We recommend that saving money should be done using the slow and steady approach, making small changes to your lifestyle and money habits that will equate to massive savings over the long term.
But we all know that life isn’t always that methodical. Sometimes we just need to save money fast.
Here are our killer tips to save money fast, stashing the cash and getting your money in order quickly.
To save money fast, you should start by getting a big jar from your kitchen, labelling it the ‘saving money fast’ jar and then proceed with some of the ideas below – the game plan is to save every dollar that you don’t spend.
After as little as a few days or weeks you should have some sizeable savings to utilise. Think of yourself as ‘The Flash’ for extra fun!
Make Do With Less In The Kitchen
If you are like me, you probably have what feels like 100’s of cans of beans, corn, soups, spaghetti and more sitting in the cupboard. Why not set a game plan to eat all the wasted space over the course of two weeks. Any money you would spend on food for the week, simply put in your saving money fast jar.
The added benefit is you will clear space and get organised in the kitchen cupboards. Just be careful of eating baked beans all week – this method of eating has a tendency to alienate the diner in social situations.
The five step check list to help you save money in the kitchen quickly;
- Don’t do a grocery shop this week; opt instead to save the money in your jar.
- Eat only food you already have in cupboards (careful of expiry dates).
- Do a ‘week on, week off’ routine to save money every second week.
- Find recipe ideas online that match the ingredients you have (to help use them all up).
- If you really need to buy an item, go to the grocery store and limit each visit to under $10.
Sacrifice All Daily Pleasures
We would never normally say that, but if it is just for two weeks – how bad can it be? This means no coffees at work, trying to walk to work and not use public transport (if possible), don’t buy magazines, don’t hire movies (or buy movies on iTunes), don’t eat takeaway, don’t go out – simply put, just don’t do anything that costs you money.
For our dedicated readers and newsletter subscribers you know how much we try to avoid sacrifice for the sake of saving money, but in this instance we hope you see the value in just spending a couple of weeks as skint as possible.
Ideas to help you stop spending money on daily pleasures:
- Make your daily coffee at work, it’s free. Stop buying caffeine and opt to save money over the entire year by never drinking purchased coffee.
- Read free content on your phone instead of buying papers or magazines.
- Eat breakfast at home, bring your own lunch and don’t go out after work. Food is a big expense, limit how much you spend on it by always preparing your food before you go out.
- Don’t drink alcohol. It will save you money faster than you can imagine!
- Leave your credit cards, debit cards and cash at home. If you don’t have money, you can’t spend money – simple.
Every time You Have Some Coins, Chuck Them In The Jar
When you get home, chuck all the coins in your purse or handbag into the jar. Make it a game for the whole family, household or whatever. Just get rid of those heavy coins and into your save money fast jar.
5 extra ways to help you save more coins:
- Use bigger notes when making a purchase, the coins left over means you are forcing yourself to save.
- Check down the cracks of the couch or sofa for coins. You can find a small fortune of money sometimes.
- Search the car for coins. Set aside some time to clean your car and while you are at it, hunt for lost coins.
- Consider the $5 note experiment we discussed previously (not coins, but a cool idea none the less).
- Instead of a jar for coins, consider a tin that you can’t see into. It helps motivate you to save money if you get excited about not knowing how much is inside.
Grab Your Family, Find 5 Things In Your House To eBay
This can be a bit of fun. Sometimes we end up with a lot of excess purchases that we don’t really need. Think about that DVD you thought you were going to love, only to watch once, hate Leonardo Decaprio’s performance and never watch again. Grab 5 items that you think you could sell, hopefully for a good price and chuck them on eBay.
Better yet, do you have enough stuff to have an impromptu garage sale on the weekend? All you need is enough stuff to sell, some cardboard to write on and a hell of a lot of sticky tape to sling around the neighbourhood.
Items you can sell to make money fast:
- Sell your game consoles (Nintendo, Playstation and Xbox’s). They often sell quickly, fetch decent prices and can provide fast money.
- Sell your DSLR camera. Most families have purchased an expensive camera, only to never really use it. Opt instead to sell it on eBay – it’s a quick way to save money.
- List unwanted furniture on Gum Tree. It’s free to list items (unlike eBay) and every time I have done it, I have sold the item within 24 hours. There are thousands of people browsing Gum Tree for bargains.
- Women’s clothes sell well online. If you have items you bought from the shops and then never wore, list them on eBay. Hot tip: add the words ‘NWT’ to stand for ‘new with tags’ if the item is brand new and it will sell faster.
- Really need to save money fast? Consider selling the second car, weekend motorbike, Jet Ski or boat. They are extras we could probably do with out and will boost your savings instantly (plus save you money each year).
If You Must Buy Groceries, Why Not Try Something New
If you cannot live off the out of date beans in the cupboard from our first example, perhaps you could reconsider your grocery requirements for a couple of weeks. Recently we bought a heap of vegies to make a vegetable soup (perfect for wet winter weeks) that costs only $30 to make, yet feeds a household of 4 people for an entire week.
Also try and avoid buying anything in what we call ‘convenience sizes’. For instance, buying chips, if they come in little bags, you pay a premium. If they come in big bags, odds are they are cheaper.
5 quick ways to stretch the food budget when trying to save money:
- Make soup as it can save you money. It’s also a good way to not waste vegetables.
- Buy a slow cooker so you can buy cheaper meats and still cook them tender to save money.
- Buy your food in bulk; freeze it in individual portions so you can take longer to use it and save money by getting reduced prices for buying larger quantities.
- If you see a vegetable starting to rot, remove it from the fridge. The gas decomposing vegetables release cause other fruits and vegetables to turn.
- Don’t buy brand name food items, opt for supermarket brands or home brand to start saving money.
Cutting The Cost Of Essential Purchases
There are some things in my household that I cringe at when I think deeper. For instance, why would we buy a well known brand tin foil? Why would we buy a well known brand for toilet paper? Why would we buy brand name cleaning agents? We should instead be buying these items as cheap and nasty as possible. The foil will still stick, the toilet paper will still do its job and I am certain that all cleaning agents nearly contain the exact same ingredients.
Opt to buy only home brand, cheap and nasty brands when it comes to these items. It will leave you with lots of extra money to help your saving money fast plan.
A list of items you can quickly save money on:
- Cleaning chemicals – they are all the same and some are more expensive. Always buy the cheapest brands.
- Cereals – buy supermarket brands as they are just as good these days and half the price.
- Dog food – avoid the junky big brand names that have no nutritional content and opt for cans of home brand tuna. Much cheaper and more nutritious.
- Milk – buy the cheapest brand of milk available. Milk is milk.
- Staple ingredients – if you buy the same brand name bolognaise sauce each week; why not experiment with purchasing a cheaper brand? Over the course of a year the savings will add up and really help you to save money.
Share your saving money fast tips
Give us your best tips on how to save money fast below. Imagine you only had 2-3 weeks to save some decent cash. How would you go about saving money fast? If you need inspiration, start by reading our post on motivating yourself to save money.