Saving $1000 per year is not as hard, as some make it out to be. It’s rather simple. It can be even done in a tough economy, with very little effort and some planning ahead. I’ve come up with fifty five (55) ways to painlessly stash away one thousand (1000) dollars. Some of the suggested tips below take a whole year to save one thousand dollars, while others take less time. Most suggestions you can combine together to save well over $1000.But, why stop at a $1000? Why not $5000? or $10,000? Whatever the time line, your goal should be the same. Saving one thousand dollars should be your start.
You may even say to your self; “Well, half a year is already gone by already” You’re wrong!! It’s never late to save money. You’ve got all the time in the world and all you have to do is get started. That being said, what are you waiting for? Get started!
1. Brown Bag Your Lunch
If you are eating out always for lunch, you are throwing your money away. We all need to eat, but planning ahead, cooking at home and packing a lunch will surely leave at least a $1000 bucks in your pocket in a year. Take for example; You spend $20/weekly on lunch X 52 weeks in a year = $1040 that you could save by not eating out for lunch. Instead take your $20 (or whatever your weekly lunch spending amount is), put it away in savings and watch your savings account grow.
2. Make Your Own Coffee
I used to buy a Tim Horton’s coffee on the go daily (roughly about 2x per day). Not anymore. I make full use of FREE coffee at work and my coffee maker gets a good work out too. Take for example; 2 medium coffees per day ($1.44×2= $2.88) X 7 days ($20.16 weekly) X 52 weeks in a year = $1048.32 I could save. I told you it’s easy.
3. Sign up for Direct Deposit
This is a give and should be #1 on everyone’s list. Sign up with your bank for pre-authorized withdrawals from every direct deposit check you get. If you are paid bi-weekly, like most of us, that’s 26 withdrawals in a year. Let’s plug in some numbers; $50 (per deposit) X 26 (yearly pay deposits, if you are on bi-weekly payroll) = $1300 saved at the end of the year.
Let’s say you want to save $1000 before the end of the year and we only have 6 months remaining. It can still be done. $77 (per deposit) X 13 (pay periods remaining until end of year) = $1001 saved by December 31/2011.
4. Eat in More & Less Out
We all love to dine out, but it can be done in a smart way. Instead of going out weekly out for dinner, go out once a month or every other week if you have to. When I go out for any basic dinner, on average I spend $40 per meal, including a few drinks. That’s roughly $160 per month, if I go out for dinner once a week and only spend $40 per dinner. Let’s do the math; $80 saved by only going out for dinner twice a month X 12 (months in a year) = $ 960. Okay, you got me, it’s not $1000 exactly, but close enough. Cut the guy some slack. :)
5. Quit Smoking
It’s a hard habit to kick to the curb, but once you do it for good, your health and wallet will thank you. Let’s say you’re a social smoker of two packs per week. A pack of premium cigarettes costs roughly $10.75 (for 25 pack) X 2 (packs per week) X 4 (weeks in a month) = $86 per month spent on cigarettes. Now take that $86 per month X 12 (months) = $1032 you could save per year by not smoking those two packs of cigarettes. Even if you reduce is to the bare minimum of one pack per week at $10.75 X 4 (4 weeks in a month) = $43 per month on cigarettes X 12 (months in a year) = $516 per year you could save, by smoking one less pack.
6. Take a Seasonal Job
There are ton’s a seasonal jobs available, mostly during the Christmas Holiday season. Places such as Future Shop, Best Buy or any other retail outlet hire at will to bulk up for the busy holiday season. Say for example you take a job at any retail outlet, you would be paid $10.25 per hour (minimum wage) and surely you would be able to get 25 hours per week or 100 hours a month. That’s an extra $1025 in income you could earn, which you can apply directly towards your savings and/or use to buy gifts for the holiday season. Which in turn means, you will pull less money from your regular pay check.
