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How to Save Money Fast: 12 Tips to Replenishing Your Account

Savings depleted after an emergency? Here's how to rebuild it quickly.

Justin Cupler

Contributing Writer at Tally

October 15, 2021

When a sustained financial emergency strikes, like job loss, injury or illness, it can quickly deplete your emergency fund. Once the emergency ends, it's time to replenish your savings.

However, you want to save money fast, so you’re prepared for the next potential emergency to strike. 

Wondering how to save money fast? Below we offer 12 tips to get your savings back on track.

How to save money fast

After an emergency depletes your savings, it's time to replenish it and get back to square one before another crisis strikes. This means speed is key, as you never know when the next emergency may crop up.

These 12 ways to save money fast will help you get your savings back where it needs to be.

1. Reassessing your budget

After a long road of tapping into your savings to make ends meet, you may have thrown your budget out of whack in the process. Compare your old, pre-emergency budget to your current expenses and make adjustments to income and expenditures as needed.

Ensure your new budget balances. If not, trim expenses where needed to make it balance out.

2. Cutting unnecessary expenses

When you need to save money fast, cutting expenses is a quick way to free up cash flow toward your savings account. Review your monthly bills and find any unnecessary expenses you can trim or eliminate. 

Some good candidates for elimination are:

  • Old streaming service subscriptions you rarely use

  • A gym membership that's collecting dust

  • An expensive cell phone plan with all the bells and whistles 

  • A sizeable monthly payment for a luxury car

You can also cut expenses at the grocery store by couponing, buying items on sale and switching from brand names to the store brand. 

3. Stop paying for convenience

How to save money fast: person fixing a car

Another way to trim expenses is to stop paying for items designed to make your life easier. 

For example, instead of paying $100 per month for a lawn care service, buy a $200 lawn mower and cut it yourself. Instead of paying $3 for a coffee out, brew one at home for a fraction of the cost. 

Other conveniences you can eliminate to save money include:

  • Takeout lunch

  • Grocery delivery service

  • Minor household repairs

  • Car maintenance

4. Shopping for new car insurance

Car insurance is a competitive industry. Use this to your advantage and shop around for a new car insurance policy. Many times, switching car insurance can save you at least a few dollars per month. Plus, you may find out you are overinsured and can trim even more fat from your budget by lowering your coverage amounts. 

When shopping for insurance, always compare apples to apples. Some insurance companies will draw you in with a lower premium, but you may later learn that low premium comes at the expense of a key perk, such as free roadside assistance or travel discounts.

5. Finding a new bank

Holding checking and savings accounts at the same bank for many years is comfortable, but you're likely leaving money on the table. 

Some banks, especially online banks with lower overhead costs, will offer bonuses just for opening a new checking account and performing a handful of transactions. For example, you could get a $300 new bank account bonus after 90 days and complete 10 debit transactions per month during those first 90 days. 

That's free money, plain and simple. Sure, it can be a headache to move your direct deposit and all your autopay bills, but the bonus is generally worth the effort. 

Always read the fine print for these bonuses, as there could be a catch, such as maintaining a certain balance or having a certain number of direct deposits within a specific time frame. 

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6. Selling unwanted stuff

When you need fast savings, selling items is always an option. Go around the house and find all those items you never use and sell them. In today's digital world, you have no shortage of options for selling. You can reach the entire nation by placing your items on eBay or Amazon. Alternatively, you can keep things local with a garage sale. 

When selling on eBay or Amazon, always consider the selling fees and shipping costs when calculating a selling price.

7. Taking on a side hustle

Cutting is not the only way to boost your savings. You can also increase your income by taking on a side hustle. Unlike a second job, a side hustle is generally more flexible, and you can work when you have time. 

Some examples of useful and flexible side hustles include: 

  • Being an Uber or Lyft driver

  • Delivering groceries

  • Performing on-demand tasks, like furniture assembly

  • Delivering takeout food

  • Freelancing

  • Becoming a blogger

8. Using cash-back apps 

Shopping online for nearly everything has become a normal thing these days, and this has caused an explosion in the cash-back app industry. These apps allow you to shop as you normally would but offer you small cash-back rewards when you purchase from certain stores after clicking a link on the app. 

Basically, they’re running an affiliate program and giving you a cut of the affiliate revenue. 

Some popular cash-back apps include Rakuten and Capital One Shopping. You can install them on your browser, and they'll alert you when cash back is available on a website.

The cash-back opportunities are small — typically under 5% — but they add up over time. 

9. Cutting back on utilities

How to save money fast: person changing a lightbulb

Utility bills, like electricity, water and sewage, can mount up throughout a month and end in a surprise bill. But they're also a prime candidate to help you save by scaling them back. 

For electricity, ensure you always turn off the light as you leave a room or opt for motion-detecting light switches. You can also switch to LED bulbs for extra savings. 

According to LED Lighting Info, you can save upward of $13.14 per bulb per year by switching from an incandescent lightbulb to an LED. Yes, LED bulbs cost more, but they last about six years if run nine hours a day versus four months for an incandescent bulb. 

You can change your thermostat by a few degrees when you're not home to save money. If you raise or lower your thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit when you leave the house, you can save up to 10% on your heating and cooling costs. If you don't want to turn the thermostat up and down manually, you can invest in a programmable one that does it for you. 

You can also cut your water bill by taking shorter showers. Set a five-minute timer and make sure you're finishing up when the timer goes off. Other ways to save water include only running the laundry machine when it's full, using the dishwasher instead of hand-washing the dishes and turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth. 

10. Using cash-back credit cards

It may sound strange to use credit cards after a financial emergency, but there’s a reason for this. You can use a cash-back credit card that offers rewards in the categories and at the retailers you shop the most for your daily expenses. 

Over time, you'll rack up enough points to earn a credit on your statement or a gift card you can use to offset other expenses in your budget. 

Always pay your full credit card statement balance by the due date. By doing so, you pay off the balance within the interest grace period and avoid all interest charges but still accrue your reward points. 

11. Using a high-yield savings account

When you start rebuilding your savings, you can safely maximize your earnings by placing your money in a high-yield savings account, money market account (MMA) or certificate of deposit (CD)

As of September 2021, the top-paying high-yield savings accounts pay 0.45% to 0.60% interest annually. This means a $1,000 balance will earn $45 to $60 over 12 months. While that's not much money, this is compounding interest, so the growth increases with every interest payout.

MMAs earn 0.35% to 0.55% interest annually, plus they often include a debit card and limited check-writing abilities, making them more flexible than a savings account or CD. 

CDs generally have the highest interest rates, but they're also the most restrictive savings accounts. The main restriction is you can't use the money in the CD until it matures, or you'll be penalized. Maturity periods vary greatly, but they range from three months to five years. Generally, the longer the term, the higher the interest percentage.

Current CD interest rates range from 0.35% for a three-month plan to 1.15% for a five-year CD

12. Setting up automatic savings

Once you have a budget set up, you know roughly how much extra cash you'll have each month to rebuild your savings. Set up automatic transfers through your bank to send this amount to your savings account. 

Alternatively, you can update your direct deposit with your employer to automatically route the extra cash into a savings account. 

Quick-strike savings

Happy person using a calculator

When emerging from a personal finance emergency that depleted your savings, you must act quickly to rebuild what you had. This helps you successfully mitigate future losses if another emergency strikes. 

With these 12 tips, you're on your way to replenishing your depleted savings and reestablishing your financial plan. Not every savings-building tip will work for all budgets, but choose the ones that fit you best to get your finances back on track quickly. 

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