I can still remember the musty smell of the cool interior of the Goodwill thrift store downtown. We always made a trip to the store to stock up on back-to-school clothing and accessories. Growing up in a middle-class household, my parents had always been frugal. Not the extreme penny-pinching advocated by some personal finance bloggers but a common-sense approach to paying attention to where the money goes. Therefore, from an early age, I had always been mindful about spending and how I can save money fast. I’m still on the lookout for ways to spend less and save more.
Here Are Some New Ways to Save Money Fast That Has Proven to Be Useful to Me:
Go Paperless Billing
In contrast to the traditional method of sending bills periodically through the mail, paperless billing involves sending bills electronically. This could come as an emailed attachment, or in some cases where more sensitive information is concerned, a link in an email directing you to the service provider’s secure website.
Service providers and companies incentivize their customers to go paperless since it means they will spend less on paper, printing, stamps, and sorting. The incentives typically come in the form of discounts, statement credits, gift cards, and in some cases, a chance to win a prize.
In contrast, however, receiving paper bills may attract a small fee. Some companies pass on the costs of paper-based billing to their customers as a surcharge. The combination of discounts and avoiding a surcharge when you go paperless will build up to substantial savings with time.
Pay Down Debt (Consolidate Credit Cards)
This is a no brainer. Paying down your debt is probably the best way to save money fast. You’ll save a lot of money by paying down your credit card and loans as quickly as possible. The longer you’re in debt, the more interest you’ll have to pay overtime. Debt consolidation can help you repay your debts faster. When you consolidate your credit cards and loan balances into one single loan with a lower interest rate, you’ll save loads of cash over time. With only one loan to focus on, your debt repayment is easier and simpler.
One way of achieving this is transferring debt on your credit cards with high-interest rates to a new card with a lower rate. Several companies offer cards with a promotional zero-interest-rate for a period – up to 15 months in some cases. This is a significant opportunity to deal with your debt faster. However, you must have a good credit score to qualify for this boon. And you will pay a fee – typically 3% of the outstanding balances you transfer to the new card.
Use Money-saving Apps
For anyone who has tried, saving money is no easy task. It requires lots of discipline and self-control. Automating this all-important task may be precisely what you need. There’re plenty of apps like YNAB, Mint, Prism and the ones I’ve listed below are all available to help you thumb your way to a chubby savings balance. These include:
- Qapital: which links to your account and rounds up any change from your purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers it to a dedicated savings account.
- Acorns: like Qapital, the app rounds up your purchases and automatically transfers the change to an Acorns account where it will be invested in a portfolio.
- Digit: uses data from your income and spending patterns to determine what you’ll be able to save. It then transfers this amount to your Digit account, which is FDIC -insured.
- Chime: a mobile-only bank without the usual fees charged by traditional banks. Chime rounds up your purchases made with a Chime Card and sends the differences to your Chime savings account. You can also choose to allow the app to transfer 10% of your paycheck to your savings whenever you get paid.
Combine Homeowners’ Insurance and Car insurance
You probably didn’t put much thought choosing your car insurance company, because most likely, that was the company your family used when you got your first car. And along the line, you bought your first home and chose the insurance company recommended by your real estate dealer.
That’s how you end up with different insurances with the hassles that come with it – paying bills to several insurance companies every month and dealing with more mails and most importantly, paying a high premium overall.
You can save big by combining or bundling your insurance in one company. This is because big insurance companies prefer customers who will stick with them for a long time, rather than those who are always on the lookout for a better deal. So, they target homeowners who not only need to ensure their homes but their cars and lives as well. And then offer the best deals to these consumers who will most likely use them for the main lines of insurance. Thus, you’ll get discounts and cheaper rates if you buy more than one insurance with them as a bundle than when you buy separately.
You can save money fast as soon as you call your insurance agent and inform him of your decision to combine both car and homeowners’ insurance. Yes, all it takes is for you to make that phone call.
Buy in Bulk (Costco and Sam’s Club)
According to experts, buying in bulk can save you from 20 percent to 83 percent depending on the item. However, you must shop smartly to take advantage of the cost-saving benefits of bulk buying. You need to consider the best items to buy in bulk and those to avoid in addition to other factors. Bear in mind that when buying bulk, what matters is the price per unit rather than item price.
