Increasing your savings is a pillar of pursuing Financial Independence. If you are just starting your journey, saving that first $1,000 is a big step!
Through a combination of small sacrifices and lifestyle changes, you could see a four-figure balance in your bank account by this time next month.
Make A Budget
If you don’t already have a budget, you need one. To see where you are going financially, you need to see where your numbers currently are.
If your goal is to save $1,000 in a month, it is possible that it could be hiding right in your budget. Maybe it is time to re-imagine yours. With some small changes, you could find yourself with an extra $1,000 in the bank.
Challenging yourself and your family to cut back on spending categories that are not essential is a great way to save yourself a good chunk of your savings goal. You can even make it fun!
Here are a couple of easy swaps that can make a huge difference in the amount of money you save each month.
Streaming Services & Your Local Library
Many streaming services, like Hulu, allow you to put your subscriptions on hold. This will prevent you from having to pay, but won’t delete your preferences and streaming history. Then you will be free to begin finding cheap entertainment elsewhere!
If you are wondering where you might find it, why not start at your local library? Books are a great alternative to sitting in front of a TV all day, but your local library may have more than just books! Media sections are now common at many libraries. With a selection of movies and music that crosses many different genres, you might now miss your streaming services at all.
Most local libraries are free to residents, or at least cheaper than a streaming service subscription. Even if you haven't been to the library in years, visiting can keep you entertained while you watch your savings rate improve.
If you are unsure of where your local library is, searching through this directory is a great place to start.
Eating Out & Cooking For Yourself
Whether you eat out for convenience or fun, there is a chance that eating out is hindering your savings progress! Swapping eating out for a little more home cooking might be just what your soul and your budget needs.
If eating out for lunch is your downfall, it is time to change your ways! By packing your lunch the night before, you can’t even use the excuse that you were running late.
Sell Your Stuff
If changes to your budget don’t get you to your savings goal, try selling unneeded things around your home. Whether you have a lot of little things or just a few bigger ticket items, someone is bound to want to pay you for them.
If you haven’t used a selling app before, check out our guide to the best selling apps for getting rid of your stuff. These apps, which include Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, can connect you with people in your neighborhood, or even across the country.
ThredUp is an easy way to sell your used clothing. Simply order a free “Clean Out Kit” and ThredUp will send you a bag to use to send them all the used clothing you no longer wear. They will put your clothes on their site and you will “get a little cash.” Their site doesn't say how much, but it doesn't sound like you'll be getting rich from this. However, it's better than throwing your clothes away and it's easier than driving around with a bag in your trunk for a month until you remember to go to Goodwill.
Decluttr is a great way to sell your used electronics. You can look up your items up on their app for an instant price. If you agree to sell your items for that price, you can mail your tech to them for free with their provided shipping labels. They will pay you the day after the items are received.
Save Money On Groceries
Food is one of the most important things that you will spend your money on, but it doesn’t have to stop you from meeting large savings goals. Changing how you shop could help you hit that savings goal sooner.
Coupons And Shopping The Flyer
If you are going to make a purchase, try searching for a coupon. Coupons are all around us and chances are, there is going to be one out there for you. While couponing won’t save you $1,000 in thirty days alone, it could save you a good chunk of that when combined with other saving methods.
Many grocery store chains are now developing rewards programs and apps that go along with them. Rewards vary based on your grocery store, but you can often clip coupons directly from them, get cash-back on your purchases, and even receive special offers based on items that you frequently buy.
When you combined couponing and store rewards programs with their sales flyer, you could see big cost savings on your grocery bill! Before venturing out to the store, try searching for your store’s sales flyer. Planning your meals around sales can ensure that you are always eating for cheap.
Related: 12 Ways To Save Money On Groceries
Cash-back apps make it easy to receive cashback on purchases that you plan to make anyway. Apps like Rakuten, formerly Ebates, can get you up to 40% cash back at over 2,500 different stores.
Rakuten is a shopping portal that directs you to some of your favorite stores and then collects the cashback for you. They then pay you quarterly with a check in the mail or a deposit into your PayPal account.
Stay Entertained For Cheap
Entertainment can be one of the priciest expense categories in your budget. Shaving down your entertainment budget and finding cheap ways to keep yourself and your family entertained could make up a good chunk of your high monthly savings goals.
Whether date nights or keeping your kids busy is holding you back, here are a couple of ideas that are a little more budget-friendly.
Date nights are a great time to reconnect with your partner and relax, but they can get expensive. If you are trying to reach a large savings goal quickly, it might be time to find some cheaper alternatives.
If you aren’t opposed to staying in, why not try to cook for each other? No matter your skill level, a home-cooked meal could be just what your loved one is craving. This is especially fun if your schedules tend to be too busy to allow time for nightly meals together.
If going out is more your thing, why not try going for an evening stroll. You could even plan to stop at your favorite local bar for happy hour. After all, the best part of date nights is having the time to finally talk to your partner. After all, going out doesn’t have to mean dinner.
Keep Your Kids Entertained
Keeping your kids entertained when you are trying to follow a budget and increase your savings can sound exhausting. Often, it is hard to think of things that you can do with your kids that don’t cost money.
If you are worried, you don’t have to be! Keeping kids happy could be as easy as learning a new craft, or encouraging them to dive into the unread books on their bookshelf. It is possible to find activities to do with your kids!
