Are you looking at your savings account and wishing it was more? Are you worried about what could happen on a rainy day? Do you have some big expenses coming up? Do you have a bill you’d like to pay off? How about credit cards that have gotten out of control? Do you have hardly any savings at all and you’d rest easier knowing you had a small emergency fund? Whatever the case may be, I’ve got 28 simple ways to save $10,000 in a year without adding a side hustle. And these ways are so easy, you’ll be watching your money pile up in a savings account before you know it!
How much money a month is that?
The first step is knowing how much money do I need to save a month to even get to an extra $10,000 a year? What kind of money savings are we looking for each month? Is it a set amount each month? Or would it vary during certain periods of time? If I wanted to save $10,000 in the next 12 months as my savings goal, how much money a month would that be? And how would I even go about starting?
To answer the first question, that means you need an average savings of $834 a month (or $193 a week) if you want to look at it in smaller chunks. I’ve got all kinds of ways and ideas to help you get started below! Plus a handy dandy spreadsheet to help you along the way too! Let’s look at all the ways you can get started:
Overall Financial Strategy
First and foremost, if you don’t have a long-term financial plan and/or strategy, I’d strongly suggest that you get one. You want to make sure all your financial needs are going to be met and make sure you are on track for your financial goals like paying for college for your kids, your dream home, and retirement funding.
If you don’t have this piece of the puzzle in place, I’d suggest seeing a financial planner and get the ball rolling. Here’s a great article that details out what financial planners and advisors can help you do.
A financial planner can help you make sure you are making the most of your money and help you know what and where you need to be saving and spending your money as well. It’s pretty smart to have an overall financial plan and strategy along with investment accounts. I’m not a financial planner, so I’m not the one to give advice on money funds and long-term investing. That’s what the pros are here for.
Additionally, a financial planner will be able to recommend the best savings and investing tools for you and your personal finance goals. Are you wanting a new car? They can help you plan. Do you have too much student loan debt? A financial planner can help you navigate that as well. A financial planner can also help you make sure your money is working as hard for you as possible by getting you a good interest rate along with recommending savings account with the best features and compound interest rate.
Implementing Your Plan
A financial planner can help you with the overall plan, but the implementation of that plan? That’s all you.
So, are you ready? Let’s figure out how to get that bank account a little more padded and get that emergency fund a little more beefed up! The best way to get started is with the little steps first! One simple change will lead to another and another, and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way. The good news here? It’s way easier than you think!
When Should You Start?
NOW is the best time to start! Don’t wait for the start of the year! It doesn’t matter what time of year it is. This is when we start our 52-week money challenge! $10,000 in 52 weeks, which is 12 months!
I’m NOT a financial planner. So none of this advice is professional in any way. And $10,000 is a significant amount of money that we are talking about! If your family’s income is relatively low, $10,000 may be way too high a goal to set for saving in a year, at least without adding on some kind of side gig or side hustle. If your current income is $24,000 a year, then it’s not reasonable to think you could save that much extra cash this year. You have to set goals appropriately. Figure out what your unique target number will be and start budgeting accordingly.
Before we start the 28 best ways to make your savings goals, let’s first start with the absolute #1 savings hack… a spending freeze. That means you don’t spend money on anything that’s not vital. Until you get your game plan figured out, don’t spend any money you don’t absolutely have to. No frivolous or luxurious things while you make your plan. It may take you a few days to figure out your checking account and total financial situation. And a spending freeze is a great way and an easy way to start some of these good habits for savings.
Ways to Make Your Savings Goals:
Let’s get to saving!! Here are 28 suggestions and savings hacks. It’ll amaze you how little changes make big savings over time!
1) Pack a breakfast and lunch.
Here’s a great place to start! Pack your breakfast and lunch every day or eat at home. Don’t go through the drive-throughs and to the coffee shops. While it might seem like small amounts, it’s $5 here and $8 there, and over the course of a week, it can really add up!
Let’s assume you spend even just $5 a day on food out away from home. That’s $25 per week! That’s $100 a month! $1200 a year! That can easily be saved! Look! We’ve made one small change and at the end of 12 months, you’ll have an extra $1,200 MINIMUM!
2) Buy 2 less coffees a week.
I don’t know what your coffee buying habits are, but I generally end up getting a “treat” 4 or 5 days a week. And sometimes I really feel like I need that pick me up. But I don’t need it that many times a week! So, I’m not saying don’t get coffee. I’m saying cut way back on coffee and buy 2 less a week. If I cut back 2 coffees a week, that would leave me buying 1 or 2 fancy coffees a week. And that’s more than adequate!
