Easy Ways to Save Money Fast
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Download the recipe from this episode
This is my favorite white bean chicken chili recipe. It’s easy to make in the crockpot, budget-friendly and absolutely delicious. I think you’ll love it!
Want to save money fast?
You can! And not in the “call within the next 20 minutes and save an extra 50%!” infomercial kind of way. I’m talking about coming up with cash to cover emergencies, get out of debt quicker, and make your dreams a reality. That kind of savings—and, yeah, fast.
In today’s episode, you’ll learn how to save money in big and small ways without leaving your home. Sound too good to be true? Stick around to see for yourself.
Why You Might Want to Save Money Fast
To win with money, you need cash in the bank.
Here’s why: We’ve talked about how debt traps us and keeps us from moving forward financially. You can get rid of debt, but the only way to avoid it forever is to have a cash-based safety net ready when you need it.
In fact, if you think about it, savings and debt are total opposites.
- With debt you pay interest, but by saving you earn
- With debt you owe, but by saving you own.
- Debt involves taking on risk while saving lowers your risk.
- Debt steals your future while saving secures
Your first goal should be to save $1,000 for a starter emergency fund. Then, after you pay off all debts except your house, save three-to-six months of expenses for a fully funded emergency fund.
Imagine how you’ll feel with no debt payments and enough savings to cover big emergencies like job loss, a hospital bill or an expensive home repair. Talk about breathing a sigh of relief!
As women, one of our biggest fears is not having a safety net. If you’re living with little savings, you know what I’m talking about. It’s kind of hard to breathe if you think too much about it. Setting aside a big pile of cash puts you in an incredible place both financially and emotionally.
Another important safety net that’s a must is term life insurance.
Term life insurance protects your family and your savings in the future. And if you already have term life insurance, reevaluating how much you need could save you some money right now. I recommend getting a 15- to 20-year term policy at 10 to 12 times your annual income.
Winston and I personally love Zander Insurance. Check them out today for a quote or to get a better rate!
The First and Best Way to Save Money Fast
Want to know the secret to saving money fast—even on a low income? A budget.
Yup, it’s that simple. You guys know I’m going to talk about a budget. That’s because it works!
When you create a zero-based budget, you take control of your money and put things in the proper order. You’ll give, save and then spend. That means you’ll prioritize saving for a car over weekly trips to Target—as wonderful as those trips may be.
If this is your first time creating a zero-based budget, follow our quick and simple guide:
- Determine your income for the month ahead.
- Give every dollar a name. Work until income minus expenses equals zero.
- Keep track of your spending and make adjustments as needed.
What’s the easiest way to create and stick to a budget? Download EveryDollar! It’s my favorite budgeting app and the easiest one for a zero-based budget.
We’ve discovered through our Financial Peace University groups that people who use a zero-based budget pay off 53% more debt and save 5% more money in just three months than those who don’t!
Yup, I do love a good budget. But I didn’t always . . .
What My First Budget Looked Like
I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but Winston and I didn’t do our first budget together until we’d been married for five months.
I remember thinking, We should budget. Because Dave Ramsey is my dad, being on the same page with your spouse about money was grilled into my brain from day one! Even our premarital counselor suggested we create a mock budget together. And I thought, Did my dad pay you to say that?
Still, we made it almost half a year before we sat down with a yellow pad at our used kitchen table and made a budget. It was a total disaster. I’m pretty sure I budgeted $50 for food for the entire month! That might cover our pizza quota, but that’s about it! Our numbers that first month were way off.
But by month two, things started to make more sense. And three months in, our budget began to work! By month four, it was like clockwork! And we’ve never looked back.
I can truly say budgeting is how we’ve reached our financial goals. And I want to encourage you to stick with it for just 90 days. You can do 90 days, right? Maybe you tried budgeting for a month or two before, and it didn’t seem right for you. But I’ll bet you didn’t stick it out quite long enough.
Download EveryDollar, create and stick to a zero-based budget for three months, and just see what happens! I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised and a few hundred dollars richer—or more!
Money-Saving Tip: Make Dinner at Home
We all know we can save big by making dinner at home instead of going out to eat. But that’s easier said than done when it’s 5:00 p.m. and there’s not a meal plan in sight. That’s why I’m sharing a few of my favorite easy, delicious meals you can make at home.
