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If you find yourself out of money before you run out of month, you are not the only one! You may need to find some money saving hacks.
A recent survey found that more than 7 in 10 Americans would be unable to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense without borrowing the funds or going in debt.
Clearly saving money is a challenge for everyone! And in this current time of inflation, saving is even harder.
Especially if you are on a low income. It makes saving even more challenging.
But, you need a savings. You never know when an emergency will arise. So if you can find a way to save money, you will be better prepared.
Here are 25 Money Saving HAcks
Try these simple strategies and life hacks for saving and quickly boost how much you are saving.
1. Learn to cook
All that takeout pizza can can add up. It may not seem like that much to spend $10 on a sandwich at lunch, but when you are doing that on the regular you are spending a lot!
There is a reason why this is number 1 in my list of 10 hacks to save money. Let’s say you usually eat out 4 times a week at a minimum of $12 a meal. That’s $48 in one week!
But, if you had just cooked yourself or made a sandwich you would have spent probably $6 total.
Buy fresh, inexpensive ingredients and start cooking your own meals. You can use a slow cooker and make the cooking even easier.
More Reading: 40 Cheapest Foods to Buy When You’re Broke
2. Meal Plan
Make a week’s worth of meals ahead of time; it is an easy way to save money on daily lunches and dinner. It means that you plan out what you will eat for the next week and you make it all in one day.
Not only is this an ideal money hack, it also makes it easier for you to have all your meals ready to go each week.
This smart money hack which is called meal planning could help you save a lot of money each week.
Here are 30 budget-friendly meal prep ideas that will save you money and time!
You can save a lot of money on your food budget in general by adopting these frugal food tips.
3. Automate Your Savings
One smart hack to help you save money is simply to automate it. It basically takes you out of the equation so you can’t mess up!
You can set up a portion of your paycheck to direct deposit into your an account you have designated for just savings. Or, you can use an app like Acorns that will automate your savings.
It works by linking to your debit card and when you spend money, it rounds your everyday purchases up to the nearest dollar. It then moves that extra money into your Acorns account. So, every time you spend money, you are contributing money to savings.
It is one of my favorite money hacks because it then invests that money, giving it the opportunity to make more for you! Hello free money!
4. Place your money in a high-yield savings account
Every penny you earn in interest is one less penny out of your pocket. Plus, it’s one more penny in your savings account.
An easy way to save money fast on a low income is to put your money in an interest-bearing account.
Find high yield savings accounts with the best interest rates, and then consolidate your money into that umbrella. One of the easiest ways to save money is to make the money you have saved, well make more money!
Having an account that pays me to put my money in it makes me even more interested in saving. CIT Bank has a high yield savings account that has a current return of over 4%.
5. Save your spare change
Keep a jar by the front door and deposit your change there when you return home each evening. When the jar fills up, take it to the bank and add it to your savings.
As I already mentioned, one of my favorite money hacks is to use digital apps that essentially save that spare change for you. That way you don’t even have to think about it.
I personally love Acorns which rounds up spare change on purchases you make on your debit card. Not only does it automatically park that money somewhere for you, it invests it so that it grows! Every time you spend money, you make it.
More Reading: How to Save $5,000 in 6 Months
6. Leverage Your Employer’s 401K
If your employer offers a 401K this is one of the best money hacks. Your 401K contribution will directly out of your paycheck. So saving is automated.
Plus, the money that goes into your 401K, will grow with compounding and funds that grow over time. Many employers also offer a match to your contribution which is extra money for you.
When it comes to personal finance in general, contribution to a 401K is a no brainer. And, if you can, contribute to a Roth IRA.
More Reading: How to Repair Your Credit Record After Bankruptcy
7. Earn Money
One of my favorite money hacks is simply to earn more money. It is the fastest way to amp up your savings and meet your money goals.
There are so many ways now to make extra income. You can start a side hustle or take a second part time job.
Here are a few ideas on earning more money:
- Drive for Uber or Lyft
- Do odd jobs around your neighborhood
- Take an extra part time job
- Drive for DoorDash or deliver groceries
- Start pet sitting
- Babysit for your friends and neighbors
- Sell crafts or products online
If you don’t have a car any more because you have been in an accident, then why not hire a car accident lawyer?
8. Pay in cash instead of using credit cards
You’ve probably heard of the envelope system. Put only the cash you need for the week in an envelope and use that for anything you purchase.
It is easy to overspend when using plastic, so put yourself on an all-cash diet for a month or two. You may be surprised at how much less money you spend (and how much more money you save.)
One of the simplest ways to save money is to not spend it, so leave the credit cards at home. It can help you curb that oh so dangerous impulse spending. And, make sure you are doing everything you can to pay debt down.
