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Saving money can certainly be a struggle for anyone. Between keeping up with bills and covering the occasional indulgence, saving up might seem impossible. According to CreditDonkey.com, a whopping 26% do not have any money saved up. Fortunately, there are small lifestyle changes that you can make to resolve this issue.
In this post, I’ll be discussing 10 different ways to add $100 per month or more to your savings account. Saving $1,200 per year might seem unrealistic, but it can be easier than you think. With the tips and tools in this post, learning how to save money is a breeze. Take a look at these methods and see which ones suit you the most.
1. Start By Setting Up A Small Automatic Transfer To Your Savings
This tip sounds somewhat obvious, but it’s genuinely one of my favorite tips for saving money. That’s because it’s a hassle-free option for individuals who have trouble committing to saving. When you set up an automatic transfer from your checking to your savings, you’ll start saving some cash without lifting a finger.
I started out very small when I began using my automatic transfer feature; I was on a very tight budget. After thinking about it, I realized I could cut down my coffee expenses by $3 per week. To stick to this change, I set up a weekly $3 transfer into my savings account. That’s only $12 per month or $144, but it’s one change to get on the right path.
Try this out for yourself using a modest amount that you’re comfortable with. Over time, you can slowly increase it. If you can work towards a $25 per week transfer, you’ve got your $100/month goal met.
Total Monthly Savings From Tip 1: Unlimited! But in my examples, you can save between $12 and $100 per month.
2. Re-Adjust Your Thermostat During Winter And Summer
It’s important to stay comfortable during winter and summer, but small changes to your thermostat can do wonders. This article by the Department of Energy is very insightful. It states that you can save as much as 10% per year on your energy bill just by setting your thermostat back seven to ten degrees for eight hours per day. Let’s say that your energy bill is $75 per month; you could save up to $90 per year by making that change.
During the winter, setting your thermostat to 68 degrees is ideal. During the summer, setting it to 78 degrees is ideal. There are things you can do around your home to make it comfortable without increasing your energy bill. Here are some useful tips for winter:
- Use thermal curtains during the winter to help prevent heat loss. They’re pretty affordable, and they work well in my experience.
- Cover up your bare floor boards to reduce the loss of heat. According to the United Kingdom’s National Energy Foundation, bare floorboards can be responsible for up to 10% of heat loss.
- Swap out your lighter sheets and blankets for heavier options. I’m a huge fan of flannel sheets during the winter. Combined with heavyweight blankets and a pair of socks, I’m always warm and cozy at night.
- Check your house for drafts and seal them off. This blog post from Allstate Insurance discusses how to locate and seal drafts.
Alternatively, you’ll want to make some different changes during the hot summer months. Consider these options:
- Swap back to lighter linens made of different fabric. I’m personally content with light cotton sheets but some say that silk is a great pick for summer. We also have a comforter that’s designed specifically for warm weather. It’s pretty affordable and 100% worth it.
- Use plain box fans throughout your home to circulate air. Ours only cost about $10 at a local big box store. You’ll see that this article states an average 70-watt box fan costs $5.04 per month to operate. Not bad!
- Take advantage of the cool night air in the summer. In many areas, the temperature drops significantly overnight. During these cooler nights, shut off your AC system and open the windows. You’ll save money while enjoying a fresh breeze.
Total Monthly Savings For Tip 2: Based on a $75 energy bill you could save $7.50 per month. Adjust this amount using your average energy bill and calculating 10% of it.
3. Consider Switching To A Prepaid Phone Service
Ever since I’ve lived on my own, I’ve used Virgin Mobile as my phone service provider. I choose their unlimited plan, which was $35 at the time. I knew that was pretty cheap, but I didn’t realize how cheap until later on. Many of my friends were paying double or triple that amount for their service. Here are some prepaid phone services and their costs for one line of service:
- Virgin Mobile – $35 to $60 per month
- Boost Mobile – $30 to $60 per month
- Verizon Wireless – $40 to $80 per month
- AT&T – $30 to $65 per month
- Straight Talk – $30 to $60 per month
- FreedomPop – Free! All you have to do is pay for the SIM card, a one-time fee
A good friend of mine has a single line of service through the Verizon Wireless unlimited plan; they have a contract and not a prepaid billing plan. This friend pays $94 per month for essentially the same benefits that I have.
Total Monthly Savings From Tip 3: Using my example, you could save $59 per month or more using a prepaid phone plan.
4. Use The Envelope System For Covering Expenses
I often frequent the Reddit Personal Finance Subreddit to read about money saving strategies. This is where I first discovered the envelope system; it’s often suggested to users who need a stringent budget. Essentially, you create a budget for different spending categories. Examples include grocery shopping, gasoline, fast food, and other fun or necessary expenses.
