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Did you know only 41% of Americans would be able to cover a $1,000 emergency with savings? To avoid becoming another statistic it might be worth considering some different ways to save money fast.
It is totally possible that you’ve never considered having an emergency fund. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?
However, it is certainly worth taking the time to finally get one in place, especially in light of the Coronavirus worldwide pandemic.
The UK based ‘money saving expert’ Martin Lewis, recommends having 3-6 months worth of bills saved in an emergency fund. This amount, however, will vary depending on your personal circumstances.
The process of accumulating this sort of cash might seem impossible. That’s why I’ve put together 17 ways you can save money fast – and you can start today.
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- Debt vs Savings
- 1. Budget
- 2. Bill Audit
- 3. Mobile Phone with Handset Contract
- 4. Cash Back
- 5. Offers
- 6. Cut the Cable
- 7. Share Plans
- 8. Save on Food Waste
- 9. Drink Water
- 10. Quit the Gym
- 11. Cut Down on the Booze
- 12. If you are still smoking cigarettes, you’re mad…
- 13. Light Up Your Life (with LEDs)
- 14. Programmable Thermostat
- 15. Use the 30 Day Rule
- 16. Use Fiverr
- 17. Make Money to Save Money
Debt vs Savings
Before you start saving like a rockstar I urge you to take a look at your personal finances. Did you know it makes much more financial sense to pay off debt rather than build savings?
Nobody wants debt, that’s a fact. Unfortunately, there’s nothing sexy about paying off debt. You work hard all month and have a little cash left over once the bills are payed.
The impulse is to either spend the money (we all deserve a treat) or save it (everybody likes a stockpile). However, the process of spending your monthly surplus on reducing debt derives little in the way of joy. You have nothing to show for it apart from a slightly reduced negative balance.
Remember though, debt is expensive and it’s a much smarter approach to get all your debt cleared before you start saving.
It might not feel so good at the time, but when you are debt-free, your savings will have real meaning and value.
So once your debt is reduced to a big fat zero, it’s time to shift gears. Here are 17 ways to Save Money Fast.
The best way to get on top of your finances is to budget. Planning your spending ahead of time will allow you to identify areas of improvement when it comes to your monthly outgoings.
Start by writing out all of your monthly expenses and assigning each expense with a budgeted amount. Try as best you can to stick to your budget or even to come in under the budgeted amount.
At the end of each month you will be able to easily recognise the expenses that are costing more than you have budgeted for. This is when you should identify corrective actions. Either find ways to reduce the amount of the problematic monthly expense, or try and get rid of it entirely.
You don’t necessarily need a 500mbps internet connection or that gym membership you never use.
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2. Bill Audit
I bet you are great at finding good offers for broadband internet and TV subscriptions. Also, especially here in the UK, for utility bills and household expenses, special introductory offers are abundant.
But are you good at managing what happens once these introductory offers expire? Because in almost all cases, you will be automatically reverted to some form of standard pricing tariff.
This will undoubtedly be more expensive than the initial offer price, and more expensive than alternative offers currently existing in the marketplace.
You can save money fast by simply auditing your bills on a month by month basis. Check to see if introductory price have expired and if so, start shopping around for new deals.
In the UK, you can use price comparison websites such as MoneySupermarket for utility switching – where customers saved at least £280. That’s money in the bank!
Try negotiating your current prices. Many companies will be willing to do this if you approach it correctly. They will often have a department called ‘customer retentions’ set-up solely for this purpose.
3. Mobile Phone with Handset Contract
Just don’t bother. The best thing I ever did was to ditch my mobile phone with a handset included contract. It seems so enticing when they offer the handset for free, or for a nominal amount. But read the small print.
Well, it’s not really small print, it just doesn’t make sense. You are tied in for a minimum of 12 months, often 24-36 months for the lower monthly payments.
The contract means you are stuck with that cellular service provider for the duration of the contract.
Finally, you will end paying more in the long term. For example:
These figures are accurate as of writing
Apple iPhone 11 | 8GB | Case Study
The cheapest contract deal I could find for the Apple iPhone 11, with 8GB storage, unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 8GB of data is £36/month for 36 months (handset included).
At the end of the 36 month contracted term the total cost outlaid would be £1296.
Comparatively, to purchase the same iPhone 11, with 8GB storage, outright with no contract would cost £699.99.
