as possible.
For just $5 a month, they will send you a delicious meal plan where every meal will cost about $2 per person, and in most cases less. This will save you money, time, and stress.
You can try the 14-Day trial of the $5 meal plan here.
And now… let’s make some numbers.
If you apply these common-sense tips, you can save up to $490 in your first month. How?
- Side hustle (it can be a part-time job, or it can be a blog) $100
- Cancel unnecessary bills $100
- Setup a budget $100
- Meal planning (saved from food waste) $50
- Negotiate bills (Trim App) $50
- Cinema tickets (twice per month for 4 people) $90
Saving money is not that hard and it shouldn’t be stressful.
At home we take it as a game, sometimes even like a healthy challenge.
Just by following these points, we were able to save an extra $5,000/year (that’s without considering the income from our side hustles).
I’m pretty sure we will pay off our debt real soon.
Are you already applying any of these in your daily routine? Do you have any other common sense tips to save money? What are you saving money goals?