Saving money can help you to feel more in control of your finances and your life. When you have cash stashed away, you know you are prepared for financial emergencies and can also be working toward your short-term goals (like planning a wedding) or long-term ones, like retirement.
Often, though, saving happens gradually, like a slow drip. But there are people who want to save more aggressively, or there could be a moment in your life that spurs you on to accrue as much money quickly as you can.
If you’re interested in how to aggressively save money, there are smart strategies to help you do just that. Implementing an aggressive savings budget takes a certain amount of commitment, since you may need to make some significant lifestyle changes. That can be worth it, however, if the payoff is watching your money grow faster.
Read on to learn how to quickly grow your savings, including:
• What is an aggressive savings plan?
• What are the benefits of saving money quickly?
• How can you create an aggressive savings plan?
What Is an Aggressive Savings Plan?
An aggressive savings plan is a blueprint for setting aside a sizable amount of your income, typically over a fairly short time period. A 30-year-old who’s hoping to retire by 40, for example, might utilize an aggressive savings plan to save and invest 50% or 60% of their take-home pay over a period of 10 years to reach their goal.
For perspective, the personal savings rate in the U.S. was 5.4%, as of May 2022. So the vast majority of people aren’t saving aggressively on a regular basis. Taking an aggressive approach to savings is something you might consider only if you have a specific goal you’re interested in achieving with your money.
Why an Aggressive Savings Plan Can Be Beneficial
Following an aggressive savings budget takes financial discipline, and it may not be right for every person or every financial situation. If you can stick with an aggressive savings plan, however, there are some tangible benefits you might be able to reap.
Here’s why an aggressive savings plan can work in your favor:
• You can set aside money for large or small goals.
• Reaching your savings goals can take less time.
• Saving money becomes a habit.
• You can learn to manage money better.
• It becomes easier to learn to live on less.
• You can avoid debt when you’re focused on saving vs. spending.
• It teaches you how to prioritize needs vs. wants.
Saving aggressively can become a lifestyle if you’re able to accustom yourself to spending less. But even if you only apply an aggressive savings plan for a few months, you might be surprised at just how much money you can set aside.
Whether you follow a turbocharged savings plan for a short or long time, it can definitely improve your financial status and even be a form of financial self-care, since you’re likely avoiding debt and improving your money mindset.
Tips for Building an Aggressive Savings Plan
There’s no single strategy for how to save aggressively; instead, there are numerous steps you can take to shape your savings plan. If you’d like to stop overspending money and start saving instead, these tips can help you get your finances on the right track.
1. Paying Yourself First
“Pay yourself first” is an often-repeated piece of personal finance advice. It simply means that you should set some of your paychecks aside for saving before doing anything else. The good news is that paying yourself first is relatively easy to do.
Some of the ways you can pay yourself first include:
• Contributing part of your salary to your 401k at work
• Scheduling recurring transfers from checking to savings each payday
• Using direct deposit to route payments directly to savings and bypass checking.
Paying yourself first ensures that money makes it to savings, rather than being spent. If you’ve struggled with sticking to a savings habit, adopting this mentality can make it easier to stay the course.
2. Getting Out of Debt
Debt can be a significant obstacle to saving money. If you’re spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars paying off credit cards, student loans, or other debts each month, you might have very little left to save.
Getting rid of your debt can help to free up more money so you can follow through on an aggressive savings budget. Focusing on debt payoff also requires you to control spending habits, since the goal is to not create any new debts in the process.
If you have high-interest credit card debt, consider balance-transfer offers that charge zero percent for a period of time, giving you breathing room to pay down your balance. Or you might take out a lower interest rate personal loan to consolidate and pay off your debt.
Recommended: 15 Creative Ways to Save Money
3. Tracking All of Your Spending
An aggressive savings plan won’t really work if you don’t know exactly where your money is going. Keeping track of your spending is essential for making your plan work.
There are different ways to track spending, including:
• Writing purchases down by hand
• Using a spreadsheet
• Linking bank accounts to an expense tracking or budgeting app.
The method you choose isn’t as important as tracking all of your expenses regularly, including cash spending. Getting into the habit of tracking expenses can make the next step in your aggressive savings plan easier to tackle. You’ll be much more aware of where your money goes and how you might economize.
4. Utilizing a Budgeting Method
A budget is a plan for spending money each month. Making a budget each month is central to how to save aggressively, since you can decide how to allocate the money you’re earning.
In its most basic form, making a budget means adding up expenses and subtracting them from income. When you’re trying to save aggressively, the goal is to make the gap between income and expenses as wide as possible.
There’s no single way to make a budget. For example, you might try zero-based budgeting, the 50/30/20 budget method, or cash envelope budgeting. Experimenting with different types of budgets can help you to decide which method works best for you.
Also consider different tools to help you along. Your financial institution may offer budgeting tools, you can download apps, you might use a journal, or even manage your budget in an Excel spreadsheet.
5. Cutting Down Expenses
“How can I stop spending money?” That’s a question people often ask when they’re frustrated by their efforts to save aggressively. The key is knowing how to prioritize needs over wants and looking for areas in your spending that you can reduce or eliminate.
For example, you can start by making the obvious cuts and jettison streaming services you don’t use or canceling your gym membership. But you can go a step further and look for more drastic ways to reduce expenses, such as:
• Renting out a room or taking on a roommate
• Getting rid of your car and using public transportation
• Embarking on a no-spend year
• Moving to a cheaper area.
Whether these types of saving tactics will work for you or not can depend on your situation. But allowing yourself to be creative when finding ways to cut expenses can help to bolster your aggressive savings plan.
