The Top Things You Can Do to Save Money NOW!
Alright, time to get out the big, squeaky markers, and brainstorm. Everyone wants to be a millionaire, and not have to worry about bills and expenses. But before you get there, you’re going to have to learn some quick and easy methods of saving money while you’re still getting your feet under you.
The way you think about saving might need to change.
A few habits might need to be dropped, altered a little, unlearned, or re-learned.
Here are some simple methods I have found to quickly and easily start saving money while living in a paycheck to paycheck grind. Without living like a miser.
Find Clever Ways to Cut The Little Costs
One of the best ways I have found to cut costs is to find free apps and websites to passively save money. Bear in mind, NOT ALL OF THEM ARE WORTH IT, so I have carefully selected only the ones that have actually proven effective and efficient:
This is a free app that you can use on an iPhone or Android smart phone, to save you money on things like your groceries. It has a large selection of qualifying products, and you simply use the app to scan the receipt and product bar codes. My wife and I make at least $20 a month from this free app, just by scanning groceries we buy anyway.
I have tried several apps in this category, including one called ShopKicks, but found Ibotta to be BY FAR the best.
You can join it online right ==> here!
My code is QOGALDE. The cool thing about this is that you can join and build teams, to help each other reach bonuses in addition to your monthly savings just by using the app.
This one is for online shoppers.
Essentially, every time you go to shop online, whether you’re buying clothes, groceries, gifts, flowers, or anything else, you can go through Ebates first and get money back.
It’s almost like a built in coupon system, that you can use for any shopping you do, from Amazon, Ebay, Groupon, you name it.
Again, for activities that you already do anyway, it’s helpful to get some money back on them.
You can join it ==> HERE, and start at Ebates for any of your future online shopping.
Rewards or Loyalty Programs:
Not all loyalty programs are worth it. That’s the truth.
If a loyalty program wants you to get a credit card with the company, it’s usually not worth it. But I’ve managed to find a few that don’t require cards, and have paid off.
One loyalty program I DO use is the Shell Gold Status program for my gas.
It usually gets me $0.05 off per gallon, and often gets me $0.10, $0.15, or even $0.25 off per gallon. If you shop online through their website the saving gets even higher.
It sounds like a small savings, but it saves around $200 a year on my household’s gas bill, for no cost beyond punching my phone number into the pump.
If you have a Shell station near you, ==> TRY IT OUT, and you may be able to save on your gas spending.
Open a Savings Account (or Find A Better One)
Seriously. One of the first steps to start putting money aside, is to actually open a savings account where you can start making those contributions.
The first half of the battle is disciplining yourself, and prioritizing it in your budget. If your first inclination with spare change is to spend it on stuff, like expensive speakers or clothes, or to feed some expensive hobbie that you’re pouring way too much money into, rethink where you’re putting that money, and make sure at least some of it ends up in your savings account.
Better yet, commit to a specific amount per month, even if it means depriving yourself of a couple luxuries, or decreasing your spending a little, and budget it for your savings.
This could even mean just taking those savings you get from cutting your costs in the ways I mentioned earlier ;)! Just an idea.
Ultimately, you’ll also want to make sure your savings account has a decent interest rate. If the APY on your savings account is low, try opening a different one. Many online savings accounts like Live Oak Bank, CIT Bank, and Dollar Savings Direct, have interest rates of 1.5% or 1.6%. This isn’t much compared to many Life policies and IRA’s, but it’s a solid and easy place to start!
The Little Online Money-Makers
Believe it or not, there are a number of things you can do online to help you save a little money. Read this closely and carefully, because we’re delving into some pretty swampy territory here!!
I say swampy because most things like survey sites, and websites that will ask your opinions in exchange for a little cash, tend to be scams that will bleed your valuable time.
So I have narrowed this down to only a few decent ones, which can be used strategically to make a little side money quickly.
Rule #1 with survey sites is picking them very carefully. If they actually take significant amounts of time, they’re not worth it. I’ve tried my fair share. Some good, some terrible. This is what I’ve found…
This website works on a points basis. You can use these points to bid on things like $20 Visa cards.
The good news is, with a little strategy, this works pretty well (bid your points in the last 20 seconds of the bid. It works like a charm, because nobody has time to top it).
The bad news is once you’ve reached a certain number of surveys, it starts requiring huge amounts of points to win anything.
I made $75 in the first month, just by fitting small surveys in between checking my emails. And dropped the site like a hot potato after making that side money. It’s useful, but only briefly.
Product Report Card:
This is the rare survey site with straightforward rewards. And one of the few I would trust long term.
It helped pay for dates out to dinner, or the movies, and has paid for phone accessories when my wife and I were living on a tighter budget.
Product Report Card would simply email me when a relevant survey would come along, explaining how long it was, and exactly how much money each would pay.
No lame points to gamble on raffles that never pay. It pays you at least a little even if you don’t qualify for a survey. And it provides you with occasional opportunities to do product tests, which are super easy ways of making side money, while getting something for free on top of it.
I’ve used it for a couple months, and have made around $40.
There are dozens of survey sites out there. I have tried lots of them. These are the only ones that ever delivered.
