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15 Money Saving Tips That Are So Low-Effort, You Might Not Believe They Actually Work

Think of these as the sweatpants of money tips.

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Saving money is a conscious decision β€” but it can also sometimes be easier said than done, especially when you feel like there are just *so many* wild strategies and tips out there. So here are just a few low-effort things you can do to save a little more money:

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1. Download your bank's mobile app so you can quickly make transfers without having to leave home.

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When you have to throw on some shoes and walk or drive to your bank to deposit money into your savings account, you might be more likely to keep putting it off. But when you can transfer some cash into your savings with just a few taps at any time of the day, saving money becomes a task that takes less than 60 seconds.

Of course, easy access to send money into your savings account can also mean easy access to withdrawing that money, too. Just make sure that every spending decision is being made mindfully!

2. Set up automatic transfers to your savings account for the same amount every month.

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And you can take things a step further by setting up automatic transfers. Consider what would be a reasonable amount for you to save out of each paycheck (keep your income and expenses in mind for this). Go into a your account settings, and pick a day (or two if you're paid biweekly) for the money to be automatically transferred. This way, you'll save money without even thinking about it! And with your savings accounted for, you can now spend what's left after you take care of your other expenses.

3. Or use the Digit app to automatically save random, small amounts of money each day. You likely won't miss $2 here and there, and it really adds up so you can afford that weekend getaway you really want!

Screenshot from the app showing money saved in different categories, including Christmas 2021 and grad school
Jasmin Suknanan / BuzzFeed

Loyal Digit user here! Since I also manually save a fixed amount each month, the app makes me feel like I'm really maximizing my savings by stashing away every dollar I can! The app connects to your bank account and lets you set up different goals (like saving for a rainy day or holiday shopping). You can specify the maximum daily amount you want saved for each goal, which makes the app super flexible for a variety of income levels. So let's say you don't have a lot of wiggle room or have too many surprise, variable costs β€” you can choose to save a max of just $2 a day toward any given goal.

And you can also manually add money toward any savings goal. This is super helpful if you want to beef things up a bit. It's actually kind of exciting to see how much progress you've made toward a specific goal!

4. Use an app like Drop to earn rewards like cashback and gift cards just for shopping from brands you love. Gift cards = more ways to treat yourself without spending any more of your hard-earned cash.

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You can put a little money back into your pockets just for buying things you really want, or things you would've bought anyway. Drop has a ton of popular shops and brands in their network β€” like Starbucks, Amazon, Sephora, GrubHub, and more β€” that are ready to give you back a percentage of the money you spend there. All you have to do is connect your credit and debit cards to the app and shop offers from your favorite stores through the app. Plus, you can earn points just for playing games on the app or taking surveys, so you don't even need to shop to earn!

You can redeem your points for gift cards to your favorite stores. Basically, you're pretty much paying yourself to shop.

5. Save every $5 bill you come across.

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The $5 bill challenge is an oldie but a goodie, and it can help your savings add up fast. Plus, it takes off some of the pressure of feeling like you have to be stockpiling Benjamins in order to save money. Keep all your $5 bills in a jar so you can watch your savings ~grow~.

6. Or try saving just $1 a day. It may not sound like much, but a little something is better than nothing!

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And if you don't really use cash as much anymore, or you want a strategy that's even lower lift, save just $1 a day. It works whether you reach into your wallet or transfer the money through your bank's mobile app. It's a very non-intimidating amount to save, especially if you're a college student who is just beginning to ramp up your finances. And you can expect to save $30–$31 each month (unless it's February, obvs). You'll end up with $365 after a year β€” then next year, you can challenge yourself to save $2 a day!

7. When you get the urge to spend money on something "out of boredom," transfer an equivalent amount to your savings account instead.

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Spending out of boredom is not the same as conscious spending. Conscious spending is when you make a plan to cut back on things you don't care about so you have more money to spend on the things that matter to you β€” like iced coffee, candles, cologne, video games, and more. Buying because you're bored sounds more like wanting something because you don't know what else to do with your energy (and it can become financially destructive quickly if you aren't careful).

But when you stop and save that same amount instead, you avoid buying something you don't actually care about, and you bring yourself a little closer to your financial goals.

