How To Save Money (at least $100) Fast

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I wrote this article to help people save $100 quickly so they could afford to attend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.

Whether you’re in need of financial help or just trying to save money fast, these strategies will help make you successful. Read through them with an open mind.

Saving money takes purpose and action so be ready to change and ready to work hard – your effort will be rewarded.

How to save $100 fast

Let’s define “fast” as occurring within one month from today. Follow these steps and 30 days from now you should have at least $100 saved.

1.  Spending moratorium.

A moratorium is nothing more than a suspension of activity.  Stop spending money.  Period.  Make sure the basic necessities of life are covered (food, shelter, warmth, etc.) then stop spending.

2.  Freelance or land some other temporary job.

Nothing makes saving easier than earning additional money outside your normal budget.  If you have skills of some sort you should be able to land a few gigs/month which will enable you to save at least $100.  w00t!

3.  Cancel TV and/or Internet service.

If you tell me you cannot save $100 and I come over to your house to find you watching Entourage, I’m gonna put the smack down.  Quit whining and cancel your cable/satellite TV service.  While you’re at it, cancel your Internet service too… unless you depend on it for income, or something else that is necessary to the functioning of your household.

As mentioned above… you can save money on entertainment every month by signing up for a Netflix free-trial for TV shows & movies, and a Gamefly free-trial for video games rather than renting at a local video store and paying late fees.

4.  Stop drinking/smoking.

Much the same, if you’re partaking in either of these expensive and potentially destructive pastimes while complaining that you can’t save $100… smack down.  Get your priorities in order and knock it off.

5.  Stop eating out and/or going to the movie theater.

One of the first things me and my wife did after embarking upon our debt free adventure, was to eliminate our seemingly insatiable appetite for dinner and a movie nights.  After calculating it out we discovered this dirty little habit was costing us around $500/month.  Ridiculous.  How much are you spending?  Write it down, and stop doing it. (Tip by @ericabiz)

6.  Start liking beans, rice, and tuna fish.

Rice and beans actually taste really good, and tuna fish is considered a luxury by some, and it’s all quite good for you to boot.  How much do you spend on groceries/month?  I’m guessing you could save $100 easily by adopting this little nugget of wisdom.  For good measure, go ahead and throw and apple in there once/week.

7.  Stop buying gifts for others.

If you cannot save $100 in a month then the last thing you need to do is buy gifts for other people.  Trust me, they’ll understand.

8. Apply the Pareto Principle to your possessions.

The Pareto Principle suggests that we use 20% of our stuff 80% of the time, and if you’re anything like me you have entirely too many clothes and other possessions.  I’m willing to bet that you wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time, and the ratio of use is probably similar with your other possessions.  Instead of storing a bunch of stuff you don’t need, take the clothes to a consignment shop and trade ‘em in for a cool Benjamin – hundred dolla bills y’all! (Tip by @2CFC)

9.  Sell something on eBay, CraigsList, or Amazon.

Take some of the other non-clothing stuff from step 7 and sell it online.  Even if you don’t think you own anything worth selling, go through your entire house, I guarantee you’ll find something.

10.  Cancel your home phone.

Unless you need it for business or emergencies, cancel it. Especially if you have or someone in the household with a mobile phone.

11.  Lower your mobile plan and/or drop your data plan.

I know, it’s nearly impossible to live without “your precious” but if Schmiegel can do it, so can you.  Again, do not cancel the service if you need it for business.

12.  Drop your gym membership.

Whether you bought your membership and never go, or if you go every day, cancel it.  There are plenty of work out routines you can do around the house for free.  Don’t worry, your pecs, abs, and delts will be fine with push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups respectively. (Tip by @amabaie)

13.  Ride your bike for a month.

If you’re a wuss you can take a break on days when it rains, just kidding, you don’t have to be a freak about it and ride your bike every day, but do ride it whenever possible.  Doing this will help give you the exercise you lost by canceling your gym membership while helping you save money and save the environment – what a deal!

14.  Donate sperm and/or plasma.

Personally there is no way I would sell my sperm, I don’t believe in it and I don’t want a bunch of my offspring running around out there without me knowing anything about them.  But if this sounds like something you could do… I heard there is decent money in selling the lil’ fella’s.  Selling plasma is a little less controversial, and while it might not pay as well as sperm, you can still make decent money parting w/this life giving fluid.

15.  Go couchsurfing on business trips.

Go couchsurfing when on business trips instead of paying for hotels.  Sure, people might consider you weird if you tell ‘em about it, but who cares?  If you believe in it, the for Pete’s Sake… do it!  It won’t work out every time, but it will to work out sometimes; and the more you travel the more you stand to save.  What a blessing.

Have you tried all these ideas?

Chances are there is at least one idea above you could use to save $100 fast so what are you waiting for? Without sacrifice there is no reward so muster the courage, step outside your comfort zone, and start saving ASAP.

**********

photo by rachdian



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1 Amber

I have tried nearly all of these…and a couple of others I’d like to add…

1. We got a chase credit card that earns good cash back, and put all our bills on automatic payment to it. One payment to them is much easier than a bunch of little payments so we avoid late fees, etc., plus we’re getting the points.

