Cash to burn: clever ways to save money fast

Saving up for something important is a rewarding process that can take commitment and time. But what if it was possible to cut the wait and skip the hard work?

“Wealth creation is simple. At times frustrating, yet simple,” Peter Horsfield, financial advisor and founder of Smart Advice, says.

Of course, there are the obvious methods – ditching your credit card, working an extra job or cutting down on living expenses ­– but if you need money in a hurry, it’s time to get creative.

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Here are five innovative ways you can save a lot of money in a short amount of time.

Embrace your inner guinea pig

You may have to leave your inhibitions at the door, but there’s money to take part in training exercises or product testing.

In your spare time become a mystery shopper, write product reviews or join a market research group,” Mr Horsfield says. “You can earn approximately $2,500 annually in addition to receiving free products.”

Scour university websites for any studies requiring paid volunteers – particularly in the psychology department. Usually, it’s an hour out of your day for around $50. If you uni-hop for a week you could make upwards of $250.


Live in someone’s house and skip the rent, bills and mortgage.

Sue Coombs co-founded website Mind a Home to link up homeowners and potential house sitters. For free, homeowners can have their home and pets taken care of and house sitters can live rent-free for a yearly membership fee of $49.

“You can save money by not paying rent and if you have a mortgage you can rent their own home out while house sitting and pay it off,” Ms Coombs says.

“You might just want to go somewhere for a few weeks but don’t have money for a holiday, this is a great alternative. You also get to live in areas you may not be able to afford usually.”

Janelle Castle, a member of the site since December 2013, saved around $3500 to start her own business by jumping from house to house.

Adopt a tenant

If you have an extra room in your home, list it on Airbnb for potential single travellers looking for somewhere to stay. The site vets most users and you can refer to past reviews to ensure you’re not letting a criminal into your house.

With most rooms starting at around $80 a night on the site, a houseguest can contribute to rent or boost your savings.

Become a billboard

“If you don’t mind branding your car as a moving billboard you can earn approximately $5,000 per year,” Mr Horsfield says.

Sites like Signrider will pair you up with an advertiser to earn cash just for driving around town.

Crowd fund

You’d be surprised what the citizens of the internet will pay for. With enough humour and internet know-how, you can pitch even the most obscure idea on websites like Kickstarter, Pozible or Indiegogo.

Don’t be dismissive – a man recently raised $55,000 on Kickstarter to make a potato salad. No joke.



If you spend your evenings sitting around watching TV, make the most of them by listing yourself a professional babysitter.

You can pick and choose when and where you’d like to work and, as long as you’re good with kids, you’ll have guaranteed work at least once a week.

Sell your stuff

You don’t need that fancy camera (unless you’re a professional photographer), that designer handbag was probably a bad idea and so were those skis you never use.

Stop holding on to sentimental items and hit eBay. Some companies, like Mazuma Mobile, even pay money for old technological appliances like laptops or computers. Cash them in and bank the benefits.

Be a quitter

Desperate times call for desperate measures. For a designated time period, ditch your daily coffee, cancel your magazine subscription, quit smoking, head to the library for wi-fi, cancel your Foxtel service, forego manicures and manscaping, stop drinking, and walk to work.

“Making lunch from previous dinner and bringing to work can save you an estimated $2,500 per year,” Mr Horsfield says.

Collect your coins

It’s time to get old school: search your home for silver coins wedged in the couch or in a drawer and put them all in a piggybank.

Over the coming weeks, stockpile your change (no matter how small) and, when your stores get heavy, head to your bank and cash it all in.

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