How to Free up Cash to put towards Savings

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“I’m doing the best I can!” I lied to myself for years and continue to struggle to find money to put towards savings.

And my savings stayed really stagnant as a result, despite decent income.

When I started budgeting and really paying attention to my expenses through tracking, I realized there was so much money to free up. Within a couple months, I had $100-$300 more each month that I was transferring to the emergency account or sinking funds. In my case I had been spending that largely on debt, Dig Inn, media subscriptions, and doing things with friends.

I still see friends, but we go for walks, or just have tea instead of a lavish lunch, or maybe we sit in the park together and read. I still eat out, but it’s once or twice a month instead of three times a week. And for media, I watch things on Youtube and use the heck out of my Libby App. Oh, and I got rid of all credit card debt.

Here are the best categories to look at to free up money to use in building up your savings.

1. Get Yourself Out of Debt

And here, I’m talking especially about higher interest debt, such as credit cards.  All debt makes it harder to save, but when folks consider and add interest charges to monthly payments, they’re really swimming upstream.  Paying off all high interest debt as soon as possible will free up a lot of cash to put towards savings. 

2. Cut Spending

This never sounds like fun, I get that. But remember, it’s not forever.  And you may discover some interesting things about yourself in the process. 

Here are some of the old faithfuls that really jump start folks’ savings journey, if it’s been stuttering to date:

  • Subscriptions(esp. Entertainment)
    • Write down all your subscriptions for video streaming, music, games, audio books, and more.  
    • Ask yourself if there are duplicates (like Netflix and Hulu).  
    • Ask yourself if something available for free, like podcasts, youtube, spotify, etc could replace your subscription for 3-6 months.  Once you cancel the ones you can do without, suddenly you have another $20 or $40 a month to put into savings. 
    • Pro tip option: as soon as you cancel a subscription, if it was paid via debit card, immediately set up auto transfers for whatever the dollar amount was to move money from your checking to savings account. 
  • Alcohol / Recreational drugs
    • This one is hard, I know.  But it IS doable, and in my experience, it’s the change that makes the biggest difference to your savings. 
    • Yes, you’ll be faced with yourself and your feelings, feelings that were previously dulled, but there are coping skills that you can learn that do not involve really expensive weekly/monthly outlays. 
    • If this is something you’d like to dive into more, message me and we can talk about how best I can create resources or point you in the direction of them. 
  • Restaurants
    • Yep, you know it. This is a huge cash bleed, and can so easily be replaced with cooking at home, taking food with you as needed, and freeing up SO MUCH MONEY to put towards savings.  
    • Want more ideas about cooking at home without breaking the bank, and keeping it easy without going all meal prep for 50 days in 5 minutes nutso?  Message me and I’ll create resources around that in here.
  • Personal Care
    • This looks like hair appointments every 4-6 weeks, make-up, manicures/pedicures, expensive creams and shampoos.  
    • Just like with entertainment, list out everything you have spent on personal care in the past 3 months.  And ask yourself: can you do without any of them, at least for a while?   
    • Can you downgrade your consumable personal care items like make-up, skin care, and hair care?  
    • Can you make some things for yourself in a way that’s fun?
  • Cellphone Bill
    • If you are paying $60+ each month for your cellphone, you are paying too much
    • If this is you, look into either Google Fi or Cricket Mobile and make some changes.  You’ll free up at least $20-$60 a month that can go to savings.
  • Books
    • There isn’t much to say here.  Just stop buying books for now, even used ones.  Use the library or the Libby App on your phone or tablet.
  • Education
    • For those of us who love learning, this can be hard.  ( Also, I’m not talking to you if you’re getting another degree.)  But there is literally lifetimes of free education available online and via the library.  
    • Stop buying education for a while (or ever) and free up money for saving. 

3. Sell Stuff

I know this takes some time and effort, and there’s that thing of going to the post office.  But, depending on what you have lying around untouched for months/years, it could be a real bolster to your savings.  

I don’t pretend to be an expert on this. So, if you think you have things, you need to Google “how to sell things online” and follow the copious directions you’ll find. But in brief:

  • Look for items such as clothing, furniture, knick knacks, equipment, old phones or computers, and more.
  • Use Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Poshmark, or other platforms to sell your things on.
  • Ask to be paid via Venmo or Paypal and move any money received right into savings.

4. Hustle to bring in More Income

Selling stuff definitely counts as this.  But how else could you make money?  Ask yourself about the possibility of:

  • Teaching, online or otherwise 
  • Monetizing an existing blog
  • Putting 2 more hours a week into marketing your business
  • Asking your network for work ideas
  • Add affiliate income to your existing business (with integrity)

And again, I’m not an expert in side hustles. There is so much (FREE) info out there about just that at the end of a Google search <3

Tell me, what’s one idea you’ve gotten from this article about how you’re going to free up some more money to put towards savings?