Stop me if you’ve ever been in this situation before… wondering how to save money and build real wealth.
You’re at the kitchen table with a stack of bills next to you, armed nothing with a pen and a calculator, you attempt to make sense out of last month’s finances. Much to your chagrin though, you find out that after taking all the expenses into account, you’re not left with much money.
You need to learn how to save money—more money so that you’re actually feeling the impact in your bank account.
So, you pull out that expenses spreadsheet again and start seeing where you can start cutting costs and begin looking for clever ways to save money in your budget each month.
Well, first and foremost… know that you’re not alone. This situation of needing to learn how to save money, is one that millions of people around the world find themselves in every single day.
As an entrepreneur, especially if you’re bootstrapping your business idea, it’s a constant battle to keep your finances in order. To find that right balance between investing enough money into your business so it actually grows, while still having enough money left over so you can pay your rent, buy groceries, and stay afloat.
As I mentioned earlier, the instinctual reaction to financial woes is to simply start cutting things out of your life. Which usually means taking a pass on that coffee in the morning, staying in for dinner, or making the choice to start cutting your own hair.
And I want to dispel a common myth. You don’t have to live an undesirable lifestyle in order to save money.
The problem with this kind of penny-pinching you’re doing when you skip the daily coffee, is that not only are you constantly demoralizing yourself by cutting out the little luxuries that make life worth living, but you’re saving pennies-on-a-dollar when you can be saving actual dollars.
That doesn’t mean that I’m telling you not to be frugal though. The wealthiest people in the world only got to where they are through smart money management.
What I am telling you however, is that there are better ways out there to save money.
Which is why I’ve put together this list today, to show you some of the most clever ways I’ve discovered to save money every month.
23 Simple Ways to Save Money Fast (and Build Wealth)
Saving money doesn’t have to be about denying yourself all the pleasures in life and resolving to live like a monk. After all, entrepreneurship is all about building a lifestyle you actually want.
Obviously no one tip is going to save you thousands of dollars, but a combination of even a few of them is going to go a long way in helping you save money that you can re-invest into growing your business as fast as possible.
If I’ve missed out on any good ways to save money, then please share your own money saving ideas in the comments below! And if you’re ready to start a business, join my free course, Find a Profitable Business Idea.
Here are my picks for the best ways to save money that you can do right now.
1. Embrace the 80/20 Rule
The mindset you need to get into immediately with your finances, and as an entrepreneur in general, is the 80/20 rule.
In case you’re unaware the 80/20 rule, otherwise known as the Pareto Principle, states that 80% of your results come form 20% of your efforts. Once you’re aware of this you’re going to see it popping up over and over again in your life.
Take a look at your latest grocery receipt for example, you’re going to find that roughly 80% of the total bill comes from only 20% of the items you’ve bought. On an even grander scale you’ll probably find that 80% of your budget goes to the same things over and over again.
Whereas 20% of what you spend goes towards those one-off purchases, those little things like lattes and avocado smashes.
So what’s the point I’m trying to make here? That the key to saving money isn’t by focusing on the 20% but the 80%.
Take a look at the things that take up 80% of your budget, those same expenses you visit over and over again. Are there any costs that can be cut from there first? Can you get anything cheaper? Why do you keep revisiting those same items?
Force yourself to look at the bigger picture here.
2. Automate Your Bills, Savings and Finances
A major reason why we don’t save money as effectively we can be is that, most of the time, we have no idea how much money we should be saving in the first place.
Our brains are inherently wired to fight us every step of the way when it comes to saving money. Firstly by making finances incredibly boring to the average person, and secondly by constantly trying to trick you into believing that you have more money than you actually do.
Which is why you should absolutely start automating your finances.
Instead of always trying to guess how much of your paycheck should go into your savings and bills, you can easily set up an automated process where everything is taken care of for you. By automating your finances you can save yourself from all the headaches and stress that usually comes with money management.
Streamline the whole process by having all your bills and expenses taken care of the same day as your paycheck arrives. That way you can be safe in knowing that your bills looked after, your savings account is getting topped up, and investments like your 401k are being handled, all without lifting a finger.
The best part is that any money that’s left over is your spending money that you can use completely guilt-free.
3. Negotiate Your Bills Down
No other skill in the world will save you as much money, or be as valuable to you later in life, as the power of negotiation.
On the larger scale the art of negotiation can save you millions of dollars and net you prize deals to further grow your business. On an everyday level, learning how to negotiate can save immediately save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Right now you can easily pick up the phone and call your service providers, doesn’t matter if it’s for your cell phone or your car insurance, and simply ask them if they can give you a better deal.
