Saving money can be quick and easy. It’s not always about hard choices or depriving yourself of things. With these 12 tips, you’ll see how taking one small action can save you money. And once you do one tip, you’ll likely be hooked. When you see one small change pay off, you’ll be hungry to make more. When you do, you’ll notice all those small changes will make a big difference in your finances.

Save Money Fast: 12 Money Saving Tips That Take Five Minutes or Less

#1 – Increase Your 401(k) Contribution

When your money is out of sight, sometimes it’s also out of mind. You can hide it from yourself by increasing your 401(k) contribution, even if it’s just 1% more than what you’re doing today. For extra credit, set a calendar alert to increase it again in three months after you adjust to your new contribution level – or better yet, sign yourself for an automatic quarterly 1 percent increase.

#2 – Use Rakuten Anytime You Buy Something Online

Rakuten is a cash-back site that can earn you 1 to 20 percent on purchases you would be making anyway at your favorite stores like Amazon, Target, and Walmart. Signing up for Rakuten is a fun way to see some bonus money every few months – and all you have to do is shop like you normally would.

Don’t buy anything online without using it.

#3 – Compare Mortgage Rates

If you can save money by refinancing your mortgage, you should go for it! Our mortgages are typically the single biggest expense we’ll face in our lifetimes so the savings from a refinance can be significant – you’ll possibly be able to save thousands. A study by the Journal of Financial Economics found 20% of homeowners who could have benefited from refinancing didn’t. As such, Americans paid an extra $5.4 billion in interest payments!

Who is more likely to save by refinancing? Here’s some likely candidates:

  • If your credit score has increased since you took out the loan
  • If you’re looking to lock in a fixed rate, after purchasing a variable rate loan (and you believe interest rates will continue to rise)
  • Switching from a 30-year to say a 15-year
  • Eliminate PMI

If you think you may be able to save, visit Credible – you’ll be able to compare rates in five minutes or less.

#4 – Plan A Frugal Weekend

Sometimes you can do a great job of watching your money throughout the week, only to blow it when you’re on the go during the weekend. So be proactive and plan a cheap weekend ahead of time. Invite some friends over for a potluck dinner or pack a cooler in the trunk of your car and spend the afternoon at a local park.

#5 – Negotiate or Cancel Your Cable and Internet

Cable and internet services are a great place to cut your expenses. You could cut cable entirely and opt for a cheaper viewing service like Netflix.

If you’re not wanting to get rid of cable all together, you can simply renegotiate your rate. If you’re not good about bargaining, have a robot do it for you.

Interesting right? Trim is an app that works inside of Facebook that will negotiate your cable and internet bills for you on your behalf – you won’t have to do anything, except enjoy the savings.

#6 – Complete a Balance Transfer

If you run a credit card balance, you’re likely flushing money down the drain every month because of the interest. One way to stop paying that interest and put that money back in your pocket is by doing a zero-percent balance transfer on your credit card. Keep throwing as much money as you can at your credit card after the balance transfer goes through though – your goal should be to pay off that card before the interest kicks back in.

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#7 – Plan a Visit to Your Library

Why pay for things like board games, movies, video games, and books when your local library offers it all for free? And if you don’t want to leave your house, download the Library Extension for Google Chrome. This is a free browser extension that lets you see what’s available for free from your library in ebook or audiobook format while you’re browsing on Amazon.

#8 – Refinance Your Student Loans

You paid enough for that college education as it is – there’s no need to pay more when you can refinance your student loans and potentially save thousands of dollars.

You can check refinancing rates at LendKey to see what’s available to you. This is especially a great idea if you have a good credit score. The average individual who refinances with LendKey saves $16,000. It takes only a few minutes to check your rates.

#9 – Delete Your Credit Cards Online

Sometimes the best money-saving tip is one that saves you from yourself. Since with our spending we can be our own worst enemies, you can make it harder to buy items online by deleting your credit card information on your phone or computer. You won’t do any mindless buying because it’s not one easy click away – if you manually have to fill in all your information, you might think twice about that purchase.

#10 – Sign Up for Your Community Calendar

Most communities offer free events throughout the year, and by signing up for an event newsletter or a community calendar, you won’t have to miss a single one of them. Many towns or cities offer free music in the parks during summer, and most libraries have free programs that can be highly entertaining.

#11 – Get Cash Back On Your Last Grocery Receipt

If you’ve already spent money, it might not be too late to get some of it back. If you have a receipt that is less than a week old, download the Ibotta app. The Ibotta app allows you to earn money for taking pictures of your receipts. Here’s how it works:

  • Download the app on your smartphone
  • Before you head to the grocery store, scan the app to see what items are offering cash back
  • Buy the products listed on the app
  • When you get home, scan the barcodes and a picture of the receipt
  • Your cash back will be deposited into your Ibotta account within 48 hours, which can be transferred to PayPal or Venmo

#12 – Sign Up For These Passive Income Apps

By signing up for Nielsen Mobile Panel, you agree to let the app (anonymously) track things like your shopping history and web browsing habits. In return, you’ll receive about $50 per yer (per eligible device), just for keeping the tracking app installed. Drop gives you points for shopping at certain stores, and you can redeem those points for rewards. Paribus scans your email receipts for price drops and helps you get a refund for the difference. 

*Paribus compensates us when you sign up for Paribus using the links we provided.

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