DISCLAIMER!!: There are tons of blogs online that will encourage you to use Inbox Dollars, and will make it sound amazing. Yes I’m recommending it for a very SPECIFIC use, but it is not in any way as good as most blogs will make it sound. I learned this the hard way.
Inbox Dollars is a site that has a huge variety of different ways of making money. This includes surveys, but their surveys waste massive amounts of time, and are very difficult to qualify for.
These hacks are the only ways I would recommend using Inbox Dollars. They abuse the system.
1. Inbox Dollars will pay you around 10 to 15 cents for every 20 minutes or so, to watch the TV on their site. People read this, and think you can get paid to watch any TV that you like. It’s not that way. It’s a bland mashup of one-sided political news, cheap celebrity gossip, and repetitive ads.
Every morning I open the site, hit play, mute it, minimize it, and forget about it. It runs all day, making me pocket change, and I only need to check on it periodically to “scratch” off each card that pays me.
Make it a habit, and it can build up to another $20 per month.
2. There are a number of offers on the site. If you are considering becoming a driver for Lyft or Uber, MAKE SURE you apply through Inbox Dollars. It will pay you a $50-$100 bonus, in addition to the money you make as a driver.
Similarly, if you are considering using some extra space in your house as an AirBnB business, make sure you sign up with AirBnB through Inbox Dollars. They’ll pay you another $100 after your first $100 in booked listings.
Try it out ==> here.
Believe it or not, there are a number of websites you can use that will pay you to review websites.
Generally, they will show you how to record yourself going through a website for 20 minutes, talking about your experience. Send it in. And it pays around $10 per review.
$10 for 20 minutes of browsing a website and sharing your thoughts is a pretty good deal, and there are new websites to review several times per week.
The catch? It isn’t necessarily easy to qualify.
Some of the best are UserTesting, YouEye, Userlytics, and TryMyUI. Make sure you’re helpful and insightful as your talking about the sites, and if you qualify, this is some VERY easy side money to fit in between episodes of your favorite Netflix show, study breaks during college work, or really any time you’re on a computer.
And These Are Just a Few
These are good places to start. They will help you cut down on costs, and add a little extra cash that you can use to start saving quickly.
In the long-term, the best goal is to create side income that has a bigger payoff. This is not easy, nor is it necessarily quick, but it’s worth it.
For my TOP recommendations for generating side income, up to 1000’s per month, check out this post ==> Income Building
6 People reacted on this
You have some very interesting ways one could start saving and I also think the first step to saving is changing your mindset. Skipping a dinner out and putting the money you would have spent in a saving account can add up too.
Thank you for sharing your tips! They could be very useful to someone that is familiar with technology.
Hi Justina, thanks for the comment!
Definitely! It took me some time to finally develop this habit, of cutting down spending and saving. I think that life on earth is too short to fully live like a miser, or skip every opportunity for the sake of money, but being wise and finding joy in free or affordable experiences is important!
It’s true, many of these savings opportunities require a smart-phone, and sometimes a bit of familiarity with technology. I’ll need to look into some more ways to save outside of those things! Do you have some tips?
I have tried to save money before, i succeeded but i ended up being a miser to the extent of always going for the cheapest things on sale even when i had money to buy quality but expensive products. How does one put a balance between not overspending and becoming a miser.
Hi Anita, thanks for the comment!
That’s a really tough balance to strike. I’ve had to try and learn my way through that too.
There are two things that come to mind. The first is to set an actual budget for what you can spend on “extra” things. So if you have somewhere that you’ve set up a budget – paper, a spreadsheet – that can be something that you predetermine. You’ll know what you have already there, set aside, so you can comfortably spend whatever, whenever, as long as you aren’t going over that amount that you set before hand.
The other thing that I described in the post here, is that whenever I want to spend extra money, on things like entertainment (movies, concerts, broadway shows, luxury, unnecessary new clothes) I would make that money through some passive online source, or rack it up monthly by taking rebates from my groceries (using Ibotta). Between a few of things I mentioned it’s an extra $40-$50 to blow on anything I want.
Ultimately, the goal is to create flows of income from “side gigs” that will totally cover the extra costs in life, to enjoy the quality things that you want to enjoy. This should explain some ideas – How Can You Retire Early?
I have cut out as much expenses as I can but I still feel like I need more money. Do you think doing something like driving for Uber would be a viable solution to get some extra cash on the table?
Also, thank you for being honest about how survey sites can actually help you with making pocket change. A lot of other websites never mention the time that you are going to spend in order to make such little money. If anything, they present it as if you can make a part time income from it.
I’ve felt the same exact way! Cutting expenses is important when money is tight, but the better way to live is to actually be making more than enough money to live on.
I don’t have experience as an Uber driver myself, but I have friends who have (or maybe it was Lyft, I can’t remember which). They’ve done very well. I think that if you live in a metropolitan area, and especially if you’re willing to do some hours at night, you can do very well.
Uber or Lyft could be a great stop-gap while you’re getting other things going, like an affiliate marketing website, a drop shipping store, or a commission-based sales job of some kind.
YES, I’ve been so frustrated by survey sites as well. They’re always presented as such fantastic ways to make income, when in reality you can only usually make a couple dollars an hour at best. It’s not time efficient! But I think a lot of people fall into the trap. I know I have before.
Good luck to you sir!