You decide how much money you are willing to put towards these things each month, and then you place the money in an envelope. Once the money is used up, you can no longer spend your money on that category. For example, let’s say you’ve budgeted $25 for fast food per month. If it’s gone by the third week of the month, you’ll be eating at home instead. There’s no pulling out the debit card or “just a little more spending” with this system.
Dave Ramsey wrote an informative article titled The Envelope System Explained. He discusses the system and the perks that it offers. One perk I like is that any money you don’t use from each allotment is considered “bonus” money at the end of the month. For the purposes of saving up, this works great. If you’ve got $3 left from entertainment, $8 left from groceries, and $4 left from fast food, that’s $15 straight into your savings!
Total Monthly Savings From Tip 4: The exact amount greatly fluctuates depending on your personal budget and spending habits. Using my example, you’d save about $15 per month on average.
5. Sign Up For Free Rewards Systems At Stores
You’re likely familiar with at least one or two free rewards system. Your local grocery store might offer a free card where you earn points when you shop. Movie theaters, gas stations, coffee shops, and clothing retailers all offer programs like this.
Yes, you have to spend money to earn the point and rewards. But if you’re already spending money at these places, you’re not spending any extra cash. Your regular purchases go towards free items, coupons, discounts, and other types of savings. Here are some examples of free rewards systems that I like and how they save me money.
- Walgreens Balance Rewards System – With the Walgreens Balance Rewards System, I earn $1 for every 1,000 points I earn. Many everyday items offer ten points per $1 spent. 30-day prescriptions offer 100 points per prescription. Every time I reach 5,000 points (a few times per year) I get a free $5 reward that’s good on a Walgreen’s purchase.
- Ulta Ultamate Rewards Program – The basics of the Ultamate Rewards program are simple. I earned one point for every $1 I spend and now earn 1.25 points for every $1 since I’m a Platinum Member. Each 100 points is worth $3 off of any purchase, and points can be used in increments of 100. There are also multiple times per year where I earn double points, triple points, or more depending on sales events.
- Hy-Vee Fuel Saver + Perks System – The Hy-Vee Fuel Saver + Perks System gives me a certain discount on gas when I buy designated grocery items. For example, one bag of frozen fruit might earn me $0.03 off per gallon. A name brand of milk or chips can earn me as much as $0.13 off per gallon. As you can imagine, these savings quickly add up.
Total Monthly Savings From Tip 5: It’s pretty hard to put a specific dollar amount on free rewards programs savings. It takes me a few months to earn cash off with the first two programs; the Hy-Vee program can save me anywhere between $5.00 and $15.00 per month. Sign up for free rewards programs at places you already shop, save the receipts, and you’ll quickly see how much you’re saving.
6. Try The ‘Calendar Challenge’ For Monthly Savings
This is another tip that’s excellent for anyone who is brand new to saving money. The ‘Calendar Challenge’ consists of saving a dollar for every week of the year. Setting up an automatic transfer is a very easy way to do this. For example, you’d transfer $1 on the first week of the year. You’d transfer $12 on the twelfth week. On the last week of the year, you’d transfer $52. Some people also do this challenge in reverse by saving $52 on the first week and $1 on the last week.
This PDF file from Local Government Federal Credit Union lays out the ‘Calendar Challenge’ very nicely. It notes that following this challenge will allow you to save $1,378 per year – that’s just about $114.83 per month on average! It doesn’t seem like it’d add up to such significant savings, but this system really makes a huge difference.
Total Monthly Savings From Tip 5: The actual amount you save per month increases each month. However, your average savings over the course of one year is $114.83 per month.
7. Make Your Coffee Habit More Affordable
Coffee shop trips are one of my bigness weaknesses, so I know that coffee habits can become expensive. That’s especially true if you’re like me and love drinks like lattes. They’re more expensive than regular brewed coffee, but the upcharge always seems so small. Unfortunately, that modest upcharge adds up quickly over time. To add money to my savings, I order drinks that are a little more simple but still very flavorful.
According to this list of Starbucks prices, a Grande iced coffee (with or without sweetener syrup and milk) is only $2.65. At most Starbucks I’ve been to, you can add in a flavored syrup (vanilla, cinnamon, etc.) for $0.50. That’s a tasty 16-ounce drink for $3.05 – not too bad! Compare that to an Iced Cinnamon Dolce latte that’s $4.25 for the same size. The sole difference between these two drinks is iced espresso and regular iced coffee.
By making a small switch, you’ll save $1.20 per Starbucks trip. If you visit Starbucks three times per week, you’ll save $14.40 per month. It’s easier to look at the big picture of savings when you do the math like that. To familiarize yourself with cheaper Starbucks drinks, read How To Make Your Starbucks Order Cheaper and 25 Starbucks Hacks That Will Save You Money.