6. Opening a High-Yield Savings Account
If you’re saving aggressively, it’s important to keep your money in a secure place where it can earn a great interest rate. The higher the rate and annual percentage yield (APY), the more your money can grow.
That’s where high-yield savings accounts come in. High-yield savings accounts can pay an interest rate and APY that’s well above the national average. For example, the typical savings account at a traditional bank pays 0.13%, as of August 2022. But you might find a high-yield account at an online bank that’s paying 2.00% or more instead.
When looking for a high-yield savings account, consider the APY you can earn. But also pay attention to things like fees, online and mobile banking access, and monthly withdrawal limits. These are important factors when sizing up the best option.
Recommended: APY vs. Interest Rate: What’s the Difference?
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7. Starting a Side Hustle
Starting a side hustle can help you to generate additional income that you can add into your aggressive savings budget. According to a Zapier report, 40% of Americans have at least one side hustle, and 36% started or plan to start a side gig in 2022.
There are different types of side hustles you can try, including ones you can do online and ones you can do offline. For example, you might try your hand at freelancing if you want to make money from home or get paid to deliver groceries in your spare time.
The great thing about side hustles is that you can try different ways to make money to see what works best. Just remember that any earnings from side hustles or temporary work over $400 are taxable.
Recommended: 11 Benefits of Having a Side Hustle
8. Avoiding Eating Out at Restaurants
Grabbing dinner out can be convenient, but it can also derail your plans to save aggressively. If you’re spending $50 a week on takeout food or meals with friends, for instance, that’s $2,600 a year that you’re not saving.
Learning to plan meals and make food at home can cut that expense out of your budget. If you want to share meals with friends, consider inviting them to a potluck dinner at your house instead. That can be a great way to try new foods without having to blow your budget.
9. Saving Money Windfalls
Windfalls are any money that comes your way that you might not have been expecting. So that can include:
• Tax refunds
• Cash-back rewards
• Financial gifts (i.e., birthday money or wedding money)
Some windfalls may be small and add up to just a few bucks, while others might be hundreds or even thousands of dollars. It may be tempting to spend those amounts (because it feels like free money), but you can make better use of them by adding them to savings instead.
10. Investing Your Money
Investing your money is the best way to grow it through the power of compounding interest. Compounding means your interest earns interest. When you invest money in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and other vehicles, you have a chance to earn interest at much higher rates than what you could get with a savings account, which means the compounding factor is enhanced too. (However, do remember there is risk involved; these investments aren’t FDIC-insured.)
The longer you have to invest, the more your money can grow. So if you’re not investing yet, it’s important to get started sooner rather than later. Some of the best ways to start investing include adding money to your 401k, contributing to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), and opening a taxable brokerage account.
11. Automating Your Finances
Deciding to automate your personal finances can make saving aggressively less time-consuming, since it’s something you don’t have to actively think about. As mentioned above, you can set up automatic transfers from checking to savings each payday. What’s more, you can also automate deposits to your investment accounts and your bill payments.
Automating ensures that bills get paid on time and that the money you’ve earmarked for savings in your budget gets where it needs to go. You can set up automatic deposits and payments through your bank account; it typically takes just a few minutes.
12. Utilizing the 30-Day Rule
The 30-day rule is fairly straightforward: If you’re tempted to spend money on an unplanned purchase, impose a 30-day waiting period. Thirty days is enough time to decide if you really need to buy whatever it is you’re considering and, if you do, to find the money in your budget to pay for it without having to rely on a credit card.
Using the 30-day rule can help you to curb impulse spending, which can be a hurdle to making an aggressive savings plan work. If you decide the item is still something you want to buy, then you can make the purchase guilt-free. But you might find that what seemed like a smart buy at the time is no longer something you need.
13. Living Below Your Means
Living below your means simply means spending less than you earn each month. When you spend less than your income, you have money left over that you can add to your savings goals.
All of these aggressive savings tips outlined here can help you to get into a mindset of living below your means. When you’re focused on cutting down expenses and sticking to a budget, living on less money than you make doesn’t seem like a struggle.
Saving Money With SoFi
Saving aggressively can take some getting used to if you’ve never tried it before, but the end result can be well worth the effort. As you find your savings groove, it’s important to have the right banking tools so you can make the most of your money.
Opening a SoFi bank account can make it easier to follow an aggressive savings plan. Not only can you get a great rate on savings balances, but you can also set up automatic deposits to grow your money. SoFi makes it easy to pay bills and review spending in one place so you can easily see where your money is going.
With no account fees and up to 2.50% APY, you’ll earn more interest in one week with SoFi than you would in one year in a big bank’s checking or savings account—so you can get the most out of your money.
Are there downsides to aggressive savings plans?
Saving money aggressively can mean having to make certain sacrifices in the short-term. For example, you may have to say no to dinner out with friends, vacations, or new clothes. But those temporary sacrifices can pay off if you’re able to reach your savings goal relatively quickly.
How can I save aggressively if I do not make a lot of money?
Starting a side hustle can help you to create more income so that it’s easier to save aggressively. But if that’s not an option, you can still save at an above-average rate by cutting down your expenses as much as possible and using windfalls to grow your savings whenever they come your way.
Can you aggressively save long-term?
Whether you’re able to save aggressively for the long-term can depend on how committed you are to your plan. If you have a clear reason for saving, then you may not need any added motivation to keep going. On the other hand, you may need to take a temporary break from saving as aggressively if you find yourself chafing under a strict spending regime.
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SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 2.50% annual percentage yield (APY) on all account balances in their Checking and Savings accounts (including Vaults). There is no minimum direct deposit amount required to qualify for 2.50% APY. Members without direct deposit will earn 1.20% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. Rate of 2.50% APY is current as of 09/30/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet