It might feel impossible to save money, especially if you’re already on a tight budget. Fortunately, saving money is easier than you might think. Whether you want to build up an emergency savings fund, save for a down payment on a house or just take a long vacation, you can learn how to save money for short- and long-term goals.
It’s always easier to start with a target number in mind so check out our tips below on how to save $1,000 fast!
Set a Budget
Your first step for learning how to save money is setting a budget – which is easier than ever with the help of technology. Download a budgeting app like Mint, YNAB, Every Dollar or PocketGuard. Your bank’s app might even have a built-in budget tool.
Once you decide how you want to oversee and control your budget, consider how much you want to spend in each category of your life. You should start with recurring living expenses like rent/mortgage, car insurance, electricity and water – all the things you absolutely cannot do without.
Next, set your budget for other areas of spending like shopping, eating out and groceries. Look over your spending habits from the last few months and decide how much you’re comfortable allocating toward each section. Remember, your goal is to save money, not spend more. If you typically spend $200 a month on groceries, challenge yourself to spend $190 next month.
The key to creating a budget is sticking with it. These apps will tell you when you’re getting close to going over your budget, which can help you make more informed purchasing decisions down the line. Once you stick with your budget, you can put any extra money towards your savings goal.
Set a Timeline for Achieving Your Goal
Part of figuring out how to save $1,000 (or another amount of money) involves deciding when you want to have that amount saved. Once you figure out your end date, you can decide how much money you need to save per month, week or day. This can help you look at your budget and cut costs where you can – or figure out other ways to bring in extra money. A clear goal is much easier to achieve!
Use Cash Instead of Credit
If you’re the type of person who typically overspends when they’re using a credit card, do yourself a favor and put your credit cards in the freezer. Give yourself an allocated spending amount per week in cash only. This way, once you run out of cash, you can’t spend more money until the following week. This will help you make better spending choices – besides, do you really need that second latte every morning?
Use a Rewards Credit Card to Your Advantage
Credit cards aren’t always bad news. If you pay off your balance every month, you can save money by using rewards credit cards to your advantage. If you don’t already have a rewards credit card, apply to get one that offers you the best return on investment. Each card has its own type of cashback or reward; for instance, one might offer 1% back on all purchases while another offers 5% back on all grocery purchases. Browse different cards to see which one is right for you. Once you decide on your credit card, use it for all of your purchases to earn as many points as possible.
At the end of the month, pay off your balance completely so you don’t have to pay interest. In just a few short months, you can earn reward points equivalent to hundreds of dollars. Depending on which rewards your card offers, you can use the reward points to go towards future credit card balances, exchange it for gift cards or even book vacations. In the end, you’re basically getting paid to spend money you were already going to spend. This is an easy way to save money without having to do anything out of the ordinary.
Whether you don’t have time to cook or you just prefer eating out, staying in can help you learn how to save money. Browse recipes and cooking tutorials online to recreate your favorite dishes at home for a fraction of the price. If you’re crunched for time, prep large amounts of food once a week to keep you fed in the days that follow.
Bonus: Not only can eating at home help you grow your savings fast, but it can also help you eat healthier!
Host a Yard Sale or Sell Old Stuff Online
With spring right around the corner, you might feel the urge to get rid of old clothes, toys, dishes and other miscellaneous items you don’t use anymore. Instead of throwing them away or donating them, consider hosting a yard sale to make some easy money. If you don’t have a yard, you can always put your items up for sale online on Craigslist, OfferUp or Facebook Marketplace. Put your earned money towards your savings account to contribute to your goal.
Cancel Subscriptions You Don’t Need
One of the easiest ways to save money without working a ton of extra hours is by going through your monthly subscriptions and deciding which to keep. If you have a Netflix subscription but only find yourself using it to re-watch The Office every few months, consider cutting it until you reach your savings goal. Give every subscription in your life the same sort of scrutiny, as cutting them can help you put more money towards your savings goal.
Examine Monthly Bills
Take a look at your car insurance, car payment, health insurance, rent/mortgage, cable, internet and phone to see what’s costing you the most. If you have cable but you don’t really use it, consider canceling. If you have a high-interest rate on your mortgage, car loan or student loan, look into refinancing it for smaller monthly payments and smaller interest rates. If you spend a fortune on health insurance but you’re a generally healthy person, consider switching to a plan with lower monthly premiums.
If you want to get really serious about saving money, call up your current internet/cable provider and tell them you want to switch – often they’ll offer you some sort of deal to stay on. If you think you’re spending too much on your rent or mortgage, you can also consider moving somewhere cheaper to lower your monthly costs. Although this is a drastic way to save money, it can save you more in the long run.
Practice Energy Efficiency at Home
You can learn how to save money fast on your monthly utility bills by practicing energy efficiency. Taking shorter showers, turning electronics off when they’re not in use and switching to LED light bulbs can all reduce your utility bills. These small changes can make a huge impact on what you spend on utilities – which can help you put more money towards your savings goal.
Start a Side Hustle
One last way to save $1,000 fast is by starting a side hustle. Whether you want to deliver food, drive for a rideshare app or take online surveys, there are a variety of ways to earn extra income to contribute to your savings fund. If you take all the money you earn from your side hustle and pour it into your savings account, you can reach your goal even faster.
Start earning money for your savings goal with a new side hustle like taking online surveys. With Branded Surveys, members can take as many surveys as they’re matched with to earn points. Once they earn at least 1,000 points, they can redeem them for cash or gift cards. Use the extra money earned from taking online surveys to put towards your savings goal. In no time, you can reach $1,000. Sign up with us today to get started!