I know just by thinking about it, $500 in a month sounds difficult. The first thing I know you’re thinking is that I don’t have an extra $500 to spare in my budget. I’m realistic and can honestly tell you it is hard! One of the best ways I find it easier to save money is by making it a challenge!
The challenge here is $500 in 30 days, and that’s how you need to treat it like a challenge. Think of one of the many ways having an extra $500 might help you? Pay down debt, have a head start on your Christmas fund? An extra $500 can help you get started to achieving your financial goals. Now ask yourself, How can I save $500 in 30 days? I’m going to try my best to answer that question. By the time you are done reading this, you might be more optimistic about starting.
The Breakdown to save $500
- $16 a day
- $125 per week
- $250 Bi-weekly
Depending on when you get pay or the frequency your receive income, it’s good to have a breakdown. Knowing that if I get paid bi-weekly, I can have a goal to save $250 by that time. Even though it all adds up to $500, having a smaller number to keep track of is less intimidating. Choose one of the breakdowns and apply that as your goal while doing one of the strategies below.
There are two ways to Saving Money
You can only do two things to reach your goal, whether to earn more or to cut back. Nothing else can contribute to crushing this challenge any faster than that. Luckily there are many ways you can do both. Most of them take a quick search online, but you’ve already saved yourself time by coming to the right place. I find saving money versus cutting back is much easier for me to start with those two choices.
My tips for Cutting back on Expenses
Before you start cutting back, always review your budget first. Begin with reviewing your last month’s bank statements. Expense trackers are best when looking at your spending patterns. If you don’t use an expense tracker, a quick way to review your spending is to look at your last month’s bank statement. Transactions from constantly spending adds up, and if you’re like me, not all transactions might have been accounted for in your budget. There might be a store or two you might need to stay clear from to reach your goal. I myself noticed that I made two many trips to the grocery store. Making a list and limiting my trips saves me at least $100.
Go through your statement and start by highlight all unnecessary expenses. Next, go through and highlight in a different color all variable expenses. Variable expenses are things that vary in price and can be controlled or lowered. For example, the cable bill, it’s necessary up to a point, but there is always an opportunity to lower this expense. Try changing your subscription or negotiating down the price. Lastly highlight all the fixed bills, like Rent or Electricity. Make a list and go down one by one seeing ways you can lower the bills.
See if some of these can apply to lowering this month’s expenses.
- Use one car for traveling or Carpool. Is there flexibility to work some days at home?
- If you have to buy, buy at a bargain…Thrift for clothes, look for used on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
- Can you create a meal plan with fewer ingredients, shop with coupons, or buy in bulk.
For example, A large bag of rice for a few meals, Pasta, Ground beef, A whole Chicken. Some staple items you can make into multiple meals by portioning the ingredients.
Buy a bag of apples for fruit versus out-of-season fruit. A case of water will add more hydration and limit the need for sugary, unhealthy drinks.
- Stop subscriptions for the month, mention how you need to save this month, and need to press pause.
- Limit your use of utilities, lights off during the day, air-drying clothes. Use the dishwasher once it’s a full load.
- Eat a home for the whole month, meal plan for the full thirty days. Get the budget-friendly recipe from online for inspiration. Prep the meals the night before.
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Earning More Money
Finally, the second option is making more money. I’ve already hinted that this would be the hard one. One because of time and opportunity. We already started by going through our expenses to cut back. Even if you already met your threshold, I still recommend using these tips to earn more money. To make this easier, I’ve come up with some ideas to see if there is earning potential. Going through hardships currently, you might have already touched the surface of getting a second job. Before you commit to taking up more of your time, see what you can do at home first, then venture out to other opportunities.
- Selling your stuff
Selling stuff is the quickest way to make some money. I had to think of all the things I was holding on to that I didn’t need anymore. I’ve always been a spender, and sometimes that is why I’ve had hard time-saving money. I recommend checking your closet and your kitchen. These two places in the homes tend to be dumping groups for extra items where we tend to overspend. Extra appliances, shoes, and clothes. My best recommendations are to try to sell online first, like on Craigslist, Offerup, Facebook Marketplace, or Poshmark (Clothing)
- Pick up Freelance work or get an extra job.
Freelance work is like a hobby, something you enjoy. There is a variety of work that you will be surprised what options are available. Think of something you can create or do that others would prefer to pay to see done. Two websites that would be best to check out first are Fiverr and TaskRabbit. Fiverr is a great online platform for freelancers. TaskRabbit would be a site for odd and end tasks like housekeeping or handy jobs.
- Driving for extra income
Driving Uber or Lyft is an extra income as a side hustle, even some it’s their full-time job. I recommend this to anyone that likes driving. I’ve often felt that driving always made the time fly. So if you don’t mind other people in your car, this is perfect for you.
How to keep yourself Motivated in a Challenge
It takes a moment to celebrate your small wins in between cutting back and earning more. Don’t feel defeated if you haven’t accomplished your goal in the time that you challenged yourself. Challenges are like many other difficult things; it always becomes easier the more you do it. It’s just what I compare to writing. At first, it took me forever to write one article, but with practice, I can write and do other things simultaneously.
I started with making it a habit by writing at least a certain amount of words a day. Just plain writing, then everything came full circle. I was writing faster than ever. That is what you are doing here with this challenge, practicing the habit of saving. Once you get used to saving money every month, you would want bigger challenges. I might be quoting a relative or an educated scholar, but for the sake of getting it across to you at this moment. Anything worthwhile requires hard work! Just remember, at the end of the month, it would be all worth it.
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