How would $25,000 change your life? Most likely, you could use that money as a down payment for a house, prepare for retirement, or take a serious chunk out of your student loan debt. Keep in mind that saving this money “fast” is still going to take a while. You would need to save $2,083 a month to save $25,000 in one year, or $1,041 per month to save it in two years. There are only two ways to accomplish this goal: Spend less, and make more money. Of course, this is easier said than done, and for most of us, it will require some serious lifestyle changes. These 40 tips will help you to make adjustments that will add up over time.
40. Prepare Yourself to Get Serious About Saving
If you want to get serious about saving money, you are going to have to be incredibly self-disciplined. It is almost like going on a diet and cutting back on the delicious foods you love to eat. You will have to say “no” to a lot of things in order to change your life in the long run. This is not going to be easy.
Once you feel prepared to take the plunge into a lifestyle change, make sure you let your friends and family know. They should know that you are going on this journey, so that they can help keep you motivated and on-track. Most likely, your family will be very supportive, and they will try to do their best to help you. It may even inspire your friends to do the same.
First and foremost, you need a place to store all of your savings, and it shouldn’t go under the mattress. Every time you make a decision that “saves” you money, take the dollars you saved and immediately move it into your savings account. Otherwise, it doesn’t count as truly “saving” money with your new lifestyle. With online banking, it should just take a few click for you to move money from checking to savings.
For example, imagine that you were about to buy a new pair of shoes, and you stopped yourself from spending $100 frivolously. That’s wonderful! Good job. Now, you should move that $100 to your savings account. If that money was going to be gone anyway, why not put it towards your new goal? Once you get in the habit of doing this, you will be shocked to see how much you can save.
Before you jump into buying something in your Amazon cart, stop. Sit back, and wait 24 to 48 hours before you actually buy it. Ask yourself if you really need it, and try to go on with your day. Check back the next day. Do you still want that same item? More often than not, this would have been an impulse purchase on something that was not actually necessary for your life.
Instead of buying things immediately, let them sit on an Amazon wish list instead. After a while, you will either feel more justified in buying those things, or you will delete them. Depending on how much you tend to shop online, this could save you a few hundred, or maybe even a few thousand dollars over the course of a year.
A lot of people assume that Amazon will give them the best deal, but that is not always true. Just because you have a Prime account doesn’t mean it’s the best place to make your purchase. Always double-check with Walmart, eBay, and even the Dollar Tree. In a lot of cases, you may be shocked to see that you can get the same items for just $1 instead of $5. All of these small purchases eventually add up over time.
Even if you are just shopping at one store, and you don’t have the time to go somewhere else, always compare prices between the various brands on the shelves. The cheapest products are usually kept at the bottom shelf, and the more expensive things are kept at eye-level. Also compare how much it costs to get the “bulk” sizes, because bigger does not always mean you are saving money.
Before you buy something expensive, imagine that someone was standing in front of you. In one hand, they are holding the thing you want to buy. In the other hand, it’s the cold, hard cash. For example, maybe someone is holding a silver necklace in one hand, and $200 in the other. Which do you choose? In a lot of cases, people would run through all of the things that $200 could buy in their mind, and actually choose the cash.
It is so easy to see your bank account balance, and only think of them as digital numbers on a screen, instead of real dollar bills. But if you get in the habit of imagining this to yourself every single time you are about to buy something, it will cut down on your spending significantly. Or, if it helps, start withdrawing cash from your bank account so that you can hold the real money in your hand. This might make it easier to save.
If you don’t have enough hours in a day to take on a second job, try making some passive income by signing up for Inboxdollars. You can earn money from taking polls, surveys, and watching videos. It only takes a few minutes out of your day, and the savings can seriously add up over time. Once you hit $30, you can cash that out on PayPal, or exchange for a gift card.
Even if you do not have a PayPal account and you choose to get a gift card, you could make a purchase for one of your items on you Amazon wishlist, or pay for groceries. Every penny truly adds up. However, most of these offers pay way more than pennies. There are even some signup bonuses that pay upwards of $100 for becoming an AirBnB host or driving for Lyft. If you were already thinking about make those your side-hustles anyway, why not pocket the extra cash?
34. Think About Your Dollars in Terms of Work Hours
Next time you are about to spend money, try to think in terms of how many hours you worked to earn that. For example, let’s say you earn $10 per hour, and your friends ask you to spend $20 on lunch during your break. You needed to work two hours to earn that money. Is it worth it?
By thinking in terms of work hours, it becomes a lot easier to say “no” to a lot of things. You will begin to get the perspective of valuing your dollars for what they are actually worth. This can be very difficult, because peer pressure is very real. Just remind yourself that some day, your friends will eventually admire you for your discipline, rather than thinking that you were a kill-joy.
Smoking is one of the most expensive habits that anyone can have. In the United States, a pack of cigarettes is between $6 and $10. Some people out there smoke a pack a day. Let’s assume you are only spending $5 a day on your smoking habit. After 365 days in a year, that’s $1,825. Not to mention any extra accessories you have to buy to live your smoking lifestyle, or the potential future medical bills that may pile up as a result of the bad habit.
If you vape, this might help save you money, but buying a vape pen is around $15, and cartridges change depending on the amount and substance of what you have in the oil. It can be anywhere between $30 to $60 per cartridge. Even if you reuse the same vape pen over and over, they occasionally break. So let’s say that’s $30. Then, let’s assume you spend $40 a week on cartridges. There are 52 weeks in a year, so that’s $2,110 if you include the two vape pens.
A lot of people out there are “sneaker heads” or sneaker collectors, or they buy expensive designer hand bags. And yet, when they buy fashion that is so luxurious, many people feel like that cannot wear those things on a daily basis, for fear of them getting ruined. When this happens, you need to ask yourself the cost-per-wear. Is it really worth it to buy a pair of sneakers just to wear them once, and then have them sitting on a shelf?
For example, if you buy a $200 dress to a special event, but you only wear it twice, that means you spent $100 each time you wore it. Yikes. If you have a job where you need to dress up a lot, you may feel pressure to spend this money to look good. This is why there are luxury fashion rental services, like Rent The Runway. You can rent an expensive garment and then return it when you are done, which makes the process a lot more affordable.
Every time you go to a bar or add a cocktail to your meal at a restaurant, you are spending at least $10 per drink. Sometimes, if you eat somewhere fancy, they will charge as much as $20 for one glass of wine. Yikes. Even during Happy Hour specials, you are usually just finding an excuse to go out and get lit with your friends.
Remember that for the cost of just one drink at a bar or restaurant, you can get an entire bottle of wine. Or, if you’re feeling particularly cheap with $5 bottles, you could get 2 or 3 bottles for the price of one cocktail. Why not buy a bottle and stay home with your friends for some gossip and Netflix?
30. Sell Your Unused Items on eBay, Poshmark, or DePop
Most Americans have things lying around the house that are in good condition, and could be sold online. It’s very likely that you could have hundreds, or even thousands of dollars sitting around. If you want to see your second-hand items, it’s as easy as downloading apps like eBay, Poshmark, or DePop.
Poshmark is best for people who are looking to sell clothes, while eBay will accept pretty much everything. Nowadays, smart phones have amazing cameras. So you can take photos of your items, and print out the label when they are ready to be shipping to the customer.
Clipping coupons sounds boring and tedious to some people, but it really is an amazing way to save money. Once you get the hang of it, you will even start to have fun doing it. To get yourself motivated, watch some clips on YouTube from the show called Extreme Couponing. You will see people who have gotten hundreds of dollars in free household products just by using coupons. If it seems too good to be true, trust us- it’s not. People really do get free items through couponing all the time.
