At first I thought I was just imagining that things were only getting more expensive. Turns out, I was wrong. Things like food, clothing, and housing are only escalating in price. While economic recovery is good, price increases are bad, (especially when wages aren't growing to meet these price increases.) It's bad because it means there's less of a paycheck to save, and we have to get more creative when it comes to thinking of ways to save more money.
Writing about personal finance for the last seven years means I have a repository full of ways to save money. To save you time, I've rounded them up below. Honestly, as much as it sucks to cut back and feel like you're depriving yourself, it's possible to find ways to save more money, and sometimes you don't even feel it.
Compiled from our extensive archives here are 83 (still relevant and useful) ways to find a little extra cash.
Money saving tip #1: Open a separate savings account.
If you don't have a separate savings account, are you really even saving? My husband would say “yes.” He likes to stockpile cash in one account. Me? I'm too tempted to touch it (and if you're reading a personal finance site, chances are you know this temptation all too well.) This is why I like to recommend readers open a completely-separate-from-checking high-yield savings account to stash away their pennies.
We like to recommend CIT Bank thanks to it's higher-than-average interest rate (25x the national average) and no-fee structure. You don't have to keep a minimum, it costs $0 each month to maintain, and you only need $100 to open the account. Click here to explore the current 2.3% interest rate from CIT.
Money saving tip #2: Revamp your budget
- Try the envelope budgeting method.
- Investigate the 50-30-20 budget method.
- The first 5 things to go when trimming your budget.
- Create a budget with spending money in it. Here's the guide.
Money saving tip #3: Be more strategic with your debt
- 4 ways to save money on student loans.
- If you have debt, save money on interest by transferring credit card balances to a 0% APR card.
- Come up with a debt pay off challenge. Here's how I challenged myself to pay off $8,000 in under 90 days. (P.S. – I did it!)
Money saving tip #4 – Hack your bills
- Do a no spend challenge or “spending freeze” on your own time.
- Try a no-spend first date.
- 11 Ways to Save Money in 20 Minutes
- Want to save? Stop spending. Here are 25 ways to stop overspending if you like to indulge.
- Stop eating out and cook at home.
- Lower your fixed costs (like your cell phone bill, cable TV, utility bills) and save the extra. Here is my DIY bill audit.
Money saving tip #5: Save $1000 using only automated savings apps
One of my favorite posts to promote is this one where I show readers the step-by-step breakdown of how I was able to save up a $1,000 “rainy day fund” in under 45 days. I did it by using automatic saving apps (like these here), but also from saving the extra little “bits” of money in my life: if I wasn't expecting the cash, I put it in a separate high-yield savings account.
No more excuses for not having an emergency fund or small stash of cash to prevent emergencies. 60% of Americans don't have enough to cover even a small emergency, so often the small amounts like $500 or $1000 can make the difference between living paycheck-to-paycheck and hitting your financial goals.
Money saving tip #6: Save more money by changing your mindset
- Figure out your core money beliefs – are you spending and saving in line with your values?
- Figure out if you're an “under buyer” or “over buyer.” Adjust accordingly.
- Ask yourself, “what is my best and worst money habit?” Knowledge is the most effective cure.
Money Saving FAQs
How to save more money?
It's really very simple. There are only two ways to save more money: cut what you're spending and earn more. Both are effective, but at the end of the day, you only make so much….so you can only cut so much. To make up the difference, earn more.
Your earning potential is limitless, therefore, the amount extra you can save is also infinite.
In a nutshell, this is why I'm such a big fan of side hustles.
- Want to save up quickly? Here are five survey sites where you can start stashing cash away ASAP.
- 11 money-saving apps you need to have on your phone.
- Here are the 10 best side hustles for busy people.
- Join a focus group to earn extra cash. (Here's how one reader makes $500 with focus groups.)
- Try earning money with these 17 apps.
- 13 gig economy jobs that pay $1000+ per month.
How do I save money each month?
Saving money each month is also super simple.
- Step 1) Figure out how much you have leftover in your budget after paying your big bills: rent, utilities, groceries, student loan.
