14 Simple Ways to Save $1,000 by Summer

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Wouldn’t it be nice to have your summer vacation paid for prior to your departure? Well, with a few slight adjustments to your spending habits, you can be well on your way to creating a vacation fund. And after a few months, you may end up with a stash much greater than you anticipated, along with a new toolbox of money-saving tools to help you achieve other financial goals.

Ready to get started? In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson offers simple tips to start growing your vacation fund in time for the big trip. Take a look and meet me on the other side for additional information.

1. Sign up for a cheaper cellphone plan

Cellphones are a necessary evil; we can’t live with them and we can’t live without them. Fortunately, more providers are offering low-cost alternatives to help make cellphone bills more affordable.

Republic Wireless and MetroPCS are no longer the only companies with reduced-price plans. My household recently assessed our monthly usage and made the switch to the Sprint Family Plan, which offers unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data for only $25 per line. Thanks to the move, we will be saving close to $60 per month.

Also check out our recent post on how to get free service from providers such as FreedomPop and Scratch Wireless. You may have to pay for additional minutes or more data, but it still beats the cost of a plan that can run you close to $100 a month.

Monthly savings: $20 to $200.

2. Find cheaper Internet service

The price of Internet service has become more affordable, but the greater the need for speed, the higher the cost.

But cheaper and even free alternatives are available with smaller providers. Among them are FreedomPop, Net Zero, Clear and Karma. Check out this article to learn more about each of these service providers and how to sign up.

Monthly savings: $30 to $50.

3. Raise insurance deductibles

As you assume greater liability for your property, your premiums will decrease in price. Simply raising your deductible from $250 to $1,000 on your car and homeowners policies will save you anywhere from 10 to 15 percent.

But only do so if you have an adequate amount of cash in your emergency fund to cover the cost of the deductible if an unexpected occurrence calls for your coverage to kick in.

Monthly savings: $40 or more.

4. Drop the gym membership

You don’t have to keep spending a ton at the local fitness center. Instead, exercise your right to drop that gym membership.

Jogging does a body good, but you can also check out fitness videos available both in stores and online. If you want to take your efforts a step further, search online for workout routines and customize the plans to best suit your needs. Or, you could always train for a marathon or take a fitness course. See “DIY Fitness: 10 Tips to Get In Shape Without the Gym” to learn more.

Monthly savings: $35.

5. Do-it-yourself home repairs

Are your energy or water bills more expensive than they should be? Try sealing up drafty windows and repairing leaky faucets around the house.

Another quick fix for the utility bill is to change the furnace filter monthly. Before you get started, check out this post on how to avoid costly mistakes on DIY home repairs.

Monthly savings: It varies.

6. Cut the cable

Do you actually watch every channel available to you via the fancy cable box? Even if the answer is yes (which is rarely the case), doing away with the extras is worth it if you want to save money for that summer vacation you’ve been looking forward to. Start with the premium channels and take it from there.

And don’t fall for the introductory offers for plan upgrades. I did and ended up paying $60 extra because I forgot to cancel HBO and Showtime before the promotional period expired.

Another alternative is to completely cut the service altogether and watch your favorite shows online via the network’s website and Hulu. You can also stream your favorite movies to your computer, or to your television using the Netflix and Amazon Prime applications on your video game console.

Monthly savings: $100.

7. Bring your own lunch

While dining out for lunch is pleasant and convenient, preparing food at home in the mornings or taking leftovers will help you fund your summer vacation a lot faster. It may be tempting to head out of the office for a quick hour to relieve stress with your work buddies, but it is also costly. Assuming you spend $25 each week doing so, you can save $400 by June.

Monthly savings: $100.

8. Skip the daily trip to the coffee shop

Having worked in an office setting with others before I transitioned to the freelance world, I do understand how essential coffee is for many to get the day started. Just a few doors down the hall in my building was a small coffee shop that sold cups of freshly brewed coffee for $2 each. That price point is not so bad, but the problem lies with the extra snacks that patrons often purchase to accompany the coffee.

My advice: Brew your own joe and buy snacks in bulk to get closer to that debt-free vacation.

Monthly savings: up to $60.

9. Open a savings account for your vacation fund

Having a tough time reducing costs and setting the money aside? Set up a separate savings account and elect to have a small amount, even if it’s as little as $20, deposited there each pay period. And remember, the more you save, the more you will have at your disposal for your long-awaited vacation.

