Do these cold, short days have you dreaming about summer vacation?
As you read travel site reviews, you could also compare car rentals and shop for airline tickets, start a dedicated savings account to prepay part or all of your vacation costs.
Where will you find the money to stuff into that account? Following are some easy ways to save $1,000 in the next several months. Use that cash to splurge on a summer getaway — or whatever else tickles your fancy.
1. Cancel your gym membership
Cut your gym membership cost and — for the price of a pair of sneakers — go outdoors and walk or run. You could save more than $100 by swimsuit season.
Also, note that there are various kinds of free fitness apps to help you stay motivated and on track.
2. Sell your old smartphone
Be sure that before you sell, you erase all personal data from your device.
3. Get a cheaper cell plan
We get it. Changing cellphone plans is tricky and something many of us avoid because providers make pricing so complicated. But if you haven’t compared cellphone plan prices in a while, you can almost certainly save money.
Start by checking out Money Talks News’ free cellphone and plan search tool.
While you’re shopping around for cellphone plans, downscale your data service for more savings. You may find that dropping just one tier from your current plan will save $15 a month.
4. Be a mystery shopper
Yes, mystery shopping is a real, paying gig. Maryalene LaPonsie — a former mystery shopper who wrote “Weird Ways to Make Money: Mystery Shopping” — made anywhere from $5 to $150 per assignment.
5. Raise your insurance deductibles
If you agree to pay more out of pocket when making an insurance claim — that is, to raise your deductible — you can substantially lower your premiums.
You can apply this concept to multiple policies — like car and homeowners insurance policies — to further increase your savings.
6. Save your pocket change
You probably watched your parents do it. Now you should do it: Empty your pockets or purse every day.
If you hold on to just $12 a month, you’ll have nearly $50 after four months. If you save that money in a high-paying savings account, you’ll have a little more.
7. Get a smaller cable TV package
If you are paying for TV programming through cable or satellite, you know that monthly bill can really hurt.
To cut costs without sacrificing viewing options, ditch traditional pay-TV altogether and switch to streaming video services like Hulu or Netflix. For more tips, check out “4 Ways to Cut TV Costs to $25 a Month — or Less.”
If you’re not ready to take that step, try scaling back on your package or hiring a service to negotiate your bill.
8. Open a bank account
Banks want your business, and many offer cash incentives for opening an account. Read the fine print so you will know which hoops you need to jump through to claim your reward.
9. Drink tap water at restaurants
For the next few months, order tap water in restaurants instead of other drinks. If you typically spend $20 a month on restaurant beverages, you’ll save $80 in four months. If you usually drink alcohol in restaurants, the savings will be especially great.
10. Automate your savings
One of the marvels of online banking is your ability to set up and change automatic savings deposits on the fly. Establish a small transfer from your checking account to your savings account — $50 a month, for example. Break it down into smaller weekly amounts if it’s easier.
You likely won’t notice the money is gone.
11. Get a part-time job
Take a part-time gig to scrape up some savings. If you net $10 an hour for 20 hours a month, you’ll have $800 saved — before taxes, of course — in four months.
If you want something more flexible, check out “19 Unusual Ways to Earn Extra Cash” for more ideas.
12. Sell clothes on consignment
Give your closets an early spring cleaning and take any clothes in good shape to a consignment store. Or go through an online equivalent — see “Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top Dollar.”
You probably won’t make a fortune, but $15 to $20 a month isn’t out of the question.
13. Hold a yard sale
Make more room for yourself and make some extra cash by decluttering. No need to make it a big project. Just ask yourself as you move around your home, “Can I get rid of this?” Put several boxes in an easily accessible spot, and toss in whatever you find for a sale.
Then check out our post about tips for a profitable yard sale. Let’s say you net $250. That puts you a fourth of the way to your $1,000 goal.
What are your favorite ways to save money for a special goal? Tell us by posting a comment below or on Money Talks News’ Facebook page.