Do you have a thousand dollars saved? According to statistics, a huge amount of people in America don’t. It may seem nearly impossible, but I promise you it isn’t. With the right mindset and taking the proper steps, you can get to a place where you don’t have to worry about money anymore.
It doesn’t matter how much you’re earning right now. With enough work, we can get you where you’re saving $1,000 or even more each month. If you can get to the point where you’re saving $1,000 each month and invest the money that you save, at a 7% interest rate, you’ll have over $322,000 in 15 years. You’ll be a millionaire in 30 years if you keep it up!
Things you can do to cut back on spending
Stop eating out
Eating out is one of the biggest money suckers for my wife and I. We’re doing better than we used too, but still, spend a couple hundred dollars a month on eating out. You can easily spend $500-$1,000 a month on food if you aren’t paying attention. If you can cut your monthly eating out to as little as possible, you’ll see a lot more money in your bank account each month.
Shop at the cheapest grocery store near you
For us, it’s Aldi. we can fill a shopping cart all the way full and spend about $200. The best way we’ve found to cook our meals and still have time to do other things is to use a slow cooker and use recipes we find on Pinterest. Just one meal is usually enough for us to eat on for several days and it probably costs us about a dollar per meal.
Drive the least amount possible
If you’re close enough to work, try walking or riding a bike instead of driving your car. I realize this isn’t an option for some people, and I probably wouldn’t be able to do it if I wasn’t working from home. If you live within a couple of miles of work, you should consider it though. The savings can be astronomical over the years, even if you’re just driving a few hundred miles less each year.
Use the least amount of power that you can
Turn out the lights when you leave a room, keep the A/C and heat off as much as you can tolerate and hang dry your clothes as much as possible. Your dryer is probably your biggest power sucker in the house. It may be a bit of a hassle, but your clothes will last longer and you’ll save a lot of money if you hang dry instead of using the dryer. If you aren’t using LED light bulbs in your house, spend a little money up front and switch all of your bulbs to LED. The savings you get on your power bill will quickly make up for the cost of the bulbs.
Get free entertainment from the library
I don’t know why books aren’t the most popular form of entertainment. You can get them for free at the library and they’re usually better than watching movies anyways. The number of things you can learn and become from reading is endless. Most millionaires read regularly.
Change your phone provider
We were using Verizon up until a few months ago and then switched to Total Wireless. We cut our phone bill in half and still have as good of service as we did with Verizon. There are even cheaper options out there than Total Wireless, but they might not have the best signal.
Cut the cable
If you’ve got high-speed internet, you don’t need to pay for satellite or cable TV anymore. Chances are, you don’t watch most of the channels you’re paying for. You can get the channels you want without having to pay for the rest by using a service like Sling TV. There are other options out there that are similar to Sling. The only live TV we have comes from an antenna and it’s free. We just use Netflix for watching shows and movies.
Cancel unused software
If you’ve got a smartphone, you’re probably paying for some kind of software subscription. Check your bank statements to make sure you aren’t still paying for something you don’t use anymore. The only software we pay for on a monthly bases is Netflix. Any music we listen to has to be accompanied with paid advertising (because we use the free version of Spotify). You can also use a service called Trim. Trim will go through your monthly spending and find ways that you can save money and cancel subscriptions you aren’t using anymore.
Shop for cheaper car insurance
The cheapest company I’ve found is Geico. Insurance prices can vary depending on your age, location and driving history. So, it’s best to shop a broad range of companies and see who comes out at the lowest price.
Cut out any miscellaneous small spending
I personally have a weakness for buying snacks from convenience stores. If you’re not paying attention, you can spend a couple hundred dollars a month on small purchases that you don’t really need to begin with. Look over your bank accounts and see if there are any splurges you can avoid in the future to help with reaching your $1,000 goal.
Stay off your favorite shopping website
Whether it be Amazon or any other website you frequently make purchases from, try not to even get on the websites unless there’s something you NEED to buy. The more you browse, the more likely you are to buy something. Not only will you save money by avoiding these websites, but you’ll also save time and can do something productive instead. This goes for brick and mortar stores as well. Back before we started our financial independence journey, we were spending a couple hundred dollars a month a Target on things we didn’t need.
Pay off your credit card in full each month
If you’re paying interest on credit cards that haven’t been paid off, it’s time to get them paid off! Any money going towards credit card interest is the equivalent to lighting your money on fire. At least you’re giving the folks that work at the credit card companies job security, but I’m sure you’d rather keep your money than give it to a complete stranger just because you didn’t get your cards paid off.
Here are 100 other ways to save money if you need more ideas.
Ways to earn more money
Get a job, work hard, ask for a raise, or get another job
Obviously, if you don’t have a job, it will help your savings ability to get one. To get a job, you’ll need a skill you can offer. Once you’ve got a skill, you’ll need to write a good resume. If you don’t have any job experience yet, think of anything you’ve done in the past to make money. That’s your previous experience and is what you can put on your resume. As long as it wasn’t something illegal.
Once you’ve got your resume written up, you need to send it out to every company you come across. The websites I used to send out resumes were Zip Recruiter, LinkedIn, and Indeed. Eventually, you’ll get a job if you keep applying and sending resumes. It’s how I got my current work from home position without any related job experience.
