4 Simple Steps to Save Money Fast

save money fastSometimes the subject of personal finance seems so overwhelming, but there are simple steps to save money that can have an immediate impact on your finances.  Today I’m going to share 4 things you can do to save money almost immediately.

Track Your Spending – For 30 Days

So many people cringe when they hear the words “spend” and “tracking” in the same sentence.  Spend-tracking can be overwhelming at first, but more on a emotional level than anything else.  The logistics of spend-tracking are easy: you grab an Excel spreadsheet, a tracking app such as Mint, or even a simple notebook and pen, and simply write down everything you spend, every day, for thirty days.

The problem that people have with spend-tracking is that they see it as some sort of authority waiting to shame them for spending.  Grayson has talked about credit cards being inanimate objects: they cannot make you spend money.  It’s the same with a spend-tracking system: tracking your spending cannot force you to spend less if you don’t want to.  However, it is a terrific tool for giving you a clear picture of where your money is going, and that, my friend, means nothing but freedom for you: freedom to gain a clear picture of where your money is going so that you can adjust your spending to better fit your true life desires.  Tracking your spending is a simple step to save money that you can spend on something you really, truly want!    This means that you can spend – if you choose – the $500 a month you’re spending on happy hour on a new car, a vacation to Italy, or to pay your mortgage off early instead.  For many, spend-tracking, instead of being a chore, can mean the equivalent of winning the lottery in terms of extra cash, so make a commitment to spend-track for 30 days, and see where you want to go from there.

Start an Automatic Savings Plan

Even if it’s just with a small amount of cash, start an automatic savings account today and commit to not touch the money.  In the book, The Millionaire Next Door, one of the people the author interviews talks of his amazement of the automatic savings plan.  He talks about how he and has wife started putting away a measly $10 a week years ago, and how he never imagined that the small amount of money he was putting away would help usher him into millionaire status.  But it really does add up.  If you’re looking for simple steps to save money, you can’t find one simpler than starting an automatic savings plan.

Related: Check out the impulse purchase savings plan

Look for Ways to Reduce Expenses

Can you find a cheaper cell phone plan?  A cheaper car insurance policy? Can you brown bag it to lunch a few times a week?  Are you willing to live without cable TV for a year?  With a little ingenuity, nearly every expense you have can be reduced by at least a little bit.   If you spend a lot of cash on going out to eat, choose to cut eating out down to once a week.  Turn off the lights.  Lower the heat or raise the A/C temperature by just a few degrees.  Those little changes, when done over long periods of time, add up to huge cash savings.  Always remember to shop around before you buy.

Get Rid of Unwanted or Unused Stuff

You can save money a few ways by doing this.  First, you can rake in some cash by selling those unwanted or unused items.  Second, by getting rid of those unused or unwanted items, even if it’s for free, you’ve got less stuff to maintain, repair and store.  This can free up your time and money for other money-saving adventures or ideas in the future.

If you’re looking for simple steps to save money, start with one – or all – of the four steps above, and see how much cash you can save after thirty days.  The numbers might surprise you. 🙂

What are your best tips for easy money savings?

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Laurie is a wife, mother to 4, and homesteader who blogs about personal finance, self-sufficiency and life in general over at The Frugal Farmer. Part witty, part introspective and part silly, her goal in blogging is to help others find their way to financial freedom, and to a simpler, more peaceful life.


  1. August 6, 2014 at 8:57 am — Reply

    I love your point about how people feel like an authority is going shame them for spending. Isn’t it interesting how much we fear authority and ourselves? Personally, I track and budget all of my money. I think the most helpful tip for me here is to start an automatic savings plan. I have money going into my retirement account and savings account automatically from every paycheck. I have yet to automate investing because I am trying to focus more on debt pay off.

    • August 6, 2014 at 2:35 pm — Reply

      Any kind of savings plan that is automated, or treated like a bill such as Grayson does, really is a fast track to savings money. People underestimate the value of the automated savings plan, whether it’s a regular savings or retirement savings. Thanks, Natalie!

  2. August 6, 2014 at 9:22 am — Reply

    Tracking spending is my first step for anyone looking to get serious about their finances.

    • August 6, 2014 at 9:44 am — Reply

      I agree, Stefanie!! Without it, money often goes down the drain in large amounts.

  3. August 6, 2014 at 9:39 am — Reply

    Completely agree with tracking spending. You can’t create any sort of viable plan that you are going to stick to if you have no idea where all your money is going every month. If you don’t know where it is going, you are hoping to save, not trying to save, because each month you can only hope that you have a little left over to put away.

