Hope for your financial life and beyond

How to Save One Thousand Dollars in a Month

Are you serious about getting out of debt and building a strong financial future? If so, then you must save money on a regular basis. The best part is you don’t have to begin with much. All you need to do for starters is to save one thousand dollars. That will give you some cushion and breathing space which you can then build on.

Speaking of building, when I worked construction I learned that every building requires a solid foundation. For your financial life, that foundation is savings. Without adequate savings you will struggle to get out of debt and will always be susceptible to emergency situations.

save one thousand dollarsNow I know for most people the process of saving money isn’t a sexy financial move. We’d rather spend money on gadgets or entertainment or experiences that give us an emotional high. Saving money and leaving it in the bank is an emotional blah.

To save one thousand dollars in a month may or may not sound like a daunting task. Some of you may be struggling to pay your basic bills. To save one thousand dollars may as well be like saving one million in your eyes.

But be encouraged. You can save one thousand dollars quickly. In fact, you can do it in only one month. Here’s how.

How to Save One Thousand Dollars

If you choose to follow what I’m about to suggest, it’s going to be a very challenging month. To keep you motivated, remember 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 can cut back on these activities.

To get where you want to go is going to require hard work and some sacrifices. So you might as well accept it and deal with it as best you can.

With that said, here are seven tried and true 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 your bank account. This way the money never comes into your hands. You will be less tempted to spend it if you don’t see it.

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…the dreaded second job. Or as some like to call it “the side hustle.”

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 ask yourself this – 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 you could make.

State minimum wage levels vary. So to make it a level playing field, I’ll use the 2019 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

Related Content: How to Manage Your Side Hustle and Family Life So You Don’t Go Insane

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. Other ideas might include doing yard work for those in the neighborhood, babysitting, washing and detailing cars, or providing some basic home maintenance or cleaning services. Be creative. There are a host of things you can do.

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. You need the rest and the family needs you.)

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 there typically looking for bargains. Therefore, they don’t want to pay up for what you think items are worth.

As an example, 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. Additionally, we have also listed and sold items on Facebook Marketplace with decent success.

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. However, 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 you reach your target of $1,000 saved.

Related Content: Students Comparison Shop for Generics and Save Big!

Cutting the bill by 20% per week would get you 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. So 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

Commit to Save One Thousand Dollars Now!

In conclusion, 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. Once you have this in place though, you’ll be prepared for some basic emergencies and able to move on to the next stages of wealth building.

Related Content: Emergency Fund Basics: The Step on Which All Other Success is Built

There are many, many other 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 sign up form below and get the list that will kick-start your journey to financial freedom.

But be creative with how you save. Work to your strengths and what works for you. This is a realistic goal that you can absolutely reach in just one month. Commit to doing it today so you can be one step closer to your financial goals.

Questions for Discussion: 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?

Image courtesy of 401kcalculator.org at Flickr Creative Commons

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  1. Getting out of debt is actually about making payments on a regular basis. But for this to happen, you’ll need to opt for a repayment plan based on your financial strength. Again, this makes it important for you to analyze your financial situation very carefully!

  2. This is an excellent article and I applaud anyone who takes the time to write such an article because getting to your first $1000 can be extremely difficult but is also extremely important for your financial house and your financial future.

    Usually the problem is one of the following: either the person has too low of an income OR the person has a reasonable income but overspends. A different strategy is required for each. What’s true is that if your income is too low, you just might not be able to squeeze any savings out of it – you’ll need to increase your income by getting a temporary second job while working to build some sort of skills to raise your income permanently.

    I have a long article on my blog that address the same topic – getting to your first $1000. However, it doesn’t go into the details but focuses more on the big picture and motivation. It might be useful to someone new to personal finance.

  3. Very good ideas and a solid principle. It’s important to point out that even if these exact numbers can’t be met, within the categories or even saving the total amount in just one month, it’s still important to proceed.

    • Right Jerry…one month is just an arbitrary deadline to meet. Like you said, even if it doesn’t happen that quickly people still need to work towards saving this amount to get them started on their financial journey.

  4. Agreed. There are so many ways we can earn and save more money. I do pay myself first, and my wife and I have been looking at our expenses and figuring out the unnecessary expenses we can cut out.
    Some people find it difficult to part with stuff they have for sentimental reasons though.

