Are you currently in a situation where you need to save money fast? Like… right-now fast?
If you are, then you’ve come to the right place. Whether you need the money for an emergency, to save up for a house deposit or finally become debt-free, learning some tricks on how to save money quickly will help you feel more in control of any financial situation. And the best part? Many of these tips can be implemented every time you find yourself needing some extra cash...
One of the fastest and easiest ways to save money is to first look at your spending. Why? Because it’s something you can do right at this instant and doesn’t necessarily rely on others to get done. Here are some good ways to cut your spending:
Be intentional with your purchases
This one may seem obvious, but it’s good to reiterate. One of the first things you can do if you want to cut your spending is to cut back on unnecessary expenses. Whenever you are purchasing something, ask yourself if you truly need this item, product or service.
Some people call this the 7-second rule: wait 7 seconds before you buy something, just to make sure you truly want it. This could be another pair of shoes, takeaway on Sunday night or that new iPhone you’re eyeing. If this purchase is intentional and worth the money, then go ahead. If it isn’t, then you know what to do.
Change your phone bills
One of the fastest ways to save money quickly is to switch to a cheaper phone plan. If you’re currently on a phone contract, you’re likely overpaying for your phone data plan and smartphone. Consider buying a second-hand phone and paying separately for calls; some phone plans charge as little as £5 per month for a reasonable amount of data and minutes per month.
Buy groceries in bulk and generic brands
If you can, buy your groceries in bulk and in cheaper stores. Do weekend hauls rather than short trips to express shops. Although it may not seem like much of a difference at first, it really does add up over time. Another tip is to also cook in bulk too - you’ll always have food ready to eat which means you’re less likely to snack and it’ll be cheaper in the long run. Ideal food for this is rice, beans, pasta and frozen vegetables/fruits.
When you do go shopping, look at the prices and buy your food from generic or store brands rather than speciality ones. You’ll often find that the taste is the same and that you’re really just paying for their marketing.
Sign up to loyalty schemes
Loyalty schemes and cards can help you save money on your groceries and regular shopping. The supermarket you regularly go to? Check to see if they offer a loyalty scheme such as Sainsbury’s Nectar card or Tesco’s Clubcard. Whenever you shop online, look for loyalty schemes and discounts - many online shopping sites offer a 10% discount just for subscribing to their newsletter! With the Honey chrome extension, you’ll be able to take advantage of as many discounts and deals as possible.
Buy advance train tickets
Although we’re not doing much travelling in 2021, many of us are still taking the train to travel across the country for essential trips. Train tickets can get incredibly expensive, especially since there is now limited capacity and new schedules. Buying a separate ticket for every trip is an expensive way to travel. By buying advance train tickets, picking a longer route or buying off-peak, you can save over 50% on ticket prices.
Ditch the car
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we don’t need a car as much as we think we do. Cars are expensive to run and maintain, especially if you live in the city. Whenever you can, take a bicycle or walk. If you want to save a lot of money, consider selling your car altogether and buying something cheaper - or nothing at all.
The average UK household spends £1,138 per year on gas and electricity. As someone living in a UK home, gas and electricity are some of the highest bills you’re paying every month. The good news is that you can save hundreds of pounds per year by adding in loft, cavity wall and floor insulation. If you don’t have the capital, you can also opt for the cheaper version with carpets, thick curtains and cling film on your windows.
Make your own gifts
Buying presents for a loved one always turns out to be more expensive than initially planned for. Instead of dropping £70 on a birthday or Christmas present for a loved one, why not save the money and make your own gift? They’ll likely acknowledge the gesture and might even prefer it - putting your own personal effort into a gift is often a lot more appreciated than buying something generic on Amazon.
Buy second hand
The UK is full of second-hand shops, both online and on the street - so why not make the most of them? Whenever you’re in need of home decorations or clothes, head first to your local charity shop and see what you can find. Not only will you be saving money, but you’ll be doing something good for the environment (and you may find even higher quality products!).
Gym memberships can be quite pricey if you add up the costs over time. With the Covid pandemic, many of us have realised that home exercises are often just as good as the gym. Instead of paying for a membership, why not buy some dumbbells and follow home workouts on Youtube? Or simply head outside for a run, a cycle or a short hike?
Try a no spending challenge
One good way to make saving money a little more fun is to turn it into a challenge. One challenge could be to not spend any money on clothes for 30 days. Or to have one no-spend day per week. Or even a saving challenge where you decide to save £1 per week and increase the amount by £1 every time. Turning saving into a game means you’ll see it as something fun rather than as a chore or burden.
