There are all kinds of different ways to save money, but if you’re looking for quick results, here are some ideas to save money with only a minimal investment of time and effort.
Read through this list and I’m sure you’ll find at least a few things you can do right now to start saving some money. Several of these methods can even help you to save money on your recurring bills, which will free up money in your budget each and every month.
→ Related reading: How to Create a Budget That Works
1. Let Trim Lower Your Monthly Bills
Trim is a free app that can help you to save money in a few different ways. The most significant is its bill negotiation service. If you give Trim permission, they will work on your behalf to reduce your bills for cable TV, internet access, and cell phone service.
It takes just a couple of minutes to sign up and then Trim does the work for you. There is no upfront fee and if they aren’t able to lower your bills you will owe nothing. If they are able to lower your bills, Trim will charge 33% of your total savings over the next year.
I’m a fan of Trim because their negotiation reduced my Comcast bill for internet access (even after I unsuccessfully tried to negotiate a lower price on my own).
In addition to the bill negotiation, Trim will also analyze your spending and help you to find subscription payments that you can cancel to save money.
2. Set Up Paribus to Get Refunds for You
Paribus is a free app that helps you to get refunds that are owed to you. You’ll link it to the email address that you use for online shopping and whenever it sees a receipt email it will go to work. Paribus will look for lower prices whenever you have a purchase from a store/website with a low price guarantee.
If Paribus finds a lower price, it will automatically request a refund for the difference on your behalf. I’ve received several emails about partial refunds from purchases as a result of taking just a couple of minutes to sign up for Paribus.
Another nice feature of Paribus is shipment tracking. The app will track shipments from websites like Amazon that offer a delivery guarantee. If the delivery is late, Paribus will attempt to get compensation for you. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, this could mean a free month of Prime or a small gift card.
Possibly the best thing about Paribus is that it is hands off. You sign up, give it access, and you’re done. It will work without any further effort from you.
3. Transfer High-Interest Credit Card Debt
If you have high-interest credit card debt, an easy way to save some money is to sign up for a new credit card that offers 0% interest for a limited time on balance transfers. There are plenty of cards with balance transfer offers, so it’s not hard to find a good option. Dropping from 15-20% interest down to 0% interest can make it a lot easier to get that debt paid off!
Of course, doing a balance transfer is only a good solution if you are committed to paying off that balance and not accumulating more credit card debt. Don’t apply for a new credit card unless you’re confident that you can avoid racking up more debt.
4. Open an Account with a Good Cashback Credit Card
If you’re like me and you use a credit card for the majority of your purchases, you can accumulate a lot of rewards and cash back over the course of a year. Earning 2% – 5% cash back may not sound like a lot, but it really adds up.
If you’re using a rewards credit card that pays 1% cash back, you can do better! There are a few cards that pay 2% for every purchase.
There are also other cards that allow you to earn a higher percentage on certain types of purchases. I love the Chase Freedom and card because I can earn 5% cash back on purchases in categories that rotate each quarter. Right now, I’m getting 5% cash back on groceries, which is an easy way to accumulate rewards from something I need to buy.
The same disclosure is applicable here. Don’t use a credit card unless it is for purchases that you would make anyway. If using a cashback credit card encourages you to spend more money, don’t carry one.
5. Buy Discounted Gift Cards (for Things You Would Buy Anyway)
One of my favorite easy ways to save money is to buy gift cards at prices below face value. If you buy a gift card to a store or website that you need to shop at anyway, it’s a great way to save some money.
There are a few different ways you can buy discounted gift cards, including:
- Use a website like Raise to buy discounted gift cards that other people aren’t going to use.
- Buy discounted gift cards at wholesale clubs (when they have promos).
- Buy gift cards at places that will earn extra cash back (if you get 5% cash back from grocery store purchases, you may be able to buy a gift card at the grocery store for other stores and restaurants).
- Take advantage of special offers with buy-one-get-one-free (usually around the holidays).
I have a more detailed article about ways to buy discounted gift cards if you’re interested in learning more.
Raise is my favorite way to do it. The amount that you’ll save will depend on the store or website that you’re buying a gift card for, but the savings can be pretty good in some cases (especially with restaurants). If I know I am going to be making a purchase at a store or eating at a restaurant, I’ll check Raise and see if I can get a gift card at a discount.
6. Let Personal Capital Check Your Investment Fees
Personal Capital is a free finance app that has several different benefits. My favorite use of Personal Capital is for tracking net worth, but it also has some nice reporting tools. One of the reports will allow you to see how much you are spending on fees for your investments.