Thanks to our friends at Home Chef for sponsoring this segment!
White Bean Chicken Chili
First up is one of my favorites. Whenever I serve this to friends, I always get text messages the next day asking for the recipe, so I’m giving you the lowdown. And, you guys, it’s crazy easy!
- 2–3 chicken breasts, fresh or frozen
- 2 cans Ro-Tel
- 3 cans great northern white beans
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
- Cumin to taste
- Corn chips
- Sour cream
- Hot sauce
Add the first six ingredients to a slow cooker (don’t forget the liner for easy cleanup!). Cook on low for six to eight hours. Shred chicken. Serve topped with Fritos, sour cream and hot sauce. Rave reviews every time!
What would a The Rachel Cruze Show recipe segment be without a little pizza? The things I love go like this: God, Winston, my girls, pizza.
This one is flavorful with lots of toppings and pretty colors. Ask your husband to lend his muscles rolling out the dough and get your kids to help with the toppings. You commit to the eating. It’s fun for the whole family!
- Fresh pizza dough from the grocery store bakery
- Olive or grapeseed oil
- Marinara sauce
- Mozzarella cheese
- Feta cheese
- Green peppers
- Banana peppers
- Red pepper flakes
Cook four pieces of bacon in the microwave until crispy. Brush oil onto rolled-out dough. Top with marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of feta. Add the remaining toppings except for the red pepper flakes. Bake as directed on dough package and then top with red pepper flakes when you take it out of the oven. DELISH!
Crispy Orange Chicken From Home Chef
This last recipe I make is another current favorite and comes from my friends at Home Chef. I love it because you can use their meals—like this one—to save money on date nights. It’s all the deliciousness of a restaurant meal without the price tag. Send the kids to grandma’s house or put them in bed early and enjoy a date night at home with your spouse.
I love the variety. Home Chef offers 18 fresh choices each week! And Winston’s favorite part is the super-fast cleanup. I gotta say, I’m a fan of that too.
Visit Home Chef today to get $30 off your first order!
How Can I Save Money Every Day? 11 Ideas to Get You Started
Beyond budgeting and cooking at home, there’s really no limit on the ways you can save. But sometimes it helps to get the ball rolling with a few ideas. Which one will you try first?
- Make your own snack bags. Instead of buying individual snack portions, buy a big box at Costco and divide the snacks up yourself.
- Have everyone bring a dish. Ditch dinner out as a group. Host everyone at your house and ask each person to bring something as a part of the meal.
- Learn to turn a wrench. Find a few simple things around the house that you can do yourself, like changing your air filter or fixing the toilet—no professional repair required.
- Learn to sew. I’m not talking about stitching a smock dress—although I love a good smock dress! But learning to mend and hem means you don’t have to buy new clothes.
- Get organized. Look through your home for stuff you can sell, donate or trash. You’ll feel refreshed and less inclined to buy more. You might even try The Minimalist Challenge!
- Always negotiate. Winston is famous around our house for this. He calls the cable company every quarter to ask for a better deal—and you should too!
- Hang dry your clothes. Call me crazy—I know it’s more work—but hanging your clothes to dry instead of sticking them in the dryer means they’ll last you longer. And you’ll save on the electric bill.
- Share baby gear. When it comes to the big stuff, there’s no reason you and your friends need all-new baby goods all the time. My sister and I trade swings, pack n plays and bouncers back and forth as each of us has another kid.
- Don’t pay full price for kids’ clothes. Babies and toddlers grow so fast that buying new just doesn’t feel worth it. Swap clothes with a friend, check your local thrift store, or shop consignment sales—which is my spiritual gift!
- Learn to say no to fundraising. Don’t give in to every cute face that appears on your doorstep. Twenty dollars here and there really adds up—especially when you spend it on stuff you won’t use.
- Check your home and auto insurance rates. When it comes to insurance, most people just set it and forget it. But people who use our Endorsed Local Providers program save an average of $731 per year just by looking for a better deal!
Money-Saving Tip: Turn Cardboard Boxes into Easy Halloween Costumes
You guys! Saving money can be so fun and so darn cute too! In today’s episode, I’m joined by Sarah Shelton, the Home Editor of Woman’s Day Magazine. She walks us through five Halloween costumes you can make for—or even with—your kid using cardboard boxes.