A 5-10 minute conversation can be all you need to immediately save money and see a reduction on your next month’s bill.
You can immediately start your education on negotiation with bestselling book The Yes Book by Clive Rich, and find out how you can practice the art of negotiation—as a way to save money—no matter where you are.
4. Get at Least Three Quotes Before You Buy
A great tactic for negotiating that everyone should start practicing right now, is to gather at least three quotes from three different suppliers before making a final decision on any major purchase.
This practically guarantees that you save money on major purchases.
Remember that everyone wants your business, but you have to give them a reason to give you a better price, thus often ending with a meaningful way to save money on individual purchases.
The easiest way to do that is to let sales reps know that you’re acquiring quotes from other suppliers and that you’ll be going with the best one available (because you’re trying to save money here, remember?).
This simple strategy to save money will drive most suppliers to offer you a competitive price so they can have your business—all for the cost of asking a single question.
5. Share Memberships, Subscriptions, Products and Tools
If there’s a particular online business course or business tool that you have your eye on, but can’t justify the additional expense to purchase it, save money by finding a friend who’s already using the product or by asking another friend to share the cost with you.
Whether it’s the Adobe Creative Suite, or another tool that could stand to make a meaningful difference in the success of your business, this is a great tactic to save money. Just share your login credentials with each other and you’ll both get access to the same materials for half the cost.
6. Buy in Bulk
This one’s pretty easy, if you have any items that you use frequently, then look into seeing if you can purchase them in bulk and get a discount from a local supplier.
Oftentimes you’ll find that you’ll get a much better per-unit price, and you’ll rarely have to worry about running out of that item again, making this a fairly easy way to potentially save money on essentials every month.
7. Pack a Lunch
You’ve probably heard this over and over again, but the reason why this tip to save money is so popular, is because it really works.
Taking a little time to pack a lunch before you head off to work, or just choosing to not eat out, is a great way to save money. You can even take it a step further and plan out your meals at the start of every week so that you know exactly what it is you need to buy while grocery shopping.
You can easily save yourself thousands of dollars annually by following this one tip to save money.
8. Cancel Under-Utilized Subscriptions
Chances are that if you have a gym membership you’re currently not using it.
In fact it’s been found that 80% of American don’t use their gym memberships, and most gyms make the bulk of their profits from redundant memberships. For most Americans a gym membership is one of many redundant subscriptions that they should throw away.
Naturally there are going to be some services that you use on a constant basis that justify a monthly payment. But the reality is that, despite being incredibly convenient, we’re not getting that much value out of most of our subscription services.
Take a look at what services you’re currently signed up to, and if there is anything that you don’t use on a regular basis then cut the cord.
9. Cut the Landline
While we may all have fond memories of yelling at our siblings to stop using the phone because you’re using the internet.
Thankfully in the past few years technology has grown by leaps and bounds, to the point where we’re truly living in a wireless world. That being said, it’s time to cut the landline. Unless you happen to be one of the handful of people in the world who still use their landline, home phones almost feel like a relic of the past these days.
On average, the cost for a landline is around $20 per household. Meaning that, on average, you can immediately save money—up to $240 a year just by removing your house phone.
10. Invest Your Time (and Money) into Big Wins
More than money an entrepreneur’s greatest resource is time.
If you want to save money and build your wealth as fast as possible then you accept the fact the majority of what you’re doing is just a waste of your precious time. Time that could be spent landing more sales and clients, furthering your ways to make money online, or learning new business skills.
Most people try to save money by cutting back on their expenses, whether that’s denying themselves the odd latte or attempting to do a job themselves. While admirable, the problem with this logic is that all you’ve succeed in doing is devaluing your own time.
The few hours you spent learning how to unclog that kitchen sink yourself might have saved you a couple hundred dollars. However, how much more money could you have earned if you had spent that time working on your business instead?
As an entrepreneur you should be focused not on how much money you can save with your time, but how much money you can earn. Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture by trying to get a bigger slice of the pie, when you can be making yourself a bigger pie in the long run.
11. Work Out of a Library or Co-Working Space
If you’re just looking for a place to work then instead of shelling out thousands of dollars to rent some office space just head down to your local library.
These days most modern libraries will freely provide you with everything you need to get to work, from free internet, quiet rooms, and other amenities for you to use. Plus, lest we forget, you’ll quite literally be surrounded by thousands of books covering virtually every topic known to man that you can use for free to your own delight.