7. Teach a Skill
Remember all those piano lessons you’ve taken when you were younger and that piano that sits in your parents living room, yet nobody uses. That’s a match made in heaven. Make a quick flyer on your computer, post it for free at your local grocery store bulletin and ask your parents to use the piano for a few hours a week. You teach someone to play and get paid for it. Let’s say you charge $80 per lesson and you do only two lessons per month, that’s $160 per month in extra income. Here is the math; $160 (2 lessons per month, at $80) X 12 (months in a year) = $1,920 in extra income. Let’s use the remaining six months left in 2011. $160 per month in income X 6 = $960 in extra income, in only 6 months. You have no overhead costs and all you need to do is invest 2 hours per month of your time.
8. Sell Your Clothes
Maybe you’ve purchased clothes or got as gifts that you’ve never worn and that still have takes on. What are you waiting for? If you don’t wear it, sell it to someone who will. Don’t let it collect dust or worst off become out-dated. If you sell 10 items at $105 dollars each, 20 items at $52 dollars or if you have a bunch of stuff to sell – 40 items at $28 – you’ll have enough money to save at least $1,000 in your savings account.
9. Side Business
If you’re like me and can offer a good service, run a side business. I’ve been doing it for years. I’ve always had a knack for technology (computers primarily). So through years of self-though, trial and error and reading, I’ve been able to transfer my knowledge into income. I don’t get rich off of it, but earning roughly $5000+ in extra income yearly, surely puts a smile on my face. Most importantly I do it on my own time, yet I am responsible enough to create time for it when necessary. If you’re good with your hands, maybe doing small renos and repairs are your niche. You’d be surprised at the demand for this. After all, who want’s to pay just $120 for the initial inspection/visit from some big company.
10. Rent a Booth at a Flea Market
Feeding off the idea of extra income via your passion, you can earn that $1000 easily by a little side hustle. If you’re a baker, have a lot of movies, DVDs, books, music CDs or even crafts, why not get a booth a your local flea market. You will have to rent a booth, which run on average of $300-400 per month, but you could sell your baked goods. In a busy flea market (very few that are not busy), you’d make a killing. Who wouldn’t want, fresh baked home goods.
11. Eliminate Extra Minutes on Your Cell Phone Plan
It’s a proven fact, that in today’s society and the ease of accessible technology, cell phone users use more data, than voice in their cell phone plans. It’s much easier and faster to shoot a text message, than to make a phone call. Not to mention, it’s cheaper too. If you’ve got the “My 5 Plan” or the new “My 10 plan”, where you pay extra per month to have free calling (incoming/outgoing) to your favorite 5 or 10 people, well you’re getting ripped off. Think about how many times you call those people. You don’t call them while you’re at school or work, during the hours of 9-5. So you make the calls typically after 6pm. But wait, doesn’t your “Free Evening & Weekends” kick in after 6pm? I hope you connected the dots.
12. Eliminate Your Telephone Land-line
Telephone landlines are becoming a thing of past. With Skype, MagicJack & Google Voice, your land-land is becoming obsolete. Not to mention, you’ve got a cellphone where you can be reached. Personally, I don’t have a land-line and never needed one. I do all my data/voice connecting via my Blackberry. On average I am saving $540 for a very basic telephone line (no features) from Rogers or Bell ($45 monthly x 12 months = $540).
13. No More Gym Membership
I am all for physical fitness and keeping in shape. In fact I love it so much, that I play soccer 2x weekly on two different teams, coach kids soccer, run and workout at home. I used to be one of those who paid for a gym membership, but never went to it. Not anymore. $50 per month for an average gym membership per month = a lot of money wasted. You don’t need the gym, you can do basic work outs at home and run. That’s it. If you’re looking to lose weight, take into account the 80/20 rule. 80% of your weight loss, comes from your diet, 20% comes from exercise. Save over $1000 per year – $600( gym membership) + $400 (gas + parking).
14. Take a Staycation
If you’re budget is tight or you really want to save that $1000 this year, than don’t take a vacation. Instead use your time off to do things around the house or enjoy some free sites locally around your city. You don’t need to spend that $750 (on average trip to Cuba or Mexico) + entertainment ($100 to swim with dolphins and $150 for day trip scuba diving) = $1000 saved for just not taking that vacation.