- Step 2) Figure out how much you'd like to save (10% is a good starting point for those who have large debt payments.)
- Step 3) Go into your online banking portal and set up an automatic transfer of that amount into your separate savings account.
Here are a few common ways to troubleshoot if you feel you can't possibly automate money at the top of each month:
- If you are struggling to make rent but still want to save, see my side hustle suggestions above.
- Are you someone who earns a decent living but still struggles with living paycheck to paycheck? Then try one of my favorite money making apps that will save for you – automatically – so you at least are setting aside something – even if it is a small amount.
- If you have a low income and are living paycheck-to-paycheck, try first saving any extra money you come across: like cash gifts, or selling a few of the items you own on Craigslist or Ebay.
With that said, the power behind automating your savings is very real and very transformative. In a Chime Bank study, those who enrolled in an automatic savings program saved 92% more than those who did not. Why wouldn't you want double the savings?
How do I save money from my salary?
There are two ways to save money from your salary:
Automating a set amount of your paycheck into a separate savings account. (Similar to what I described above).
Automatically deducting any pre-tax 401k contributions from your paycheck.
Both are stellar ways to save. You need to save money from your salary for a 401k because it's important to save for retirement, but especially if your employer offers a 401k match. This is money you're leaving on the table, and employers consider it part of your total compensation package – so take advantage.
To automate additional money into your regular (non-retirement) savings, contact the HR department at your company to see how you can change the number of automatic deductions from your paycheck.
What do you consider the best money saving tips?
I have two money saving tips that I think are the most effective and typically work for just about everyone.
- Audit your bills every year and see where you can save. Then automate whatever you save into your separate savings account. When you do this, it's like getting a small bonus each month. For example, say you save $40 by switching from cable to online streaming. $40 per month x 12 months is a year is an additional $480 in your savings bank.
- Get a side hustle (or find a better paying job). Play with some of the money, but mostly save it. You'll reach your financial goals faster by earning more.
What are the best money saving apps?
There are two money-saving apps everyone needs on their phone: a cashback app (to save money on what you already spend) and an automatic saving app (to save money on top of what you already save.)
- I have two automatic savings apps I like to recommend: Qapital and Digit. (I wrote a piece about the pros and cons of each, here.)
- For cashback apps there are two I primarily love and use: Swagbucks and Ebates (now Rakuten.) I even used my Ebates “big fat check” as part of my “Save $1,000 in Under 45 Days” Challenge.
Do you have a favorite money-saving challenge?
There are two popular money saving challenges: a no-spend challenge and the classic 52-week saving challenge. One I've done and documented for the site (click the link above) and the other I haven't but both are relatively easy ways to reboot your savings.
- In a no spend challenge, you try not to spend any money outside of what you need for bills, gas, and food. It's definitely an interesting approach, but I found it very useful when I was trying to pay off $8,000 of debt in 90 days.
- The 52-week saving challenge means you save $1 on week 1, $2 on week 2 and so on. By the end of the year, you should have $2756. And that's a lot of money! You could use a jar or an envelope to keep what you save each week, or you can do manual transfers via an app like Qapital.
Remember: Saving money is like any other skill, you have to strengthen it over time and it takes practice. Don't get caught in the trap of thinking that you're “bad with money” or that you can't learn how to do better. You just have to train your savings muscle the same way you work hard on leg day.
What are the best ways to save money on a tight budget?
In a nutshell, these are the best ways to save when you're feeling the squeeze of a tight budget.
- Cut cable
- Review your budget and latest transactions for areas where you can cut (or items you may be paying for that you forgot about!)
- Cook at home exclusively for 30 days
- Try a 6-month no-shopping ban
Read the full post for more ways to save money on a tight budget, here.
What is the best way to save money?
The single best way to save money is to automate the amount you're most comfortable saving from checking into savings. Your savings should be separate from your checking so you're not tempted to touch it or move money over with one swipe when the mood for a shopping spree strikes.
Okay, there, I answered it for you. It's simply the best because it's effective and it works.