You guys are going to love these!
Together we make:
- A Lego costume
- A taco costume
- A candy dot costume
- A cotton candy costume
- A butterfly costume
And we’ll make them all out of cardboard boxes! I know you guys have a few of those lying around. Each costume cost less than $20 to make and requires simple materials from the craft store.
You can find detailed instructions for each of the costumes here. And be sure to check the October issue of Woman’s Day magazine on newsstands for money-saving ideas.
If These People Can Save Money, So Can You!
Time for the best part of the show—when we get to celebrate you guys, how you’re saving money and what you’re saving up for! #SheWorksHardSavingMoney My absolute favorite from today’s episode:
“Today is a day for celebration! What better way to celebrate your birthday than by crushing a goal together?! When Justin and I got married, together we had $15,000 in credit card 💳 debt, $44,000 in auto 🚗 🚙 loan debt, $11,000 in loans 💰, and $5,000 in medical expenses.
That’s SEVENTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS IN DEBT, Y’ALL. 💸💸Plus our mortgage on top of that. 🏡We didn’t want to raise children in that lifestyle and decided we had to make a change—for ourselves and for our family. 👨👩👧
I am SO proud and excited and emotional about the fact that TODAY WE ARE DEBT-FREE!! 🎉🎉After only a year and a half! AND we have 3 months’ worth of bills saved up for emergencies. That’s #BabySteps 1–3 knocked out!” —Kayla
Kayla, you killed it, girl. Way to take control of your money and create a life you love!
Photos provided by Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly
Sponsors pay the producer of this show, The Lampo Group, LLC, advertising fees for mentioning their services or products during programing. Advertising fees are not based upon or otherwise tied to any product sale or business transacted between any consumer or sponsor. The following sponsors have paid for the programing you are viewing:
- Zander Insurance
- Home Chef
– Are you looking for ways to save money? Well, why not start at home? So a big part of winning with money, is actually having cash in the bank. Because, you guys, this helps you avoid debt. Last episode we talked about how terrible debt is, and if debt is not gonna be part of our lives, saving is our only option. Because if you think about it, saving and debt are kind of opposites. ‘Cause with debt, you pay interest, with saving, you earn interest. With debt, you owe. With saving, you own. With debt, you’re taking on risk, savings lowers your risk. Debt steals your future, savings secures it. So they’re opposites you guys. So, what our goal is, is to save for a thousand dollar emergency fund. This is kind of your started emergency fund. Then you’re gonna work to get completely debt free. Everything but your house, using the debt snowball. And then after you’re debt free, then go and say three to six months of expenses. So this is what we call your fully funded emergency fund. Can we just take a deep breath? I mean, really, could you imagine, having no payments, and three to six month of expenses saved in the bank. Like if anything were to happen, you’re taken care of! You don’t owe anyone anything, and you have a ton of savings! Like this puts you in an incredible place, not just financially, but emotionally as well. And why this is so important, is because actually, a top financial fear for most women, is the lack of security. So you wanna make sure you have that safety net. And another way to have a great safety net is to make sure you have term life insurance. So no matter what baby step that you’re on, you need to make sure that you have it. And if you already have it, then go and reevaluate your life insurance needs, because you can save a lot of money by ditching your whole life policy for a more cost effective term life policy. Now I recommend getting 10 to 12 times your annual income, with a 15 to 20 year term policy. And if you’ve paid off a lot of debt, you may not need as much coverage. And if things have changed in your lifestyle, that can lower the cost as well. Winston and I personally use and love Zander Insurance. So make sure to go to Zander.com, or click the link below to get a quote today, or to see if you can get a better rate. Now if you’re looking to save some money, lemme tell you. The number one thing that you can do to start saving money, is doing a budget. Mm hm, that’s right. You know I was gonna talk about a budget. I do every episode, I love a budget. But I didn’t love a budget early on in my life. In fact, the first budget Winston and I did together, as a married couple, almost eight and a half years ago, was a disaster. So when Winston and I got married, I’ll never forget it. We had been married, probably a few months, and I knew we should be budgeting, like, when you get married. Like that was grilled into my mind, growing up. I mean, if I heard my parents