22 Easy and Proven Ways to Save Money Fast

Written by Brian Funes | March 31, 2023

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The only thing better than shopping is saving money while doing it. But aside from major shopping holidays and big flash sales, how do people save money day to day? Many savings secrets are hiding in plain sight, and once you know what they are you’ll wonder why you didn’t implement them sooner. If you’re willing to get a little creative and step outside your comfort zone, here are 22 simple ways to save some extra money throughout the year.

1. Take Advantage of Personal Finance Apps

The first step in saving money is finding out where you’re spending it. Before you shudder at the prospect of creating a financial spreadsheet and maintaining it, why not get a little help?

Mint is a free personal finance program that tracks your spending, helps you budget, and lets you set financial goals. Saving money is a habit, after all, and having a tool to hold you accountable makes the job that much easier. Mint also comes with credit monitoring so you can see your score at any time, and the app will tell you if your credit report undergoes any major changes.

Some people may be critical of the lack of investment options available on Mint, but it doesn’t claim to be an investment app. It’s a budgeting and financial literacy app, and it performs that task with flying colors.

>> Related: Rule of 72 Investment Calculator

2. File Your Taxes Yourself

If you have uncomplicated taxes, why bother paying someone over $100 to file on your behalf? TurboTax and FreeTaxUSA are popular options for people who are trying to save some money during tax season. The user interfaces for both services are fairly easy to understand, and both let you receive your refund via direct deposit. TurboTax can be free if you’re only filing a W-2, but FreeTaxUSA costs $0 for federal and $14.99 for state, and it offers Schedule C filing, which freelancers need.

3. Put That Debit Card Away

Put That Debit Card Away

Unless you’re in credit card debt or get charged extra for using a credit card, there are many reasons you should opt to pay for a purchase with your credit card rather than your debit card.

For one, many credit cards offer a variety of cash-back opportunities, from extra points on food and gas to bonus points on travel deals. If you’re going to spend, you may as well earn some of that money back. Another reason you should use your credit card is that you’re building credit with every purchase, compared to gaining nothing by paying with a debit card. A good credit score is important when buying a home or taking out loans, so any traction toward a better score is worth the effort.

Lastly, fraud protections are also much higher on a credit card. A worst-case scenario with credit card fraud may cost you $50, but debit card fraud could drain your entire bank account. In order to save your money, you have to protect it first.

>> Check it out: Net Worth Calculator

4. Know Which Months Have the Best Deals for Your Purchases

Know Which Months Have the Best Deals for Your Purchases

Most people know where to shop for great Black Friday deals, but do you know which month is best to buy a mattress?

Some specific products are accompanied by stellar deals each month. Bedding and fitness equipment make the best January product deals, the best items to buy in April are winter clothing and furniture, and December is, predictably, the season for toys and electronics. It’s hard to make calendar-perfect purchases every time, but if you want a new TV after Christmas, you might save a few dollars by waiting to purchase it until late January — right before the Super Bowl.

Exercising some patience and knowing when to buy certain products can knock a considerable amount off your purchase.

>> Additional resources: Debt vs Savings Calculator

5. Buy Ugly Produce

Buy Ugly Produce

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you’re able to look beyond the skin (or peel), switching up your grocery shopping to include ugly produce might be an attractive option.

The unconventional appearance of these fruits and vegetables often doesn’t affect the flavor or nutrition within, making their rejection completely wasteful and superficial. You could potentially save money on groceries by shopping with an ugly produce retailer like Imperfect Foods.

To make the most out of your Imperfect Produce shopping experience, we have a few tips:

  • Make sure you know the current market value for the items you are buying. Most of the ugly produce sold is under market value, but some items are reduced more than others. Remember, you’re factoring in your savings vs. shipping costs of $4.99 to $8.99.
  • Imperfect Produce gives 20% off for EBT and SNAP benefit holders.

6. Buy an Espresso Machine

Buy an Espresso Machine

Many companies have begun to adopt a work-from-home model over the past few years, so now is the perfect time to consider extending that model to your coffee habit.

Before COVID-19, many of us made a daily pit stop at a Starbucks or Coffee Bean before commuting to work, and the cost of those cups of coffee certainly added up. If you spent $5 a day on Peet's Coffee or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf every week for a year (excluding holidays), you’d have spent close to $1,300 by the end of the year.

