How to Save $3000
Are you looking to save $3000 in under a year? What is your savings goal? According to CNBC, we know that most Americans do not have enough savings for retirement or if an emergency happened.
$3000 is a good goal because that amount can jump start a savings account or retirement account. Or, maybe you want a vacation later this year.
Depending on your income level, some changes may feel more significant than other budget cutbacks. Sometimes the small things can add up to a lot of savings over time. Even a beginning investor can do this, you don’t have to be an expert in blockchain or anything. Saving and investing is for everyone.
If you’re looking for ways to save more money each month, here are 11 ideas that will help you free up some extra cash. Implementing these tips could save you $3000 in less than a year.
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
This is probably the most important way to save money, and it can be easy to do if you give yourself some rules. Sit down and figure out how much money you have coming in each month and what your regular expenses are. You can’t increase income or cut expenses until you know where every penny is going.
Be honest with yourself about what you need vs. what you want, and then create a budget that allows for those things while still leaving room for savings.
Consider a photo or sticky note on your laptop with your end result. Make it your phone wallpaper. Add daily, weekly or monthly phone notifications reminding you of your goal.
Chunk it Down into Smaller Manageable Goals
In my line of work (special ed), we’re always chunking things down for our kids to learn, right? Do this for your savings goal. Break your goal down into smaller, more manageable steps so you don’t feel overwhelmed and can celebrate your successes along the way.
Allow yourself to modestly celebrate your successes. If you strictly deprive yourself for 3-6 months, you’re more likely to give up.
If you’re trying to save $3000 in 3 months, or $3000 in 6 months, we’re talking about $250 a week for 3 months, or $125 a week for 6. That might seem easy, or it might seem hard.
But, you have to acknowledge what it’s going to take. A tank of gas is $40-$50. A cable bill can easily be over $200. A family gym membership can be $100-$200. Put it in perspective and keep your eyes on your goal.
Automate your Savings, De-automate your Spending
Having your savings contributions deducted from your checking account automatically each week or month is effortless and helps you stick to your savings goals with no excuses.
The flip side of this–look at a month’s worth of activity on your credit or debit card. What is being deducted that you don’t really use? What subscriptions are happening?
If it’s being spent without your knowledge, stop it. Oversee and approve every cent that leaves your household–and be intentional.
According to Yahoo Finance, the average American has $43 a month in automated subscriptions. Over 6 months that’s $258, almost 10% of your savings goal.
Ditch Restaurants and Takeout
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spends $3100 a year on takeout! Wow! Just eliminating that expense can have you to your savings goal in one year.
But let’s be honest–completely stopping will lead to feelings of deprivation and probably failure in your goal.
But, you can cut back. This is a great way to save money, and it’s easy once you get into the habit. Not only will you save on food costs, but you’ll also likely eat healthier meals than if you were eating out.
If you average just one $10 meal per day, packing your own lunch could save you over $2000 each year. If you don’t have time to cook, try prepping your meals on the weekend or investing in some easy-to-pack lunch options.
Remember, this is to achieve a goal!
Choose Free Entertainment Options
There are lots of ways to have fun without spending a lot of money.
- Get together with friends for potlucks or game nights
- Go for hikes or bike rides
- Check out free concerts and festivals in your area
- Attend your school district or local college events, including theater and sports
- Have a Family Movie Night instead of going to the theater
Make Your Own Coffee and Breakfast
Ok, I said “no latte tips!” but I can’t resist. And, don’t worry–I’ve included a bonus tip in addition to this one.
But, I am just amazed at how many people I see at my local Wawa, Dunkin and Starbucks every day. At all times of day! And, my Dunkin and my Starbucks have drive-thrus, and the line often wraps all around the building and back out on to the road.
Look at your credit card or debit card for one month. How much are you spending on these little trips. Eliminate them, and that is how much you’ll save each month. I used a gift card recently to treat me and hubby to some peppermint mocha…and it was $11 for two! If you do that each weekday, that’s $220 a month, or 20% of your $3000 savings goal in 3 months.
(and you know what did work–I bought peppermint mocha almond creamer for about $3, and it really was just as good)
Rethink Pet Expenses
Talk with your veterinarian about this, but there are many ways to save on pet expenses.
