You know times are tough when many of us can’t find enough money in our budgets to buy a freaking sandwich during our work lunch hour when it gets close to payday. I definitely know what it’s like to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a few days before collecting my paycheck. It happened regularly in my mid-twenties after I left home and struck out on my own.
I’ve never been one to consciously save a lot of money throughout the year; I’m definitely one of those who has lived and played hard, and this has included sparing no expense at times. Don’t get me wrong; I still have my 401k going as well as a few other investments including a modest one in real estate. However, I always feel as if there is never enough money at the end of the year for Christmas and I constantly struggle every year to save a measly $1000 a year to help pay for part of a summer vacation for the entire family. I end up paying a couple of bills a little late just so we can all get away every summer for at least a week. Although it works, it’s obviously not the best scenario for me. When we get back from vacation, it takes us about two months to recover and we have to sacrifice a little too much.
Making Enough Money is Not An Option For Many
I had been procrastinating for years when it came to opening up a holiday or vacation fund because , once again; it didn’t seem as if my wife and I were making enough money to cover our family expenses.
This past year was different. I decided to try an experiment and it worked! I want to show you how to save $1000 a year easily like I did, just in time for the holidays:
1. Get yourself a piggy bank. I know this sounds quite silly for an adult but when times are hard, why not get back to the basics? Stick with me, it gets better!
2. Pay with cash and pocket the change. Instead of plunking downyour credit or debit card, make a conscious effort to give yourself a weekly budget and pull out the cash on payday. As an example, I used to burn at least $100 dollars every week while at work and I would eat breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts and I would have lunch at places such as Applebees and Fuddrucker’s. These days, I can still get my egg white sandwich and delicious coffee at DD and even though I have cut down on lunch expenses considerably, I can still go wherever I want, most of the time without having to worry.
Now, I limit myself to 60 bucks a week, so I pull out $120 dollars bi-weekly for my personal needs during the work week. When I buy a pack of gum, a cup of coffee, a lunch, or whatever else I need, I collect the change. When I get home, my piggy bank is waiting for me! It’s not unusual for me to place at least $1.75 a day in change into my piggy bank. Assuming you can simply place $1.75 in change into your own piggy bank for only 290 days out of the year (this is doable), you will save $507.50! If you have a significant other in the household, you can probably encourage that person to do the same thing and you may end up with a figure closer to $700 a year.
O.K., so now we are at $507.50 and we need to come up with another $492.50. Remember how I told you to consider budgeting how much money you allow yourself to spend throughout the work week? Now, all you have to do is shave off 20 bucks a pay period and place that money in your piggy bank. This should be extremely easy to do for most people. So, if you get paid bi-weekly, 20 X 26 weeks = $520! Alright, we went over! The total you can save using this easy plan is $1027,50.
To make this work for you, be flexible. If you can only save an average of .80 cents 290 days out of the year, increase the amount you put away every two weeks from $20 to $30 dollars. You’ll get just about the same figure,
Keep in mind if you have a spouse or significant other, you can come very close to doubling this figure without much effort at all. The key is to just do it!