15. Have a Garage Sale
Here is another FREE, yet simple and neat idea to earn extra income and use the extra money towards savings. Host a garage sale. If you don’t own a home or live in a condo, do a joint garage sale with your parents or friends. If you do 5 garage sales over a period of six months, you can pocket a cool $1000 by selling your old and dusty stuff. Let’s do the math; $200 (average income per garage sale) X 5 (garage sales in six months) = $1000.
16. Less Meat = More Money
One of the biggest factors contributing to your high grocery bill is meat. It’s expensive no doubt, but it can be replaced. Try having more salad or veggie dishes. If you have two meatless meals per week, you could easily save over $1000 per year by eating less meat. The math is complicated, because we all eat different types of meat and in different amounts. Tracking it, makes it the only way to know how much you save.
17. Cut the Cable & Get an Antenna
It’s no secret anymore, that you can get basic cable for free, for only a low low one time fee of $30. That’s right, only $30. First, call your cable company and cut your cable bill off, including those extra movie channels you watch. Next, purchase an antenna at your local tech store, hook it up to your TV and get a minimum of 30 basic TV channels. Such as your local news, weather network and other basic channels. Say for example, your monthly cable bill is $85 (including all extras) X 12 (months) = $1020 in savings.
18. Rent Less Apartment
If you’re living on your own, do you really need a 1200 square foot apartment? or do you really need two bathrooms? Probably not. You can get away with small square footage and with one bathroom. If you decrease your rent even by $100 per month, you are saving $1200 annually. I think that’s a pretty fair trade off.
19. Own Less Home
Home ownership has so many upsides, but if done correctly. In a society, where competition level is so high on who owns a bigger and better home, more and more people are buying homes beyond their means. If you live with your significant other, do you really need a 3,000 square foot home for the two of you. You don’t, but you want it. Fair enough, but now it’s a difference between wants and needs. Often (almost in every case) wants and saving money don’t go hand in hand.
20. Negotiate Your Mortgage Rate
When it comes to mortgage rates, the beauty of it is that you can shop around. You should never feel stuck, because options are vast and everyone want’s your business. Your bank not giving you what you want? Go to someone else.
Here is an example:
$200,000 – Mortgage ————————————————– $200,000 – Mortgage
30 Years – Amortization Period —————————————$30 Years – Amortization Period
5.39% – Interest Rate ————————————————— 3.0 % – Interest Rate
2 – Monthly Payments (Bi-Weekly)———————————– 2 – Monthly Payments ( Bi-Weekly)
$512.35 = Monthly Payment—————————————– $ 387.89 = Monthly Payment
Total savings per month = $124.46 ($512.35 – 387.89) or $124.46 X 12 = $1493.52 per year
21. Purchase Second Hand Items
I know this may not be everyone’s forte, but when it comes to saving money, you either commit to it fully and at any cost or you do it half -ass. It’s your choice, but be warned, results are significantly different. Buying second hand DVDs, CD’s, furniture and even clothing. Garage sales, flee markets and second hand stores are great options. You can save on taxes and negotiate almost anything.
22. Cheques & Chequing Accounts
Why pay fees, when you don’t have to. There are tons of banks offering free cheques and chequing accounts. One of my favorite, is Thrive Checking – ING Direct. Plus they will deposit $100 if you move your pay-roll deposits to their account. Furthermore, if you order cheques, you can get them for free. If you are with one of the big five banks, cheques are never free and fairly expensive. A good alternative is to get your cheques printed elsewhere. There is no law, that states that you must get your cheques from your bank.
23. Join Your Employers Retirement Plan
Joining your employers retirement savings plans is double savings. Not only are you saving money towards your RRSP, but it’s also pre-tax dollars. Furthermore, if your employer matches your contributions, that’s FREE savings. Set it & forget it. Most of the time you can’t withdraw your money, but you can transfer to any institution of your choice. After all, why would you want to withdraw your retirement savings. Let’s plug in some numbers for argument sake; You put away $100 monthly towards your retirement savings plan, you will have accumulated $1200 by the end of the year. And if your employer matches you 1:1, you will have $2400 saved. If you’re fortunate enough to have an employer that maches your contributions 2:1, you would save $3600 at the end of the year.
