Does this sound familiar? Every month you set a goal to save a small portion of your income, only to end up failing miserably.
It would be nice if we could all save money in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, it’s a task that requires effort, discipline and — most importantly — some sort of income.
If you’re in a bind or just want to stash a little extra cash, here are 18 ideas about how to make your savings grow.
1. Keep the change
Retain the change from each of your transactions for an entire week and store it in a Mason jar, Ziploc bag or piggy bank. At the end of the week, count the coins to see how you did. Depending on how much you spend, you may have reached your goal by following this one simple tactic.
2. Reduce transportation costs
Download the GasBuddy or GasPriceWatch.com application onto your smartphone to locate the best deals in the local area on gasoline. You can also try carpooling with others from your job, or using public transportation for a week.
3. Eliminate dining out for one week
This suggestion is made over and over again, but it works. Brew your own coffee to start the day and use the leftovers from the prior night’s meal for lunch. And if you’re tempted to pick up an item from the snack shop, come prepared with your own treats and drinks in tow.
Also, kindly inform co-workers that you will not be accepting invitations to dine out for lunch during the week.
4. Skip entertainment
Don’t plan on going to a play or the movies. An alternative is to find free entertainment at local community events. There’s also the library, which is jam-packed with books and DVDs that you can borrow free.
5. Find free workouts
Do you pay weekly for fitness classes? Try finding fitness programs on television or the internet, or at the library. I prefer SparkPeople when I need to change things up because it’s a fitness hub with a variety of workout plans, many of which are customizable. It also offers meal plans for those looking to get fit.
If you’re a member of a gym, consider canceling the membership and embracing the great outdoors or group workouts. Check the local recreation or community center for free exercise classes that you may be able to attend.
6. Only carry cash
Can you spare $100 each week without turning your finances upside down? Force yourself to save the funds by setting aside a cash-only expenditure budget for the week. Once the cash is gone, your spending is done.
Can’t wrap your head around that? Break the task into small increments of $20 a day. Once five days have passed, you will have met your goal. High five!
7. Sell some stuff
Head to a local consignment shop or a retailer, such as a Plato’s Closet, that will pay you on the spot for gently used goods. Can’t find one in your area? Try hosting a garage sale, or set up shop at the local flea market.
8. Get to work
Pick up a temporary side gig to quickly accumulate funds. Or, let your creative juices flow and sell your products and services to others.
9. Clip coupons
No newspapers lying around? No problem. Head on over to a website like The Krazy Coupon Lady or Coupon Mom, where you will find printable coupons and corresponding instructions for putting the coupons to use. In some cases, a coupon can actually qualify you for cash back from the store.
10. Call your car insurance company
Inquire about any discounts that may be available. Also, raising the deductibles on your auto and homeowners insurance will drop your premiums. Just be sure you have money in savings to cover your increased out-of-pocket expense in case you have to file a claim.
11. Decrease your energy consumption
Reach out to your utility company to schedule a free energy audit of your home. Also, unplug any chargers or appliances that are not in use.
Set the thermostat a little higher to cut your air conditioning bill. Lower the temperature in winter and layer up. Also, consider hanging your clothes out on the clothesline to give the dryer a break.