Move money around
There are creative ways to save money fast without having to cut down your spending to a bare minimum. Although these tips might not work in the long term, they can help you save money quickly if you’re in a bit of a sticky situation.
Set up a free overdraft
If you desperately need some money and are confident you’ll be able to make it back soon, a free overdraft is a low-risk solution. Many bank accounts offer free overdrafts to students or new account users. Make sure to set up the arranged overdraft and pay it off as soon as you have the money.
Whether it’s your mortgage or credit card debt, moving to a cheaper agreement can help you save quite a lot of money every month. If you’re paying interest on a credit card and want to save money fast, open another credit card that offers a 0% balance transfer and charges no interest on the first 12 months. Many credit cards offer these bonuses to new users: you can open one, transfer the balance over and you’ll have 12 more months to pay it off. You’ll save money by not paying interest on current debt and you’ll have some time to get back on your feet. With mortgages, talk to your bank to see if they can offer you a lower monthly payment for a longer-term mortgage.
Open a new bank account
Many banks offer large signup bonuses to new customers as an incentive to sign up. If you meet the requirements, you can get a signup bonus of £100 by opening an account with First Direct or £55 with TSB! A great tip if you need to save money fast.
Implement the 30-day rule
This rule is a handy one to keep for life: every time you want to purchase a large item, wait 30 days. If after a month you still want to buy it, then go ahead. If you soon forget about it, then that means it was an impulse buy. You’ll curve impulse purchases and feel more confident about your decisions if you stick to this rule.
Make a budget
The best tactics to save money fast are often unique to your spending habits: where you shop, what your guilty pleasures are and what your largest commitments are. For this reason, it’s useful to track your spending every month and make a plan. Once you know where your money is going, you can then learn how to budget and save money fast. Using a tool like Money Dashboard will help you trim the fat on your spending and find ways to save more money.
Sometimes, you’ve cut your spending to a bare minimum and maxed out all the tricks to get free money. In this case, there’s only one thing left to do: increase your income. The good news is that in today’s age of the internet economy, it’s now easier than ever to make money on your own schedule.
Sign up for gig work
If you just need some quick cash, gig work is a good way to make money without needing a highly specific set of skills. There are a few apps you can sign up to which will allow you to work on your own time and pay a decent hourly rate (and may even be fun!):
Sell your stuff
There are likely a few things lying around your home that may be useful to other people. That old jumper Mum used to wear? The pair of shoes you wore only 3 times? Old baby clothes? All those items could find another home, and you could make a good few quid selling them to a new owner. Take some photos and try your luck out on eBay - you may be surprised to find how many people are interested.
Rent out unused space
This strategy is a little niche since you need to have unused space in the first place. Not only that but renting out unused space during the pandemic is probably not a good idea unless it is somehow detached from your living area. You can also try renting out other unused spaces such as a parking spot on Your Parking Space.
Does your job pay you extra for overtime? If so, consider working a couple of extra hours every week for some quick money. You’ll need to wait till the end of the month to receive it, but it’s a straightforward way to make money doing something you know how to do (and may help with the promotion!).
Cashback can be quite a fun way to save money fast. Whenever you go shopping, use a credit or debit card that offers cashback. This way, you’ll be “making” money while spending. You won’t save hundreds of pounds, but you’ll be maximising your savings and will be paying less on items such as groceries and clothes. Sites such as TopCashback can help you find easy ways to earn cashback.
Reward yourself for good habits
One of the best ways to continuously save money is to turn it into a habit. Saving money itself can be difficult, and we often need to rewire our brains in order to make it happen. One great strategy to encourage good saving habits is to reward yourself every time you cut an expense or save money by putting that money aside into a separate savings account.
When you take the bike rather than the car, buy generic Oreos rather than the real ones or choose to drink water rather than Coca Cola, it’s easy to lose motivation since you won’t see the immediate reward of those £5 you just saved. Next time you actively perform a good habit, open your bank account app and immediately send those £5 to a separate savings account. Over time, you’ll see this account grow and will be motivated to keep adding to it.
What’s your favourite money-saving tip? We hope these tips and tricks will help you save money fast and also inspire you to turn saving money into a habit, rather than a one-off chore. By looking for creative ways to save money and turning into a game, you’ll see that it quickly stops becoming a burden and more of everyday life.