However, depending on your own business’s needs, then you can use a tool like Coworker to find yourself a co-working space near you. For a membership fee you can get access to conference rooms, high-speed internet, and the chance to meet like-minded people by joining a community of local entrepreneurs.
12. Hire a Virtual Assistant
Let’s say, for the moment, that your time is worth $60 an hour.
Knowing that, how willing are you now to spend time on a $10 task?
No matter what stage your business is in there are bound to be repetitive or time-consuming administrative tasks that can be done by someone else. While it is tempting to keep costs low, especially in the early stages, by doing everything yourself.
The drawback is that the time spent on these low-energy tasks could be better spent doing something else. Virtual assistants are an incredibly cheap and effective way for you to outsource these tasks to someone else, giving you back your time.
Renowned entrepreneurs like Tim Ferriss and John Lee Dumas have built their respective empires by employing up to dozens of virtual assistants. You can start looking into hiring your own virtual assistant with this 5-step guide to The Secrets to Finding, Training, and Managing Great Virtual Assistants by my good friend, Jonathan Chan.
13. Take on a Protege and Buy Back More of Your Time
If your business has grown to the point where you can start taking on regular employees, you should definitely consider the idea of bringing an intern on board.
In exchange for one-on-one coaching and work experience, you can gain a motivated and passionate individual on your team for a fraction of the cost of an employee.
Finding the right intern for you can be as easy as asking your friends and family if they know anyone that’s looking for experience in your industry. Otherwise you can always go to your local college for any potential hires.
Most colleges will already have an internship program that your business can be a part of, although each one will have their own individual expectations and requirements. You can also use services like InternQueen and WayUp to find potential interns both online and in your area.
Just remember that your intern will likely be someone who is either in the midst of completing their studies, or has only recently graduated. Which means that you’ll need to put aside some time train your intern to the necessary skill and experience level, otherwise you’ll just end up shooting yourself in the foot.
Just like with any new potential hire, be realistic about your expectations about your intern in order to get the most value out of them. At the very least the processing of finding and hiring an intern will be a great opportunity for you to do a stress test on whether or not you and your business are ready to bring on employees.
14. Start Loving Sales (and Sell More)
When I say that you should start loving sales that doesn’t mean that you should be jumping on top of every sale that comes your way. The best way to take advantage of sales is to create a list of things that you actually want to buy. From the simple things like grocery items, and SaaS’s that you have your eye on, to gifts for family and friends when the holiday season rolls around. That way you make sure that you’re actually taking advantage of sales, instead of having them take advantage of you.
15. Tap into Your Community
If expanding your professional network isn’t a priority for you, then you’re going to need to accept the fact that you’re not going to get as far as your contemporaries who do.
Being able to tap into a network of like-minded people anytime you want is a valuable resource that can only promise to keep on giving over time.
By joining a community, or simply building one around you, what you’re doing is giving yourself access to fresh new ideas, expertise, and contacts. Instead of paying a professional consultant, or a business coach for their time and knowledge.
If you happen to have a friend that the knowledge you want, then all you have to do is ask them and you get that information for free. Not only that, but a network can introduce you to new clients and potential investors, and give yourself a chance to find a mentor that can help guide you through your journey.
On the unlikely chance that you can’t find a community in your area then take advantage of online communities, here’s a list of The Top Online Communities for Entrepreneurs, Marketers, Designers and Developers that you can join for free.
Also be sure to check out the New York Times bestselling book The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley for a variety of tactics and strategies on building relationships to strengthen your business.
16. Get a Real Financial Plan Going
One of the biggest reasons why it’s so difficult for the average person to save money is simply because don’t have a solid financial plan.
Without a financial plan all your budgeting at the start of the month just because an exercise in futility since there is no real understanding of where your money is going. The only way to solve this is to sit down and spend a couple of hours to set up a proper budget that you can follow.
Yes, I know this sounds like a lot of work but spending a couple hours right now is going to save you thousand of hours in the future and, most importantly, save you money.
You’ll find any number of budgeting and financial plans for you to follow online, but I personally prefer using the envelope system. Here’s a great video by Rachel Cruze where she runs through the basics of how the envelope system works.
Basically following this system you ensure that you’re never spending more than you earn. At the start of every month you allocate home much money you’re going to allow yourself to spend, after subtracting all upcoming expenses for that month, and whatever’s left is up money that you can use guilt-free.