More Reading: Reviewing the Pogo Cash App
9. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store
Stocking up on fresh produce, quality dairy products and other perimeter items can save you money.
Plus, it forces you to improve your diet and helps you avoid the unhealthy packaged foods that live in the interior of the store. Stick to fresh food items for your health and your pocket book.
Set your grocery budget before you go and stick to it. It is also helpful to write down your grocery list before you go, and stick to it. Buying less meat will make your bill less expensive as well.
And of course, using coupons and savings apps like iBotta is a money saving hack you can use at the grocery store. It allows you to earn cashback on your grocery store purchases.
And, of course there is old-fashioned coupon-clipping. Or, in this day and age, coupon downloading. Just make sure you use your coupons by the expiration date.
10. Buy Generic Brands
There’s no reason to always shop the well-known brands. They tend to be more expensive but essential in many cases the same product.
You can buy generic brands in the grocery store, or clothing, shoes and even big ticket items like exercise equipment.
Grocery stores will actually private label food items sometimes that are the exact same product as the name brands! The name brands will sell overstock to the stores. So you can truly get the same things for less in many cases.
More Reading: Step by Step Guide to Buying a House
11. Buy Used
Another big waste of your money is always buying everything new. You can save hundreds of dollars by purchasing items used.
Especially big ticket items like cars, tools or equipment. And the items are just the same! You can buy furniture and even clothes at local consignment stores or garage sales.
And, there are tons of online sites like Poshmark, Ebay and Facebook Marketplace with used items for sale.
12. Budget Everything
Another of the best hacks to save money is to make sure you start tracking all your spending habits and budget everything.
If you aren’t already, you need to create a budget for yourself. Write down all your monthly expenses. And, every time you spend money, write it down. Recognize when you might be impulse buying so you can stop it.
Knowing where you money is going will help you find ways to save cash. Here are 21 free printable budget templates to help you.
You can also consider setting yourself a monthly allowance to limit your spending. There are also many budget rules out there to help you, like the 30-30-30-10 Budget Guide.
13. Have a No Spend Day
Another one of the best money hacks in our list for savings is to have a no spend day. Or better yet, a no spend week or month.
Setting an amount of time that you spend no money, will help you pull together that much more cash to meet your financial goals. Money not spent equals money saved!
14. Learn how to say no
If you have kids, you also have an endless list of needs and wants. Learn to separate the two and say no when it is warranted; your kids will thank you some day.
And, of course, sometimes you have to say no to yourself too. Avoid visiting your favorite boutique if you are trying to save money.
The easiest way to save money and not overspend your budget is to not go near the temptation.
It is a good idea to make a list each month of needs and wants. It can help you stay on track and save more of your income. Learn how to build a better home budget and help yourself stay on track with saving money.
Whatever helps you stay motivated to save money is also good to use and to help yourself say no. Set a savings goal for yourself and keep it top of mind.
Once you have an emergency fund saved, you can start saving for that vacation you want to take.
Or the online business you want to start! Or maybe just that great pair of knee-high boots you’ve been eyeing.
More Reading: 14 Websites to Sell Gift Cards for Instant Cash
15. Sell your stuff and put the money into savings
You may have a ton of items filling up junk drawers and junk closets that you simply don’t use.
Put those items to work and turn them into cold hard cash for your savings account! Try Facebook Marketplace, CraigsList or Ebay. I’ve been finding a lot of success lately with Facebook Marketplace.
The more you can sell, the more you can save. Plus, turning clutter into cash can make your house look better and your life more simplified.
16. Eliminate or consolidate debt
Debt is the biggest savings killer there is. If you are getting hit every month with minimum payments and finance charges, it can make saving extra money feel impossible.
Do everything you can to pay down your debt faster.
You can always move your debt from a card that has finance charges to a zero APR balance transfer offer on a new card.
These are usually for a year at least, which gives you time to pay down the debt. Plus, it eliminates that monthly finance charge.
More Reading: What is a Counter Credit?
17. Rent Out Part of Your Home
Have an extra bedroom? Rent it out! You can make a lot of money on sites like AirBnb. You can even rent your entire home out.
Or, you can just take in a roomate for a few months. You can make several hundred dollars a month doing this.
You can also actually rent out your garage as well to people who are looking for a place to store items.
18. Rent Out Your Car
You can also actually rent your car on the site Turo. It is basically the AirBnb for cars.
List your car and then people can rent it, just like they would from big companies like Hertz. But instead you get the money!
More Reading: The 100 Envelope Challenge and other Savings Challenges
19. Look for ways to trim your monthly expenses
The less you spend, the more you can save. Check the detailed billing on your cable bill, cell phone statement and other monthly expenses.
Cutting those unneeded perks could save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Look for hidden recurring fees as well. Sometimes when you sign up for free trials, they end up automatically charging you each month once the trial ends. So find and eliminate any monthly subscriptions.