Why not spend that money on a fancy espresso machine for your home instead? The resulting cups of coffee will be made at a fraction of the price for the lifetime of the machine. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, the Flair NEO Espresso Maker is a quality espresso machine priced at $125.

7. Sign Up for a Meal Kit Subscription

Sign up for a Meal Kit Subscription

Eating out is one of the most expensive ways to consume food, but if you still want the novelty of trying gourmet dishes without the expensive price tag, a meal kit subscription is a nice intermediate option. Averaging under $10 per serving, meal-prep services such as Blue Apron and HelloFresh offer healthy, well-balanced meals tailored to a variety of dietary restrictions. The ingredients are prepped and ready to go, so your time spent in the kitchen is kept to a minimum. Bon appetit!

8. Make Your Own Bread

Make Your Own Bread

Baking your own bread isn’t just a hobby we took up to kill time during quarantine. It’s actually a great way to save money and can be a gratifying process as you build proficiency. With just one bag of flour, water, and salt, you can make four to six loaves of fresh artisanal country bread for under $5.

If you need a little extra help and want a sourdough starter, you can find a quality heirloom starter on Etsy for under $10.

9. Shop Secondhand for Vintage and Designer Clothing Brands

Shop Secondhand For Vintage and Designer Clothing Brands

There are plenty of good finds in the secondhand clothing market if you know what you’re looking for. You can score designer clothing on platforms like Poshmark for significantly less than the standard retail price. Going to thrift and vintage stores is also a cheap and sustainable way to fill out your wardrobe while supporting local businesses. For the treasure hunters out there, platforms like Ruby Lane and Etsy are great places to snag rare vintage finds without breaking the bank.

10. Buy a Bidet

Buy a Bidet

Bidets may have been a fancy accessory in the past, but they’re for everyone now.

Tushy has designed a quality budget bidet that will reduce your toilet paper usage by 80% once this bad boy is part of your bathroom. It wasn’t so long ago that toilet paper was a valuable hoarded commodity. While people stood in long lines and fought over extra rolls, bidet users comfortably continued with bathroom business as usual.

A bidet might take some getting used to, but the savings, cleanliness, and convenience should convince you. It’s also quite easy to install. A Tushy Classic 3.0 bidet requires no electricity or plumbing modifications and can be installed in under 10 minutes.

11. Stream Thousands of Films for Free With Kanopy

Stream Thousands of Films for Free With Kanopy

If you haven’t been to your local library since graduating high school or college, you’re missing out on more than just books and a place to read. It’s a small secret that many libraries rent out CDs and DVDs, but did you know a library card also gives you access to movie-streaming platforms?

Kanopy is a free digital platform that gives users access to thousands of films. Its selection includes critically acclaimed films, documentaries, award-winning foreign films, and children’s programming. Users are limited to watching 10 films a month, but Kanopy Kids content can be watched without using any play credits. Visit the Kanopy website to check if your library or university has a Kanopy partnership.

12. Mitigate Phantom Energy Consumption

Mitigate Phantom Energy Consumption

It may not seem like it, but idle appliances and devices that are plugged in are still drawing power. Not a big deal in the snapshot of a single day, but in an entire year those energy costs could add up to an extra $100 on your electricity bills.

Common energy vampires that contribute to this problem are TVs, computers, cable boxes, video game consoles, printers, coffeemakers, and any device with a clock function. An easy way to combat this problem — besides manually unplugging idle devices and chargers — is to plug devices into power strips and flip the switch whenever those devices are not in use.

Investing in Wyze smart plugs is another way to control your energy usage. Not only can you control whether an outlet receives power through an app or voice commands, but you can also monitor the exact energy usage from plugged-in appliances through the Wyze app.

13. Sell Unwanted Items Online

Sell Unwanted Items Online

Believe it or not, the items you consider junk in your house could find a second home through a number of online marketplaces. Whether it’s an old TV, a pair of roller skates you no longer use, or a dusty spare desk sitting in your garage, putting these wares up on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist could turn these unwanted items into extra dollars if the right buyer comes along.

14. Birthday Freebies

Birthday Freebies

There’s a lot to celebrate when it’s your birthday, and many of the brands you shop with will often join in on the fun. If you want access to extra savings on your birthday, make sure you join the loyalty programs of your most-shopped retailers. If you plan it right, it could mean a free drink from Starbucks in the morning, a 5% discount on a quick birthday shop at Target, and a free dessert from your favorite restaurant at night. Not groundbreaking savings per se, but definitely a cherry on top of your special day.