Add to this the cheapest sim only Vodafone contract deal, which includes unlimited texts, unlimited minutes and 8GB of data for £8/month for a 12 month contract period. This has a total cost of £288 after 36 months.
This brings the grand total for the none handset contract option for a 36 month period to £987.99.
This is a massive saving of £308 over the course of 36 months.
That’s a little over £100 a year!
Don’t have the cash…heres the solution
Understandably, nearly £700 is a lot of money to find all at once. This is why the monthly contract options are so appealing.
But you are paying a form of interest for the privilege. Instead, split the payment between what you can afford and put the rest on an interest-free credit card. That’s exactly what I did.
You then also have the options to downgrade your sim only plan if you want to cut costs. The example I used in this case study was for a 12 month sim only deal for £8 a month.
But you can also get 30 day SIM-only deals for as low as £6.99. You simply do not have this option when you are locked into a 36 month contract.
4. Cash Back
I absolutely love cash back. Sometimes, spending money is unavoidable, but at least there is a way you can get part of what you’ve spent back.
The cash back process is simple. The cash back company will earn a commission if you buy what you need through their affiliate link. They will then give you a part of this commission back. It’s really a win-win situation.
US residents can’t go far wrong with the Ibotta app. They have a massive choice and if you sign up today you’ll receive a $20 welcome bonus.
For UK readers, I recommend Quidco. I haven’t been using them for as long as my dad, so I thought I would share with you his earnings. Think about it, every time you spend, you actually save. Genius!
Check out more cashback apps here: 11 Best Cashback Apps To Save Money
You should always look for offers before making a purchase. A simple ‘google’ search with the word ‘coupon’ or ‘voucher’ after the product name or service you’re after is a great place to start.
You could also go straight to the VoucherCodes website just to check if they have any related offers.
If you love to save money fast as I do then you can also adopt a slightly different approach to your spending. Instead of looking for offers as a reaction to your purchasing choice you could instead make your purchasing choices based on available offers.
This is a great way to save money, especially if you have some flexibility on exactly what it is you intend to buy.
Every holiday I ever book starts with browsing lastminute.com and usually ends there. They have some amazing deals and I know I’ve saved £100’s over the years.
Also, as a massive fan of Spa days, restaurants and funky tidbits, I frequently use Groupon. You can’t beat 20% off a full-body Swedish massage in the Herefordshire countryside.
6. Cut the Cable
If you are still paying for a premium cable or satellite service then you are missing out on some massive savings.
I had been a paying customer of Virgin Media TV and Sky TV for years. However, after completing my first bill audit I realised it was an expense that had to go – or at least be cut down considerably.
So I decided to cut the cable and utilise something I was already paying for. Amazon Prime membership is £79.00 a year or £7.99 a month – and includes free next delivery on 1000’s of products as well as all-inclusive access to Prime Video.
Prime Video has hundreds of TV shows and movies to watch on-demand – more than enough content to keep you entertained. There is also a multitude of other services included in the price.
7. Share Plans
At one point in time I was paying for Netflix and Spotify Premium on my own. And what I mean by this is I was paying full whack each month by myself.
That was until my brother asked me one day if I wanted to part of their Spotify Premium Family Account.
I wasn’t even aware this was an option, but when he explained the cost breakdown, I jumped.
I had been paying £9.99/month. The family account is £14.99/month and allows up to 6 users (all can play whichever songs they want simultaneously).
It works out great if you can fill all 6 spots with full paying family members. My monthly cost is now £2.49/month.
Netflix is a similar story. I was paying £5.99/month for the basic plan, which allows you to watch on one screen at a time.
After a phone call from my dad one evening, I am now part of my family Netflix tribe paying a total of £11.99/month for up to 4 screens of simultaneous watching. There is 4 of us in the tribe which equates to £2.99/month.
That’s a total saving between these 2 services of £10.50/month or £126 a year. Not bad hey! Sharing is caring after all.
8. Save on Food Waste
Did you know 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted globally each year? That is nearly one-third of all food produced for consumption.
I’ve been guilty of wasting food as I’m sure have many of you. I often buy way more than I need and struggle to keep up with the use-by dates.
A cheeky trick I learned from my mum is to be savvy when shopping for food. When I need to buy perishables, I always rummage through to the back of the shelf. You can often find what you’re after with an extra 2-3 days on the use-by date. That really helps when it comes to preventing food waste.