say this once, I heard ’em say it a thousand times. It’s like, when you get married you have to be on the same page, you have to budget together. I mean, I even remember our pre-marital counselor sat down with us and one of our sessions, she was like, you all should do a mock budget together. I was like, did my dad pay you to tell us this? Like, everyone told us, and I knew it. Again, but just doing it, I was like, eh. I don’t really want to. And so Winston and I had been married about, it was like four or five months, and we hadn’t done a budget. And I remember one day he was like, Rachel. We’re in our condo in Knoxville, Tennessee, and he was like, Rachel we need to do a budget. Like, we’ve gotta figure out where all of our money’s going. And I was like, ugh, you’re one of those, aren’t you? I thought, okay. I know we need to, but I don’t want to, but let’s do it, let’s do it. So I remember we sat down with the yellow pad, on this old dining room table, it was like a hand-me-down table, and we did our first budget. And I’ll tell you guys, it was a disaster. Like you would think I don’t know the cost of food or something, because I think I budgeted like, 50 dollars, for food that month. Which obviously is not a reality. And I was like, oh gosh. It was just bad, like, nothing worked. Like, all of our numbers were off, it was terrible. And so the second month, we’re like, okay, we can do a little bit better. Now we kind of know, okay, let’s do it. The second month got a little better, there was still things we had to change. The third month, honestly, was working. There was like two or three things to change then. And by the fourth month, it was like clockwork. It started working. And so for you guys, trust me. Give yourself 90 days, for those of you that have never budgeted before, or you’ve tried the budget, and then you quit ’cause it didn’t work the first month? You need to stick with it. Give yourself 90 days, and download everydollar. It’s our free budgeting app, and it is amazing! It’s all right there, and it’s so easy. But I promise, this is the fastest way that you’re gonna have a great financial turn around. In fact, people that do zero based budgeting, which is what we teach, and that’s what everydollar is set up for. They pay off 53% more debt than people that don’t do zero based budgeting. And they save 5% more. So make sure that you’re doing this, and being purposeful. It’s the quickest way you’re gonna save money at home. I promise. All right, so let’s head into the kitchen to look at some great recipes that are going to save you money. Now another great way to save money by doing something at home, is to cook! You guys usually save a lot of money when you cook versus going out to eat. So I cannot wait to share three of my favorite recipes that are so easy, so inexpensive, and they’re fantastic. And this whole segment is brought to you by my friends at Home Chef. So, first up, we have a white bean, chicken chili. This is one of my favorites. Like, I have people eat this, and they text me the rest, they’re like, Rachel, we want the recipe. So, I’m giving the lowdown to you, the secret. Super easy, you need a crock pot. Get a crock pot liner, ’cause it makes it such easy cleanup. Okay, some of you kinda freak out with like, plastic and stuff. If that’s you, you don’t have to use it, but I love a crock pot liner. So you get this, then you get two pieces of chicken. And the best thing about this recipe, is that they can be frozen, ’cause I have so much frozen chicken in my freezer. Put ’em in frozen! That’s all you gotta do. Then you’re gonna take three cans of white beans, and I like the great, great northern white bean. That’s the best. So get three of those. Get two cans of Ro-Tel. And depending on, like, your spice level, this is a great place if you like spicy, get the hot Ro-Tel. Or just one can hot, one can mild, you know, mix it up. Two cups of cheddar cheese. And I saved just a little bit, because we’ll use it at the end. So just keep a little bit there. And then one onion, and I usually get like a, mediumish onion. One onion. And if you don’t like onion, still do it, because the flavor of it, it is delicious. And then if you have cumin, that’s another great place, just do some, as Sharums would say, open up your spice cabinet! So, all you do, that’s it, you guys. That was it. And you mix it all together, stir it all together. Put the lid on, and cook for six to eight hours, on low. And I’m telling you, it is the best, white bean, chicken chili you will ever make. And everyone’s like, how’d you do it! It’s like, four or five ingredients, but you just tell ’em, oh, don’t worry, I just slaved over a hot stove all day, I’m so glad you like it. Really easy. Okay, and then the finished product, oh, it’s like, so warm and delicious. And I love to put, like a thing of sour cream, like a little dollop of sour cream, Frito’s, I love hot sauce on it, I mean, all of