If you do have a job, you can earn a raise by doing a couple of things. Understand exactly what the company needs from you in your role. Keep your head down and work hard until you’ve completed all of your tasks. When you’ve completed everything you can, ask for more work and get it knocked out too. Once you’ve been doing this for a while, you can ask your boss for a raise. If your boss doesn’t see the value you’ve been bringing to the company and doesn’t give you a raise, you should apply for other jobs. One of my friends got a $25,000 raise just because he got a job offer and his company wanted to keep him. I did this as well and got a $3 an hour raise (which was a 25% pay increase at the time).
Sell on eBay
Since I started selling on eBay seriously, I’ve profited at least $300 a month from it. If you’re trying to save $1,000 this month, it might not be the best idea to pay for things to flip on eBay. If you’ve got stuff sitting around your house that you aren’t using though, you should consider selling on eBay. You can also look for free things people are giving away and in the trash.
If you’ve got larger items to sell that you don’t want to ship, there are several websites/apps you can list on. You should also look for large items that people are giving away. I made $50 on a broken fridge I got for free and it took less than an hour of my time to get it and sell it. Facebook Marketplace will probably be a good enough platform to sell what you want. There’s also Craigslist, LetGo, Offerup Carousell, Vinted, Depop, Wallapop, VarageSale, Nextdoor, and the list goes on and on!
Offer a service in your community
If you’ve got a skill, let others know you’re offering it and charge them for your service. It could be anything from plumbing to babysitting. If you try hard enough, you’ll get work. There are also websites out there for any service you can offer.
If you’re handy with home repair work, you can offer your services on Thumbtack. I haven’t personally done any jobs on Thumbtack, but I hear good things about it. You can also make an add on Craigslist offering your services.
IT/Computer repair work
If you’ve got tech skills, you can get gigs on Field Nation. I got my first gig on Field Nation and made $50 an hour to stand around a Walmart and wait for them to look for the equipment I was supposed to install. I was there for 3 hours and never did any real work. I got paid $150 though!
Become a nanny
I have no experience with this, but you can make pretty good money babysitting! There are a plethora of websites out there so if you love kids/babies and have the time to do it, give babysitting a shot!
Humans not your thing? Become a pet sitter!
If you love pets and have the ability to pet sit, you can earn hundreds of extra dollars a month. I think the most popular app for this is Rover. I haven’t tried doing this yet, but it is an intriguing opportunity since I work from home.
If you aren’t able to keep a pet at your house, or you’d rather just walk a dog and be done with it for the day, you can make decent money with Wag. You get paid to get some exercise and hang out with dogs! What’s not to like about that?
You’re probably going to need to live in an urban area to make decent money delivering food. Postmates, Doordash, and Uber Eats are three of the apps you can use to offer this service. I’m not sure what the average hourly rate is, so you’ll need to weigh it against your other options to see if it’s worth it. There's also a grocery delivery service called InstaCart.
Put your car to good use and drive for Uber or Lyft. You aren’t going to become rich driving for these companies, but you can make some decent money doing it.
Rent a room in your house
If you’re comfortable allowing strangers to sleep in your house, you can make a lot of money renting out a spare room in your house on AirBNB.
Offer digital services
There are multiple ways to monetize your writing. You can start writing on Medium and potentially make some money for each article you right. My friend wrote a good article explaining how to make money on Medium.
You probably aren’t going to make money in your first month, but you can make a lot of money by starting a blog. This is more of a long-term money-making project and I wouldn’t start a blog if you’re only doing it to make money. You need to enjoy writing and write about something you love in order to be successful at it. It’s a lot of work to get your blog to a place where you’re earning money from it.
You can also look for paid writing gigs. I got paid $50 to write a post for a company and if I hadn’t had this blog to show my previous work, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity.
Earn cashback on all of your regular spending
If you’re responsible with your credit cards, you can make a lot of extra money just from you’re normal spending. You don’t need to use credit cards if you aren’t going to pay them off in full each month. It took 3 months, but I just got $800 in cashback from my Chase Business Ink card! That’s almost a thousand dollars just from my normal spending. I don’t even technically own a business, but was able to get the business card. Check out this page for some of the best card offers out there!
I could probably write a whole book on ways you can save money and earn money. If you just do a handful of the things I’ve listed to earn money, you can easily make an extra thousand dollars a month to save. Even if you don’t do any of the saving ideas I listed, you could still earn an extra $1,000 in a month and throw it in your savings account.
So, you’ve got your ways to save $1,000. What are you going to do with the money once you have it? If you’ve got consumer debt, start with paying that off. If you don’t have an emergency fund, get that built up next. Once you’ve got an emergency fund in place, you can start throwing a lot of money in investments. Keep earning and saving as much as you can, and you’ll be a millionaire before you know it!
If you’ve got other ways to save and earn, I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!
Nathan has been a personal finance writer since early 2018. He and his wife reached a net worth of one hundred thousand at the age of 25 and are on their way to financial independence. His favorite way to make money is selling things on eBay and has grown his eBay business to earn five figures selling part-time. He loves sharing what he learns about finance and any eBay tips he comes across. If you’re interested in becoming an eBay seller, check out his reseller Facebook group.