High investment fees can kill your long-term growth, so it’s best to minimize the fees as much as possible.
You can create a free Personal Capital account, link your investment accounts, and check the fee report. If you don’t like what you see, you can move to investments with lower fees.
Get a $20 Amazon Gift Card for Trying Personal Capital
Right now Personal Capital is offering a $20 Amazon gift card just for trying their free app. You’ll need to sign up here, and then after you have linked at least one financial account, you will get an email with a code for the $20 gift card.
7. Create a Meal Plan for the Next Week
One of the best ways to save money on groceries is to create a meal plan and use that meal plan to create a grocery list. If you typically go to the grocery store and just buy random stuff, you’re probably spending way too much money.
A meal plan is a great way to make the most of the money that you spend on groceries, and it’s not that hard to do. See this beginner’s guide if you’re looking for some direction.
In less than an hour, you can create a meal plan for the next week, and when you go grocery shopping you will easily save money.
8. Pack Your Lunch
Do you normally buy your lunch each day? If so, an easy way to save some money would be to pack your own lunch.
You can pack a lunch in just a few minutes, or with an hour you can cook something and take part of it with you each day.
If you spend $8 per workday on lunch, that will cost you about $176 per month! You can easily pack a lunch each day for a small fraction of that amount.
9. Switch to a Different Energy Provider
Depending on where you live, you may be able to choose your provider for utilities like electricity and gas. Not only can you save money, but it’s fast and easy to do. In most cases, the company that you switch to will handle the work for you, so all you need to do is sign up.
You can use a website like ChooseEnergy.com to find the best rates on electricity and natural gas. Comparing rates is easy and you may even find some offers with signup bonuses.
10. Get a Quote for Refinancing Your Student Loans
If you have student loans, you may be able to save money by refinancing or consolidating. In just a few minutes you can get a quote from websites like Credible or LendKey. It’s easy to do, and you may be able to save a nice chunk of money without much effort.
11. Move Your Savings to an Account with a Higher Interest Rate
Where do you keep your savings? If you have a savings account with a local bank, chances are, the interest rate you’re earning is very low. If you open a savings or money market account with an online bank you can probably increase the interest that you earn by a drastic amount.
My wife and I keep our savings with CIT Bank. The main reason we use CIT is that they offer outstanding interest rates (more than 20x the national average). Check their current rates for high-yield savings accounts and money market accounts.
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12. Ditch Cable
If you pay for cable or satellite TV, you can probably save a lot of money by going with one of a growing number of cable alternatives. We canceled cable about 6 years ago and I’ve never missed it.
Sling is one of the best cable alternatives, and at just $25 per month it will save you a lot of money. Netflix and Hulu also give you access to plenty of TV shows and movies at low monthly prices. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, don’t forget that you have access to Prime Video.
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13. Change Cell Phone Carriers
Do you use one of the major cell phone carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile)? If so, you can probably save a lot of money by switching to a cheaper carrier.
My wife and I switched to a discounted carrier a few years ago and it literally cut our bill in half, saving us more than $800 per year! We’re currently with Cricket Wireless and very happy with the price and the coverage. Other good low-price options include FreedomPop and Mint Mobile.
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14. Check for Lower Insurance Rates
Insurance is the type of monthly bill that most people don’t really like to spend money on. It’s important to have insurance, but it’s not really an exciting thing to buy. But saving money on insurance can be a little more exciting.
There are several websites that make it easy to compare insurance rates. If you find a rate lower than what you are already paying, which is very possible, it can be a fast way to save some money.
15. Adjust Your Existing Insurance Coverage
Another way to save money on insurance is to adjust your existing policy. There are a few details that you might be able to change, and they can have a big impact on the monthly premium that you pay.
If you increase the deductible will can significantly (in most cases) lower your premium. Of course, you’ll need to consider the likelihood of needing to pay that deductible to determine if the change is the right move to make.
You may also be able to reduce your premium by reducing the amount of coverage on your policy. Of course, you’ll want to be sure that you have adequate coverage, but it’s not uncommon to be overinsured. When my wife and I moved a few years ago we were given way too much coverage on our homeowner’s insurance for the content of our house. We were able to reduce the amount of coverage and still have more than enough, and it knocked about $150 off our annual premium. Check your policies to see the details, and if you’re overinsured you may be able to easily save some money with just a phone call.
With just a small amount of time and effort, all of the options covered in this article can help you to save money. If you have an hour to spare, pick one of these options and take action now to keep more money in your wallet.
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