it, it is so good. It’s so easy, and in fact, if you want this recipe again, make sure to click the link in the description below, and you’ll get it all written out, beautifully, so you can make it and impress all of your friends. All right, there would not be a cooking segment with me, without pizza. You guys know my love for pizza. It’s like, God, Winston, my children, and pizza, I mean, it’s just, it’s one of my favorite things in the world. So, and it’s so easy to make your own, homemade pizza. So what’s fun about this is, you can like, get your kids involved, it’s great. So if you go to your local grocery store, it could be anything, usually like, most places like, in their bread section, or their deli, like in something like that, they are gonna have homemade dough, pizza dough. So you can get it, roll it out, this what I make Winston do, you need some, some muscles to roll it out, ’cause sometimes it’s kinda tough. So, just prepare yourself. You roll it out, and then, one of my secrets that we do in the Cruze household is get like, olive oil, like a light tasting olive oil, or a grapeseed oil. Because what you do is you put it on the base of the pizza, and go all the way to the ends of the crust, because, when you bake your pizza, that’s what’s gonna make it all crispy, the crust. Instead of more, like, bready, it’s crispy, so make sure to give a good, solid layer of some oil. Then, marinara sauce. I’m not picky about this. So if you wanna go organic, you wanna go super cheap, you wanna go store brand, doesn’t matter, but you spread some marinara sauce. And I actually like a lot of marinara sauce. And go all like, I like to go close to the edge. Not quite on the crust, ’cause you still need crust, but, just generous amount. Next you, mozzarella. So you just spread some good amount of mozzarella. And then, next up I do a little bit of white onions. And then banana peppers. Oh, I love, I love banana peppers. There, I like green peppers, and I like to chop them little like this, versus slicing ’em. So you just sprinkle some green pepper. And then the meat. Salami, good old trusty pepperoni, and the last but not least, bacon! You guys, look, the finished product! It is so beautiful and colorful and wonderful! It’s just so good you guys. And these are so inexpensive. Like you can do this, and again, everyone love white bean chicken chili and pizza, they’re gonna be crowd favorites, whether it’s your kids or friends coming over. So, some great, inexpensive meals to make. All right, last but not least is a crispy orange chicken. And this is from our friends at Home Chef, and if you haven’t used Home Chef before, you need to. Because, they are amazing. You get a box delivered to your door with all the ingredients already pre-portioned out, everything you need. And this is a great thing you can do, instead of going out to a restaurant for a date night. Send the kids to grandmas, or put ’em to bed early, and you guys can cook together, as a couple, don’t worry about the ingredients, it’s all right there, and it’s like you’re going to a restaurant, ’cause this food is so good. So with this recipe you’re gonna cook jasmine rice, you put the rice in a pot with a cup and a half of water, let it simmer for 18 to 20 minutes. You’re gonna get the broccoli, cut it up into bite sized pieces, put it on a pan with aluminum foil, put some salt and pepper, do a little bit of oil, which is so good. And you just stick that in the oven, it’s so easy, let it roast for 14 to 16 minutes, or I like to say, 15 minutes. I love when recipes give you like, two times. Always go in the middle, that’s what I do. So you roast the broccoli, and then you do the chicken. So the chicken’s going to come in chicken breasts, so you’re gonna cut it up into like, an inch pieces, just like this. And then you’re gonna get the flour that it comes with, and the flour you’ll put into a separate bowl, and you’re going to mix water with the flour, take a fork, stir it up, and it’s gonna create this like, paste type thing. And then you’re gonna add the chicken to it, and then you just mix it all together, into the flour mixture. So you mix the chicken with that, and even before you do that, you can take the canola oil and put it on a pan, on the stove, let it heat up, ’cause you want your pan to be hot. And then once this is all mixed, you just fry your chicken, it’s like a minute and a half on each side, that’s done. And then while that’s cooking, you can do your spicy orange sauce, and it comes with it. I mean, hey Home Chef. How cute is this! I love all the little, pre-portioned packets. And then you do your sriracha sauce, in there. Get a fork, spoon, mix that all together, and then once the chicken is done, you mix it with the sauce, and then you plate it. So put some jasmine rice, your broccoli and chicken there. And it’s like you’ve been out to a restaurant. And Winston’s favorite part of Home Chef, is that the clean