by Christy Bieber | Feb. 9, 2020
You could end 2020 with an extra $1,000 in your pocket if you follow these suggestions.
Saving money can be hard. But it is possible to find ways to make cuts to your budget and increase the amount that you save.
In fact, there are many ways you could save an extra $1,000 by making a few simple changes to how you spend your hard-earned cash. This money could go a long way towards beefing up your emergency fund, helping you fatten your retirement account, or paying off credit card debt.
If you want to save an extra $1,000 in 2020, you need to put aside around $84 per month. There are lots of different ways you could do that, including the following:
If you're currently spending $5 to $10 a day to eat out at work, switch to bringing your lunch. A sandwich and side or some leftovers brought from home will cost you just a few dollars, so you could save anywhere from $3 to $7 a day.
If you can cut your lunch costs by $5 a day and you work five days a week, this would leave you with $25 extra per week or $100 extra per month -- more than you need to hit your $1,000 goal.
Dinner out or a movie for a family of four could easily come to $50 or more. The money you'd save from missing a couple of meals out or staying in and streaming movies instead of going to the theater would easily add up to $1,000 over the course of the year.
If you don't go to the movies or dine out, look at what your entertaining budget does cover. Chances are good that you could find a spare $84 by giving up just one or two activities. Look for free alternatives such as art openings or outdoor events so you can still enjoy life but just spend less while doing it.
If you have an unlimited cell phone plan but don't use much data, you could save a good chunk of money by switching to a cheaper monthly plan. Or you could opt to get rid of your cell phone contract altogether in favor of a prepaid cell phone and buy data and minutes as you go.
Cutting unused gym memberships could also help you put between $30 to $50 a month into your savings account. There are also plenty of cheaper alternatives to landline telephones or cable TV services, so these could go -- the replacements may even be better suited to your needs.
If you have multiple streaming services for movies and music and aren't using all of them, you could consider canceling a few. Instead of subscribing to multiple services at one time, pick one to watch everything you want for a few months and then cancel that membership and move to the next one.
By taking a look at all your subscriptions and considering which ones really add value, you may well be able to find at least $84 of monthly savings.
Today, there are tons of opportunities for side gigs, from driving for a rideshare service to delivering packages for online companies to delivering food from restaurants.
If you can find a side gig that pays you $10 an hour or more, working just two hours a week would give you more than enough extra cash to hit your $1,000 goal.
Most people can find two free hours. And if you can find a side gig that pays more, you may need to work even less to make the $84 a month you need.
Most people have bills they have to pay each month, like debt payments, utility bills, and insurance premiums. See if you can make small cuts to each of these bills that add up to that magic $84.
Start by adjusting your thermostat up or down a degree or two to reduce your heating or air conditioning costs. You can also reduce your utility bills by sealing gaps around windows or doors or adding a little extra insulation. Unplugging items that use phantom power and suck up electricity even when you aren't using them is another great way to lower your electric bill.
As for insurance costs, you may be able to reduce your premiums by raising your deductible, getting rid of coverage you no longer need, or letting your insurer know your habits have changed. If you now work from home and drive less, for example, your auto insurer may be willing to reduce your rates. If your car is old and no longer worth much, dropping collision coverage could save you.
And finally, if you have debt, consider seeing if you can refinance with a personal loan that carries a lower rate. This could not only help you to drop your payment, but it could also mean your debt costs you much less over the long term.
Each of these tips alone could help you save $1,000 this year. You can pick your favorite -- or decide to try multiple routes. Perhaps you could end the year several thousand dollars richer than when you started.
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