My favorite drink, a grande mocha from Starbucks, is $5.08. So, if I cut out 2 a week, that’s $10 saved each week, $40 each month, and a whopping $480 a year!
3) Cut takeout once a month
Cut one takeout dinner a month. I don’t know how often you guys get takeout, but we have it a LOT at our house. We average around a $35 takeout bill each time we get takeout. So, I’m suggesting you simply cut out 1 takeout meal per month. All you have to do is cut 1 meal for a major money shift!
Saving a $35 meal once per month leads to a $420 savings a year!
4) Buy a reuseable Water Bottle
This suggestion is as easy as they come. And it’s super earth-friendly too! Buy yourself a nice water bottle (or 2!) that you can carry everywhere you go. Not only is buying water expensive at the store, but the plastic bottles are also terrible for the environment. A 24-pack of water at the store is an easy $4.99. Save yourself that money each week and watch it add up.
$5/week leads to $20 a month, which leads to $240 savings per year!
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Reusable Water Bottles:
- EYQ 32 oz Water Bottle with Time Marker
- SUNWILL Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle
- 24 Pack Empty Plastic Juice Bottles
5) Clip Coupons
If you can find coupons for products you would be buying anyway, that’s extra awesome. Tons of grocery stores now have digital coupons for you to add to your loyalty card. Check out what coupons you have versus what’s on sale at the store each week so that you can use your coupons for the maximum amount of savings.
I would estimate I save at least $10 a week using coupons, on items I’d be buying anyway. Easily $10 a week if not more! So that’s $40 a month and $480 a year. And that’s a conservative estimate!
6) Plan your Menu around Grocery Store Sales each week
I try to plan our weekly menus around what is on sale each week at the store. I look carefully at the meat, dairy, deli, and produce departments especially! If you can plan your menu around what’s on sale, you can save a lot of money on your food. If you’ve got room in the freezer and can stock up, you’ve got the chance to save a tremendous amount of money.
For example, if I want to put pot roast on the menu for the week and chuck roast isn’t on sale, then that is going to be a very expensive pot roast! It could be $20-25! But if I wait until it’s on sale, that same chuck roast might be $13-$15 and much more affordable! And if you can snag a couple while they are on sale and you put them in the freezer, you’ll build up a freezer stash and be able to use it up whenever you like!
I estimate I save at least $10 a week for a menu planned around the grocery sales. That’s another $40 a month, adding up to another $480 per year!
7) Take advantage of online shopping
So many stores have online shopping now. And I am HERE FOR IT! I can make my grocery order online and never walk in the store? Yes, please!!! Because you know what happens if I don’t walk in the store? I don’t walk past the bakery and decide I want cake and cookies and all the yummy distracting food in the end aisle caps!
So I save money AND calories by just not walking in the door! No impulse purchases! And I can watch as I order to make sure I’m sticking to my budget! Not to mention the time I’ve saved not going grocery shopping!
Knowing me, I probably add on at LEAST $10 extra per week on our bill just from things that “Look Good” that end up in our cart! So, I’ll say this saves $10 a week, $40 a month, and $480 per year!
Can you believe how much money you are saving already?? Isn’t this crazy? And it’s all without any extra income!
8) Pantry Night 1 time per week
One night a week I set aside for “Pantry Night.” It’s where I don’t plan a meal for that night in the groceries and I challenge myself to make a meal out of what we already have on hand. That could mean doing a leftover makeover, pulling something out of the freezer to use from my stock, or making an entirely new dish from just things we have on hand.
It’s SO easy to make pasta with pantry ingredients or leftovers! All you do is take a look at what’s available in the fridge, freezer, and pantry and get started! Have a few leftover veggies or meat? Make an omelet! Or a pasta dish! Think soup! Or even pizza!! I want to make an entire meal with no extras! And what does that do? That saves me at LEAST $10 a week!
So, $10 a week is $40 a month which is another $480 per year! Isn’t that crazy?!
9) Evaluate your Contract Bills
I think evaluating all of your contract bills each month is a must-do, whether you are attempting to save a lot of money each year or not. Contract bills tend to creep up on pricing and you have to watch carefully. And they tend to be in competitive fields as well, so don’t be afraid to shop around every now and then for better rates on your bills. And make sure if you do find a better rate that you give your current provider a chance to price match before you make a switch.
Bills to look at for contract rates would include car and home insurance each year, cell phone bill plans, cable or satellite tv plans.