Try writing lists and sticking to them. It may sound like a simple suggestion but it really works. If you plan your meals and stick to buying only what you need you’ll be amazed at what you can save.
If you struggle to plan your meals ahead of time, why not try the $5 Meal Plan Service. They send you weekly meal plans and you only have to buy what you need.
9. Drink Water
I have a confession to make. I am a fizzy drink fiend. I’ve had a love affair with Diet Coke since I can remember.
However, since being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in my thirties, I’ve made a new best friend…water.
Not only is it a great way to bring your blood glucose levels down, but it’s also free. And this means it’s definitely a fast way to save money.
You should drink roughly 2-litres of water daily for optimum health benefits. Since increasing my water intake I’ve felt better, more alert and my skin’s improved immensely.
I work in a hot environment for my day to day to job and have loved having my 2-litre water bottle by my side.
Also, the saving money part of this equation only works if you drink tap water. Never, ever buy bottled water. I love this article by the Independent about how bottled water is the greatest scam of the century…and it really is.
10. Quit the Gym
One of the best ways to save money fast is to cancel your gym membership. I am not advocating that you forgo you health and wellbeing in favour of saving few quid. But for those that are not using their gym on a regular basis, you need to rethink your membership.
Gyms cost a lot of money on a monthly basis. You can simply achieve the same results by running or cycling in natures gym – the outdoors.
For those of you who find the gym experience a motivating factor, fear not. You should definitely utilise the free Parkrun organisation. They offer weekly, timed events across the world, organised by local volunteers.
In my local area, it’s every Saturday at 9 am – and fosters an incredible community of likeminded runners trying to improve and maintain their physical wellbeing.
For those who prefer the structure that gym classes offer, consider drastically reducing the cost of a gym membership and joining an online platform instead.
You could take a look at Beachbody on Demand. They have a shed load of different on-demand classes and programs, including the aptly named Insanity program, which is perfect for the muscle heads missing the weights.
At just $99 billed annually, that works out to $8.25/month. That’s a sure-fire way to save money fast.
11. Cut Down on the Booze
If you’re a drinker (and let’s face it, most of us are) then you’ll know how quickly a night on the booze can become expensive.
I’ve had big nights out before where I’ve taken £50 in cash to ensure I don’t overspend. It feels pretty good to wake up the next morning and find crips £5 note remaining in your wallet.
What doesn’t feel good is to check your online bank balance a few hours later. Another £50 spent over the course of what can only be described as a very messy evening.
You can save money ‘speed of light’ fast if you just reduce your alcohol consumption by even just a small amount. Think about it. If you go out just once a week and spend an average of £50 on drinks.
Now drink half as much, which is totally possible (and no one likes you when your that drunk anyway). You’ve now only spent £25, and saved that much as well. That is a massive £1300 per year (if you drink only once a week every week of the year). Imagine applying the same principle if you enjoy a tipple multiple times per week.
Also, it’s definitely always a good idea to actively be trying to reduce alcohol consumption for health and wellbeing.
You could also consider doing Dry January – UK’s one-month booze-free challenge that takes place every year. Just listen to some of these wellbeing boosting and wallet pumping stats:
86% of participants saved money.
70% of participants had better sleep and 66% had more energy.
65% of participants had generally improved health.
12. If you are still smoking cigarettes, you’re mad…
If you are reading this article and genuinely interested in saving money, then please for the love of god make sure you’re not still smoking cigarettes.
- Worldwide, tobacco use causes more than 7 million deaths per year
- Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States
- On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers
In the UK, the average smoker spends £128 each month, that’s approximately £30 a week.
That is such a massive sum of money, and it’s mind-boggling how impactful that is on your finances. Imagine if you are reading this and you are a smoker. Now, imagine that you don’t quit and continue smoking for another 10 years.
A person investing £30 a week with annualised returns of 5% in 10 years would now be sitting on a cool £20,602.59. Shit.
Quitting is hard, I know.
If you do just one thing on this list to save money fast, make it this.
13. Light Up Your Life (with LEDs)
Switching to LED light bulbs is a must for people who want to save money fast. If you are still lighting your home with traditional incandescent lighting then you are living in the dark ages (pun intended).
LED lights use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting.
