Can you use an extra $1,000 a year like I can? For the average person, it always seems there is never enough money to put away because an unexpected expense always comes up and they just don’t make enough money to be able to save anything substantial. However, if you break it down, there is no excuse for the average person to be able to save at least $1,000 every year. You can do with it, whatever you want! Personally, I use it to either buy a few extra gifts at Christmastime when finances are really tight or I splurge on two long weekend getaways every year. It is totally worth it for me!
Although 1,000 dollars doesn’t go as far as it used to, it is still a nice chunk of change for anybody. You would be surprised at how many people are living paycheck to paycheck and rarely have extra money for anything. Theoretically, if this is you, you can save this amount of money over the next three years and build upon those 3,000 or so dollars so you can end up with thousands in your bank account in no time soon.
1. Starting with your everyday purchases, come home and place all your loose change into a piggy bank. I use a large empty water bottle and I have a great habit of depositing all my change into it, including a dollar bill if I have one every time I come home from work or from a store on the weekend. Think about it; if you place a dollar in your piggy bank every business day of the year, that’s roughly 260 days ($260). Add to that your loose change and you should easily end up with at least $500 by the end of the year.
Of course, somebody’s going to read this and say, “Wait a minute, so I have to put in a dollar into the piggy bank every day? Why don’t I just put it into a savings account?” I’ll tell you why. It’s a lot easier and safer bet to put at least one dollar a day into your piggy bank because you don’t have to make a trip to your actual bank and because human nature will oftentimes prevent you from holding those 10 dollars every two weeks and actually depositing that amount; you’ll probably end up spending it whereas with a piggy bank, you are forced to place it in the hole or coin slot and forget about it!
Total using this method = $500
2. Bring your lunch from home at least twice a week when you are at school or at work. The extra $10 a week you save here for a minimum of 40 weeks out of the year will easily give you another $400. Pretty easy, huh? Make sure you place those 10 dollars into your piggy bank every week and it will make you stick to the plan.
Total using this method = $400
3. Cut your grocery bill by at least 15% by using your grocery store’s buy one get one free (BOGO) deals. If you have a family of four, you are probably spending 600-800 dollars a month on groceries; that’s the average for an American family! If you are single, you are more in the 60-75 bucks a week category.
Let’s say you only spend 60 dollars a week on groceries. If you can get at least 2 BOGO offers on your shopping trip, you can save 5 dollars on average, every single trip! When you are at the checkout, make sure you get change in the amount of your BOGO savings so you can promptly deposit that amount into your piggy bank when you get home.
Total using this method = 52 x 5.00 = $260
There you go! We went a bit over and saved $1,160 but I did that purposely to show how easily you can save at least $1,000 every year without really trying that hard. When you think about how often we waste a dollar here or a dollar there on ridiculous things we don’t need such as a pack of gum, beef jerky, or soft drinks, it’s easy to see how doable this plan really is! If you make it a habit to go out of your way to have even more change to place in your piggy bank every day, you can easily double your amount to well over $2,000 a year using this method.
Do you want to place this into overdrive? Then, save another $50 dollars a week automatically from your employer into a savings account not to be touched and at the end of the year, you will have another $2,600! You will end up with almost $5,000 in savings a year at which point you might want to consider placing some of that money in investments in the near future!
It’s a fact that most people live well beyond their means. You can still live it up while adhering to the methods above and not put a crimp in your lifestyle whatsoever. Saving money doesn’t have to be about being cheap; it’s about having a system and being consistent with it. You can still go out with your friends and pick up the tab when it’s your turn. Just be smart about knowing any extra money has the potential to be placed in your little piggy bank.