Are you ready to start a side hustle but not quite sure how much upfront investment it needs? What about if you’re not profitable right away and you need additional income? Have you considered how you’ll hold on to your savings and what you can do today to save money for a rainy day?
Many of us feel that we can’t save money on our day-to-day income. In fact, most Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account. When something unexpected happens, this meager amount can evaporate in an instant. This is why I’m a firm believer in a secret cash stash to save money.
Here are my 7 tips to save money and succeed in your side hustle!
The problem with building savings in your bank account is the easy access. Let’s say you are out shopping and you need some extra money, mobile apps have made it faster than ever to transfer from your savings to your checking account. Even without this step, you can use your credit card and then pay it off with that small amount you have left in your savings account at the end of the month.
On the other hand, cash is harder to “just grab” when you need it. Stash your cash somewhere in the house where you can find it but it’s not readily available. We’ve all heard the stories about putting your money “on ice.” So find that secure location and add to it whenever you can. Make an effort to leave it behind when you leave the house.
It also makes it harder to use during late-night online shopping!
Putting aside small sums of cash every now is less of a commitment and you don’t have to save a significant amount at any given time.
Think about it: if you’re taking out $20 every time you go for your weekly grocery store run, it doesn’t feel as big of a step as arranging for a monthly transfer from your earnings into a savings account.
I am able to stash thousands of dollars each year by doing this method. For instance, if our grocery budget is $150. I plan for our meals and use coupons or cash back apps to save extra money. When I check out, our grocery bill is only $125, so with my planning I’m able to put the other $25 into my cash stash. By doing it this way, I’m not taking extra funds our of our account, we are still able to stay on budget AND I have extra money for my side hustle.
This small fund is a great resource for when you’re side hustling. You might find you need to take some classes to learn skills to support your side hustle, which you can fund with your cash stash.
Or, what about upfront purchases, such as tools or items you’ll be selling before you make money on them? That’s why you have a cash stash!
7 Tips to Save Money Easily
Save Money by starting small
Like I said above, start out by taking a small amount of cash out of the ATM every time you do your weekly shop. It can be $5 or $10 at a time. Over a year, that’s already over $500 if you’ve taken $10 out every week!
Identify where you can pinch a penny
If you can round up purchases to the bigger amount, the extra funds can be put aside.
Say your shopping amounts to $12.67 – round up to $13.00 when you count that expense. The $0.33 change can be put away in a coin jar. Do this a few times and you’ll end up with a more substantial sum for your cash stash.
There are some apps you can use to round up. I use one called Acorns. The link to your checking account and automatically round up the transactions into an investment account. You can pick how aggressive you want to be with the investment accounts. It’s pretty neat to see how little tiny sums can add up. In addition to rounding up, we also are doing $5 a week transfers.
This is also easy to do through some banking apps that allow you to round up your card payments, so check with your bank if this is available to you.
I also use Cash Back Programs to Save Money – A LOT!
- Rakuten – Used to be Ebates – I earn about $500-$1,000 back each year with their program just by shopping their links. They payout 4 times a year and it’s always a nice bump to add to my stash. If you want to check them out, use my referral link, spend $25, and then we both get $25! It’s that easy. They also have a Chrome extension and will notify you when you check out if your purchase is eligible for cashback!
- Pay attention around any kind of holiday with Rakuten. They often have shopping events for 10% cash back and more.
- Honey – This is another cash-back app that allows you to buy discounted gift cards and pay with things using them at the time of purchase. They also offer tons of coupon and promo codes. You can redeem honey points for gift cards. I use a lot of my gift cards for home decor purchases! When you download their Chrome extension, they also pop up when you are on a site to tell you about discount codes and cashback. It’s nice to see the comparison of cashback on the extensions so I know to use Rakuten or Honey when I check out.
- Fetch Rewards – This app gives you points to redeem for gift cards just for scanning your receipts. Literally, that’s all you have to do! Be sure to use my referral code, QRANQ, during signup and you’ll get 2,000 Fetch Points. Download Fetch Rewards for free here: https://fetchrewards.onelink.me/vvv3/referralemail?code=QRANQ
Make Some Clever Swaps
Are you always buying a coffee to go on your way to work or buying lunch to eat at your desk? You could be saving a small fortune by foregoing one or more of these treats, once a week to begin with.
