10 Ways To Save Money Fast

By Janet Siroto · September 21, 2023 · 9 minute read

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10 Ways To Save Money Fast

You may hit one of those life moments where you need a bundle of cash and fast. Maybe you have been hit with a major car repair bill, you want to attend a destination wedding, or you’re motivated to pay off your student loans ASAP.

Whatever the situation, there are smart strategies that will help you accrue that money as quickly as possible. Tactics like trimming your expenses, selling your unwanted stuff, and bundling your insurance can help you meet a savings goal at top speed.

In this guide, you’ll learn those techniques and more to help you finance whatever is most urgent on your financial to-do list.

How to Save Money Fast 10 Ways

One person’s goal for saving money quickly might be, “I need $500 by the end of the week.” For another, it could be, “I’m going to stash away $10,000 within the next year.” Wherever you may fall in terms of your short-term financial goals, these 10 tactics will help you save money daily and achieve your aspiration.

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1. Getting Rid of Unnecessary Expenses

In an age of automated billings and subscriptions, it is easy to lose track of what exactly you’re paying for each month. It is entirely possible that you’re paying for something you’re not even using.

In order to pinpoint any potentially unwanted expenses, review a month’s worth of auto debits from your bank account. You may find that you’re paying $5 a month for a digital magazine you no longer read or that you could save on streaming services by dropping one or two you don’t watch but are paying $15 a month for.

Once you’ve canceled, you could reroute the money you would have spent directly into your savings account. While $20 or $30 a month saved on subscriptions might not seem like much, even small amounts can quickly add up over time. In combination with other savings techniques, this might help you build your savings fast.

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2. Negotiating and Automating Your Bill Payments

Did you know that some companies offer discounts when you set up automatic bill payments, or autopay? This means connecting a bill directly to your bank account and allowing the company to automatically withdraw the amount of the bill on the due date.

Some companies offer a discount in these situations because automatically debiting your account gives the company assurance that the bill will be paid on time. The bonus for you is double: You might get a little discount on your bills, and you won’t have to remember to manually pay the bill each month.

Autopay might also help you avoid unexpected late fees, which in turn could help you build up savings faster. There might be some downsides to autopay, however. If you set up an autopay agreement but then don’t have enough money in your account to cover the charge, you might end up with a canceled subscription or overdraft or NSF fees from your bank.

3. Carefully Considering Big Decisions

Yes, it’s hard to save money, but learning to be mindful about your purchases can help. Instead of buying something as soon as you want it, you might want to sleep on it overnight and see if you still want it the next morning. Giving yourself more time before pulling out your credit card could help you determine if you really need the item or if you were just caught up in the excitement of shopping.

This can be especially useful when making big purchases because they might require more research anyway. For example, if you’re buying a couch and you fall in love with a sectional sofa, waiting overnight might give you a chance to read reviews, double-check the measurements of your space, and look to see if there are similar styles available online that might cost less.

Some people wait longer still. They use the 30-day rule, which involves writing a note in your calendar for 30 days after you see the item you want. If you still are determined to buy it when the calendar alert pops up, then you can probably feel confident that it isn’t an impulse buy and go for it.

By delaying purchases this way, you may be able to avoid compulsive shopping and save funds, which can go towards your savings goal.

4. Considering a Spending “Fast”

Ready to learn another way to save money quickly? Some savers find that they can save money fast with a challenge: They plan a day or two every week where they eliminate all unnecessary spending. That’s what’s called a “fast”: You avoid spending money, similar to the way a dietary fast means you eat nothing.

For example, if you decide to do a two-day spending fast, you might decide that on Tuesdays and Wednesdays you don’t spend any money other than what it costs to commute to work. That means that on those days, you might choose to forgo your daily pitstop at the coffee shop, a lunch from the salad place (you’d bring food from home), or ordering the brand new book you’ve been waiting to read.

Planning to not spend could help you reign in unintentional spending. Chances are that you barely think about that $4 you spend at the coffee shop, but if you give it up twice a week, that’s $8 that could be going into your savings.

If you save an average of $40 a week with a two-day fast, that could add more than $2,000 to your savings in a year.

5. Putting Your Accounts to Work

Choosing the right account for your money can be a great way to save funds fast. Some checking accounts charge monthly or annual account maintenance fees, with little to no interest.

