We all have dreams in life, and oftentimes those dreams cost money. If you have a financial goal or responsibility coming up soon or simply want to build up an emergency fund, follow these tips to help you spend less and save money fast.
One of the best ways to quickly build up your savings is to make it automatic so a certain amount of money regularly goes into savings—before you have a chance to spend it. One way to do this is to set up a set-and-forget, recurring transfer between your savings and your checking account. This way, for instance, every time you receive your paycheck, a percentage of it is immediately moved into savings.
You could also use an app like Digit or Qapital to automatically transfer funds from your paycheck into your savings account. Both apps charge a small fee to use them, but paying it could be worth it if you’re able to see your savings grow.
Another way to stash away cash in a hurry is to commit to a no-spend week, or if you can, a no-spend month. During this time period commit to not making unnecessary purchases like takeout or spur-of-the-moment shopping trips. You could instead focus on cooking your own inexpensive meals, catching up on reading, or exploring your town or local parks on foot. To increase your chance of success, get some extra support by enlisting a family member or friend to embark on the challenge with you.
Put it on pause
Similarly, another tactic you could try is putting your expendable monthly expenses on hold temporarily. For example, you may be able to pause your gym membership, cleaning service, and streaming subscriptions for a month. You could then put the money that you would normally spend for these lifestyle perks into savings.
Put your card away
Credit cards often make it too easy to spend money—so put yours away for a week or a few weeks if you can. (This will work best if you literally move your credit card from your purse or wallet to a drawer or another location.) If you don’t want to completely stop using your credit card for a specific amount of time, you could instead give yourself a monthly limit on how much credit you use. To help you track your spending, you can download your credit card’s app or use a budgeting app like Mint, which allows you to keep an eye on your spending in general.
Don’t pay for convenience
We tend to spend a lot of money on products and services that simplify our lives—a 2021 study showed that US consumers spend more than $4,000 yearly on costly helpers like food delivery, subscription boxes, and ride-sharing. If you spend a lot for one of these conveniences, considering removing apps for that service from your phone at least temporarily, so you’ll be less tempted to use it. Also, try to keep your grocery spending in check by refraining from purchasing expensive time-savers like salad kits, prepared foods, and prechopped vegetables and fruit. Instead, make your own foods from scratch and chop your own ingredients.
Switch your card
You can save in many ways by changing the credit card you use. If you have a high balance on your current card, consider moving your debt to a balance transfer credit card. Such cards often have an introductory 0 percent APR, or no interest for the first few months, so you may be able to see an instant savings (especially since credit-card interest rates can be as much as over 19 percent). Another option is to get a rewards credit card, which may give you a either a small percentage of your spending back or points that you can redeem for perks and discounts, on travel, gift cards, and merchandise.
Pick up a side gig
If you have the time, picking up a freelance or part-time job will earn you extra cash that you could set aside for savings. You could sign up with a freelancing site like Fiverr, Freelancer, or Upwork to find freelance work in fields like writing, design, and programming. You could also create a website or blog to launch your own part-time business for extra income.
Even if your budget is tight, it’s possible to boost your savings by watching your spending, cutting corners, and bringing in at least a little additional income if you can.