3 creative ways to save more money fast

By Gina Freeman

Reviewed by Kimberly Rotter

Apr 30, 2024

Read time: 2 min

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If your idea of personal finance is scowling at your family across the dining table and sighing over bills, it’s no wonder that you avoid it. But TikTok influencers have taken the buzzkill out of budgeting and gamified saving. Try these three trending tactics and become a money hero yourself.

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Tactic 1: 365 envelopes (with a few twists)

At its most basic, the 365 envelope method is a saving game in which you write random dollar amounts on 365 envelopes. Then every day, you grab one and put the assigned amount in. After a year, you’ve got a stash of cash and the joy that goes with it.

To enhance the experience, get your glitter on and turn your envelopes into art. Or make ‌beautiful containers for them, like valentine boxes in elementary school. 

There are many ways to determine the amounts. Couples make envelopes individually and exchange them each morning. Some families draw envelopes blindly from a bag. Others choose amounts that correspond to the day of the month or year. A variation on this theme is a 100-day challenge. You save $1 on Day 1, $2 on Day 2, etc. The result is $5,050 in just over three months. If that’s not realistic, start with a coin. Pennies will get you $50.50. Nickels will get you almost $350.

For those who break out in hives if deprived of their tech, there are apps available for the envelope method. You don’t need envelopes, and you certainly don’t need to bedazzle them. But we think that’s part of the fun. 

Read more: How to budget like a boss

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Tactic 2: Loud budgeting

Speaking of viral victories, loud budgeting is an awesome addition to your money games. “Loud budgeting” was originally a sketch created by comedian Lukas Battle. A way to be assertive—like a rich person—“because everyone knows that rich people hate to spend money.” You’re pushing back because you’re smart and have better things to do.

Loud budgeting means taking the power back from corporations, from inflation, from celebrities and influencers. And it’s a great idea. Loud budgeting is forcefully standing behind your budget, but instead of saying, “I can’t afford…” you say, “I don’t want to spend money on…” 

Since January 2024, TikTokers have been touting that loud budgeting is the new trend of the year as an actionable step to de-influencing culture. This also comes as a perfect and much-needed solution that relieves the pressure that overconsumption has put on all of us to “keep up with the Joneses”. 

Loud budgeting is a mindset more than a tactic, but you can use it to support your other efforts. Brag about how much you save when you find a bargain. Be transparent with your friends that you don’t want to overspend on expensive dinners out. Revel in self-deprivation and publicly celebrate your wins, big and small.

Read more: 6 ways to budget and save more money

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Tactic 3: Small wins, every day

Get out your calendar. Sit down with your loved ones and ply them with sandwiches. You’re going to brainstorm a tiny decision for each day of the next month to change your financial life over time. Here’s a short list to get you started:

  • Instead of buying that best-seller, borrow it at the library.

  • Swap out a cheaper option for one of your supermarket go-tos. 

  • Install a gasoline savings app on your phone and use it to find the best deal near you.

  • Invite friends for a picnic or potluck.

  • Work out a scheme to pay off your smallest credit card balance and determine when you’ll zero it out.

  • Our parents had mortgage-burning parties when they paid off their homes. Take a page from their book and plan a statement-burning party when you pay off that credit card. 

  • Have a garage sale. 

  • Exercise in the park. Even a game of Frisbee or a walk. 

  • Have one fewer cocktail this weekend. Or one less $5 coffee this week.

  • Clear your inbox and open the mail you’ve been avoiding. 

  • Go to YouTube or TikTok “University” and learn a new skill. 

  • Put $5 in your emergency fund. 

  • Schedule an energy audit with your utility company (they’re free!).

  • Play “Chopped” or “Top Chef” and use up that stuff in the back of your pantry.

  • Join your local “buy nothing” group.

Read more: 4 simple steps to financial freedom

You get the idea. Write these tiny goals on your calendar every month and celebrate with big gold stars (or whatever lights you up) for every successful completion. Pat yourself on the back. Small wins can deliver big, long-term results as long as you commemorate them in some way. Even if it’s just a private party in your head. 

Gina Freeman - Author

Gina Freeman has been covering personal finance topics for over 20 years. She loves helping consumers understand tough topics and make confident decisions. Her professional history includes mortgage lending, credit scoring, taxes, and bankruptcy. Gina has a BS in financial management from the University of Nevada.

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Kimberly is Achieve’s senior editor. She is a financial counselor accredited by the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education®, and a mortgage expert for The Motley Fool. She owns and manages a 350-writer content agency.

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