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Saving any amount of money is excellent. A penny saved is a penny earned after all. But wouldn’t you rather save real money? We’ll show you 18 ways to save $10,000 in a year.
That’s a Lot of Money!
To make the goal seem less overwhelming, don’t think of it as saving $10,000, think of it as saving $192 a week. That is our goal. If we’re going to save that much, we need to get started so let’s go!
Make it So
I can give you fifty million tips to save money, but if you don’t actually use any of them, you will never save any money. So let’s force our hand. You see how much you need to save per week to have $10,000 after twelve months, $192.
This is what I want you to do. Do you have direct deposit? If you do, most payroll processing companies allow you to deposit money into more than one account. Right now, your paycheck goes to your checking account. Fill out a new form and have $192 per week sent to your savings account.
If you get paid biweekly, you’ll send $384 per paycheck to your savings account. If you can’t do this but bank online, you can set up an auto transfer from your checking into your savings account.
The money is not in your checking account, so it’s a lot harder to spend. Forced savings. Now, you have to find ways to live without that $192 a week. Keep reading.
I know for many of us, having a budget is personal finance 101. But there are still plenty of people out there who don’t have a budget. If you want to save $10,000 a year, you must make a budget and stick to it.
There are tons of methods, Mint; You Need a Budget, the envelope method. It doesn’t matter how you budget so long as you choose a method that you find easy enough to use that you don’t abandon it.
There are lots of formulas to set up a budget, but I like the 50/30/20 method because it’s simple. The 50% represents essential expenses like housing and utilities.
The 30% is for discretionary spending on things like entertainment and clothes. The remaining 20% is for your financial goals, things like paying off debt or saving $10,000!
2. What Did You Learn?
After you’ve been budgeting for a few weeks, go through each category. What jumps out? We all have areas we overspend in. For most of us, it’s food. This is a natural category to reduce spending in, and we all know how to do it so I won’t belabor the point.
Bring your lunch from home, plan your meals each week, don’t go out to dinner so often. We’ve written plenty about this if you would like more specific advice.
3. Ask for a Raise
Not all employers give automatic raises, and if they do, they aren’t much. The average raise is a meager 3%. That’s not good enough. Schedule a meeting with your boss and ask for a raise or negotiate a better one. Don’t go in unarmed. No one is going to give you more money just because you asked.
Make a list of all of the things you have done to improve the company’s bottom line; you devised a more efficient way of tracking invoices, you negotiated better rates with vendors, you increased sales by 17%. Also have a number in mind, what you think is a fair raise. If you get “no” for an answer, read on.
4. Change Jobs
As I wrote above, the average raise is 3%. The average increase employees get when they change jobs is between 10-20%. That is a real difference. In fact, you should be changing jobs every two years. Those who do, make 50% more over the life of their careers than those who stay at a job longer.
5. A Little Something Extra
Everyone should have more than one source of income. Any of us could lose our jobs through no fault of our own and having some side income can keep us afloat. If you don’t lose your job, great, that extra money is part of our $10,000.
Babysit or walk dogs with Rover. Work a short-term retail job around the holidays when stores are hiring extra, temporary help.
Americans spend five hours a day watching television. You can spend a few of those hours bringing in some extra money instead.
6. Buy Used
Now, of course, you can’t buy everything used. There isn’t a grocery store that sells used food. But you can buy nearly everything else used; clothes, small appliances, dishes, books, electronics, home décor items.
Before you buy anything new, try to find it used first. Check out places like thrift stores, charity shops, eBay, Facebook, Nextdoor, garage, and estate sales.
7. Sell Used
Before you check out those places looking to buy second-hand stuff, do a little research and see what second-hand items sell well. When you come across them, sell them. This can become an excellent little side business for you.
Clean out your own house while you’re at it. You probably have tons of stuff taking up space that you don’t really need and hardly ever use.
8. Find Free Fun
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good time, but you do have to be more creative than the old standby of dinner and drinks. Invite friends over for a game night, meet a friend for a walk in a park, check out free events in your area.
9. Pocket the Extra
Any extra money you get this year, birthday or Christmas money, a bonus, a commission check, save that rather than blowing it on something silly as a way to treat yourself.
10. Lower Your Interest Rates
If you have credit card debt, roll it over to a zero APR balance transfer card and pay it off before the introductory period runs out or get a debt consolidation loan from a company like Lending Club.
If neither of those is possible, call up each credit card and ask if they will lower your rate. You won’t always get a “yes,” but if you do, you can save a lot of money on interest charges.
If you have student loan debt, see if you can get a lower interest rate by refinancing with a company like LendKey. Even a 1% difference in the interest rate you’re currently paying can save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars over the life of a loan.