Not sure where to start? Check out coupon blogs like The Krazy Coupon Lady. They will give you detailed guides on how to get discounts at your local stores like CVS, Rite Aid, and Walmart. They also let you know whenever there is an exceptionally good sale where you can get discounts without coupons. How much can you save? That really depends on how serious you get with the process. Many stay-at-home moms save over $1,000 a year from incorporating coupons into their everyday lives.
For some people, the idea of moving back in with your parents sounds like torture. However, it can seriously add up over time, and help you save a lot of money. If your rent is $1,000 per month, that’s like spending $12,000 you will never get back. If you want to save money for a down payment on a house, it should be a no-brainer that this would help tremendously.
If you choose to move back home, try to help contribute to your parent’s household in some way- whether it’s doing chores, paying bills, or negotiating a modest rent. Also remember that it is only temporary. Any time you start to feel down in the dumps about living with your parents, remind yourself that you are doing this to better your life in some way.
For many of your reading this article, you may already be living in the smallest studio apartment possible. But for others, they may be splurging $1,500 or more a month to have a two-bedroom apartment or house all to themselves. If your lease is about to expire, and you can manage to downsize to a smaller living space, it may be worth considering. Think about it: If you save $500 a month on rent, that will add up to $6,000 over the course of one year.
If you are living in the most affordable rental option in your area, start to look at other towns in your area. Are there towns where you could commute into the city? For example, if you live in New York City, you can expect to pay over $2,000 for a tiny studio apartment. Or, you could live in New Jersey for $1,500 and take the train to work.
Some car insurance companies offer the option to pay off your six-month premium in full, and get a discount compared to a month-to-month payment. Not every company does this, and when they do, the amount may vary.
When insurance companies do choose to give out a discount for paying in full, it may be around $100 to $200. This doesn’t seem like a lot, at first. But if you keep adding up these small decisions, it will quickly add up to your $25,000 goal.
The idea of shopping at a thrift store makes some people cringe, especially if they are used to wearing luxury goods. But you would be surprised just how many shops have great send-hand wares, or even stock items that are new-with-tags. If you are looking for really great second-hand clothes, go to thrift shops in wealthy areas.
Most Goodwill locations offer $1 Sundays on merchandise with select colored price tags. There are also Goodwill Outlet stores that let you pay $1 per pound for merchandise. This means that you could get t-shirts for as low as 10 cents each.
For some people, the advice to cook at home in order to save money seems like a no-brainer. We all know that bringing a bagged lunch with a sandwich to work is cheaper than going to a restaurant. But if you are trying to save money, you should start cooking at home more often, and only go out to eat on special occasions.
As an added bonus, getting into the habit of cooking at home can be a huge stress relief for some people. Instead of sitting at a desk, you are doing something physical, and focusing your mind on something other than your problems. If you feel like you do not have enough time to go grocery shopping, start using Walmart Grocery Pickup. This cuts down at least an hour or two in time wandering the grocery store and standing in line on a Saturday. Just pick the products you want, schedule a time, and go pick it up. Best of all, it’s free.
Going to Sephora and Ulta for new makeup truly is a wonderful experience, and spending $20 here and there can feel like treating yourself to a little reward for all of your hard work. However, most of us who love to shop for makeup must admit that we will buy a new product before finishing an old one. Or, we see something a beauty guru recommended on YouTube, and immediately want to buy it straight away. With all of the hype surrounding makeup celebrities like Jeffree Star and Kylie Jenner, it has become natural to drop $50 just for a new eyeshadow palette. This habit can add up to over $100 a month, or $1,200 a year. In reality, you can still look beautiful without spending a fortune on makeup.
If you already have an extensive makeup collection, start by completely stopping yourself from going to Sephora for the next year, and avoid the hype surrounding celebrity brands. Try to find “dupes” for your favorite products at the pharmacy. CVS has amazing coupon deals on a regular basis, too. And if there are some “holy grail” items you really, truly need from Sephora, like a special foundation, ask your friends and family to give you Sephora gift cards for your birthday and the holiday season.
