25 Unusual Ways to Save Money Fast in 2021

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There are many ways to save money, but not all of them are obvious. Here is a list of 25 clever tips that you may not have thought about before. These can help you save big bucks in the long run!

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1. Create a 48-hour rule and remove stored credit card numbers from your online accounts.

The 48 hour rule is a great rule of thumb when it comes to finding ways to help with the self discipline of spending especially when you are contemplating spending money on an expensive item.

This rule says that you must wait at least 48 hours before making a purchase.

Then by removing stored credit card numbers, this provides an extra speed bump to slow down impulse purchases made while online shopping.

2. Pay for coffee with a gift card.

If you are the shareable type, this tip is for you. Grab a gift card to your favorite coffee shop or restaurant and pay with it instead of cash! This way you have a limit on exactly how much you are spending.

You may also want to ask your favorite coffee spot if they have any coupons just in case! Sometimes this can be found on the company website or even through social media, depending who you talk to.

3. Use a budget calendar to save money.

Your monthly budget is a crucial part of your life. It dictates what you can and cannot do, so it’s important to make sure that every dollar counts. What better way than to use a calendar? Planning out your entire month just got easier!

To make the most of your budget, you need to know where every cent is going. This means that even small things like coffee or lunch money count as expenses. A calendar can help keep track of these seemingly insignificant items so they don’t get overlooked and you can focus on using your extra cash to prioritize your financial goals and specific savings goals.

Allocating funds ahead of time allows for an easier way to stay in control of your money throughout the month. The next time you’re faced with a decision about what to buy, ask yourself if it’s worth spending that particular amount of cash.

Instead of being tempted by every new thing that crosses your path, remember how much space you have in your budget and stick to this number so there are more funds left over for the next month.

This way of living can be a lot easier than you think, especially when it’s visualized on your calendar! When you know what money is coming and going, it becomes much easier to control how much cash remains in your account every day at work or each paycheck.

4. Cut down your shower time.

By limiting your shower time you are saving on not just electricity but water. Try setting a timer and turning the water off while you are scrubbing up.

You can also take cold showers in the morning instead of hot ones. The average person wastes about 80 gallons of water each day while showering—that’s almost an entire tank for some homes!

cans and bottles to recycle

5. Cash in on cans and bottles

Recycle your cans and bottles for cash! Bring them to a recycling plant, or find out if they are refundable at the place where you purchased the beverage or your local recycling location.

6. Save money with discounted gift cards

Did you know that many retailers offer discounts on gift cards year round? This means if you buy a discounted card, it’ll be like getting free money.

For example, retailers like Staples offer up to 20% off of their own branded gift cards year round.

Amazon offers a $25 credit when you buy $100 worth of their store cards (at the time of this writing).

Costco also sells discounted bundles of gift cards.

There are also sites like Cardcash who sell discounted cards to a variety of eateries and retailers.

7. Quit Bad Habits

Quit smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco and save $150 a month. $150/month x 12 months is almost $2K a year– that’s quite and expensive spending habit. 

Bundle of money isolated on a white background

8. Cash-only challenge

You may be wondering what this means. Basically, you make a challenge to yourself where your only allowed spending is cash – which includes any money from jobs or side hustles that still come in the form of paper bills and coins.

A great way to organize your cash is with cash envelopes. You can go through and organize your spending and allocate specific cash to specific expenses– helping you really control your budget!

Say goodby to impulse spending!

9. Go grocery shopping on a full stomach and alone.

Meal planning is a great way to save money– but it’ll only take you so far!

Another great way to help you stay on budget when grocery shopping is by making sure  you’re not hungry when you go– this can lead to impulse buys that are not in your budget.

When grocery shopping, go without a partner and/or children. The more people there are the higher the stakes of what could happen!

10. Pay students to cut your hair

As part of receiving their license to cut hair these students have to have a certain number of “practice” hours.

You can often receive great haircuts at a pretty significant discount compared to your typical salon.