15. Get Fit With YouTube

Get Fit With YouTube

The experience of a gym can’t be fully replicated at home, but your fitness gains aren’t beholden to a monthly gym membership. There is an abundance of free fitness content on YouTube requiring minimal equipment that can kick your body into gear. Fitness influencers like Athlean-X and Pamela Reif have professionally regimented programs for all fitness levels that can help you reach your fitness goals. It’s like having your own personal trainer without the extra cost.

16. Adopt Your Next Pet

Adopt Your Next Pet

The savings opportunities involved in adopting a pet are twofold: You’re saving a life, and you’re adding an animal companion to your family at a fraction of the cost. Unlike buying from a breeder, adopted animals will have their basic vaccinations, spay and neuter costs, and microchipping costs covered by the adoption fee. If you’re looking for a way to adopt your next pet, a service like Petfinder is a great way to get started. There are also breed-specific rescue organizations you can find through the AKC Rescue Network.

17. Buy an Alternative or Vintage Engagement Ring

Buy An Alternative or Vintage Engagement Ring

Looking to propose to your partner in an ethical and affordable way? For the nontraditional bride, a Moissanite gemstone can be a reasonable substitute for a diamond. Moissanite is the second hardest mineral behind diamond and has comparable brilliance, color, and shine to a standard diamond, but without the price tag. One carat of Moissanite can run you around $300 to $600 — a fraction of what a VS2 diamond costs.

If diamonds are a must for your bride-to-be, consider buying a lab-grown diamond. You get all of the sparkles at a lower cost while responsibly sourcing your gemstone. Also, learn more about our diamond-hacking tips to get more diamond for your buck!

18. Read E-books and Audiobooks for Free With Libby

Read Ebooks and Audiobooks for Free with Libby

The library card perks aren’t done quite yet. If you’re an avid e-book reader, your Kindle will be working overtime with all the great free e-books available on Libby .

The Libby catalog has thousands of e-books and audiobooks available online, digitally curated by your local library. You can find classics and New York Times Best Sellers, all for free. If you’d rather not use data and stream audiobooks from your car, you can even download them from a Wi-Fi connection for offline usage later. And unlike Kanopy, there are no limits on how much content you consume on a monthly basis. Enjoy!

19. Cut Out Unnecessary Media Subscriptions

Cut Out Unnecessary Media Subscriptions

Now that you know about Kanopy and Libby, it may be time to cut out your least-used streaming subscription. Consider having one main subscription you have at all times. Unless the content you want to watch is platform-exclusive, paying a one-time fee to watch new releases is still more affordable than sustaining a long-term subscription.

20. Sidestep Dynamic Pricing

Data is power. That’s especially true when it comes to online shopping. Unfortunately, some retailers will use your personal data against you and charge more for your purchase — a practice known as “dynamic pricing." Not great, but you have a few ways to defend yourself.

First, clear your browser cookies between searches so websites can’t use your web activity to determine your pricing. Then employ Incognito Mode whenever you browse so websites believe you’re a first-time customer, which often results in better prices. If you want to take it one step further, consider using a VPN like CyberGhost to test whether your current location affects your final price.

21. Download Retailer Apps

Loyalty programs have come a long way since those little tags that occupied everyone’s key rings. Many retailers now have their own mobile apps. It may seem like a pain to download and learn each retailer’s app, but it could be worth your time if you’re a frequent shopper at certain stores.

App users can generally look forward to app-exclusive discounts, free shipping, and news about seasonal products before they hit the shelves. Ace Hardware rewards customers with a $5 bonus just for downloading its new mobile app. Once you get over the initial learning curve of each app, the savings will come naturally and often.

22. The Power of Clearance

Clearance! A magical word.

Typing it in the search bar of your favorite retailer’s website will shore up any discounted items or promotional deals that are currently available. It’s fast and easy, and it may present you with an affordable alternative you didn’t consider. loves to shop as much as you do, and we’re constantly searching for the best coupons in every category and across some of the largest consumer brands on the market. You can find weekly coupons, seasonal deals, and even more deep-dive savings articles like this one in the Savvy blog on our website. We also do giveaways on social media, so follow along for a chance to win gift cards to some of your favorite stores.

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