Saving a thousand “extra” dollars you wouldn’t have otherwise saved is not nothing. Especially if you do it with small changes that don’t really affect your life much.
If you’re trying to make massive sweeping financial changes, sure this will help too, but you’ll most likely have to make some bigger adjustments as well that will affect your life.
Which is awesome, don’t get me wrong. But if you want to pay for a vacation with cash this year, you can probably do it pretty easily.
It doesn’t matter why you want to save $1000.
You could want to start or boost your emergency fund, go on vacation, pay off some debt, take a bath in 1000 one dollar bills (please don’t do that), whatever.
I’m here with ways to get the saving train moving.
Evaluate your current spending
Comb through your credit card statements and make sure you still want to spend money on everything you’re spending money on.
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how sneaky things slip though with out you even realizing it.
Subscriptions and memberships
Any kind of streaming service (music, TV, workout programs, etc.), product subscription boxes, apps, magazines (yes, people do still pay for magazines to be delivered to their doorstep), cable!
Find just one thing that’s $10 a month and you decide you don’t really need or want it, that’s $120 in a year right there. Add up a few of those or a more expensive one or two, your savings will add up really fast.
Intentionally decide if cable is necessary. If it’s important to you, that’s totally fine. Maybe it’s not so important, or you can do it cheaper, you can save a bunch of money and still watch what you want.
If you don’t have cable, do you have 7 different streaming services? Do you actually need or even want all of them?
Also, do you really need to have cell service to your Apple Watch? When are you really that far away from your phone for that long?
Paying for convenience
Grabbing a coffee on your way to work every day instead of making one at home.
I know you’ve heard this before.
I don’t believe ditching your latte is the way to drastically change your financial path. However, if you buy a $4 coffee five days a week, 50 weeks a year, that is exactly $1000.
Making coffee at home every morning could be the difference between being able to go on vacation or not that year…
Another great example of this that could save you way more than $1000 is lunch or dinner out regularly instead of packing your lunch or cooking dinner at home.
Cooking is cheaper and healthier. Maybe then you could cancel your gym membership, too. Ha.
(I’m mostly kidding…don’t cancel your gym membership if you actually use it. If you don’t use it, or could workout at home and do just as well/enjoy it just as much, then look into that too!)
Car, home, life, renters. It’s very easy to just let your insurance policies auto-renew and not check in every now and then to make sure you’re still getting a competitive rate.
We did this less than a year ago with our life insurance policies.
Chris has what life insurance companies consider an inherently dangerous job. His premium is almost four times what mine is.
We knew his would be significantly higher than mine because of his job. Thats just how the industry works.
I was getting some quotes for some of our other insurance policies not too long ago and looked at our life policies as well. I quickly learned that we could lower his premium by over half AND double his coverage.
We cut his premium by over 50% and doubled his life insurance coverage.
And guess what. The company with the better deal is the one where we have all our other policies (home, auto, etc) so it made everything easier anyway.
Don’t ask me why we weren’t there to begin with, because I honestly don’t know, but I’m very thankful we saw the light.
My premium went down a little bit as well, but his made a decent impact on our budget. That switch saves us over $1000 every year.
My point: check in with your policies every now and then, and make sure you’re not missing something. It takes a little bit of work but you might find a hidden cash cow like we did. It was quite a lovely day.
Or cable if you have it, or anything that has an introductory contract price and shoots up when the contract is over.
When the initial two year contract for our internet service was up, the bill was going to go up, too.
I knew it was coming so I called them the month before our contract was up and said “Our contract is up next month, our bill is going to go up and I don’t want it to. What can you do for me?”
Literally. Verbatim. That’s exactly what I said. Nothing fancy, no mind-trickery.
Very blunt and to the point. “This is what I want, please give it to me.”
If you’ve been around here for a little while my lack of BS should not come as a surprise…
The service rep was very nice and said ok let’s see what we can do.