24. Selling Your Home? Negotiate Your Commission Fee
In an over saturated Real Estate market and especially during slow times throughout the year, make sure to negotiate your Real Estate commission fee. Even 1% can make a huge difference on a large sum of money. Take for example a $250,000 selling price, you would have to pay $12,500 (5%) in Real Estate commission fees. Let’s say you negotiate that 5% commission fee, down to 4%, you would now pay $10,000 in commission fess. Total savings of $2500. I told you 1% makes a huge difference.
25. Looking for a New Place to Rent? Negotiate the Rent
Just because they listed home to rent for $1200/monthly, does not mean you have to pay that. Negotiate it. Never forget, anything can be negotiate, you just have to ask. Even if you drop the rent price by $150, that’s $150 that will stay in your pocket or an annual savings of $1800.
26. Purchasing a New Home? Negotiate the price
Much like prices of rental units are meant to be negotiated, you must negotiate the price of your home too. Even if the home is too good to pass up, negotiate it. Feel like a winner, by coming out on top and never ever be afraid to walk away.
27. Turn Down the Thermostat
Depending on the year and model of your gas furnace, you can save tons of cake. Turning down the dial two degrees lower, during peak months of winter, can save you in the long run. It’s hard to put a number on it right now, but take some jot notes. Write down your monthly bills each month and add up the difference, I am sure you’ll notice a savings at the end of winter.
28 . Negotiate a New Raise
During your annual review, take the necessary time to do your research of the market. Look for how much your current position is valued on the market. Did you take on new tasks? Add that too. With factual information, it’s hard not to get a raise of some sort. Just got to be reasonable, pick the right time to negotiate and do your research.
29. Have a Company Phone? Cancel Your Cellphone
If you have a company cell phone, why have one of your own. They pay for your local calling during the day and evenings are virtually free on all business cellular contracts, typically after 6pm. You can save your self a lot of money, just don’t abuse the company phone. Let’s say you pay $80/month for your cellular services, including voice and data. You cancel that phone for a year, you would save $960 per year.
30. In School and need Textbooks? Buy Used!
New textbooks are a huge rip off and a total money maker for the school and publisher. How many times during your school years, a text book would change from version 2.0 to 2.1. It’s the same content, different cover and version and of course the price. Average price of a college text book is roughly $210 (business text books). If you have 6 classes per semester, that’s $1260 you are spending. Used books are at least 50% cheaper at the book store. If you buy them second hand, you could save even more. Plus, all the readings are already highlighted for you = less reading. :)
31. Downgrade your Internet Speed & Have Free Wi-Fi
Premium internet costs roughly around $60 including taxes. Which gives you 250 gigabytes of download. On top of it you have to pay for modem rental (wi-fi) around $7. Now you’re at $804 annually just for your internet cost. You can save a lot, by renting the basic modem (typically around $3) and by your own wi-fi router, which typically runs around $30. The router would pay it self off in less than a year. Also downgrading your internet to basic internet, can save you anywhere from $30-40 monthly. A basic internet connection runs around $25/month, compared to the $60 premium. The difference in speed is virtually unnoticed. Years ago I switched to basic internet and never looked back.
32. Reduce Grooming Expenses
There is a fine line between going to a salon and a barbershop. The salon in fancier, but also fancier in price. A typical men’s hair cut at a salon runs around $40 (tax included). At a barber shop, you pay $15. The difference is $25 per hair cut or $600 a year ($50 in savings per month X 12 months). If your hair grows fast like mine, but you like it kept up to date, you are likely going twice a month.
33. Get rid of your Ink Jet Printer
Ink jet printers are a think of past. Not only are they clunky and slow, but super expensive to replace the ink cartridges or have them refilled. Plus, the refilled cartridges, the quality is awful. Better opt for a laser printer. You will pay $80 for a basic laser (HP brand), with a black toner cartridge that can last you up to 2500 prints. A typical black ink cartridge only lasts 900 prints or it dries up if not used for a long time. It does not seem like a lot, but every little bit adds up.