up is so easy! Seriously, you just throw away the things you wanna throw away, recycle things you wanna recycle, and there’s not a lot of dishes. It’s marvelous. So to check out Home Chef, make sure to click the link below, or go to homechef.com/rachel, and get $30 your first order. Ways to save money at home, you guys, look. You guys, I swear by those three recipes, they are so good, so good! All right, here are 11 different things that you can do at home to actually save you money. Number one, make snacks. So instead of buying the little individual packs of your kid’s snacks, buy the big thing at like, Costco, and then put it in little bags. This is what I do, it’s kind of a pain, I know, but listen, you’re gonna save so much more money doing that, I promise. Number two, have everyone bring a dish. Yes, so if you are hosting a big party, have everyone bring something, so you’re not the only one cooking and spending all the money on food. Number three, learn to turn a wrench. Preaching to myself here, people. This is good, I’ve learned to do a couple of things, and it actually saves you money if you can fix things like, you know, your toilet, or if your air filters, you can change those out. Different things like that can save you a lot of money, versus calling someone to do it. Number four, learn to sew. And I’m not talking about some elaborate, beautiful smock dress, even though I love those! I’m talking about just like, fixing a button, or something that’s torn, sewing it up so that you don’t have to go buy new clothes. Number five, organize, organize, organize. Yes, when you start to organize things, you’ll find that you don’t need half the things you have, you can throw it away, or even sell some stuff, get some money that way. But also, in the end, you’re just gonna feel more refreshed, and more organized, versus going out and spending more money on stuff that you don’t need. In fact, I did this, I took the minimalist challenge. If you don’t know what that is, check out the other episode with the Minimalist, because it was amazing, and I threw out and sold so much stuff, you guys, and it was incredible. Trust me, I, when I say to organize, I love it so much. Number six, always negotiate. Winston is famous for this, calling Comcast like, every quarter of the year, to see if we can get a better rate on our cable. So, when you get prices like that, don’t just say, okay, we’ll take it. Ask if you can get a better deal. Number seven, hang dry your clothes. Now, you might be a little bit iffy on this one, but trust me, when you actually don’t dry your clothes, and you let them air dry, the quality of your clothes lasts longer, so you don’t have to pay for new clothes as often. Number eight, share baby gear. Now, I’m not talking about like, you know, old bibs and that kind of thing. I’m talking about like, swings, like the big stuff. My sister and I did this, the way our babies have lined up, we don’t need a swing. Like, I don’t need the swing, so she takes the swing. And when she doesn’t need a swing, I take the swing, ’cause I end up having a new baby. Like, it works perfectly. So, if you can find those big things, find a mom in your area, do that. That will save you a lot of money. Number nine, don’t pay full price for kid clothes. Listen, they grow out of them so fast, especially if you have little babies, so, do some things like swapping with other moms in your area. Swap clothes, or even do consignment sale. My spiritual gift. I always find the best things at consignment sales, I love them so much. And you save a ton of money. And number 10, learn to say no to fundraising. When there’s a knock at your door, or the doorbell rings, it’s always some sweet middle school kid, trying to sell you things. And some of you, it might be your sweet middle school kid, so there’s a part of all of us that wants to help, but when you’re dishing out 20, 30 bucks for every kid that knocks on your door, you’re spending a lot of money on stuff that you’re not gonna use. So, learn to say no to certain ones, and have some boundaries, it’s okay. All right, last but not least. Save money on checking your insurance. This is huge, and I’m talking about like, your home insurance, your auto insurance, all those things. Most people forget to do this, they just set up their insurance and they don’t look. But go and see if you can get a better deal. Go check out endorsed, local providers. In fact, people that do this? They save on average, $731 a year! That’s a lot of money! So those are some quick, easy ways, 11 ways in fact, for you to do things at home to save you money. All right, coming up next, are five, easy, kid’s Halloween costumes, that you can make at home. Halloween is less than a month away, and kid’s costumes are always on the forefront of parent’s minds, always. So I decided to bring in Sarah, home editor of Woman’s Day, to help us here, create our own, make our own Halloween costumes.