As a conservative estimate, I think you could easily save yourself $25 a month with careful contract rate management (especially with cell phone plans!)! Sometimes just calling your providers will save you $3-5 on your rates for each service! Over the course of a year, that’s $300 in savings.
10) Utility Bills savings
For utility bills, make sure you are being as energy and water-efficient as you can be. Set your thermostat 2 degrees higher in the summer and 2 degrees lower in the winter and the savings will start to pile up! Take shorter showers and run less water while you are doing dishes. Any little ways you can save those resources will really add up!
Look into a programmable thermostat as well. Though it would be an initial investment, it could save you quite a bit each year by turning down the heat at night and when you aren’t home.
Check on your hot water heater temperature as well. For every 10 degrees you lower the holding temperature, you can save 3-5% on your gas or electric bill. Don’t go lower than 120* though, as bacteria can grow at lower temperatures.
I’m going to conservatively guess across all your utilities you could probably drop your total bills by a few dollars each month, so I’m going to estimate this saves $10 a month, $120 a year.
11) Cut your gym membership
If you’ve got an expensive gym membership, see if you can get the cost lowered. Or cancel it altogether if possible. Especially during the warmer weather months. There are a million videos you can do on YouTube on any subject, for free.
Conservatively, that could save you $40 a month or $480 a year!
12) Cut one streaming service
There are SO many streaming services now. Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, it goes on and on. If you aren’t utilizing one, or even if you are, cutting just one of these would save you $10 (or more) per month, adding up to $120 a year. We have them all and it’s more TV than anyone can possibly consume. Pick one to cut off!
13) Make gifts for people
Instead of buying gifts for friends and family for birthdays and holidays, get creative and make their gifts. Check out Pinterest for tons of craft ideas for great gifts! And the stuff you make doesn’t have to be cheap stuff. But because you make it, it will certainly save you some money. Plus it shows a little extra love for the time spent hand making a gift.
Let’s say you need 2 gifts a month and that making the gifts versus buying the gifts could save you $15 each month. That’s a minimum of $180 a year!
Easy Gifts You Can Make:
14) Host a garage sale… or TWO!
Host a garage sale in the Fall and again in the Spring. Use this chance to really clean out and declutter and sell some items that are in your way. Especially if you have large baby items you don’t need anymore. Get your space back and add some padding to the bank account.
I estimate you could make around $150 per yard sale, conservatively. Have the 2nd one in the next season and make even more!!
15) More Budget Cuts
Analyze your monthly budget and see if there are other things that can be cut out altogether. Could you do without trash pickup and take the trash to the dump yourself? What about mowing your own yard instead of hiring the labor out? Are you getting the best prices on oil changes and car maintenance? How about using library books instead of buying books?
With some creative savings, I estimate the average family could easily an extra $100 a month, adding up to $1200 a year.
16) Spend less on gifts for Partners
By this, I mean set a spending limit on Christmas, birthday, anniversary, and Valentine’s gifts for your partner. Agree on a budget and stick to it, and that could easily save you some serious money each year! I estimate if we cut our spending on holiday and birthday buying, we will save $500 a year on this alone!
One year we declared we could do homemade gifts only and it saved us a ton of money!
17) Swap Kid’s Clothing/Buy Secondhand
Kid’s clothes can be terribly expensive, and they can grow out of them SO fast! Look for opportunities to swap with other moms and families for sizes. Also, there are usually a few consignment events each year in our area where you could take the clothes that have been outgrown, and also buy some second-hand great quality clothes for the next season as well! Lots of times you get an even bigger discount to buy if you are also a contributor to the sale.
Saving by doing this could easily save you $150 a year on kid’s clothing. Bonus idea — have a mom clothing swap meet up too! Take purses, shoes, outfits you are tired of and swap out with other moms!
18) Cut Christmas and Holiday Spending
Let your family know that you are trying to make a savings goal and can’t afford to do gifts for every person in the extended family this year, or that you need to cut back. It could be a nice chance to draw names and have people just buy for one other person rather than the entire family. They might be super happy to jump on board as well!
If that’s not a possibility, or just not something you want to do, try to catch as many great sales and deals as you can to make the gift-giving much more affordable! Lots of deals are crazy low around Black Friday and Cyber Monday these days.
I think I easily saved $300 last year just by shopping the sales and ordering deals I found all year through.
19) Cash in the change jar
We had a HUGE change jar at our house. We cashed it in, and it had $114 in it if you can believe it! Our credit union has a change counting machine and we took it there. I was ecstatic with that extra money. We took the jar again towards the end of the 12 months and had an additional $40 by then!