Crafting With Kids
Crafting with children can get messy. If you don’t mind a little glue in your hair, you can watch your kids have a blast creating something new.
These rainbow windsocks are adorable and would look great hanging from your child’s bedroom window. You could even use the same concept to make rocket ships or race cars!
If your kids are fans of puppet shows, these wiggly worm puppets are a great way to spend an afternoon. After spending the time to make them, your kids can put on a puppet show just for you!
Reading can take your kid on adventures that are too lofty for your wallet. Setting up a reading challenge for your kid could keep them entertained for days or even weeks! Finding books to include in your challenge could be found in your home or the local library.
To encourage your child to keep reading, set up a clear reward system for milestones along the way. These milestones could be defined by chapters, or minutes, read. The best part is that the rewards do not have to be big. They could be as small as getting to pick out what is for dinner, or even time in front of the screen.
Saving Around The House
Saving around the house is do-able! It may seem like keeping up with your household needs costs a lot of money. Luckily, there are many different ways to cut back on the amount that you shell out every month.
Here are a few changes that you can begin making today and thank yourself later!
Pay Less For Utilities
If your utility bills run on the higher side, you might be able to save money by changing the way you utilize them. The key here is evaluating your patterns and seeing where you can make adjustments.
Your electricity bill is one of the easiest bills to lower because it is very dependant on how you use it. If you currently use a lot of electricity it might be time to start cutting back!
Some appliances, like your refrigerator, will need to consistently draw electricity. Other appliances do not need to be plugged in when not in use. Even when your appliances are turned off, it is likely that they are still drawing power. And your devices are another culprit. Keep things on a power strip to easily unplug several unused devices at once. This extra electricity is causing your electricity bill to rise. It is stated that this excess electricity being drawn from your appliances makes up an average of 20% of all residential electricity use.
To help alleviate this, unplug unused appliances from the wall, as long as they are not a necessity for your home to run properly.
Related: How To Lower Your Electric Bill
Heating bills are very dependant on the type of heat that you use to heat your home. If you live in a colder climate, you know that heat is not a luxury that you can live without. There is little chance that you will be able to eliminate this bill entirely.
If you don’t currently use a programmable thermostat, you are probably missing out on some easy savings. These thermostats allow you to align your home’s heating schedule with the way you live. This means that remembering to turn down the heat before you leave for work and coming home to a cold house could be a thing of the past. This small change could make a big difference in your month's bill, definitely if you are used to leaving the heat running all day!
Cleaning products can be expensive and who wants to use the long list of chemicals inside of them anyway? Making your products can be better for your home, your family, and your wallet.
Get ready to get rid of your lemon Lysol for good, making homemade all-purpose cleaner is simple and cost-effective. This recipe only uses three easy to find ingredients and cleans like a dream.
Homemade laundry detergent is a favorite Pinterest hack and can be customized to meet your family’s needs. This recipe only costs twenty dollars to make and could last you an entire year!
If making your laundry detergent doesn’t sound worth it to you, let Dropps help you make your detergent budget worth it. Using plant-based ingredients, they make laundry pods that cost as little as seventeen cents per load!
Even better, your clothes and the environment will thank you. Dropps’s laundry detergent pods are made with sustainable practices, are not tested on animals, and do not use any single-use plastic!
Kick Your Bad Habits
Everyone has developed a bad habit at some point in their lives. If you have a bad habit, like smoking or over-snacking, quitting could get you well on your way to your savings goal.
Bad habits are not just bad for your health, but also your savings. This ChooseFI contributor, Mr. 3000, found that he could save $500,000 over his lifetime, just by cutting off his drinking. Check out his story here.
Short-Term Side Hustles
Side hustles are a good way to make some extra cash and they don’t have to be long-term. Short-term side hustles can make it possible for you to make an additional couple hundred dollars towards your savings goal.
One of the best places to look for short-term side hustles is your community. Asking neighbors if they need help keeping up their lawn, or even shoveling themselves out in the winter, could make a difference in the amount of money you can save.
If manual labor doesn’t sound like your sort of hustle, maybe try becoming a short-term personal assistant. If someone you know just can’t seem to get ahead, try offering up your services and help them organize their life.
Short-term side hustle ideas are endless. If you need help finding a side hustle that suits you and gets you closer to your goals, check out our full article on short term side hustles.
Save Money On Transportation
Transportation can be costly, definitely if you are not driving a particularly fuel-efficient vehicle. One of the easiest ways to save money on transportation is to give your car a break and find alternate ways of getting where you need to go.
If your commute to work is not very far, you might want to consider riding a bike to work when weather permits. Not only are bikes free to ride, but they are also typically less expensive to maintain than a vehicle.
If your drive is a little longer than your legs can muster the courage to pedal, consider public transportation. Many local bus systems offer discounts to riders who buy multi-fare bus passes upfront or those who qualify for common discounts, like those awarded to veterans.
If you live somewhere with limited, to no, public transportation system, ask your co-workers to start a carpool! Carpools are a great way to save money and possibly make some new friends.
If you are planning to save $1,000 in 30 days, it is going to take more than just one of these hacks to get you there. Setting yourself up for success starts with taking an honest look at your budget and finding areas within it that you can cut back.
On your path to Financial Independence, you may have to compromise on non-necessities, but sacrificing for the sake of saving will make a giant impact on your future finances.