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The Best Hacks to Save Money in 2024


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Writing about personal finance for over a decade means I have a repository full of proven hacks to save money, all of which I've used myself in some form or fashion when I need to get creative and save a nickel or two. 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 (if you're very lucky) you won't even feel it.

The most useful hacks to save money in 2023

 

Open a separate savings account

If you don't have a separate savings account, are you really even saving? 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.

Revamp your budget

Be more strategic with your debt

Get your bills as low as possible

Rocket Money is an app I use that automatically analyzes your expenses to see where you can save and cancels recurring subscriptions for you, BUT it also tracks your budget to see where your money goes as well. Click here to download.

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 by saving the extra little “bits” of money in my life: if I wasn't expecting the cash, I put it in my favorite money-saving app, Qapital. (Use my affiliate link to sign up and get $25 to your next savings goal!)

No more excuses for not having an emergency fund or a 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.

Save more money by changing your mindset, first

Hacks to Save Money: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I 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.

How do I save money consistently each month?

Even if you're not trying to “hack” your way to extra savings, the secret to 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, and debt repayments.
  • 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 each month.

The power behind automating your savings is very real and very transformative. In a recent study, those who enrolled in an automatic savings program saved 92% more than those who did not. Why wouldn't you want to double your savings?

Here are a few common ways to troubleshoot if you feel you can't afford to 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.

How do I save money from my salary?

There are two ways to save money from your salary:

  1. Automating a set amount of your paycheck into a separate savings account. (Similar to what I described above).
  2. 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 hacks to save money?

These are the two money savings hacks that I think are the most effective in the shortest amount of time and typically work for just about everyone, no matter their financial circumstances:

  1. 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 a year is an additional $480 in your savings bank.
  2. Get a side hustle (or find a better-paying job). Bank whatever the increase in salary is. Play with some of the money, of course, but mostly save it. You'll reach your financial goals faster by earning more.

Simple hacks to save money: 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.)

You can earn $3 per survey + a sign-up bonus with Swagbucks.Click here to get your $10 bonus by using my special “Financial Best Life” link

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 hacks to save money for those on a super tight budget?

In a nutshell, these are the best ways to save when you're feeling the squeeze of a tight budget.

Read the full post for more ways to save money on a tight budget, here. 

What is the best way to save money overall?

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.

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