Savings accounts might offer higher interest rates than a checking account, but the reality is that the average interest rates on a standard savings account can still be very low. Instead, you might shop around for a no-fee, high-interest account to make your money work harder for you. These kinds of accounts are often found at online vs. traditional banks.

If you currently have, say, $5,000 sitting in a checking account, earning no interest, if you were to put it in a savings account at 4.50% interest compounded daily, you’d have an extra $230.12 a year later, with no effort on your part.

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6. Bundling Your Insurance

Insurance can be one of those “set it and forget it” expenses. You might buy a policy and then never really focus on the cost of the premium again.

Many insurers, however, will reduce your rate if you give them more of your business. Typically, this means having your auto and home insurance with the same company. You might be able to save a chunk of change and put it towards your savings goal.

It can also be wise to review your insurance annually. You might be paying for coverage you don’t really need.

7. Starting a Side Hustle

Sure, cutting back on your spending is one way to save money fast. But so is bringing in more cash. Many people find starting a side hustle is a good way to bring in more income. This could mean anything from selling your nature photography on Etsy or providing social media services to a local business or two.

While one of the key benefits of a side hustle is the money it can bring in, you also might find it personally rewarding and even an entry to a new full-time career.

8. Saving on Essentials

Looking for another idea for how to save money fast? There’s no doubt that many things you spend money on are necessities. Food, personal-care items, and gas for your car. But there are plenty of ways you can trim those costs.

•   To save on food, you could do some meal-planning so you can more efficiently manage your grocery budget. Using up what you buy vs. wasting food can help you save a bundle towards your goals.

•   You could get a gas card to save at the pump. There are also plenty of apps that point you towards the cheapest gas stations in your area.

•   Joining a warehouse or wholesale club can help you save on your typical purchases. If you find the quantities too large (say, a 12-pack of shampoo), partner up with a friend of two to share the wealth.

9. Selling Your Stuff

If you’re trying to save money fast, you might be able to “find” a pile of cash by selling your used items that you no longer need. This could mean anything from selling gently worn clothes online (say, on Poshmark or thredUP) or IRL (at Buffalo Exchange perhaps); putting functional electronics up for sale on eBay; or offering items on places like Nextdoor or Facebook Marketplace.

Just be cautious as there are scammers who try to prey on direct sellers.

10. Checking Your Tax Withholding

Here’s another idea for accumulating money quickly: Double-check your tax withholding. If you get a sizable tax refund every year, you may feel as if you are getting “free money.” Not at all! That’s actually your hard-earned money that you overpaid to the government and are now getting back. It could have been earning interest in the bank rather than being whisked out of your paycheck.

If you typically receive a refund, tweak your withholding, and then put the additional money that stays in your paycheck into your savings.

Is Saving Money Fast Realistic?

Saving money fast can be realistic, as long as you keep in mind your income and the fact that most financial experts say to save 20% of that figure. That’s one of the principals of the popular 50/30/20 budget rule. Fifty percent of your money goes towards essential spending, 30% goes to discretionary expenses, and 20% gets socked away as savings.

So, if you earn $100,000 a year and have an important goal in mind, such as the down payment for a house, you might be able to stash $20K in a single year. That might involve pausing your retirement savings for a year as you go all-in on accumulating as much cash as possible for a home purchase.

Also, if you are able to bring in more income (whether by selling your stuff, starting a side hustle, or via passive income ideas), that can accelerate your savings as well.

Keeping Your Savings Safe With SoFi

Whichever strategies (or combination of tactics) you try, it’s important to find the right banking partner where your money can grow. You’ll likely want a financial institution with Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation coverage, low or no fees, and a healthy interest rate.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

How can I save $1,000 fast?

To save $1,000 fast, you can try a combination of such techniques as trimming subscriptions, essential, and discretionary spending; bundling insurance to cut costs; selling your unwanted items; and/or using the 30-day rule.

How to save up $10,000 in 3 months?

To save $10,000 in three months, you need to save $3,333 after-tax dollars per month. Your income and expenses will influence how doable this is. Some ways to save this amount include going on a spending fast (meaning you eliminate all possible discretionary spending) and starting a side hustle to bring in more money.

How to save $5,000 ASAP?

To save $5,000 ASAP, you can try cutting your expenses, avoiding big purchases, making sure your money is earning a good interest rate, and bringing in more cash via a side hustle.


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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

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