11. Ditch the Subscriptions
Use Trim to cancel unused services that you never use but never bother to cancel like gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, and Audible memberships. I recently did this and saved about $70 a month.
12. You Look Fine
How much are you spending per month on things like having your hair colored in the salon, getting your nails done, facials, massages, teeth whitening? All of that stuff is expensive and most of it you could do yourself.
Well, not the massage but you could sit in one of those massage chairs for a few minutes at the Sharper Image store.
13. Drop Your Bad Habits
We all have bad habits, and some of them are expensive. Cigarettes cost more than $12 a pack in some places. Those fancy cocktails are probably right around the same price.
While those fast food lunches aren’t too expensive, eating them a few times a week isn’t doing your wallet or your waistline any favors.
These habits aren’t only bad for your health; they cost you a fortune. Do what you have to do to quit, or at least to cut back.
14. Cut Cable
Cable television has been around for decades, but unlike computers or cell phones, it never gets any cheaper. And cable companies stubbornly resist an ala carte pricing system where you could choose and pay only for the channels you actually watch.
It’s time to cut them loose. Even if you subscribed to multiple services like Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix, it would still be cheaper than paying for cable every month.
15. No Is A Complete Sentence
There is always someone wanting you to spend money.
The friend that always suggests an expensive restaurant for your get-togethers, the co-workers who are selling cookies or wrapping paper for something their kid is involved in, friends who want you to sponsor them in their 5k, your third cousin whom you haven’t seen in 17 years who sends you a wedding invitation.
Sometimes you just have to say no. You can give an explanation for your “no” if you want to, but you aren’t obligated to do so. No is a complete sentence.
16. Make Do
We are too accustomed to living in a disposable society. A new iPhone comes out? Woo, upgrade! There was nothing wrong with the phone you had. The car is ten years old? Time to hit the dealership. But the car still runs.
The coffee pot is acting up. Buy a new one. But if you’d run vinegar through the old one a few times, it would have fixed the problem. It was just limescale interfering with the heating unit.
You spilled red wine on your favorite white dress shirt. You’ll buy another one this weekend. Spending five seconds on Google will show you how to get out any stain from any fabric.
If your current possession work just fine or would work fine with a bit of effort on your part, there is no reason to run out and buy new stuff. Make do until you have no choice but to buy something new (and then try to find a used one, see above!).
17. Never Pay Full Price
If you do have to replace something and no, you can’t find it second hand, at least don’t pay full price. You almost never have to pay full price for anything. You can easily find coupons and discounts for nearly anything online.
If you have a really big purchase to make, like a mattress, check online for the best time of year to buy it. Certain big-ticket items go on sale at particular times of the year. If you’re in the store, ask for a discount.
This works better at small, independent stores than it does in big box stores but it never hurts to ask. If you’re nice and get the right person, they might let you use a family and friends discount.
18. Stay Home
It’s hard to leave the house without spending money. I almost never do it apart from when I run, and that’s because I don’t bring any money with me. It’s a beautiful day; I’ll go for a stroll. Oh, look! A new coffee shop. I should try them out, support local businesses.
Headed to the gym? Oh, I forgot my water bottle. Better stop and buy a bottle. Got to stay hydrated! Going to the post office to mail a package? The drug store is next door. I’ll just pop in and pick up a few things.
Think I’m exaggerating? Try it yourself. You probably never leave the house without spending money either! The easiest solution is just to stay home. It’s not like you don’t have things to do there.
Read a book, watch a movie, do the laundry, clean out a closet, call your mother. Choose one day a week and stay at home. Oh, and no online shopping!
It’s Not as Hard as You Think
$10,000 sounds like a lot of money, and it is. But it’s not a lot of money to save. It really isn’t. We all waste way more money than we realize on things that we don’t even particularly enjoy or even use that much.
Like cable. It sounds so radical to cancel your cable, but it’s really not. You won’t miss it. And if you do, you can sign back up. It’s not like Comcast will blacklist you.
Selling things is an excellent way to make extra money too, but few people actually do it. But it’s so easy now. It can all be done online, right from your phone. I know you’ve been told 100 times to bring lunch from home.
But you still don’t. If you do, even for a few days a week, you really sill see a big difference in the amount of money you save.
The first $1,000 is the hardest. Once you get that into your account, you will be motivated to work a bit harder to get that next $1,000. But the next $1,000 comes a little easier. And then it becomes a fun game you play with yourself. You made it a whole week without going out for dinner. Now you go for two weeks.
And maybe you treat yourself a little. You buy a steak and cook it at home. Not the most frugal choice but much cheaper than going out for steak. You’re still allowed to enjoy life on the quest to save $10,000. You just have to be a little more creative about how you find enjoyment.
And before you know it, your bank balance is $10,000 higher. Good luck!