Saving money tips

I rarely do guest posts, but today is an exception! I am excited to have Jacquelyn Pica from The Penny Hoarder guest posting here. Please give her a warm welcome. Take it away, Jacquelyn!

2018 is here, and everyone’s looking for their new annual goal.

The most common themes of the “new year, new me” mantra typically cover eating better or getting in shape. But what about financial goals?

I’m going to cover a few ways to boost your savings account and earn a little extra cash in 2018.

This goal is actually possible to achieve, too. If you stick with it, you’ll have $3,000 (or more) at the end of the year.

 

Save $3 a Day: $1,095

If you save $3 a day for one year, you’ll end up with $1,095. You don’t have to physically put aside three $1 bills each day. Instead, set up a manual transfer with a savings app for $3 daily, or $21 weekly. That’s a daily cup of coffee or a few drinks with coworkers.

I got this idea from CNN Money, and it seems so simple I’m not sure why more people aren’t doing it.

Natalie wrote about a similar spending challenge, where you save $20 per week and end up with $1,040. She also has a helpful chart, so you can check off each week as you go. If you add $1 to this weekly 20, then you’ll end up with a bit more cash.

If $21 per week is difficult to save, take advantage of some easy ways to make money online. You can get paid to watch TV, test websites or even sell your own photos.

Saving a certain amount within a year can be hard without creating some kind of fixed amount to save per week. I use the 52-week money challenge, which holds you to a standard and sets the bottom line.

The other saving methods mentioned in this post can vary — providing you with more, or less, money depending on how you choose to cut costs or earn extra income.

Balance: $1,095

 

Round Up Your Purchases: $500

I recently downloaded the savings app Qapital. I set up a few savings goals and implemented what’s called “the roundup method.” With this method, all your purchases are rounded up to the next dollar or whichever amount you choose.

This has become my new favorite method of saving. It’s so easy. And the best part? You don’t have to think about it.

Say you purchase a coffee for $2.35. Qapital would round that up to $3 and deposit 65 cents into your savings account. This money is kept separate from your regular checking account, so it’s less tempting to quickly transfer it.

You could easily save $500 in one year with this method. My roundup savings average around $100 per month — depending on how many purchases you make with your debit card, this total could easily exceed $500.

Balance: $1,595

 

Bring Your Lunch to Work: $572

I’m not saying you need to completely stop going out for lunch, but try to eat out one less day per week. Or, if this makes it easier to stick to, plan on Friday being the day to treat yourself to lunch. This helps you save money and gives you something to look forward to at the end of the week!

The average cost to go out to lunch is around $11. If you bring lunch to work one more day per week, you could save $572 in a year or more. If you cut out two days of eating out per week, this number doubles!

Look into meal planning if you need easy lunch recipe ideas. It usually only requires one day of prep for a week’s worth of food.

Balance: $2,167

Pick Up an Easy Side Gig: $1,040

If you have spare time in the afternoons, evenings or weekends, pick up a dog-walking side gig.

You could earn $20 per walk. If you only do this for one day per week, you’ll make $1,040 in a year.

Sites like Rover, Care.com and Wag can help you find a few easy pet-care gigs. Looking through Care.com listings in my city, I see about 20 available dog-walking and cat-sitting jobs.

If you’re a cat person (like me), I’d recommend looking into cat-sitting gigs. Most only require you to stop by once a day to feed them, clean the litter and play with them a little.

I pet-sit for a few coworkers, and it’s a great way to earn money around the holidays when everyone’s out of town. I offered my services last year and made $400 in December!

Balance: $3,207

Can you believe we already hit $3K, just by making a few changes and setting up small savings methods? It’s easy to save money by cutting costs on other things, but it’s also helpful to increase your income — even just $20 at a time.

 

Other Ways to Save

If some of the methods mentioned above won’t work for you, here are a few more additional ways to save money and continue growing your savings account.

  • If you paid off a credit card, loan or car this year, put that bill money into your savings account. A lot of budgeting strategies state you should put every dollar to work, and this is a good way to re-allocate money that may have lost its “use.” Think about how quickly you’ll save up money if you start putting your $300 car payment into savings!
  • Cancel any unused subscriptions by downloading Trim. This free app analyzes your credit card charges and finds all the subscriptions you’re paying for, from Netflix to Birchbox. It’s easy for small, recurring charges to go unnoticed. Once you find something you want to cancel, Trim will do all the work for you — it will even send snail mail on your behalf!
  • Follow a budget and reduce your expenses. Natalie’s mentioned this throughout her blog before, and it’s something that resonates with me. To feel more comfortable financially, you either need to increase your income or cut your spending. Cutting spending can seem daunting at first, but the most important part of this is to stay organized and stick to a budget. Keep track of said budget by using a budgeting app, bullet journal or a plain old Excel spreadsheet.

 

A Final Note!

There are tons of ways to make and save money. This post should give you a solid foundation, and help you figure out which methods will or won’t work for you.

No matter what you’re saving up for, it’s important to always have financial goals in mind and continue to make smart choices with your money.

Cheers to 2018 and accomplishing your financial goals!

 

Jacquelyn Pica is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Find her on Twitter @jacquelynTPH.