As a conservative estimate, if you have a change jar and combine all the change you have, I’m guessing you’d have around $100 in coins! I try to use cash for everyday things and then I always put any loose change at the end of the day in my change jar. I like watching it add up as the jar gets more and more full!
20) Slash Your Entertainment Budget
Try to look up and do free things for entertainment. Look at your town’s website and see what they are offering at no charge for weekend and evening entertainment.
During a pandemic, this could be a little tricky. But in normal times of the past, there would be tons of things to do on a weekend for free. You can go to the Farmer’s Market, visit museums, walk around your downtown area, have picnics in the park, attend free concerts, etc. The list goes on and on!
I estimate this could potentially save you over $30 a month, or $360 total a year.
21) Use Amazon Subscribe and Save
We use Amazon’s Subscribe and Save feature for a ton of household products. We get diapers, wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, shaving cream, birdseed, contact solution, etc from Amazon. Once you have 5 or more monthly products delivered, you get 15% off across your entire subscription. It often makes it cheaper than going to the store, if not at least evenly priced with the store. And it’s so dang convenient! It comes right to your house! And you didn’t have to go to the store! Trust me, if you can keep me out of Target, you’ve already saved a lot of money!
I estimate using this feature of Amazon saves us at least $30 a month, which is $360 a year.
22) Cut the Cable Cord
With all the streaming services these days, you really don’t need them and cable. There’s only so much anyone can consume! If you just want the news channels you can totally get a digital antenna and watch the news that way each day. And save yourself the cable bill.
I’m going to conservatively estimate that disconnecting cable would save us $75 a month, or $900 a year.
23) Freezer Meals
Freezer meals are on the same order as the pantry meals I listed above in #8. Use something that’s already made for dinner that’s frozen, or use frozen meats to make dinner that night. I love a good freezer clean-out week to save on the grocery bill.
Freezer meals could save us $5 a week in meal components, conservatively. So that’s $20 a month or $240 a year!
24) Meatless Mondays
It doesn’t have to be Monday, but find some recipes that are meatless and watch the savings pile up. Meat is always the most expensive part of a meal, and you can easily find some delicious recipes that don’t involve any at all, and save some serious grocery money that way too!
And it doesn’t have to be some kind of crazy fancy recipe either. Grilled cheeses! Baked Potato Bar! Pastas! Pizzas! You name it and get creative with it!
25) Carpool and/or Work From Home Days
Now that lots of people are heading back to the office, are there people you can carpool with? Or could you still work from home some days? Think of all the gas money you can save that way.
I’m going to conservatively say that could save $5 a week, that’s $20 a month and $240 a year! That’s so much for such a small change!
26) Cut back on Salon Services
Could you color your hair at home? Or go longer in between color sessions? How about manicures and pedicures? I’m not saying go without, I’m saying cut back to save a little cash.
Between hair and nails and pedicures, I’m conservatively estimating you could save $25 a month minimum, which would add up to $300 annually.
27) Pay Yourself First
Always pay yourself first. Automatically. Before you start paying bills or anything, set an amount of money each month that automatically goes into savings. Even if it’s just $100 a month. If it’s already moved and unavailable, you will just have to make your budget work for the month without it.
If you do $100 a month into your savings automatically, that’s $1,200 a year.
28) Refinance a Credit Card
If you are carrying a credit card balance, look at any offers you may get in the mail for 0% interest for a certain amount of time, like 12 or 18 months. You would have the chance to pay on your balance and not have any money going towards interest. That’s a smarter idea.
You could easily save $25 a month on interest alone by making a move for a better rate or a 0% rate on a new credit card. Here’s a post I wrote a while back on “How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt the Smart Way.”
*** I”m not advocating credit card debt. But sometimes there’s not another way if emergencies come up. And that’s what we are working on here, having more money for emergencies so you won’t have to use a credit card in the future!!
Wrap Up – 28 Simple Ways to Save $10,000 in a Year (Without Adding a Side Hustle)
There you have it! 28 simple ways to start saving that will add up to OVER $10,000 a year. In fact, my spreadsheet tells me that those little things and changes all add up to $11,780 a year. Now, I understand, not all of these will work for everyone. And some of this is really hard work. But what amazing results could you have if you implemented even half of them??!!! Can you imagine having an extra $10,000 in savings at the end of the year? Or having paid off $10,000 in debt? WOOT!!! And the best part? This is all little stuff and little changes. No one had to get a second job. Nothing crazy got sold. Small, intentional changes can really help you reach your financial goal!