34. Create a Change Jar
I’ve been using this method for the last year and I can attest to saving well over $800. I have a change jar on my kitchen counter and any change (pennies, loonies, twoonies, quarters, nickles & dimes) I put in the jar. Once the jar becomes heavy or half full for example, I take it to my local grocery store. They have a machine, which takes your change, counts it and gives you bills in return. It does charge 7 cents for every dollar, but it’s so worth it.
35. Recycling Booze Cans & Bottles
Taking your booze bottles, plastic bottles, wine bottles and beer bottles back to the Beer Store for recycling can save you some pretty pennies. Think about all the booze that comes trough the house and that others brings over throughout the year. I’m sure there is a lot (if you drink that is). Take it back and get paid for your empties. 10 cents per can/small bottle and 20 cents per large bottle. Three empty 24 beer cases will net you $7.20. Not a lot for some of us, but can be a lot for others.
36. Cancel Household Services
Services such as snow removal, grass cutting and home cleaning can cost quite a bit. My parents neighbors pays (used to, until I changed it) for grass cutting. A season, typically April-October would cost them $570 or $81 per month/per visit. The winter snow removal was roughly $600 for the winter and it was done anytime it snowed, within 24hrs. That’s changed. Now I have my dad (their neighbor) do it for much cheaper. Everyone is a winner.
37. Sell Your Second or Third Car
Having an extra car, that you only utilize every now and then is a huge money waste. Think about all you have to pay on it. Insurance, gas, up-keep and maybe even car payments. By having one less vehicle, you will save roughly $1000 on insurance alone.
38. Sell Your Boat
If you own a boat, you know the upkeep cost of one. Yes boats are great to have, but the docking at the marina for a season can be put towards a years worth of mortgage payments on a smaller cottage. Boats only depreciate in value, a cottage or a second home appreciates. Plus you can rent out either one and have others pay for your mortgage. A typical seasons docking fees, fuel, storage, up-keep and weatherization for a boat runs roughly around $8,000 – $10,000 per season on a smaller 26′ boat. What’s a better investment; a boat or a second home? You be the judge.
39. Sell Your Motorcycle
If you own one, they are amazing to have and super fun to ride. Expensive to upkeep? Totally. Motorcycle insurance alone is well over a $1000 annually. That’s only for 5 or 6 months of full riding. You must pay for a whole year, but only can use the bike for 5 to 6 months. Not a great investment in my opinion. Sell your motorcycle, save your self the $1000+ in insurance, plus you won’t have to spend another dime on already expensive fuel.
40. Get a Fuel Efficient Car
If you own a big truck or an SUV, it might be wise to get a smaller car. You will save thousands of dollars in fuel costs alone. Not to mention, your insurance will most likely drop, as you move from a large luxury vehicle to a more smaller compact car.
41. Create a Savings Bi-Weekly Timeline
You can’t save money, unless you have a realistic goal in place. Writing it down by saying; “I want to save $1000 this year” will do nothing for you, unless you break it down into smaller and more realistic pieces. Here is a quick chart;
Here’s how much you need to put away every other week to reach your yearly savings goals:
$1,000 – $38.47
$2,500 – $96.16
$5,000 – $192.31
$10,000 – $384.62
42. Cheaper Golf Club Membership
Golfing is a favorite past time of mine. Unfortunately I don’t own a golf membership at any club, because I simply can not afford one at this point of time in life, but maybe you own one. A premium golf clubhouse membership can run anywhere of up to $5,000 or more, plus your membership dues, which are typically 25% of your membership. That means on a $5,000 annual clubhouse membership, your grand total (including dues) runs you roughly $6,250. If you golfed 5 times a week,for 5 months, that works out to $62.50 per game. Pretty expensive and after all it’s a luxury. You can still get a pretty good golf clubhouse membership for under $3,000, plus there are no membership dues.
43. Create A Shopping List for Everything
Going grocery shopping? Create a list. Clothes shopping? create a list. Yes, create a list before you shop. Analyze the list and estimate what you need and how much it will cost. This way, you can eliminate buying unnecessary food, clothing, gifts, shoes or any household items. Finally, stick to your list, no matter what. Your savings potential is unlimited, because you are only buying what you need. No more guessing if you need this or how much of that.
