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Any finance guru will tell you that you need to have a least $1,000 in an emergency fund. This emergency fund means that when the tire blows out, washing machine stops working, or someone breaks an arm, you are good. No credit card is needed to cover those expenses.
When money is really tight though, it can be hard to save any amount. Whether you want to put your $1,000 in an emergency fund or save for other things, here 10 ways you can save $1,000 this year. Some are obvious and that’s okay. Sometimes the most obvious things can make the biggest impact. Every little bit counts.
Before we dive into this, we have to remember the difference between needs and wants. If you can put it on a list and wait 30 days to ponder if you really want to buy it, it’s officially a want. Please don’t put bath tissue on that list. That list is for things that can wait.
Here are 10 ways to save $1,000 this year:
1. ) Cable has got to go
No matter how much you or your husband loves the Florida Seminoles, life will go on if you don’t watch the game. Ditching cable doesn’t mean you don’t ever get to watch TV though, there are a ton of free things online. You can also try Amazon Prime which is $99 for a year, Netflix which is $9 per month, or Hulu Plus which is $9 a month.
Even better, head to your local library. You can get TV show series and movies for FREE (as long as you return them on time).
2.) Downgrade to a not as smart phone
If you are no longer under contract, that smart phone has to go. You can use a basic phone for calling and texting for half the price.
Still under contract? As long as you stay with the same provider, you should be able to downgrade your service. You’ll have to talk to your service provider to discuss the details of this.
You can read more on saving on cell phone plans here.
3.) Increase Insurance Deductibles
A deductible is basically the amount of monetary risk you agree to retain. If you increase the deductible on your policy, then less monetary risk is transferred to your insurance company, which means that you will pay lower premiums to your company for insurance. Increasing your deductible is a good way to save money on premium payments while still making sure that you are covered in the event of a loss.
Even if you aren’t brave enough to increase your deductible, call around yearly to make sure you are getting the best deal.
4.) Make your home more energy efficient
If you have drafty windows, grab a window sealing kit. They are around $12 and make a huge difference. You measure your window, attach double sided tape, cut the plastic, and attach the plastic to the window. Pull your curtains shut and you will never know it is there until you see your lower power bill.
You can see additional ways to save on energy costs here.
5.) No more McDonalds
As a mama of 4, I know how convenient the drive-thru can be. Those little stops quickly add up though. By meal planning and packing lunches, you will save a significant amount of money.
You can easily serve everyone peanut butter & jelly sandwiches with carrot sticks for the price of one kid’s meal. Make a goal of eating out a lot less this year!
6.) Sweat the small stuff
I know every spot in my Target that typically has a stash of clearance items. It may be 90% off, but if you don’t need it or it doesn’t fit in the budget, you still spent too much. It is wise to purchase gifts and items you will need when they are great prices, but if you don’t have cash or a specific purpose for something in mind, don’t buy it.
Pull out your bank statements from the last 3 months and add up all of the frivolous purchases. You’ll most likely be amazed at how much your $5 purchases add up.
7.) Buy Secondhand
$20 for a Gap shirt at the mall may be a good deal. Head to the thrift store though, and you can spend $4 for a Gap shirt. Think beyond just clothing. You will also find amazing deals on kitchen supplies, decorations, furniture and more buying secondhand.
8.) Take a Staycation
Lodging and travel expenses are typically the most expensive part of a vacation, so enjoy a staycation instead this year. Plan fun things for your family to do in your city. You can go here for some fun tips on planning a staycation.
9.) Skip the expensive salon
It may be time to let the blonde go. If your are spending over $100 every 8 weeks to keep your roots light, it’s time to learn to do it yourself or have a friend help you. We see hair dye go on sale for less than $5 regularly.
You can also grab a pair of clippers for less than $20 and easily cut the hair of the males in your house yourself. If you’re nervous, you can watch some tutorials on YouTube first. Plus, if you mess up, no one will be able to tell after 2 weeks anyway. I’ve been cutting my husbands hair for 12 years, I can’t imagine how much money that’s saved through the years (he cuts mine too, so be brave).
10. ) Sell stuff
I bet you have at least 10 things worth selling at your house right now. This could be baby items, furniture, decorations, kitchen items, and more. It may only be worth $5, but the money will add up. It also works great to sell things like baby clothes in a bundle.
You can post them in local Facebook groups or Craigslist and have interested buyers e-mail you. You can then do front porch pick-up and have them put the money in a designated spot or meet somewhere like a grocery store. Be sure to use wisdom during this process. If you ever feel unsafe or anything seems off, stop working with that individual.
Remember, when the money comes it is going into your savings account. Not the clearance aisle at Target.
How are you planning to save $1,000 this year?
See more frugal living tips.