If you are only working one job, you may want to consider getting a side-hustle. This is a second (or third) job that will give you additional income. A lot of people decide to sign up for Uber or Lyft so that they can drive people in their spare time after work or on the weekends. Others become meal delivery drivers for apps like Grub Hub and Uber Eats. These are flexible options that a lot of young people think are great to fit into their existing schedules.
Even if it seems exhausting, remember that your side-hustle could just be temporary so that you can save up for your goal. If you can make an extra $150 a week from a side hustle, that’s $7,800 a year. That’s already a huge step towards your $25,000 goal.
21. Do Your Manicures, Pedicures, and Waxing at Home
Some people accuse women of being high maintenance if they insist on always having manicures, pedicures, and waxing done once a week. However, some jobs actually expect women to be incredibly well-groomed if they want to be taken seriously in their field. If this describes your situation, it seems like a very expensive necessity. But with a little bit of research, you can start doing all of these procedures at home.
With a foot bath and some manicure tools, you can start doing your own manicures and pedicures at home for under $20 total. Almost every woman already has a bottle of nail polish at home, but if you need a new one, it’s usually less than $10 a bottle. If you feel intimidated, check out YouTube for tutorial videos. Once you buy the tools, you should be able to keep doing your own manicures and pedicures on your own, instead of spending $20 or more a week. Or, buy stick-on nails in bulk. If you buy a wax warmer and wax beads online, it’s just $20 for a starter kit.
If you have a good job, and you do not want to add on a second side-hustle, you may want to see if there is any chance that you could make more money. Explain to your boss that you are trying to make more money in order to buy a house, and ask if there are any opportunities for growth in a new position. Or, try to see if there is opportunity for overtime hours.
More often than not, your boss will be happy that you are asking about other opportunities at the company, instead of demanding a raise or trying to leave. As long as you approach them in a professional manner, it should be a positive experience. However, if you are met with any kind of hostility, or a flat-out refusal to give you any kind of assistance, you need to really take that into consideration. Are you happy at your current salary? If they are refusing to budge, or making false promises, you may need to look for a new job.
In the United States, most households have an over-abundance of food. When you open your pantry, you might find cans and boxes of food that were never eaten. Unfortunately, a lot of people leave food for so long, it eventually goes past its expiration date, and it might get thrown away before you can use it. Does this sound like you? If so, it may be an opportunity to save money on groceries.
Instead of letting the food in your stockpile go bad, start cooking the food. Sure, it won’t be as delicious as some of the meals that you might have been planning, but if you can go a few weeks without going to the grocery store, you will save hundreds of dollars. Once you are forced to eat your stockpile food, it will also help you to realize just how little you actually need to buy when you start getting groceries again.
When you have friends, you may be tempted to go out to expensive restaurants, vacations, and hobbies together every weekend. But when you are trying to save money, these social outings can seriously take a toll on your wallet. If you can no longer afford to go on extravagant outings, be honest with your friend about your goal to save $25,000.
This does not mean that you have to give up spending time with your friends. Just tell them that for the next year, you want to only do activities that are free or cheap. If your friend refuses to accept this, they were probably never your friend in the first place. A true friend will completely understand your goal, and support your decision.
17. Get a More Affordable Gym Membership (Or Cancel It)
A lot of people have a gym membership “just in case” they decide to start working out, but they are never actually using it. They feel too embaressed to cancel the subscription, but that’s just silly. It’s very literally throwing money away. If you honestly never go to the gym, go ahead and cancel it, and automatically save a few hundred dollars over the course of the year.
Even if you do work out on a regular basis, consider canceling your membership anyway. You can get exercise for free by running in the park, joining a local sports league, or by doing landscaping in your back yard. It doesn’t have to be expensive to stay in shape.