First, ask about rebate programs, online savings clubs and discounts on medications that your pet needs. Ask your vet if they do price matching if you find it cheaper online.
Another thing you can do is this. You know those expensive monthly flea/tick/heartworm medications? Again, I’m not a vet so I do not give medical advice online. But, many of these medications actually last 6 weeks, not 4. However, to keep pet owners compliant, they recommend giving them every 4 weeks.
If you can be diligent and not miss a medication, you may be able to extend this to every 6 weeks, thus cutting your expenses on this significantly.
For two large dogs (over 100lbs each), I was paying $110 a month for this medication. My vet helped me arrange a new schedule, so it became $110 every 6 weeks. Thus, I only needed 8 doses a year instead of 12, a savings of $440. Or, over 10% of a $3000 savings goal. But again, we want our pets to be safe and healthy, so please speak with them first.
Ask for Better Interest Rates
Another way to save money each month is to shop around for better rates on loans and credit cards. If you’re paying a high-interest rate on your current loan or credit card, consider refinancing or switching to a card with a lower rate.
Many new credit card offers even give 0% financing for a certain amount of time if you move your debt over from another card. You could end up saving hundreds of dollars each year by making this switch.
Exercise at Home
I love my health club. But, it’s expensive! There are many workout options at home. You can find videos, blogs and tutorials online for free. And, if you love your health club, allow yourself to rejoin once you’ve reached your savings goal.
There are so many free options for getting physical activity without joining a gym. Go to your high school and walk/run the track or the stadium steps. Visit local parks. Commit to walking your dog daily.
Wait “One More Day”
This is an unusual technique, but it works. First, I must acknowledge that my husband and kids are spoiled. For me, this strategy started to correct that. Correct what?
Well, they’d get uncomfortable with the concept of running out of things. Guess what? The world does not end if we run out of milk, cereal, granola bars or yogurt. If you’re hungry, you will find something else to eat.
So rather than planning to grocery shop on the same day each week or running out to the store the minute we run out of something, I stopped. It was that simple.
“Mom, we’re out of….” Now I respond with, “Guess you’ll have to find something else to eat.” Surprise, surprise—they always find other things.
How does this affect grocery shopping and money spent? I tell myself, “Just wait one more day…” before going to the store. And I only go or place my online order when we’re out of a lot of stuff. This helps eliminate food waste, and, most months, I only do 3 shopping trips each month instead of 4 because I keep waiting one more day.
That’s a huge savings if you don’t increase what you spend on each trip.
I also use this technique with gas. I used to get gas when my tank fell somewhere around a quarter tank. Now, instead of going to the gas station, I think about where I need to go in the next several days. Can I wait? Often, I can.
While this may not work for everyone, delaying a $50 gas purchase and only getting gas every 10 days instead of once a week can save you $50 a month. Essentially you’re paying to have that excess in your tank that you don’t use–and that can translate into cash.
Cut Back on Cable
I listen to sports talk radio often. The other day, I was absolutely floored when a guy called in and said his cable bill is $270 a month! We cut the cord on cable cord almost 10 years ago, so I didn’t realize it had gotten that expensive. We have Netflix and the Disney+ bundle, so we spend less than $30 a month to watch TV.
Cable bills can be surprisingly high. Look carefully. Are you using all of the channels that are included in your package? Consider cutting back on cable and relying more on streaming services instead.
Even if a favorite show is included in a network, it can be more cost effective to purchase the show than pay a monthly fee to have access to it.
If your household loves sports the way we do, don’t despair! The free networks like ABC, CBS and FOX allow us to watch NFL and NCAA games. NBA is admittedly a little harder to find, but we do survive without it. For $200 a month, I’d rather save that money and actually go to a Sixers game once in a while.
Bring In More Money
When it comes to saving money, sure, there are lots of options. But often what no one talks about–ways to bring in more money.
If you’re trying to save $3000 in 3 months, or $3000 in 6 months, what options do you have to bring money in, instead of cutting what is going out?
We’re talking about $250 a week for 3 months, or $125 a week for 6. Everyone has hobbies and talents and the ability to side hustle. There are lots of options for jobs for stay at home moms. Technology has been a huge game changer for this.
I hope that’s enough to get you started in achieving your financial goals. $3000 is a lot of money–but it is possible.