10 Ways to Save Money by the End of the Year | H&R Block
January 13, 2017 : Denisse Icaza
To many, especially to those living paycheck to paycheck, setting a goal to save $1,000 seems like a daunting task. But, don’t fear… This quotes by an unknown author is the answer to reach your savings goals: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”
Small steps add up over time and anything you do today to work towards a financial goal will get you closer to it quicker. All the little effort you make today to save money, will make a difference in your budget at the end of the year.
There are two (attainable) ways to save $1,000:
- Decreasing your expenses
- Increasing your income
To decrease your expenses, look at your spending habits and see if there are areas to eliminate or reduce. This might not be obvious at first. To make an accurate calculation, keep a spending log for at least a few weeks or months.
5 Money Saving Ideas:
1 – Stop buying things at the checkout line.
If you are used to snagging toys, candy, magazines or drinks at the checkout line stop. Save it for a special occasion or just eliminate doing it completely. For example, if you are spending $3 every week at the checkout line, once you stop, it adds up to $156 in savings a year.
2 – Plan your meals according to grocery store sales .
We hear that meal planning is important, but think it will take too much time away from other obligations, when in fact the practice is simple – and it saves time and money. For example, purchase meats when sales at your local grocer are published. You can freeze and thaw it overnight to create a quick and easy meal the next day. Shop the weekly sales and then plan your menu according to what you are able to find on sale. Eating out is expensive and usually unhealthy. If you are spending an extra $20 a week eating out when you could be eating at home, you are spending an extra $1,040 a year you could be saving instead.
3 – Find lower-cost alternatives for entertainment.
Instead of buying books or renting movies, stop by a local public library. You might be surprised at the new releases and bestsellers available. You can even find ebooks and audiobooks! Drive-in movie theaters are also a great option, especially if you have a larger group. If you really enjoy going to the movies, try going earlier for matinee pricing.
There are many other ways to have fun, a few other ideas:
- Go to community parks or free events.
- Instead of going out for dinner, eat at home and go out for dessert.
- Get together with friends at home.
- Have a small picnic at the park, river, beach or lake.
- Go to free nights at museums.
If you reduce your entertainment expenses by at least $50 every month, you can save $600 or more a year!
4 – Don’t be afraid to buy second-hand or used products.
You can find things like baby gear, sporting goods, textbooks, children’s clothing and toys, appliances and furniture in great condition at second-hand stores. I would skip the mattresses and beds – as those items are better if bought new. Thrift stores, consignment shops and garage sales are great places to shop for used goods in person. I you like to do your shopping online, apps and sites like Craigslist and OfferUp are great options. You can even find Facebook groups for buying and selling goods locally. To do this, search for the name of your city and the words “yard sale” or “buy sell” on Facebook or use their Marketplace option.
5 – Negotiate service rates.
Make a few calls and try to negotiate a lower rate for your electricity, phone, internet and car insurance bill. You might be able to save up to $1,000 per year on this alone!
If you’ve run out of corners to cut, or if you are on an extremely low budget, remember that increasing your income will definitely count towards improving your finances.
5 Ways to Increase your Income:
1 – Save the change you get.
When possible, use dollar bills, not coins and then put away the change you get. You might be surprised to find out how much you can save. If you are able to save least an extra $15 a week to put in the bank, that means $780 you can save at the end of year.
2 – Sell things you have at home that you don’t use.
Just as you are able to buy used goods and save money, you can also sell and make money (See tip #4). You can host a yard sale, or post things on Ebay, Offer Up, Craigslist and Facebook. The more you sell, the more experienced you become and the more money you can make. If you spend one day a month gathering items and selling them, you could be making $50 to $200 a month.
3 – Get money for searching online, doing surveys and submitting receipts.
There are many opportunities to get money back for doing things online. Some favorite sites and apps are:
- com: Get points for searching online, doing surveys and watching videos. You can then exchange them for gift cards.
- Ibotta and Checkout51: If you buy the specified products on the app, scan the product and send a picture of the receipt to get $0.50 to $4 in cash back. When you reach $20 you can ask for it to be sent as an electronic gift card or via Paypal.
- Shopkick: Get points for opening the app every time you walk into most stores. You can also scan select products at the store. When you reach a certain number of points, you can exchange them for gift cards.
- Swagbucks.com: Get points for searching online, doing surveys and watching videos. You can then exchange them for gift cards.
There are many online survey sites. If you qualify for a survey, you can receive anywhere from $20 to $50 per survey. In some cases you can also get points or money for referring friends. These apps and sites can bring in an extra $15 to $30 a month, or more than $180 per year.
4 – Sell services or products.
Find something you are good at and offer it to friends and family. You can also barter with friends and neighbors to get services you need without exchanging money.
5 – Get a temporary side job and put away all your earnings in a savings account.
It’s easy to get extra money and splurge a little, but resist the urge and put it away.
[Bonus: Learn how to claim side jobs paid electronically on your taxes.]
Remember that the start of a new year is a great motivation to create a goal that leads to financial freedom, especially if it’s a specific goal, like to save $1,000. Don’t get discouraged if you fail once in awhile. It’s important to keep trying because all the effort will pay off at the end of the year!
Hopefully this post offered money saving ideas for you — and even some pointers on how to earn money in 2017. Good luck!