21% of Americans don’t save money. And it’s not that they don’t want to. Almost 40% say their expenses make it impossible.
Saving is hard. But the reality is it can be done on any budget. You can even learn how to save money fast on a low income.
Why should you save money? In addition to retirement, an emergency fund can keep your finances in check when the worst occurs. Plus, you can use some of your savings to fund large expenses or treats, like a vacation.
If you’re struggling to save, this guide has you covered. Here are ten surefire ways to save money fast no matter your financial situation.
1. A Budget Is Essential
You can’t save money until you know where it’s going. That’s why every savings plan should start with a budget.
Keep track of your income and expenses. You can do it by hand, Excel, or even online apps such as a weekly saving planner. Use whichever option you’re most comfortable with.
Once a month, audit your finances. You may discover that you’re spending more than you thought. For reference, most financial advisors recommend you save 20% of your monthly income.
2. Free Ways to Save Money Fast
The trick to saving money is to spend less. Odds are you already pay for items that are available for free. By making the switch, you can save money without changing your lifestyle.
For example, take advantage of your local library. Why purchase an ebook when many libraries now offer them for free?
The same can be said for shows, theaters, and museums. If you know where to look, you can enjoy these locales without paying a dime. Stay tapped into your local community and you’re sure to find free alternatives.
3. Stick to Generic Products
There’s nothing wrong with buying generic. Oftentimes, you’ll get an item with the same quality for half the price. It’s an easy way to drastically reduce your monthly food spending without changing your eating habits.
Don’t knock it before you try it. You may find some generic alternatives that you don’t care for — and that’s fine. Even switching to just a few generic products can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.
4. Find the Best Deals
Thanks to the internet, you can find a deal on almost anything. It’s a good idea to search coupon sites and perform price comparisons before purchasing an item online.
You might even want to keep an eye on these websites when you’re not in the market. If you find an amazing offer, you could use the item as a cheap birthday or holiday gift. For example, check out this great tool to save money.
5. Save Big on Large Expenses
Your mortgage and car payments probably devour half of your monthly income. By making small changes to these bills, you can save hundreds of dollars every month.
Has your credit improved? It might be time to refinance your mortgage. Keep in mind that refinancing usually comes with an upfront payment, so be sure you’ll get your money back with an improved interest rate.
You can also refinance your vehicle or downgrade to a cheaper vehicle. Though, for the biggest savings, consider saying goodbye to your car altogether. With public transit, you’ll save on car payments, insurance, gas, and repairs.
6. Reassess Subscription Services
Subscriptions are financial vampires. It’s easy to forget or overlook a $15 purchase. But when it occurs monthly — and you subscribe to several services — the costs add up.
Reflect on any services you may no longer use but continue to pay for. That’s a good sign that you’re throwing money away that you could be saving. Nothing is stopping you from subscribing once again in the near future.
7. Make Shopping Difficult
Many online storefronts offer one-click purchases. Without the right restraint, you can spend hard-earned money on things you don’t even need. Add some buffer time to your online shopping.
Simply remove your payment information, such as your credit card or PayPal account. You’ll have time to reconsider your purchase when you have to go through the trouble of putting your information into the system.
8. Follow the 24-Hour Rule
Sometimes you might be tempted to make an expensive discretionary purchase. Maybe it’s a big-ticket item or expensive show. Whatever the case, stick to the 24-hour rule.
This means you should wait at least a full day before buying the item. You don’t have to spend all those hours dwelling on it. The buffer period just ensures you aren’t the victim of a rash purchase.
9. Set Windfalls Aside
Almost everyone receives some type of windfall, whether it’s a tax refund or inheritance. You probably have a good idea of what you would do with a large sum of money. But you shouldn’t spend all of it.
Remember to save some, too. Consider splitting a massive windfall. You can treat yourself and rest easy knowing you’ve stashed some cash away for the future.
10. Pay off Debt
Interest and late fees really add up. A cycle of debt can make saving impossible. Prioritize paying off your current debt before filling up your savings account.
It may seem counterintuitive, but you’ll save more in the long run. By getting rid of your current debt, you’ll avoid making payments on the interest.
Anyone Can Save Money
There are always ways to save money fast, even if you’re in debt or struggling with bills. The trick is to spend less and take advantage of free or discounted alternatives. Avoid making a split-second purchase before deciding if you really need it.
With a few of these tips, you can save hundreds every month. In addition to some tight budgeting, you can get started on an emergency fund, pay off your debt, or start saving for your retirement.
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