2. COUPONMOM.COM!!! Printing out online coupons, then comparing them to the store circulars doubles up the savings. If an item is BOGO at the store, print two coupons – even though one item is free, you’re technically buying 2 items and so can use 2 coupons. I recently got 4 boxes of Kellogg’s cereal for $1 at Meijer doing this. (Will somebody please eat those Apple Jacks, though, seriously?)

3. Monthly budgets are awesome but a weekly budget is even better. I know exactly what I have left in my “misc” budget from now until Friday – $15…and I’m not spending a penny more than that.

4. In addition to selling your own crap, you can sell other people’s crap. People list items on Craig’s List because they need fast money, usually. People on Ebay have more time. So, if you buy an item on Craig’s List you can often turn it around on Ebay for more money. We specialize in music equipment. Using the “recently sold” search box in Ebay will let you know what you can expect to get BEFORE you buy.

My two cents…which times 5000 equals $100 :)

2 EnnisP

Hey Matt,
I’ve tried several of these with success. Unfortunately, where I live they don’t pay for plasma but I make a donation every couple of weeks and in the States that is worth $70 or $80, maybe more. I donate because it is desperately needed and I feel it is a decent thing to do. I’m actually grateful I am able to give. Many people can’t.

Something else we do which has helped a lot is monitoring our utility use. We turn everything off, even energy star compliant machines, when not in use and use the hot water heater only when necessary. We save over a $100 every month on utilities alone.

Great idea on the Cred Card Amber. We have been using cards that generate air miles for the local airlines but I am considering a move to one that awards money.

Great post! Thanks.

3 Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog

Great tips Matt. I sold plasma in grad school, It netted me about $250 per month. It was easy, although some people get rather queasy around needles.
I think getting rid of the TV should be the easiest one – Most people pay 50+ for their tv service, and that’s at least 1/2 of what you’d need for the course.

4 Lindon Baker

Hey, nice tips! I think with this hints it’s easily to save $100 a month. But sometimes in the grocery or in the mall there is that little devil that says ‘buy it, buy it’ even though you’re not really needing another skirt for example. It was the same with me and my wife, every time we saved a little money we went to the mall and spent almost everything. But then a friend of us recommended something people do for years: bartering. It’s easily especially on the internet and with sites like barterquest.com where so money people offer their stuff. I love it and it helps me to save money, definitely.

5 Olivia

Nice list. Thought about what we do, and you’re right these things work.
One thing that saves a bundle over time is to repurpose stuff. It won’t give you $100 in a month but does make a difference over time. Like turning old t-shirts into cleaning rags and cloth remnant squares into napkins. Here’s one that makes a heftier dent, cutting your own hair.

6 Matt Jabs

Olivia, I’m convinced that if we met face to face, we’d hit it off instantly. My wife cuts my hair. :)

7 EnnisP

That explains the pic! Just kidding.

I should probably let my wife cut my hair. It never gets cut properly anyway and that would be a savings of $10 plus a month.

8 Olivia

We have the advantage, as we’re all curly headed. It’s harder to cut becuse it’s length is difficult to determine, but it sure covers more mistakes. Hats off to your wife who tackles straighter hair!

After reading a bunch of PF bloggers for a while I think it would be fun to have a seminar with classes taught by each one in their area of expertise. If it could be done cheaply (of course) we could all (bloggers and readers) meet and swap ideas.

9 Melissa

I cut My Husbands and both my sons hair, it saves alot :D

10 Matt Jabs

Awesome Melissa, Betsy just cut mine yesterday. Cha-ching!

11 myfinancialobjectives

Wow some really great ideas here. I like the rice/beans/tuna one. I adopted this while back for some time, though instead of tuna I used canned chicken (I’m allergic to fish). I also tried to get my roommates to cancel Cable TV. Unfortunately for me, they actually watch TV and wanted to keep it :/… Not biggie, after it’s split up, it’s not that bad. Drinking and smoking is a no-brainier, though easier said than done. Especially smoking. I just can’t live without my data plan, I use GPS, and a few other Data apps Literally everyday to get me through the day. My data plan actually saves me money in that I don’t have to buy any songs, Pandora FTW! I’m holding out on my gym membership.. After 3 years it drops from 43 a month to only $7 per month, for the rest of my life!! Only half a year left to go!! I’m keeping it just because I never know when I will need this gym in the future, even though I don’t use it right now (Bally’s Total Fitness). Good Post!

12 Matt Jabs

Pay for the things that are important to you, and cut the things that aren’t.

13 liza

tuna and rice is good if you like making tuna fish make it the reg way throw is on top ofwhite rice wonderful had a meal in itself my kids love this for years

14 Barb Friedberg

Excellent tips. Actually, many of these can be implemented permanently to lower your cost of living and raise savings.

15 Tom @ Canadian Finance Blog

Some great tips here Matt, and thanks for including mine!

16 Lilla Putian

I put a stop to all eating out last month and was amazed to realize that I had been spending nearly $150 on eating out – not always meals, but a coke here, a snack there, coffee….it really adds up!