Where can you buy in bulk? Wholesale stores are the go-to-places for people who plan to save money by buying in bulk. They have been around since 1983 with the establishment of Costco Wholesale and Kmart Membership Wholesale house (which was later acquired by Sam’s Club). Not surprisingly, Costco and Sam’s club are the leading wholesale stores in the US. They offer wholesale prices to shoppers who pay an annual membership fee – $60 for Costco and $45 for Sam’s although there are also different levels of memberships. When calculating your savings, always remember to factor in the yearly fees.
So, what should you buy in bulk? It really all depends on your needs.
You save a lot on household items which are cheaper per unit at a bulk store. Stockpiling non-perishable food and toiletries is also a good idea. Bring a list along while shopping to prevent buying unnecessary items on impulse. Aside from turmeric, here’s a list of other items we buy in bulk from Costco.
- Toilet papers and paper towels
- Cooking oil and Olive oil
- Breakfast Cereals
- Salt-free butter for baking needs
- Dishwasher detergent
- Gift cards
Cancel Your Landline, You Don’t Need It
If you have a cell phone as you should, then it’s safe to assume that you hardly make calls with your home phone. In that case, you’ll do well to ditch your landline and save lots of money.
Although outdated, landlines still offer some advantages such as a better connection over cellular networks. Before you cut the cords, note that landlines may be cheaper if you use it for broadband internet as a part of an entertainment package. Consider also that it may help improve your borrowing power since it ties you to a fixed address which gives more comfort to lenders.
But do these benefits justify the monthly line rentals of up to $15 – $30? If savings is a priority for you, and your home phone usage is rather infrequent, then cancel your landline and save the money you would have otherwise paid as line rentals. You’ll have just your Mobile contract bills to contend with which helps simplify your finances. Mobile contracts also offer better deals than landlines – you’ll get more free unrestricted calls, unlike landlines which are restricted to particular times of the day and to only landlines.
Other advantages of dealing only with mobile phones are that you won’t have to deal with undesirable sales calls which are common with landlines.
However, canceling your landline may be costly. Check your contract to see what you’ll have to pay your provider as early cancellation fees. You may have to wait till the expiration of your contract to cancel especially if you’re tied-in to your outstanding monthly rental payments. It’s always better to wait until you can leave with no charges. We canceled our landline about ten years ago and it was one of our best money-saving decision.
Shop Only When You Have Cash and Don’t Shop When You’re Under Stress
You spend more money when shopping with a credit card. This is science. You can’t argue with it. In a study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon, it was observed that shoppers who paid with cash had increased activity in the area of their brains responsible for pain (they were hooked up to an MRI scanner). Whereas those who paid with cards did so pain-free.
Swiping a card doesn’t feel you are giving up anything in return for your purchase. Unlike the physical act of handing over cash which feels very much like you gave up money.
You can save some money fast with this knowledge. When going shopping, make a list and carry enough cash to cover whatever it is you want to buy. That way, you’ll go home after fulfilling the list and won’t be tempted to make any unplanned purchase lured by clever marketing. This will check your impulse buying and save you some good dough.
But you don’t have to ditch your plastic totally. Using credit cards has advantages such as rewards and travel discounts. Learn to strike a balance to optimize the saving advantages of using cash.
Another way to save on shopping is to avoid doing it while you’re stressed out. Retail therapy may help relieve stress temporarily. But in the long run, it may leave you more stressed as out-of-control shopping puts you into debt.
The temptation is not limited to physical shops only. Unfollow social media handles of your favorite online shops and sign out to make checkout more difficult. With your payment details saved on their websites, retail stress-relief is just a click away.
Explore other inexpensive ways to burst stress. Vent to a friend or significant other. You can also take up meditation, go for a walk or run.
Consider Shopping at Thrift Stores
Thrift stores are where you’ll get high-quality items at unbelievably great prices. They sell an assortment of used clothing, accessories, household items, furniture, and a whole lot more. Thrift stores are vastly cheaper than retail stores. With the same amount of money, you can buy thrice as many items in a thrift store than you can buy at a regular retail store. You can put the extra in a savings account or channel them towards other expenses.
If you are serious about saving, put aside any reservation (or shame) you attach to shopping at a thrift store. You could be amazed at what you will find there. Apart from saving money, there’s also the excitement of finding something of great value to you unexpectedly.
Sustaining a saving habit is key to securing your financial future. Make an effort to practice these savings hacks and watch your purse fatten faster and steadily. How you can save money fast depends on how fast you will act on the strategies we mentioned above.