The average American spends over $100 a month on their cell phone plan, on top of whatever they paid to purchase their phone. Sometimes, this plan is combined together so that you are paying for both to a company like Verizon or AT&T. However, it is far cheaper to buy a used phone outright, and then find a carrier that will charge a fraction of the price.
Companies like Tracfone, Republic Wireless, Mint, and Total Wireless all have phone plans that are only $10 per month for service and data. You can put these plans on brand new iPhones, and even keep your old number. So your friends will never know that you are on a cheaper plan, anyway. If you go from $100 to $10, that’s a savings of $90 a month. Or, $1,080 over the course of a year.
There are plenty of people out there who feel like they need to “Keep up with the Joneses” and buy a brand new phone every single year. Depending on the brand, this can cost between $500 to $1,000 for the phone, as well as taxes, accessories, and a potentially a new phone service plan.
Before you buy a new phone, ask yourself if you really need it. Can you keep using your current phone for another year or two? Also consider buying a second-hand phone if you really need an upgrade for work obligations.
There are some people who insist on having the newest Macbook every single year who will go to great lengths to stand in line outside of the Apple Store. They are always around $1,300 each when they are brand new. These computers are expensive because they are high quality and built to last. So it doesn’t make sense to be upgrading your computer every single year.
During your one-to-two year savings journey, keep the same computer that you already have. Only upgrade if it is completely necessary for your work. For example, if your computer’s operating system no longer allows Google Chrome to work, that’s a huge problem! You can also save money by buying a second-hand computer, instead of purchasing a brand new one.
In the United States, there is a huge emphasis on the car we drive. It becomes a status symbol, and it tells people a lot about who you are as a person. Remember that these are all just social constructs. Warren Buffet is a billionaire, and yet he will buy the same car and keep it for over 10 years.
If you have more than one vehicle in your household, ask your spouse if it’s possible to share just one. You could sell your car and make a few thousand dollars back if you own it out-right, and it could also save on monthly car insurance and gas. If you live in a city, you probably have the option to take public transportation or walk to work, too. The amount of money could can save would vary from person to person. But if your monthly car expenses add up to $400, that’s $4,800 per year.
Most Americans have more clothes than they actually need. And a lot of people have outfits in their closet that are still new-with-tags. There is a very good chance that if you stopped buying clothes completely for the next year, you could still be fine, and totally presentable in your every-day-life.
Remember that clothes don’t have to be such a big deal. There is a reason why some people subscribe to the idea of a “capsule wardrobe”. The amount of money you could save on clothes over time would vary drastically from person to person, but for some, it could easily add up to over $1,000 a year.
If you are going on a journey to save money, let your partner know immediately. After all, if they are one of the most important people in your life, they should know about your hopes and dreams. If you agree to make this journey together, it can be a lot easier to achieve your goal.
If you and your partner both agree to go on cheap dates, cook at home, and spend less money in general, it can become a lot easier to be held accountable. And if you are married, you could both contribute money into the same savings account, and the $25,000 will grow even faster.
Just because you are trying to save money doesn’t mean you have to give up going out and having fun. Nearly every Parks and Recreation department tries to have free community events planned for its residents, especially in the spring and summer. These could be craft shows, outdoor concerts, workshops, car shows, and so much more. There may also be a local coffee shop that hosts an open mic night.
Once you start going to a lot of these free events, you may start running into the same people who are doing what you are doing. This is great, because it means that you can surround yourself with a “tribe” of new friends who are like-minded people. Even after your year or two of saving is over, you may find yourself continuing to go to these events, simply because it’s a lot of fun.
Everyone has to pay your bills, no matter where you live. But there are almost always ways to cut down on your monthly bills. Call your electricity, phone, internet, and gas companies to ask if they are willing to give any kind of discount for being a loyal customer. You may have to ask if there is a “customer retention department”.
If your utility companies are not willing to budge, you may want to consider switching to another company Sometimes, there will be sign-up bonuses that will give you a great deal for one year when you first sign up. Look for offers, and make a switch, if only temporarily.
