It is currently estimated that 62% of American households have under $1,000 in savings and 49% have zero in savings. This post is to encourage you to start saving and give you ideas to get you started. If you are currently one of the 62% that has less than $1,000 in savings, let’s make a change. Below is a chart that will show you a simple way to save $500. If you follow these guidelines it will take you 100 days to save the $500.
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If you’re thinking, “I wish I could save $500, but it just isn’t possible for me right now” then I want to give you some ideas of how to make this possible. This savings plan is going to be a combination of savings and earning. Whichever way you come about getting the money, you need to actually keep the money somewhere so it will build a savings account of $500. The earning ideas I suggest are all things you can do from home, or in addition to a full time job, and are possible if you have little kids at home during the day. They only require a small amount of time and can get you money quickly.
Below are a few ideas on how to easily make money right away.
How to Make Extra Money Right Away
- Open a savings account and get a new customer bonus. Call the banks around you and see what they’ll offer. You can bargain with many of them. Bonuses can be anywhere from $10 – $300. This is also a great place to keep this new stash of money that you’re building! If a minimum opening balance is required, say it’s $100, then don’t do this until after day 18 when you have the $100.
- Sign up with InboxDollars and get $5.00 with my link here. You aren’t able to cash out until you reach $30, so plan on reaching the $30 minimum. It’s easy to earn $1 – $5 with about a half hour of “work”. You earn money with them by clicking emails, taking surveys, watching videos, etc.
- Sell something. We all have things we don’t use lying around the house taking up space. Declutter and sell your used goods on craigslist, eBay, buybackworld, knetbooks, or local Facebook sale groups.
- Babysit or pet sit. This is not just a job for teenagers.
- Join Swagbucks! Another site where watching videos, answering surveys, or searching the internet can make you money. They have payouts as low as $3 so you don’t have to wait so long to get your money. I can typically earn $.50 a day by just letting a few videos run in the background of my computer, entering a swag code, or answering a survey. It’s small, but it adds up.
- Do online transcription. Here’s a list of 5 websites that hire remote transcriptionists.
- Sell your plasma. Take a look here to find a location near you.
For more ideas of how to earn money from home, check out my list of 100 ways here.
The ideas listed above are short-term solutions. They are ways to get you quick and easy cash, but the trade off is the amounts are small. However, if you stick to the 100 days plan those small amounts will add up. If you are able to dedicate a bit more time to earning money, I suggest starting a blog, opening an Etsy shop, selling a product or skill on Fiverr, or other alternatives. These ideas take more time upfront but have a better long-term payoff.
How to Save Money
The second way to reach your target savings amount each day is to save the money rather than make extra money. If this is going to be your approach, you must remember to take the money you would have spent and put it into your savings. For example, if you save $1 on cereal by using a coupon, you need to physically put the $1 savings into the jar, savings account, piggy bank, or wherever you are accumulating your $500. Also, this coupon savings only counts if you deliberately searched these savings out and made them possible when you normally wouldn’t have. If the cereal just happens to be on sale and you didn’t realize it, that doesn’t count. Below are simple, immediate ways to save you money.
- Sign up with ibotta, checkout51, and mobisave to save money on groceries. Use my ibotta link and get $10 just for signing up! These companies offer rebates on brand name products as well generic rebates like $.50 for buying bananas or $.25 for any loaf of bread.
- Call your cable, phone, or internet provider and ask for a discount or if you qualify for any promotions. I typically get $10 off per month when I call.
- Use manufacturer coupons on products you regularly buy. Visit coupons.com to print them out.
- Skip buying a non-necessity like going out to lunch, getting a pedicure, getting a massage, etc.
- Carpool or walk where possible.
- Instead of going out to eat, cook a simple meal like spaghetti that is inexpensive and easy.
- Cancel your gym membership and exercise at home (running, workout DVDs, bike riding).
- For your birthday, anniversary, or other gift-giving occasions, choose to do an activity rather than get a gift. Spend time with your family on a hike, playing board games, or watching old home movies.
Implementing these suggestions is not easy. It takes self-control and a determination to meet your goal. This list is intended to give you ideas to get your financial situation in a better place quickly. $500 is a start. It is a stepping stone that leads to a better financial place. A place where you are in control, know where you’re spending your money, and know you are able to afford the things you are doing. If you aren’t able to afford them then don’t buy them. $500 can help you get out of debt, save for a vacation, or begin an investment. Use this money, and all your money, wisely.