17 Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer

Great list. It’s not so hard to get $100 but my church offers scholarships for those in need.

Having said that, I think people might be more committed if they made the sacrifice to pay themselves.

18 EnnisP

Your right Kay. There is a fine line between helping and hurting when it comes to assisting people by handing out money.

19 Broke by Choice

You have listed a ton of ideas for the person who says they can’t afford $100 to pay for the class. I agree many people raise this concern, but I would guess that they are raising this concern for other’s not themselves.

Those people we talk about not being able to afford $100 are not voicing the concern. If those people were really committed to becoming financially literate they would get $100 for the class. If they are merely interested in the idea of financial peace they will continue to not be able to afford $100

Here is a quote I like:
“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.”

20 Matt Jabs

Solid point. This post leads the horse to water. Whether or not they drink is up to them. :)

21 Khaleef @ KNS Financial

Definitely noticing that the best way to earn $100 is to stop spending and get some discipline!

22 Cumin

This list amazing. We have tried almost all with success. Good one on that.

23 Money Saver

I’m a big fan of the spending moratorium. It’s a shock at first, but then it resets my spending habits so that I think before making any purchase.

24 Matthew Denos

“Start liking beans, rice, and tuna fish.” Lol!

I eat a lot of these. No only are they healthy, they are inexpensive, too!

Thank you for reminding me of the Pareto principle. It is true. It works for most things!

25 Danny Marsh

Great ideas. I plan on getting this going first thing to start of 2011.

26 Deanna C

Wow, what fantastic ideas. I know several of our married children follow most of these ideas. I have one more that has helped us out a lot. In fact, on year it took our whole family to Disneyland (8 of us). We NEVER spend change!!! That change is taken home, dropped in a jar and taken to the bank when it is full!! We have been able to bank anywhere from $50 – $100 within about six months. The trip to Disneyland was back when it was only $5 each, but we still did it on pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters!!!

27 Matt Jabs

Cool Deanna, I actually do the same thing. One thing I’ll mention is to make sure people count and roll their own change rather than taking it to one of those machines that charges 10% to do it. Also, many times your bank will count and take your change for free, so that may be the best way to cash it in. God bless.

28 Lana Pengar

I would prefer cut down on the big dispensable things and focus on bringing in some more money. If you cut down on the little things it probably wont make such a big difference financially and you might get frustrated that you cannot do or spend on anything. But you should definitely apply the pareto which is a universal law.

29 STEVZIE

Take advantage of high scrap metal prices, take in old weights, engine parts/ car parts, bbqs, old appliances, and other heavy bits of iron you have in storage and dont use. 600 pounds of scrap can get you 100 bucs on a good day with prices around 17 cents a pound.

30 Matt Jabs

Good tip Steve, thanks.

31 Alex

I agree with most of the points above although would never consider cancelling my Internet connection. I think for the relatively low cost of broadband these days the amount of benefit and saved time you can achieve with online banking/shopping etc is unbelievable. I think paid TV should be the fist thing to go though, what a waste of money!

32 Vic @ Business Tips Blog

One best way to save our money is to be busy earning money. That is why finding part-time job is one good technique to save money.

33 Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey

I guess we have done and tried almost all of them, except for the bike thing. I don’t know how to ride a bike, so I just walk! :D

34 Camy

Great tips! I’m liking tip number 6, start liking beans, rice and tuna fish, and did apply it when I was in college, to save money. Though in my case ,it only applied to beans, and apples, since tuna in my country are extremely expensive! Gosh, I would personally go live in a country which sells cheap tuna! ;)

Cheers to investing wisely =)

35 BB

This is a great article on the subject of saving money. Here are a few more ideas to add to the list:
1. Eat oatmeal for breakfast, or like my folks fed us when things got tight, hot rice with a little sugar, raisins and milk. Packaged cereal is nutso pricewise.
2. For lunch, eat salad greens with walnuts (and of course tuna). Again, good for you and contributes to that full feeling. Being healthier is also money saving.
3. Drink nothing but water… ok, bottled, but soft drinks are yuck anyway.
4. Household water consumption is a sneaky thief. Wash full loads only, flush when brown, and bathe in the tub, not the shower. For those on wells, consider the power used to pump and pressurize the water and reduce usage.
5. For those with kids, make a (profitable) game for them out of this and call it the Turnip Squeeze.

36 Crazytiger

I had cancel my t.v. cable, my super fast internet Comcast, data phone, and home phone. I assumed that I will at least save two hundred. I currently have basic internet which is costing about 24 dollars a month.

37 Lizzy

Go through your attic and cupboards, if you haven’t used it for 5 years… take it to yard sale, and take whatever you don’t sell to charity for tax receipt. I did this last month…. made $800 AT the Yard Sale….. then got a tax receipt from Goodwill for $600 of what was remaining…. (which means I already have saved $200 in fed taxes for 2013)….. now…. onto what is OUTSIDE of the cupboards!! :)

38 Carol

I have 3 children and I learned with my first on that making your own baby food its so much cheaper and more healthy than processed food. My twin girls who are 9 months now still havent eaten a jar of baby food since being born. In about a month I look foward to saving around $120!!

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