If you have a steady full-time job, you may put some money aside from each paycheck to go towards your vacation. If you are trying to reach your goal of getting to $25,000, you may want to consider putting off a vacation for at least a year or two, until you reach your goal.
Considering that most vacations cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000, this is a huge chunk of money that could put you one step closer to your goal. Instead of flying to an exotic location, consider giving yourself a “stay-cation”. Relax at home, read a good book, and get things done.
If your living expenses are really high, and it’s not possible to break your lease any time soon, you should consider getting a roommate or two. By splitting the cost of your rent in half, you can immediately begin putting that extra money towards your goal of saving.
If you rent was $1,500 alone, it can go down to $750. After one year, that adds up to $9,000. That’s a huge chunk of money towards your $25,000 goal!
Do you have a two-bedroom apartment, but you’re just one person? You could be bringing in some extra income by renting out a room on AirBnB. If you live in an urban area, you will be almost guaranteed to be fully booked at all times, as long as you are offering a reasonable rate.
Every location is different, and the amount of money you can get for your space may vary drastically. However, let’s assume you can make $100 per night from renting out a room. Multiple that $100 by 10 nights per month, and that’s $1,000, or $12,000 per year towards your goal.
A lot of people refuse to give up their habit of going to Starbucks for a $4 coffee every single day. They make the excuse that it gives them a place to study outside of the house, or that it’s the only coffee that helps keep them awake. Sorry to say, but most of those reason are just excuses. If you went to Starbucks and spent $4 per day 365 days a year, that’s $1,460…And most people spend more than $4 per trip.
That is a significant chunk of money that could be going towards your $25,000 goal! Instead of going to Starbucks, get the K-Cups or a bag of coffee grounds, and start making the exact same coffee at home. You can give yourself an equally relaxing atmosphere with good music, a coffee bar, and everything else, too.
Almost everyone has a monthly subscription that they put on a credit card and completely forget about. It could be a video streaming service like Netflix or Hulu. Maybe it’s your gym membership, or a fee to join an online course. Even if it is only $10 a month, that adds up to $120 per year. Considering that you may have multiple subscriptions, this could be several hundred dollars you are wasting.
Instead of thinking in terms that maybe some day you’ll use it, cancel, and wait until you are actually ready to start again. For example, maybe there is a blizzard that is forcing you to stay home from work for a few days, and you would love to get that Netflix subscription back. Get it back for one month, and then cancel it.
3. Remind Yourself Of How Much Your Investments Will Be Worth
Once you get in the habit of investing wisely, you will realize that every dollar counts. Suddenly, “It’s just $5” turns into- “But that $5 could become $10.” There are a lot of different ways to invest, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer on how to do it. You may want to invest in the stock market, or start a business.
If you are trying to save for retirement, it becomes more important than ever to start investing. When you invest in a ROTH IRA, your retirement savings will grow to the point where if you start saving in your 20’s, you can become a millionaire by the time you retire.
If your job is not paying you enough to save money and achieve your goals, it may be time for you to update your resume and switch careers. Yes, this is easier said than done, and sometimes, it might feel like you are lucky to be employed at all. If you really want to make a big change in your career, it may require you to take a class, move to a different town, or say goodbye to co-workers who have become friends.
Remember that at the end of the day, you are the only person responsible for your success and well-being. And sometimes, you have to make the choices that are going to be the best for you, and your future. Always be looking out for your own best interests, and consider all options.
Remember that the journey to saving $25,000 will be a long road. It will not always be easy. In fact, it is more likely that you will have a lot of issues along the way. Just remind yourself how important it is to get to the goal you desire. Whether it’s a new house, a debt-free life, or anything else, you will feel proud of yourself in the end.
Also remind yourself that this is frugal lifestyle to save your $25,000 is only temporary. Once you are done with your timeline, you can go back to living however you want. The more strict you are with your saving habits, the easier your future will become. You can do this! Don’t give up.