Small items like these can go unnoticed unless you are paying close attention to your monthly bank statements.
Have a routine visit to the spa each month for a facial? Opt for an at-home version to save a bunch of money.
If you are paying for services like lawn cutting, try doing it yourself for a few months so you can pocket the extra cash.
20. Reduce Your Utility Bills
Find ways to save on your utility bills by altering the temp in your home when you are away. Just wearing a sweater indoors can help you reduce your electricity bill.
In the winter, consider closing doors to any rooms that you do not use. You can invest in a space heater as well to use in whatever room you are in.
Purchasing a smart thermostat will also help you reduce your monthly spend on utilities by improving your energy efficiency.
21. Downgrade your big ticket items
If you are driving around a brand new car with a big monthly payment trade it in!
Buy a gently used car instead of a brand new one as a cheaper alternative. Saving money on big purchases like the car you drive is a great way to boost your financial well being and take charge of your life. You could even consider using public transportation for a while to really cut costs.
Or if you live in a big house all by yourself, take in a roommate for a few months and put all that rent money into a savings account. This money hack can help you save hundreds of dollars every month.
If you can find a new way to make several hundred dollars a month, it is one of the fastest and simplest ways to save money.
Another easy way to save on larger purchases you may have to make is to negotiate. From washing machines to refrigerators, you can negotiate a better price if you know how to haggle.
Saving money is not always easy, but it may be simpler than you think. And it certainly is important!
Check out our post on How Much You Should Save Each Month for a personalized guide on savings.
22. Comparison Shop Online
Another good life hack to know is to comparison shop. If you want to buy something, make sure you do some research first.
Leverage shopping online to your advantage by looking for that items on many different sites. You might be able to find it even cheaper. Or get a special deal or coupon on one site vs. another.
You can even do your grocery shopping online these days!
23. Use Cash Envelopes
Another way to help yourself cut your spending is to use the cash envelope system of budgeting. Dave Ramsey popularized this system on his site.
You basically just set aside envelopes with cash inside each for different categories. So, “food” might be one, or “fun money.”
The cash you put in the envelope is all you can spend for that month. Once you are out, no more spending. It is a good way to help yourself control your finances.
Here are 9 Cash Envelope Categories for Budgeting that you can use to get started with this system.
24. Workout at Home
Do you pay each month for a gym membership? Stop doing that and just workout from home!
There are tons of options now for online video workouts and even work out apps.
25. Remove the Temptation to Spend
One way to help yourself out is to not let yourself be tempted to spend money. This might be different for every person.
But, maybe for you it means not going to the mall. Or, not driving by your favorite store. It could also mean staying off the internet for a while! If online shopping is your weakness, consider an internet fast to help yourself.
Or at least, stay away from your favorite online stores. If you do start to purchase something, let it sit in your online shopping cart for a while.
This way you can make absolutely sure it is something you must buy. Sometimes when you do this companies will send you a savings to encourage the purchase so you could end up getting that item for less.
Money Saving Challenges
Another great way to save is to try a money saving challenge. One of these challenges is the 365-Day Nickel Challenge. With this one, you can actually save up over $3,000.
We already mentioned the no spend challenge which you can try. You can also try variations on the 365 Day Nickel Challenge. You can change the nickel to a dime, or a quarter. Basically whatever amount you want!
If you want a shorter challenge, you can opt for the 3-month savings challenge. In this one, you save $84 each week for 3 months. At the end you will have saved $1,008.
There is also the 100 envelope challenge, although in this article we tell you why not to try that one and what to do instead.
Not only are these challenges kind of like a fun contest, but they can help you stay on track
More Reading: 5 Ways to Save Up Money for a House.
What are the benefits of saving money?
Not having money in savings can leave you in a very stressful situation if something comes up.
Car trouble, a medical emergency or an investment opportunity. These are all things that could happen that you would need money in savings for. One of the simple life hacks you need to know is to always have an emergency fund.
Plus, the more extra money you have, the more you can make! So finding simple ways to save can actually help you make more in the future. If you are on a low income, even more reason to save!
It is so important to learn good money-saving habits and stick to them. You need to take control of your finances.
You do not have to be a millionaire to put money away for a rainy day, and you do not have to be independently wealthy to retire in style. Even on a tight income, there are some money saving hacks that will help you.
You just need to discover some simple ways to save money fast. With a few minor changes to your priorities and your daily routine, you can easily jump start your savings and put your finances on a more sustainable track.
My Favorite Budgeting and Savings Apps
Acorns which takes your spare change from purchases and invests it for you to help you make even more money.
Personal Capital for money management. Get a money dashboard, free analysis and personalized wealth advice.