11. Hit up the thrift shop.

Aside from finding good prices at thrift stores, also consider that you’ll likely find some unique clothes and items you can’t find at the mall or department stores.

12. Throw a potluck

Want to save some money, but still be social? Consider throwing a potluck party and invite friends or neighbors.

This is a great way to save money in two ways: you cook for less people, so the cost per person goes down; and if everyone chips in on ingredients, then your costs are even lower.

Guests can even bring their own dishes and wine glasses, or a few small paper plates for the kids to use.

13. Ditch disposable, one-use items.

Instead of paper towels, use a kitchen cloth or washcloths.

Instead of dryer sheets, consider wool dryer balls.

Paper plates and cups– it might involve a little extra cleaning, but has the potential to save you big in the long run.

dog leaning out the car window making a cool gesture wearing red sunglasses

14. Make one trip

With a little careful planning and some strategy you can streamline your trips out and save yourself not just gas money, but also time.

15. Go (kind of) vegetarian

While you’re probably not going to want to give up meat entirely, you can definitely cut back for a while.

Meat is often one of the more expensive parts of your grocery budget.

Consider Meatless Monday’s or more meal alternatives that don’t call for meat as the main ingredient.

16. DIY your gifts

Instead of going to the store, make your gifts! Think about what you or someone else would like as a gift and then create it. It is unique and thoughtful – which are two things that people love most in presents. 

The best part about creating your own arts and crafts? They can’t go out of style because it was personalized.

17. Shop after the holidays.

As soon as the holidays are over, people will no longer be buying items like decorations and cards and stores need to clear those items to make room for other things and will subsequently discount them.

You can take advantage of these low prices to purchase gifts for next year now! 

My favorite times of year to do this are with back to school supplies and right after Christmas!

18. Go to the movies during the day.

Going to the movies is a great way to have fun and go on an adventure.

However, going during the day can save you some money as it will be cheaper than if you went later in the evening or at night.  

Plus, everyone gets off work later so crowds are not too bad!

Theaters also offer discounts for family matinees before noon– this would be perfect for families with little kids who need their naps 🙂 

19. Leave your wallet at home or at the office when you go out.

You can’t spend what you don’t have.

If you are super serious about saving money, carrying just enough cash to cover what you need, could be the answer to overspending.

Hand turning a home thermostat knob to set temperature on energy saving mode. fahrenheit units. Composite image between a photography and a 3D background.

20. Get a smart thermostat

A smart thermostat is one of the easiest ways to save on your electric bill. The Nest Learning Thermostat, for example, saves up to 15% per year in heating and cooling costs when you use it correctly.

21. Throw a dry towel in the dryer to cut down on drying time.

The towel will absorb the moisture from your clothes and help them dry faster, so you won’t have to use as much energy or time drying!

22. Repurpose and Upcycle

Reusing packaging. Turning old boxes into organizational tools.

Get creative and consider how you can reuse items you already have around your house.

23. Barter and negotiate

Use bartering instead of cash or credit purchases. – For example, if you need a haircut but don’t have any money, offer your neighbor some gardening work in exchange for a free haircut. 

24. Bring snacks with you when running errands.

One of the more expensive habits in any budget is eating out. Whether it’s an expensive dinner out or a quick trip through the drive thru.

When hunger strikes, having something on hand to hold you over until you can get home can potentially save you hundreds of dollars every month.

25. Create a capsule/minimal wardrobe.

Cut down on the expense of continuously adding to your wardrobe as well as the potential clutter with a capsule (or minimal) wardrobe.

The secret here is to buy clothes that are neutral and easy to mix.

And to invest in things you’ll wear forever, not trendy items – let your personality shine through by wearing unique outfits that really reflect your style.

Bringing it All Together

Hopefully you’ve found a few clever ways to save money that will help you build your financial security. You can start immediately, with little effort or cost, by implementing these tips into your life right away! I hope these ideas have helped you find unique and new ways to save more of what matters most – time and money!

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