Can you reasonably save $1000 a month? According to statistics, a huge amount of people in America can't. It may seem nearly impossible, but 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, you can get to a point where you’re saving $1,000 or more each month. If you 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!
This post will cover 23 ways that you can either cut back on your spending or earn more money so that you can hit the threshold of saving more than $1000 every month.
Things You Can Do to Cut Back on Spending
As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “a penny saved is a penny earned.” If you can work on cutting back your monthly expenses, you'll find that saving $1000 is a lot easier and basically have more free money to use. Here are some ways that you can cut back on your spending.
Stop Eating Out
Eating out is one of the biggest money suckers for the average American. In my case, I'm doing better than I used to, but still spend a couple of hundred dollars a month 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
Opting to buy food at grocery stores instead of at restaurants can save you tons of money.
You can fill a shopping cart all the way full with food for two weeks and only spend about $200 (some expensive steak meals are that much!) The best way I've found to cook meals and still have time to do other things is to use a slow cooker and use recipes I find on Pinterest. Just one meal is usually enough for me to eat on for several days and it probably costs me about $5 per meal.
Drive As Little As Possible
If you’re close enough to work, try walking or riding a bike instead of driving your car. It's true that this isn’t an option for some people, but if you live within a couple of miles of work, you should consider it. The savings can really compound over the years, even if you’re just driving a few hundred miles less each year.
Conserve Energy in Your Home
Turn off 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
Nowadays, with technology advancing faster and new entertainment coming out each day, it seems we've forgotten all about a free source of entertainment available to us: libraries!
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. Plus, most millionaires read regularly.
Change Your Phone Provider
If you'v been sticking with the same phone provider for an extended period of time, it might be time to consider switching. Usually there are some deals available and you can shave off a couple dollars every month. Toss the money into investments and it will be compounding in no time!
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. If you just use Netflix for watching shows and movies, make sure you're not wasting money on your cable every month.
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. 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.
Shop for Cheaper Car Insurance
The average cost of car insurance is around $1600 per year! Even if you can shave off a little of that, it can make a huge difference in the end.
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.
Reduce Miscellaneous Small Spending
I personally have a weakness for buying snacks and energy drinks from convenience stores. If you’re not paying attention, you can spend a couple of 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
For some people this may look like cutting out purchases like perfume or reducing the amount of technology toys or gadgets they purchase.
Using Your Favorite Shopping Website With Caution
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 free up your time and can instead do something productive. This goes for brick and mortar stores as well. It's fully possible to spend a couple hundred dollars a month at Target on things you don'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! Credit card interest rates are so high that any money going towards credit card interest is the equivalent to lighting your money on fire. You’re giving the folks that work at the credit card companies job security, but it's likely you’d rather keep your money than give it to a complete stranger just because you didn’t get your cards paid off.
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 your normal spending. That being said, you don’t need to use credit cards if you aren’t going to pay them off in full each month. Depending on what card you use, it's possible to earn up to $800 off in just three months! That’s almost a thousand dollars just fro normal spending. In lots of cases, you don't even need to own a business to get the business card.
Ways to Earn More Money
While cutting back can help, you can get to your goal of saving $1000 a month significantly faster by earning more each month. Here are some straightforward 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 saving ability if you 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 it's what you can put on your resume.
Once you’ve got your resume written up, you need to send it out to every company you come across. Consider sending out your resumes through these websites: Zip Recruiter, LinkedIn, Indeed. Eventually, you’ll get a job if you keep applying and sending resumes.
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, it might be wise to apply for other jobs. Contrary to popular belief, switching jobs can actually INCREASE the amount of money that you earn rather than decrease it.
Sell on eBay
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. That being said, if you’ve got stuff sitting around your house that you aren’t using, 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. 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, and Nextdoor if eBay just isn't working for you.
If you’re handy with home repair work, you can offer your services for home repair! You can either start off by advertising in your neighborhood or through a website like Thumbtack. An alternative is to make an ad on Craigslist offering your services.
Become a Nanny
If you love kids and have the patience to take care of them, you can make pretty good money babysitting! There are a plethora of websites out there so if you enjoy the company of kids/babies and have the time to do it, give babysitting a shot!
Become a Pet Sitter
If you love pets and have the ability to pet sit, you can earn hundreds of extra dollars a month. One of the most popular apps for this is Rover. Pet sitting can be especially lucrative if you work from home, since you can watch over pets and earn side money while still making income from your job.
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 walking dogs. 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. You’ll need to weigh it against your other options to see if it’s worth it, but if you're constantly driving around, you might as well see if you can profit from it. There are also grocery delivery services like InstaCart that you can check out.
Drive People Around
If you're okay with strangers coming and going from your car, you can put your car to good use and drive for Uber or Lyft. You probably aren’t going to become rich driving for these companies, but you can make some decent money doing it. In the end, anything can help you save $1000 a month.
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 to your friends or to offer a fuller service on AirBNB.
Write for Others
There are multiple ways to monetize your writing. You can start writing on Medium and potentially make some money for each article you right.
Alternatively you can also consider starting a blog. You probably aren’t going to make money in your first month, but you can make a lot of money down the line with this venture. 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 around for paid writing gigs. Many companies will pay a handsome sum of money ($150 per article or so) for you to write a good, SEO-optimized, post for their site.
Recap: How to Save $1000 a Month
If you do a handful of the things listed in this post, you'll be well on your way to saving $1000 a month. Even if you don’t implement any of the saving ideas described, you could still earn an extra $1,000 in a month purely from the “make money” section and throw it in your savings account.
So, you’ve got your ways to save $1,000. What are some things you can do with the money once you have it?
Well, if you still have consumer debt, it's wise to start with paying that off. After that, if you don’t have an emergency fund, build one up (3-6 months of your salary). Once you’ve got an emergency fund in place, you can start investing for your future. Keep earning and saving as much as you can, and you’ll be wealthy before you know it!
Jeff is a current Harvard student and author of the blog Financial Pupil who is passionate about learning, living, and sharing all things personal finance-related. He has experience working in the financial industry and enjoys the pursuit of financial freedom. Outside of blogging, he loves to cook, read, and golf in his spare time.