Total Monthly Savings From Tip 7: Based on my personal coffee drink, you can save $14.40 per month by making a small change. Your savings will depend on the drink you choose and how often you go out for coffee.
8. Take Surveys Online For Extra Money To Save
Do you tend to spend your spare time online or playing games on your phone? According to a CNN report, Americans devote over 10 hours each day to screen time. There’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy your screen time, but did you know it can be an excellent way to make extra money?
Taking surveys online or through smartphone apps is an excellent way to add money to your savings account. If you don’t know where to begin, Frugal For Less has you 100% covered. Here is a comprehensive list of our 2017 posts about making money from surveys:
- Nicequest Review: Share Your Opinions & Earn Rewards – High Sign-up Bonus
- 25+ Survey Sites That Will Make You $600/Month Or More
- 20+ Free Survey Apps That Will Make You Money
- Nielsen Consumer Panel Review – Earn $50+/Year in Passive Income With This App
- Vindale Research Review – Earn $12+/Hour Taking Online Surveys
- Springboard America Review – Get Paid To Take Online Surveys
- Global Test Market Review – Online Surveys For Cash
- 10 Survey Sites That Will Make You $300/Month Or More
- MySoapBox Review – Earn Free Cash Taking Online Surveys
- MySurvey Review – Get Paid To Take Online Surveys
- Survey Junkie Full Review – Earn Money Taking Online Surveys
Of course, the amount you’ll earn depends heavily on how much time you dedicate to taking surveys. Let’s say you set a goal of spending 30 minutes per day taking surveys. Your financial goal for that 30 minute period is $5, which is fairly realistic. You decide to spend five days a week taking surveys. That’s $25 per week in your savings account!
Total Monthly Savings From Tip 8: Using my last example, you can easily save $100 per month. But as you can see from the resources above, it’s possible to make $300 to $600 per month by dedicating even more time to surveys.
9. Use Free Budgeting Software To Help You Stay On Track
Sticking to a budget and tracking finances doesn’t come naturally to everyone. I know that using free tools has done wonders for me. Mint allows me to track and pay bills, set budgets, monitor my credit score, track my savings goals, and so much more. In addition to Mint, there are several other excellent options for free budgeting software and smartphone apps. Some of them include:
As you can see, you’ve got lots of different options. I also like to use Google Calendar as a backup to help me stay on track. I simply add in due dates for bills and mark the savings goals I have set for certain time frames. It isn’t necessary, but it’s an added measure that works well for me.
Total Monthly Savings From Tip 9: Technically, this tip does not contribute to a specific amount of savings per month. It’s designed to make saving money easier though, and that’s why I think it’s a crucial part of this list.
10. Round Up During Purchases To Add Money To Your Savings
To add a little extra money to your savings here and there, round up to the nearest dollar when you purchase something. Calculate that amount, and put the money into your savings. If I pay with my debit card, I transfer the extra money into my savings. If I pay with cash, I put the money into a change jar. Here are some simple examples from my last few purchases:
- I ordered a brewed coffee for $2.45 twice last week. I rounded up to $3.00 both times. That’s $1.10 into my savings account.
- My last grocery bill was $97.39. I round up to $98.00. That’s $0.61 into my savings.
- I just paid my credit card bill, and it was $16.02. When I round up, I add $0.98 to my savings.
With just three purchases, I added $2.69 into my savings account. It’s safe to say that I add this amount from rounding up at least twice per week. That’s $21.52 saved with minimal effort.
Want to make it all automated? With the Acorns App, you can link your credit card and have your round-ups be automatically put toward advised investments. The SeaShells App does the same thing, except you can cash out for discounted gift cards.
Total Monthly Savings From Tip 10: This is another one that depends heavily on your spending and your monthly expenses. In my example, I add about $21.52 per month to my savings account. Of course, this amount will fluctuate from month to month.
Wrap Up: 10 Ways On How To Save $100 Dollars A Month
None of the tips and tricks on this list are complex or terribly time consuming. From small lifestyle changes to free software, you can implement these ideas every day. Before you know it, saving $100 per month will be second nature for you. In a little over eight years, you’ll have saved $10,000!
Earlier in this post, I mentioned specific survey sites for making money. In addition to that, I’d like to share some of our other popular Save Money posts. If you liked this article, you’ll surely like:
- 6 Different Ways Procrastination Can Save You Money
- 25 Companies That Will Send You Free Coupons
- Top 10 Free Apps That Pay You Money For Scanning Grocery Receipts (Updated)
- 41 Unusual Ways to Save Money
Enjoy reading these informative posts, and good luck with your money saving ventures. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!