  5. My favorite strategy is to pay myself first. It’s the easiest option and guarantees you save something each month From there, it’s all about earning additional money on the side. We all have stuff lying around house that we can offload for some quick cash.

    • “We all have stuff lying around house…” I know…I’m looking at a few things now as I type this. The tough part for some though will actually be choosing to part with it. Guess it just depends on how bad you want to get it done quickly.

  6. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says

    It truly is a commitment, Brian. When I get my salary, I save the 30% first before I use it for other expenses like bills. I do believe that we have to commit ourselves to savings and to building the foundation. It’s a form of security. More importantly, in this time, we really have to because we’d all like to save more and have a better future.

  7. It’s good that you added, in reference to extra income, “The trick here is to save it all.” It’s very tempting to “treat” yourself when there is extra income. I’ve been teaching summer school since our journey out of debt began, and it all goes towards the debt. Our $1000 mini-emergency fund is a great thing to have, but I think the larger e-fund that we’ll start saving up this year – the one that will see us through 3-6 months if we lose one of our incomes – will give us a wonderful peace of mind.

    • “…tempting to “treat” yourself…” Yes! The extra money for this particular task HAS to go into savings. Once that’s done – and if you continue the extra job – then it can go towards other things.

  8. Paying yourself first is key, whether you’re trying to quickly ramp up savings or not. A lot of people want to wait to see what they left at the end of the month but most people, even frugal or mindful spenders, tend to spend ALL the money they have available in their checking account. They won’t spend what they don’t have but they will more often than not, spend what they do. It’s why I also tell my clients to take care of savings goals and bills first, so you can see what you have left to play with, knowing the things that matter most are taken care of.

    • It takes a very disciplined hand to wait until the end of the month to put money into savings. It’s so easy to let that money trickle through your hands and have nothing left over. That’s actually what we do now but I wouldn’t recommend it for someone just starting out. We’ve learned to be disciplined…it wasn’t always so. 🙂

  9. These are great tips and I agree that paying yourself first should be… well, first. The best way to know how much you could save is by first having a written budget and tracking your expenses. That way you know where to cut back.

  10. Excellent ideas here Brian! Like you pointed out, much of it may not be fun, but it can be done. I think that’s what is so easy to overlook at times, myself included, that there are ways to either save more or make more – you just need to get creative. That’s also not to mention the fact that some of them become ideals you begin to live by such as with the paying yourself first. Running our own business, having an ample enough amount in savings is huge – it’s part of what helps me sleep at night. 🙂

    • “…some of them become ideals…” That’s a great point John! This post was intended to show how quickly money could be raised/saved. But that one month of effort could lead to habits that will last a lifetime.

  11. I don’t save this much per month, but I do agree that paying yourself first is a great way to save that money without thinking about it. Having your savings automatic is what I call saving without effort.

    • “I don’t save this much per month…” Most people won’t and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. Money should go to other parts of the wealth equation after the savings/emergency fund is set up.

  12. Very good ideas and a solid principle. It’s important to point out that even if these exact numbers can’t be met, within the categories or even saving the total amount in just one month, it’s still important to proceed. In the end, if it takes a month or six weeks or even three months, the end result is really the most important part. Thanks for sharing.

  13. When I first got committed to getting out of debt I had just started my residential and commercial cleaning business. I built that business up really fast and it was the number one way I got out of debt so quickly. But I worked like a dog morning, noon and night. You’ve got to want it really bad. You’ve really got to want to get out of debt and be willing to do what it takes to get there. If you don’t, you probably won’t be successful. It’s really that simple.

    • “You’ve got to want it really bad.” That’s the ticket. I bet now you really appreciate what you went though even though at the time it was really tough.

  14. Paying yourself first is the best tip. We’ve automated it, so when we get paid money is automatically moved to a secondary savings account for us each month. This way we don’t forget to do it, we don’t spend it, etc. Always good to check in and see where your money is going too tracking receipts for 30 days and see if you’ve sprung any leaks, like that dial coffee or lunch.

    • “Paying yourself first is the best tip.” That’s why I put it first. I think most people miss that step. It’s much more difficult to spend the money when it doesn’t even come into your hands.

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