I’ve been using LED lights ever since I had my first home. I made the switch (again, pun intended) all at once, which was a bit a big outlay to swallow. But the amount I saved on my energy bill meant it was worth every penny.
Also, my business has a large illuminated sign which I recently changed to LED. This baby puts in some work and is often light up for 70+ hours a week. The reduction in my business electricity bill was staggering.
Another top tip that should be pre-programmed into your brain is to turn the lights off. And don’t just leave it there, turn off everything electrical that’s not being used.
Trent Hamm from The Simple Dollar concluded that the time it takes to tuns stuff off compared to the money it saves you would equate to an hourly wage of $50. Not bad hey!
14. Programmable Thermostat
I love it when technology can you save you time and money. I was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and have been finger pricking to monitor my blood glucose levels. This is very time consuming and bloody hurts.
That was until I received the latest FreeStyle Libre Glucose Monitoring System. I can now scan a sensor in my arm with my mobile phone. It takes a matter of seconds and the best part, no pain.
So, for fans of technological solutions to money-saving problems, get on board with a programmable thermostat.
Nobody wants to walk into a freezing cold house after being out all day. But having the heating on for hours on end in an empty house is incredibly inefficient and wasteful.
A programable thermostat will do all of the hard work for you, and keep your home at the perfect temperature.
I recommend the Google Nest because it learns the temperatures you like and programs itself. Also, you can connect it to Wi-Fi and change the temperature from your phone, tablet or laptop.
This is a super fast way to save money and stay green.
15. Use the 30 Day Rule
Impulsivity can be an expensive mistake. I remember a few years ago there was a special offer on an outdoor jacuzzi. It wasn’t a proper fancy one, and the price suggested as much.
It was a balmy summers day and I decided, without any thought, to go and buy it. After spending the best part of an hour setting it up, it was ready to be switched on. It took 14 hours to get to temperature, by which time the weather had changed and I had work.
Luckily, I was able to squeeze the whole thing (covered in leaves and dirt) back into the box and with the receipt was able to get my money back. Thank God!
The 30 day rule is a way to change to your mindset and curb unnecessary spending.
If you decide you want something, write it down and deposit the amount needed into a savings account. Next, take 30 days to ponder over the decision. Do you really need it? Will it make your life better? Is it worth the money?
After the 30 days if you decide the answer is yes to all these questions then go ahead and make your purchase.
You will be surprised how much you save by avoiding unnecessary spending.
16. Use Fiverr
The age of the freelancer is here. And Fiverr is one of the most well know platforms that bring freelancers and buyers together in a single marketplace.
The world is full of skilful people and when you increase the supply of a particular skill, you will most definitely see a fall in price.
Fiverr allows you to search for ‘gigs’ and pay for services at often much better prices than elsewhere. The logo for my site was purchased from Fiverr and I’ve used it for a bunch of other things as well.
Although it is dominated by digital services such as logos, web design and programming you would be surprised at what else you can find.
Every time you need to buy some sort of services, it’s worth checking out Fiverr first. Always check the reviews of the seller and it’s worth opening up a line of communication with them beforehand as well. This will give you a sense of their reliability.
I’ve probably saved £1000+ using Fiverr over the years, and it’s one of my favourite ways to save money fast.
17. Make Money to Save Money
You’ve probably heard the saying you have to spend money to make money. Well, you also need to make money to save money.
To save money fast it’s worth exploring some different ways to make more money.
Firstly, you should always be looking to negotiate your salary. A key time to negotiate is if you have received another job offer.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself forward and enter into the discussions. Jobvite found in a 2017 report that 84% of those confident enough to ask for higher pay succeed in getting it.
A higher salary is a sure fire way to save money fast. You will be earning more and have a higher disposable income.
Setting up a number of different passive income streams is also a great way to generate more income, which in turn, can be saved. My favourite passive income source at the moment is social investment platform eToro – it returned me just over 10% last year.
Disclaimer: 66% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
You can also check out some more great passive income ideas.
There you have it, 17 ways to save money fast that you can start today. Not every idea on this list is something you might consider doing. But take your time to work your way through and give at least some of them a try.
Saving money gives you the freedom to not worry about unforeseen events. Having these savings in the form of an emergency fund is an essential part of money management and will alleviate stress and anxiety.
If you are new to the world of personal finance and these ideas excite you, please let me know how you get on. Would be great to hear some inspirational stories.