  4. August 6, 2014 at 10:32 am — Reply

    Great article Laurie! I am a big fan of the automatic savings plan, but I use it a little differently where I treat it like a monthly bill. It isn’t automatic, but I have never missed a payment. If I do, then I charge myself interest!

    • August 6, 2014 at 2:36 pm — Reply

      Thanks, Grayson!! I absolutely love that you charge yourself interest if you miss the payment – what a smart way to build wealth!

  5. August 6, 2014 at 11:16 am — Reply

    Selling a bunch of stuff was what got us started on our debt payoff journey. You feel so helpless in the beginning that just doing that gives you some control and forward momentum.

  6. August 6, 2014 at 11:35 am — Reply

    I am a big fan of automatic savings. Since our priority is to pay off debt, savings is taking a back seat for now. We still have a set amount (less than $50) that is transferred to our savings each month. It really is wonderful to see how quickly that money adds up and takes zero effort!

    • August 6, 2014 at 2:37 pm — Reply

      I think the fact that you are still putting something into savings is smart, Liz. Grayson did that too, and it worked great for him.

  7. August 6, 2014 at 12:04 pm — Reply

    I can’t endorse highly enough the idea of an automatic savings plan. Small amounts will add up over the long term. When I was doing individual financial planning work, I set up plans like this for all of my clients.

    • August 6, 2014 at 2:38 pm — Reply

      Sounds like a smart plan to me, Brad. I think it’s awesome that you set those up for all of your clients – what a gift that is to them!

  8. August 6, 2014 at 12:15 pm — Reply

    Tracking my spending is definitely what did it for me. It got me to be more aware of where my money was going and stopped me from buying unnecessary things.

  9. August 6, 2014 at 5:34 pm — Reply

    Tracking my spending has done wonders for helping pay off debt and save. It’s so important.

    • August 6, 2014 at 8:52 pm — Reply

      Agreed, Raquel!! I don’t know if I could recommend a more important money saving tip.

  10. August 6, 2014 at 8:59 pm — Reply

    I am such a big fan of tracking spending that I don’t budget. I have tried to budget, but I feel too restricted. Last winter was very cold and I am in a house I just got last November, I had no idea what my gas bill would be. But just tracking my spending and watching my cash works very well for me where if I budget I could feel “stressed” going over in an area I can’t necessarily fully control. I have a good idea where expenses should be based on what I spend monthly, but I still look for ways to improve.

    • August 7, 2014 at 8:21 am — Reply

      I agree, Kipp: spend tracking can be so effective that a budget can sometimes be avoided altogether! Budgets used to make me feel restricted too: now they really give me a sense of control as I know what’s needing to go out each month.

  11. August 6, 2014 at 9:30 pm — Reply

    “tracking your spending cannot force you to spend less if you don’t want to.” I like that line. Tracking your spending is such an easy way to find out where your money is going and why you don’t have any left at the end of the money (speaking from past experience here). Once I started tracking my spending I actually felt like I got a raise because I “magically” had money at the end of the month.

  12. August 7, 2014 at 7:24 am — Reply

    One sure trick is think of “very reasonable” ways that can reduce expenses. We used to eat out thrice a week and watch a movie once a week, what we do most of the time is go to a picnic park with packed lunch every weekend. It seems like we enjoy it so much because seeing our kids running and having fun are very rewarding. More than that, we have quality time together!

  13. August 7, 2014 at 2:20 pm — Reply

    Great options to go to Laurie! I think so many believe it’s impossible to start saving more money when it really just takes some simple steps in most cases. We’re big on the automatic savings as we have quite a few set up to go towards our different savings buckets. We also like to cut expenses as well, usually you can find something of substance by going that route.

  14. August 9, 2014 at 3:49 pm — Reply

    Great steps, Laurie! Automation is my favorite! That’s the best way to save, invest and give, in my opinion. These are great quick steps and I love that you started with the most important first step, tracking your expenses.

  15. Brian @
    August 13, 2014 at 9:54 am — Reply

    Seems an effective money saving strategy. Reducing expenses is could be the hardest part. It takes discipline and effort to make the saving become successful.

  16. August 13, 2014 at 10:28 am — Reply

    We’ve done the same thing, Jayson, and don’t miss the restaurants at all. And the money we’re saving is astronomical!

  17. August 13, 2014 at 10:29 am — Reply

    I agree, John. By focusing on all 4 items, the savings can add up big time!

  18. August 13, 2014 at 10:29 am — Reply

    It’s amazing what a combination of these four steps will do for your cashflow, isn’t it?

  19. August 13, 2014 at 10:30 am — Reply

    It does take discipline, but after you get used to it, it’s pretty non-invasive to cut most of the wasteful expenses. We don’t miss cable TV or eating out one bit.

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