44. Accelerate your Mortgage Payments
Switch to bi-weekly or weekly mortgage payments, instead of one monthly mortgage payment. Switching from a single monthly payment to an rapid bi-weekly plan would save you $13,720 in interest on a $200,000 mortgage at 3 % with a 30-year amortization. That’s $457 saved each year. Your mortgage payments stay the same, but the frequency increases to two monthly payments.
45. Tax Credits
One should always file their taxes every year. On top of it, everyone should use their tax credits. Students and families especially. If you attend any post-secondary education institution, you can claim your books, parking passes and cost of tuition. In return, you will get a nice cheque from the government in return. Families with children can file and receive a Child Tax benefit. This benefit typically ranges anywhere from $50-$500 per child. If you are employed and spend any time on the road with your personal car, you can request a T2200 form from your employer, to cover the cost of your additional expenses, such as gas, cell phone and maintenance. You will need proof of all your receipts and a mileage log book.
46. Have a Pet? Reduce Pet Costs
I would never encourage anyone to get rid of their pets, but there are ways to make pet expenses more manageable. Instead of taking your dog to the vet for a bath and grooming, why not opt to do it your self. Sure there will be struggles the first few times, but it will save you tons of cake. Another way to save with pets is on food. You can buy pet food in bulk, outside of pet stores, such places as Walmart and Costco. They are much cheaper. Its like going to buy shampoo at your local pharmacy, versus your local grocery store. Who do you think will carry it for cheaper?
47. Make Homemade Gifts
Gift giving is more about the thought, than about the actual gift. Be creative and create your own birthday, holiday and special occasion gifts and gift cards. For example, if you’re into photography, develop some of your pictures and create a picture collage and give the picture collage as a gift.
48. Order Meat directly from the Farm
We’ve been doing it for years. My self, along with my parents and a few other couples order fresh meat from the farm. You can order a whole cow for example for under $700. The meat is cleaned, prepped and packaged for you. The cost is split between three to four families. Once you get the meat home, you package it nicely and freeze it. You will easily have meat for 6 months. If you break it down, that’s roughly $30.00 per month in meat. You get FRESH steaks, ground beef, meat for stew and much more.
49. Grow a Garden
Now, this is hard to do if you live in a high-rise. Fortunately, my parents have a large backyard. I invest into new seeds and plant food with them and help maintain the garden. In return, I have fresh veggies to pick from the garden once a week.
50. Shop Out of Season
This one is a given. If you’re a serious shopper and follow flyers religiously (like me), you must shop outside of the season. The formula is simple. Buy winter clothes in spring/summer and summer clothes in fall/winter. The same concept can be used for most household items and leisure items, such as patio furniture, BBQs, Bikes and so on.
I am sure you know the truth by now, news is sort of old. Most generic products are manufactured by the same companies that manufacture the branded products. Generally by buying Generic products it will result in average savings of 25-29% – if you spend $100 a week, you can easily save $1,300 per year.
52. Bring & Make Your Own Wine
If you’re a wine lover like me, you can attempt to make your own. It’s not that complicated at all. You can buy the kit at Costco, along with the grape juice. If that’s too much of a challenge, you can always buy your own wine and bring it to dinner with you. Most restaurants allow you to bring your own wine and only pay the $5.00 corkage fee.
53. Turn Off Anything Electrical
Turn off the lights and other appliances. You can even get relatively cheap timers, that will shut off your appliances and tech gadgets for you during peek hours or when you are at work. This is good for the planet and can save you some pretty pennies.
We’ve all done it before. Gone shopping and purchased a few items that we actually have no need and use for. A few items here and a few more tomorrow and it all adds up slowly. Instead just focus on what you actually need to buy. Remember # 43, create a shopping list for everything.
55. Always Pay Your Self First
Saved the best for last. Never forget to pay your self first. There will always be bills, each and every month. If we don’t pay our selves first, no one else will. And don’t forget # 41 – create your own bi-weekly savings budget.