$1,000 sounds like a lot of money, right? It’s months of groceries, a plane ticket or an obscene amount of McDonald’s ice cream cones. But think of it this way, saving just $83.33 extra per month adds up to $1,000 extra per year. And if you put even more away, then you’re well on your way to saving thousands of dollars a year. To make that money faster, here’s how to save $1,000 in record time:

Cut TV time by half.

According to the NY Daily News, Nielsen reports that the average American is watching 5 hours of television a day. I challenge you to do what I have myself: Cut down on that number by half, at least. Why?

  1. The more TV you watch, the more commercials you see.

    Advertisements expose you to products and services you then want to buy. The fewer commercials you watch, the less you’re exposed to want and purchase.

  2. TV = Energy costs.

    Powering your television requires electricity, which costs money. You’d be surprised how much a little energy conservation can help you in saving thousands of dollars a year.

Try this: Turn off the TV for several extra hours each week and crack open a book or bring out a family board game instead.

(There are many other benefits, as well. I’ve discovered that reading before bed gives my eyes a rest from bright screens, which helps me relax and fall asleep better.)

Quit the bookstore.

Perusing Barnes and Noble is fun but dangerous. With new books costing upwards of $18 to $30, buying even a few adds up to over $60 real fast. Instead of walking into temptation, hit the local library. Libraries provide vast amounts of books, CDs, audiobooks, DVDs and more for FREE. With so many options, you’re sure to find great material…without the credit card bill after.

If you’d rather own the book, check out second-hand shops and Goodwills first. I’m often shocked at the level of selection and incredibly low prices.

Switch to LED Bulbs.

Using energy-efficient bulbs is not only eco-friendly, it’s bank account friendly. The less energy a light bulb takes, the less money it costs to keep it lit.

Newer LED bulbs are more expensive initially, typically $5 to $9 dollars more than old-school CFLs, but save you money in the long run. Check out the data. LEDs:

  • Are good for 25,000 hours vs. the older CFL bulbs at 4,000 – 6,000 hours (meaning you have to purchase and replace 5 CFL bulbs across the lifespan of just one LED).
  • Essentially last 25 years.
  • They are healthier because they don’t contain mercury, while CFL bulbs often do.

Limit your Redbox Renting & DVD Buying.

Redbox appears cheap. At $1.50 a day for DVDs and $2 a day for Blu-Ray, it doesn’t sound like much, right? But the cost sneaks up. With so much on our plates, it’s easy to let several days pass before realizing The Lion King is still sitting in our DVD player.

If you rent Blu-Ray, typically return within 3 days and rent once a month:

$2 a day x 3 days = $6

$6 fee x 12 times per year = $72 a year on Redbox fees

As with the bookstore, check your local library for movies first and save that money.DVDs are wicked expensive. Plus, with so many streaming options, they’re easy to do without. Currently, subscribed to Netflix? Find a flick on there. Always make the most out of what you’re already paying for.

Learn the top grocery store hacks.

Grocery stores have been designed to trap you into spending your money. Here are 3 basic tips to hang onto yours:

  1. Always buy “off brands”.

    Safeway oats instead of Quaker. Kroger peanut butter instead of Skippy. According to Business Insider, the store brand grocery products are approximately 25% less expensive than the national brands. For example:

    Name Brand Products: $275 per month x 12 months per year = $3,300 a year
    Grocery Store Brands: (25% off Name Brand Price) $206.25 a month x 12 = $2,475 a year

    Savings per year: $825

    Wow. Save nearly $1,000 a year right there.

  2. Make a shopping list.

    When I sit down and make a grocery list, even just for 5 minutes, it makes me enter the grocery store with a purpose. As long as I stick to my list, I come out with groceries I truly need…instead of a freakish amount of sugar-coated cereals and circus cracker cookies.

  3. Grocery Shop on Wednesdays.

    Most grocery stores double up deals on Wednesdays, offering sale prices from the week before and the week to come.


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