If you are serious about getting out of debt and building any kind of financial future, then saving regularly is a must. The best part is you don’t have to begin with much. All you need is to save one thousand dollars just to give yourself some cushion.
Every building requires a solid foundation. For your money, that foundation is savings. Without adequate savings you will struggle to get out of debt and will always be susceptible to emergency situations.
That may or may not sound like a daunting task depending on your situation. Some of you may be struggling to pay your basic bills.
But you can save one thousand dollars quickly. In fact, you could do it in only one month.
How to Save One Thousand Dollars
Now let me say that if you choose to follow what I’m about to suggest it’s going to be a very challenging month. But keep in mind the goal. You are trying to quickly save one thousand dollars so you can move on and begin to do other things with your money. Once the month is over and the $1,000 is saved you could cut back on these activities if you want.
To get where you want to go is going to require hard work and some sacrifices. You might as well accept it and deal with as best you can.
With that said, here are seven activities you can do to save one thousand dollars in a month. I’ll do the calculations so you can see how it all adds up. And I’ll be conservative in my estimates of what I think is reasonable to achieve.
1. Pay yourself first
The first step to save one thousand dollars in a month is to create some savings discipline in your life. Paying yourself first helps create that discipline. You have to save some money before any of the bills are paid or money is used for other expenses.
The best way to do this is by direct deposit through your employer. The money comes out of your paycheck and goes into an account you have designated. This way the money never comes into your hands where it will be easily spent.
If direct deposit is not available you’ll have to discipline yourself to deposit the money on your own. Perhaps you’ll need a trusted friend to be your accountability partner. They can check up on you to make sure this gets done.
Save as much here as you like or are able. For a conservative estimate I’ll leave it at $25 per week.
Savings – $25 per week for 4 weeks = $100
Still need – $900
2. Work a second job
Ugh! I know…the dreaded second job. Before you get down or start making excuses about why this can’t work remember…it’s only for one month.
Yes, you will have to give up a lot. You may not get to see the family much. You’ll probably have to sacrifice time with friends, your favorite entertainment and even some sleep.
But how badly do you want to succeed? How much do you want to improve your finances? Can you be intense for one month?
The answer is “Yes! Of course you can!” You have the courage and strength to pull this off. So let’s see how much we could make.
State minimum wage levels vary. So to make it a level playing field I’ll use the 2015 federal minimum wage of $7.25 which all states are required to at least meet.
For this calculation, I’m going to assume you will work at an evening minimum wage job from 6:00 to 10:00 pm, 5 days a week (Mon. – Fri.) for four weeks. The calculation looks like this:
$7.25/hr. times 4 hours times 20 days = $580 (gross income)
Now taxes will be taken out of that gross amount thus reducing the number to around $500. The trick here is to SAVE IT ALL. None of this income goes into the monthly budget.
Savings from 2nd job – $500
Still need – $400
3. Additional income opportunities
You may have noticed that the weekends are still free. This is where you could pick up some additional income opportunities.
What might those be? Well, you could work your second job for 8 hours on Saturday. Maybe you could do yard work for those in the neighborhood…or wash and detail cars…or provide some basic home maintenance or cleaning services…or any of a host of other things you could think of.
The goal here would be to earn an extra $25 per weekend. If you work your second job on Saturday that should be a piece of cake with some money left over to spare.
(And please…take Sunday off. Spend time relaxing and being with your family.)
Savings from additional opportunities – $100 ($25/wk. times 4 weeks)
Still need – $300
4 & 5. Sell individual items and host a garage sale
My wife and I have held four garage sales since we’ve been married. Everyone one of them has brought in at least $200. Our most recent one was over $300.
However, some items don’t sell well at garage sales. Shoppers are typically there looking for bargains. They don’t want to pay up for what you think items are worth.
Case in point…at our most recent garage sale we tried to sell a vintage 1970’s classical guitar. We researched what it was worth and listed it at $150 at the garage sale.
There were absolutely no takers (which we expected).
After the garage sale we listed it on Craigslist. Within two weeks we sold it for $125.
So between your garage sale and other items that will sell better individually, you should be able to conservatively raise another $200. That should go a long way in your quest to save one thousand dollars.
It might be tough to part with some personal items but you can always buy similar items back later when your financial health is improved.
Savings from sale of items – $200
Still need – $100
6 & 7. Cut the grocery bill by 20 percent and eat at home
The final step to save one thousand dollars in one month will be to cut back on food expenses. This can be done in two ways – cutting down on the grocery bill and eating only at home.
Cutting the grocery bill by 20% may sound like a lot. If you have been spending $100 per week on groceries that means you can now only spend $80.
To get there may mean making some cheaper meals, using coupons or buying generic foods. But remember this is just for one month to help us reach our target of $1,000 saved.
Cutting the bill by 20% per week would get us an additional savings of $80 ($20 saved per week times 4 weeks).
The rest of the savings in this category will come from not eating out as much or even refraining from purchasing that morning cup of coffee. Cut back just $5 per week and you’ve saved an additional $20.
Savings from the grocery bill and eating out less – $80 + $20 = $100
Still need – zero
Savings Is a Commitment
Here’s the recap of how to save one thousand dollars in a month:
Pay yourself – $100
Second Job – $500
Add. Income – $100
Selling items – $200
Cut Food Bill – $100
I hope you’ve been able to see how saving $1,000 in a month is possible. Like I said at the beginning it’s going to be a tough month. But once you have this in place you’ll be prepared for some basic emergencies and able to move on to the next stages of wealth building.
There are many additional ways you can save money. I’ve outlined 99 of them in a document you can access for free. Just enter your email in the form below and get the list that will kick-start your journey to financial freedom.
Questions: What favorite strategy do you have for saving money quickly? How long did it take for you to save one thousand dollars in your emergency fund? How emotionally satisfying is it to have adequate money in savings? Does it help you relax?
Prior Post: How to Enjoy a Life of Guilt Free Spending