After a few minutes of looking at the options, he said, “well, I can’t give you the exact same price/service because that promo isn’t running anymore, but I can give you *what equates to faster internet speed for less money*”.
It wasn’t a huge difference in price. It was $4-5 or so less per month.
BUT not only did the price go down instead of going up, our internet speed went up!
Just to make sure I was understanding I said back to him, “so just so we’re clear, you’re offering me a faster speed for less money?”
And he said, “yes, ma’am”. To which I said, “yes, yes I’d like to do that please”.
So. Not only did our internet bill not go up, it went down, AND our speed went up.
This whole phone call took less than 20min.
Cell phone service
Cell phone plans is another one.
We switched from Verizon to Total Wireless. Total Wireless operates on the same network as Verizon.
It’s been a few years since we switched and have moved from one coast to the other and we’ve noticed exactly zero difference in our service.
But our bank accounts get fatter by over $700 every year.
Ahhhh meal planning.
This one took me a while to figure out. I’m still not great at it, but 2020 Kayla has been doing pretty well in the meal planning department if I do say so myself.
Dinner has been a source of stress for me for a while. I’ve gotten better at cooking the more I do it (shocking, I know), but it still doesn’t come naturally to me and is VERY time consuming.
I found the cook book Cook Once, Eat All Week and it’s been a GAME CHANGER for the Lyons.
This plan does all the mental work for me. It’s meal planning and meal prepping all rolled into one.
It may not be for everyone, but its saved me so much time and stress, and helps me get healthy, delicious meals on the table for my family every night.
If you have no plan, or have food waste, try any sort of meal planning. Play around with different approaches and find what works for you.
Reigning in your grocery bill is normally a very easy way for you to save a bunch of money pretty quickly.
Credit Card Rewards
This one does not come with out controversy.
Let me start by saying this: THIS ONLY WORKS IF YOU PAY YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPLETELY OFF, IN FULL EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH.
If you have any credit card debt at all, or you do not or do not intend to pay any credit card balance off IN FULL EVERY MONTH, then just skip this section entirely.
Did you hear me?
If you feel like I’m yelling at you, it’s because I am a little.
Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way and you’re 100% paying off your entire balance every month, let’s talk about rewards and points.
The Lyons have been “put every dime we spent on our card and rack up those points” people for years now.
We don’t have a fancy plan, we just have a few cards that the benefits make sense for us, and use them and earn points.
We move all over the country every few years and rarely live near our families so we use our points primarily for flights. I can’t tell you how many flights we haven’t had to pay for because we used points.
Chris and I both were stationed in Hawaii for three years. My family is in Maryland and his is in Alabama.
Do you know how much it costs to fly from HI to MD or AL at Christmas time? One year I distinctly remember ticket prices being $1400. EACH. (Thank goodness this was pre-kids).
We saved THOUSANDS in airline fares just in the few years we lived in the middle of the ocean. We didn’t fly home for free every time, and we didn’t actually even go home that often. But we did it for free probably about half the time.
That’s just one example. We’ve flown a ton of free flights over the years and it’s saved us stupid money.
Now that we have kids, the savings will be even more pronounced, since we’re buying four flights per trip instead of just two.
Depending on what kind of card you have, you can get free airline tickets, hotel stays, cash back, use points to buy stuff you already buy anyway…
If and only if you pay your card off completely every single month, figure out what kind of card can give your budget the greatest boost and take advantage!
Famous Last Words
There are plenty of other ways to save some extra money too. These are just a starting point.
This list has saved us a significant amount of money with little impact in our lives and a relatively small effort to implement.
The exception being meal planning. That has had a huge impact on my life, but for the better.
Even if you just pick one or two things on this list you could save hundreds.
You don’t need a ton of time or to make huge sacrifices to save some extra money in your budget.
Boost your emergency fund, have more walking around money, stay out of debt, whatever your heart desires!
Has anything on this list saved you money already? What gave you the biggest savings?