17. Leverage Creative Partnerships to Reduce Costs
Together with my best friend, we built a business which generated over $160,000 in revenue in our first year alone. I couldn’t have possibly done that by myself. Unless you’re someone that’s determined to be a solopreneur, then forming a partnership with someone that you trust can be incredibly beneficial for the both of you.
A partnership means that you share the responsibilities, bring on board different skills, and keep you accountable when you need it. Even if not for the role of a co-founder, you are bound to find potential partners in specific areas that can help you achieve your goals.
Don’t immediately assume that the relationship ends as soon as the check has cleared, actively look for ways to continue improving that relationship and see where it takes you.
18. Look into Low-Cost Marketing
As essential as marketing is for any business there’s no denying that it can often become an expensive exercise when left unchecked.
From buying Facebook ads to spending thousands to improve your SEO there is no shortage of ways you can throw money at the marketing problem. However, if you look hard enough, there are also just as many different ways you can enhance your marketing without breaking the budget.
The best way to build a community around your brand is to delve into content marketing. I’ve personally seen great success by starting my own blog and launching my own podcast, The Side Hustle Project, and using them as avenues to attract attention to my own business. Despite what others might tell you, social media is still a valuable platform to gain organic traffic.
Be sure to check out my interview with Matt Nelson where he talks about the strategy and tactics he used to gain over 2.8 million followers. Even offline there are hundreds of different ways you can drive people to your business without spending a cent; like attending events populated by your target customers, developing a referral partnership with another business, or even taking advantage of influencer marketing by appearing on a popular podcast.
As long as you have a focus on providing real value to your audience, then you have a viable marketing strategy.
19. Used Gear and Equipment is Just as Good
While some of you reading this might balk at the idea of purchasing used equipment, you might be pleasantly surprised to know that most Fortune 500 companies have no such qualms.
Buying used equipment really is the way to go because not only do you get a piece of equipment that works just as well as if you bought it brand-new, you’ll also be able to get it for a fraction of what it would normally cost you brand-new.
A neat little trick to finding used equipment in great working condition is to pay attention to any corporate auctions in your area. Especially if any local businesses have recently gone bankrupt, many will hold auctions as a way to offload their assets as quickly as possible.
The only caveat, as you most likely already know, is to make sure you inspect the equipment yourself before you make a purchase.
20. Prioritize Your Education
The best CEOs and entrepreneurs in the world are always the ones who never stop learning. Just take a look at the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Richard Branson; they all have an unwavering sense of curiosity and are constantly looking for ways to educate themselves.
By setting aside a bit of time every day to improve your mind you’re going to be far more equipped to tackle new challenges, come up with new ideas, and make the right decision for yourself and your business. Not only will this tip help you save money but it’s also help you build your wealth at lightning fast speeds.
Now learning doesn’t have to be a laborious process where you have to sit down with a pen and paper and spend hours taking notes from lectures. At the risk of sounding like a scholastic mascot, learning can actually be fun as long as you tailor it to how you like to learn.
Listening to a podcast while driving, reading blog posts like these, or asking advice from a mentor. There are literally thousands of ways out there you can educate yourself every single day.
21. Get Creative with Providing Value
Keep in mind that money is just the most common, and universally accepted, way to provide someone with value. There are so many more ways to provide value to someone if you’re willing to think outside the box a little bit.
Do a little research on your potential partner before you approach them and see if they have any needs that you can potentially help out with. Ask yourself questions like:
- Do I have any knowledge or experience that would find valuable?
- Do they want any resources I can provide freely?
- What is it that they need the most right now beyond money?
Not only will this save you money but it’ll also help you further expand your network and help you develop your personal branding. Adding money into the mix will make any transaction feel impersonal.
But being able to offer something else can make the whole experience more personal and helps both parties see each other as equals and partners, rather than a simple customer.
22. Bring the Right People on Board
Ask any successful business-person on the planet about what the most crucial element of any fast-growing business is, and many of them will talk about the importance of bringing the right people on board.
Yes, you’re probably going to have to spend money and time finding the right people, but in the long run you’re going to save yourself millions of dollars and grow your business at a lightning speed by having a team you can trust and depend upon.
Taking the time to fill your team with “A-players” means that you’ll have people who believe in your vision, whose passion will fuel their work, and you can trust to do what needs to be done.
23. What’d I Miss?
Let me know in the comments if you have any great tactics you’ve used to save money each month.
How do you make sure that you stay in the black? What’s your secret?
Please share your best tips for saving money with our community!