Monthly savings: $40 or more.

10. Spend less on entertainment

A night out on the town with your significant other or pals is always pleasant, but saving money requires sacrifice. Fortunately, there are low- and no-cost options for entertainment, such as free concerts, community festivities, early-bird dinner specials and movie matinees. Or grab a pizza and a movie from Redbox and spend the evening at home.

Monthly savings: $50 or more.

11. Reduce your grocery bill

I’m not suggesting that you go on a couponing rampage. A more time-efficient alternative is to quickly peruse the ads for any specials that are going on at your favorite grocery store and plan your meals accordingly. Simply reducing your bill by $20 each week can save you $80 a month. Also check out these tips to reduce grocery costs.

Monthly savings: $80 or more.

12. Have a yard sale

Why not spruce up your home and fatten your vacation fund simultaneously? Start by having a yard sale and getting rid of those things that are no longer useful. Or you can try online marketplaces, such as Craigslist, Amazon or eBay, if that’s more convenient for you.

Having a tough time parting ways with your belongings? Chances are, if you haven’t touched it in years, you probably don’t need it (unless of course it has sentimental value).

Monthly savings: It varies.

13. Join a carpool

Gas prices tend to fluctuate, but one thing is for sure: You’ll always spend at the pump if you want to get anywhere using your own vehicle. So, why not create or join a carpool so you can save on gas and parking fees?

Another perk of carpooling is the ability to fly by rush-hour traffic by traveling in the high-occupancy vehicle or express lanes.

Monthly savings: varies.

14. Work a part-time gig

As a last resort, you can always put your creative talents to use by freelancing. And if all else fails, pick up a flexible part-time gig to generate the extra funds. To put things into perspective, picking up a part-time gig for 20 hours per week at $10 an hour amounts to $800 for the month before taxes.

Monthly savings: varies.

Do you have any other tips to help save for vacation? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.

  • ModernMode

    “Another alternative is to completely cut the service altogether and watch your favorite shows online via the network’s website.”
    Many cable channel websites now require you to be a cable subscriber before you can watch shows. You have to log in and if you’re not a cable subcriber, you’re locked out from watching.

  • Debra Rollins

    Do you have money saving tips for people who cannot afford cable let alone a vacation and who are living pay check to almost pay check. These tips are for people who make 50,000 + a year not for most of us who make 16,000 or less.

  • Michael Smiley Gawthrop

    Re: reducing your grocery bill… your short version left out the shortest piece of advice you could have given to cut grocery spending the most, buy store brand. I have never found coupons that save me as much as switching from name brand to store brand and honestly, with few exceptions I can’t tell the difference between the name brand and the store brand and of those exceptions a few are ones where the store brand is better.

  • Cynner

    How about cooking your meals from scratch instead of buying packaged, pre-prepared food? The meals don’t have to be complicated or time consuming and will not only save you money but be healthier for you and the environment (no packaging going to the landfill.) When you make something like, for example soup or a casserole or spaghetti, make enough for three or four meals and freeze the left overs. Take one out of the freezer on your way out the door in the morning and it will be defrosted when you get home. Pre-prepared food is expensive!

  • Dennis Nelson

    Good feature. A few other comments.
    *I agree with the other commenters about cutting the grocery bill: find sales, use coupons, build menus around sale items, cook at home more often.
    *As far as cell phone service, Virgin Mobile uses Sprint network (which works for me very well) and only costs $35/mo. (You can even pay for an iPhone 4, not subsidized, and it’s still a better deal over 12 months than paying through the nose for a contract with one of the big players.)
    *Also, maybe a controversial area: most areas have one or two thrift shops (yes, I went there) that have a section dedicated to high-end brands. I’ve bought shirts from designer brands, excellent condition, for about $10 – 20.
    *Another one that’s harder to define, maybe – conscious spending. I almost never spend more than $100 on a single item without taking at least 24 hours to think over whether I really want it that badly. (That doesn’t go for emergency costs, auto repairs, of course. But for new clothes, shoes, etc., I’ve saved myself some cash by taking time to not buy on impulse.)

  • Greg Owens

    All major carriers offer pre-paid plans with no contacts that can be in that price range if you control the amount of calls you place/receive. Also, there are many local, regional and other second-tier carriers that offer budget plans. You will just need to do a little research. You might want to check into Wal-Mart’s Straight Talk plans as well. Just remember, you’ll need to bring or buy your own phone for all of these services.