8. Cancel subscriptions you don't use as often anymore. You may be surprised by how quickly $10 here and there can add up every month.

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Ten dollars per month may not seem like an obnoxious amount of money to spend on a service (i.e., gym membership, subscription box, streaming service, etc.) that you don't use often. In fact, it might sometimes be easy to miss. But you might actually start to feel the burn when you add it up over the span of a year and see that over $100 went to a service you didn't even look twice at.

Take a few minutes to make a list of all the subscriptions you pay for; don't forget to count any streaming services, membership sites, and recurring fees. Now comes the hard part: Ask yourself if you really care about it as much as you think you do. If not, then it might be time to pull the plug on that service (you can always resubscribe in the future when it better suits your needs).

9. Sleep on a purchase before you decide to click the "checkout" button.

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It's easy to make an impulse purchase, and sometimes, it ends up being money well spent. Other times, though, they don't work out, and the cost of all those impulse-buys really adds up! Enter the 24-hour rule: It's where you add an item to your cart but wait until the next day to actually buy it. After you've had a day to think about the purchase, you can buy it if you still really want it. But often, you'll realize that you don't actually care that much about it. Besides, when you leave items in your cart for a while, the brand may actually send you discount codes β€” so if you do decide to buy, you'll wind up spending a little less.

And if 24 hours isn't enough for you, wait 48 hours or 72 hours instead. Others have success with waiting an entire week and sometimes up to a month!

10. And when you do decide to make that purchase after all, use a browser extension that automatically applies coupons, so you can save on the order.

Person ordering from their laptop
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Manually researching and applying discount codes can be a painstaking feat β€” especially when you keep your fingers crossed every time only to get a "sorry, that coupon is invalid" message (ugh!). Instead, use a browser extension like Honey to automatically apply available coupons to lower the cost of your order (can confirm, the feeling of saving money without having to research individual coupon codes is like food for the soul). It doesn't take long for the extension to scour around and apply the codes they find β€” I have often saved $15+ on purchases just by waiting a minute for Honey to apply codes!

11. Have water instead of alcohol when eating out.

People eating pizza
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It kinda goes without saying, but ordering alcohol can add a pretty hefty price tag to your dinner bill, especially if you aren't taking advantage of happy hour pricing. Instead, stick to water β€” it's free, and you can usually get as many refills as you'd like! Or pick a soda or non-alcoholic beverage from the menu.

12. Buy the generic store-brand version instead of the name brand item. They're often basically the same product priced differently.

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The generic store-brand item is often equally as good as the fancy, shmancy name-brand product but a couple of dollars cheaper. It often doesn't necessarily matter what brand your bread or pasta noodles are (unless you have dietary restrictions, of course). You can save just by opting for the generic brand. Of course, it's totally fine to pick a few name-brand items that are non-negotiable (like your favorite brand of burrata). Just be conscious of what items you don't mind buying generic.

13. Pick one day a week, and make it your no-spend day.

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If you find yourself scrolling through your bank account and seeing the dollar bills just leaving your account almost every day, it may be time to schedule in a day to just give your debit card a break. Choosing a no-spend day can also curb impulse buying β€” if you see something you want, you'll have to wait until the next day to purchase it, and by that time you may not even want it anymore!

14. And if you really want to challenge yourself, try a no-spend *weekend* once a month.

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Similarly, you can try a no-spend weekend where you don't spend money from Friday to Sunday night. Just be careful that you don't go extra hard on the spending during other weekends to "make up for it."

15. Lastly, ask your bank to refund any recent overdraft charges or other fees β€” then save the money you get back.

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While each bank may have a slightly different policy when it comes to refunding fees, it's often possible for you to put those overdraft and maintenance charges back in your pocket. Keep in mind these fees are expensive, and getting a refund can actually go a long way. It doesn't hurt to call your bank's customer service line to ask! Just be sure that the fees you're requesting refunds for were issued within the past 60 days (this time range might change depending on your bank).

Also important to note: If you do find success in getting your refunds, 1) yay, congrats! And 2) avoid using it as a "free pass" to overspend.

Do you have a money-saving hack that you think more people should know about? Share it below!

And while you're at it, don't forget to check out some of our other personal finance posts.

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