Although setting a goal to save $500 this month may seem impossible, it’s more manageable than you might think. If you sit down and add up the cost of all the nonessential items, services and entertainment you spend on each month, you likely could easily save at least a couple of hundred dollars, if not more. However, to live 30 days without any of your favorite indulgences is unnecessarily restrictive.
Instead, take this expert advice into consideration and see how you can implement various strategies to save $500 this month — without having to sacrifice too much.
Know How Much You Should Save Per Week and Per Day
“My best and most effective advice for saving a specific dollar amount is to work backward,” said Guadalupe Sanchez of Budgeting in Blue.
“First, divide the dollar amount by the number of weeks you wish to complete your savings goal. In this example, you would divide $500 by 4, which equals $125. Next, divide your weekly number by seven. In this example, you would divide $125 by seven, which equals about $17.85. Finally, brainstorm items that cost about the same amount,” Sanchez said. “Breaking down your savings goal makes it more tangible. You don’t have to save $17.85 every day but understanding the amount will help you understand what things you can cut back on to help you reach that goal.”
Temporarily Halt Expensive Services
“If you utilize services from a cleaning company, put that service on pause and take the time to do a deep clean and purge yourself,” said Jaclyn Strauss, CPA and CEO at 2nd Vault.
The average cost for one housecleaning is $150-$250, according to Fixr. So if you have your house cleaned weekly, or even biweekly, you may be able to save $500 by taking a pause.
Aim a Little Lower: 8 Ways To Save $100 in April
Also, consider putting other spring-related services, like lawnmowing, on hold for the month of April. You can also consider asking your satellite provider to suspend your service for this month or longer, and spend the time you’d usually spend watching TV taking a walk in your neighborhood or visiting a nearby park.
“Gas is currently very expensive,” said Bryan Curry, CFP and founder of Bridge the Gap Retirement Planners. “Try to carpool. If you drive 50 miles to work, times five days a week, that equals 250 miles per week. With a 25mpg car, you are using 10 gallons per week. At $6 per gallon, that is $60 per week and $240 each month. Find a friend or coworker to split it with and you can save $120 each month.”
Purchase Low-Cost Basics and Other Items on Sale
If you don’t comparison shop, you can lose out on a lot of savings. However, many people avoid this strategy because it takes time. Here’s a helpful way to comparison shop in less time.
“Using flyer apps like Flipp or Reebee, you may quickly check for sale items. You’ll save an additional $100 each month as a result of this,” said Adam Garcia, founder of The Stock Dork.
Take Advantage of Free Passes for Springtime Activities
“Visit the local library (or its website),” said consumer finance expert Tanya Peterson, vice president of brand with Freedom Financial Network. “Many libraries offer free passes to select attractions if you sign up for them in advance. You could save big on a weekend family outing if you plan in advance (think zoo, botanic gardens, state parks).”
Skip the Extras When Dining Out
There’s no need to skip your dinners out. Instead, skip the extras. “Skip the alcohol order at dinner,” recommended Curry. He pointed out that two people who spend $10 each on alcohol per weekly dinner out could save $80 each month.
Have a Potluck Instead of Eating Out
If you’re used to eating out with friends for dinner, take turns hosting a potluck instead. Garcia said that by doing this you could save roughly $120 per occasion.
Sell Unwanted Hobby Equipment
“Many people picked up new hobbies during the pandemic,” said Peterson. “If you’re still engaged in it, great. If the equipment for your hobby is going unused (have you used it in the past several months?), it could be time to sell.” Peterson estimates that you could pocket at least $50 doing this.
Designate One Day of the Week as a No-Spend Day
If you’ve already added up what you spend in a month on nonessentials, figure out what that equals per day and you might be surprised at how much it is. Over the course of a month, not spending on that day could add up to $100 or more.
“Make it a game on Wednesdays to do NO spending; see how far you can make it,” said Connor Tyson, financial coach and founder of Progress Solutions LLC.
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