First, pay with these small things in cash. Using credit cards or brand apps make us blissfully unaware of the financial impact of these small purchases. Create a routine budget for miscellaneous items. When the cash runs out, make your own coffee or lunch! If cash remains at the end of the week, add it to your stash!
Make your own sandwiches at home and you’ll also be eating healthier lunches, without as much processed food as you get from takeout.
As for coffee, you can make a one-time investment in an insulated travel mug or small thermos, then your morning drink will stay warm in the car all the way to the office.
Watch Your Consumption… of Media
This is a more subtle hack, but extremely effective.
We all see so many ads: on TV, on social media, throughout the town. It’s not immediately obvious how exposure to advertising leads us to spend more. Actually, it’s usually very subliminal messaging. However, if you make a pact with yourself to always hit “Ignore” on your social media feed when you see an ad pop up, you might save money down the line.
I’ve noticed since the pandemic, online shopping has become a bit of a vice for me. Almost a self-soothing issue because I can’t go out to the stores. The impulse purchases for me are at an all-time high.
Instagram brand ads are the WORST! I can’t tell you how many items I bought on an impulse because of an Instagram ad. Whenever I click on an ad, I think “do I need this?” The answer is always NO! So, I swipe away and never look back. This new method definitely helps me save money!
List Everything Needed to Save Money
Before you go shopping, make a list of needed items. This applies to groceries, but also to more “splurge” type shopping like getting a new pair of shoes or taking a trip to Costco.
When you’re in-store, stick to the list. It takes time and practice, but you can do it!
When the pandemic first started, I really missed my grocery trips and fought myself on spending money on delivery and tips. But, after we started getting our groceries delivered, I noticed I spent WAY less money on groceries.
You see before I would go into the store, with my list and gradually pick up interesting things to add to my purchase. My bill would almost double sometimes because of my impulse purchases. But now, I make my list and those are the only things I order from the store to save money on those unneeded items.
I pay way less in tip for the driver than I ever did when I went to the store myself.
Avoiding impulse buys will definitely make a difference in your wallet.
Save Money on Transportation
Remember how many times you said you’d start cycling to work? If that’s a possibility where you live, switching to a bike commute once or twice a week could save you lots of cash on gas. Start by trying it out once, and see how feasible it is. If it works, you might start doing it every day!
Alternatively, I know bike lanes and public transport aren’t available to everyone, but you can still save on gas. Check out apps that log gas prices around where you live and see if you can stop at one of those stations as part of your next trip. Again, it could be a matter of pennies, but it all adds up.
When my husband and I relocated to Virginia/DC from Ohio, we decided to live within biking distance from his work. We also went from two cars down to one. I fought this nail and tooth because I didn’t think there was any way we could possible live with only one car.
Our rent was higher than if we lived farther away from his employer, but after we did the math we realized it was still saving us money in the long run.
8 years later and counting… We still only have 1 car. And, now we live in Connecticut!
Buy in bulk
When it comes to household items and grocery shopping, there are lots of savings to be made when you buy in bulk. I’m thinking specifically about non-perishable items like cupboard staples: pasta, rice, sauces, cans of beans, and so on. There will almost always be a deal on these at the store if you buy several at a time. And, unless you’re planning to move house soon, why wouldn’t you get lots of them?
The same goes with cleaning supplies or detergent.
Have a look at the money you saved on these items and stash the cash with your other savings. Or, even easier: take out enough cash for your weekly shop (you’ll have to do some math to work this out), pay for it all, and put all the change into your cash stash.
Once you create an emergency fund with your extra cash, you’ll feel more at ease about spending money on yourself and your side hustle, or even switching to a full-time entrepreneur life and quitting your day job. Have a look at my tips on how to get started with your side hustle and how to balance it with a 9-5 job for some more inspiration.
Until next time,
Bexa Boss Lady
One P.S. Bonus tip for adding to your Cash Stash is collecting change! I started coin collecting with this little jar. When I was a kid, we visited my uncle during the summer and he always let me have his change. He saved it all year for me and then bought me coin rolling packs. I remember sitting on his navy blue carpet and counting all the change, putting it into the round tubes, and taking it to the bank.
It’s tedious at times but I’ll be damned if I am giving any of my coins to the Coin Star machine!