A couple of weeks ago I shared my 26 week challenge to save $5,000 in a year. Everyone might have a different reason for needed to save $5,000 in my scenario I assumed you would be saving up for a down payment on a house. While there are several down payment assistance plans available in Nevada it’s always nice to have a little bit of money set aside when buying a house. If you have been looking at the 26 week $5,000 challenge and wanting to participate, I have come up with a few clever ways to save money in 2016 to help you out.
1. Use a cash back credit card.
Everyday we make purchases and pay bills. If you are not using a cash back credit card you are really missing out. Even a 1% cash back card could result in hundreds of dollars saved in a year. Just use your cash back credit card for everything you would normally use a debit card for including buying groceries, getting gas and paying utilities. Just make sure you pay off the card every month and watch the rewards build. Some cards also offer 5% back on certain purchases and some have rotating categories throughout the year. It may not seem like much at first but I’ve successfully collected over $300 in rewards for using one.
2. Ditch the cable bill.
This is one of the harder decisions to make but it could end up saving you thousands a year. The average cable/satellite bill can easily be hundreds of dollars per month. A Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime subscription can easily take care of your movie and TV watching. If you still like watching live TV consider subscribing to Sling TV. It includes some of the most popular channels including ESPN, Food Network, AMC, HGTV, TBS, CNN and TNT just to name a few and it only costs $20 per month. No credit check, no installation fees and you can watch on your computer, phone, tv and tablet.
3. Shop the dollar store.
There are a lot of items to be found much, much cheaper at your local dollar store. Some of the items I will always buy here include: gift bags, gift cards, party supplies, holiday decor, organization bins, toothbrushes, glass wear, some frozen veggies and some canned goods.
4. Buy discounted gift cards.
By buying discounted gift cards you can shop and eat at your favorite stores and restaurants while saving money. On average you can find discounted gift cards at around 10%-20% off for most stores and restaurants. You can save hundreds of dollars a year buying these.
5. Buy in bulk.
There are several household items that you can save on by buying in bulk. You can use Amazon.com or your local warehouse store like Costco to purchase bulk items. I buy paper products like toilet paper and paper towels from Amazon to save money. I have a Costco membership that I use to buy pantry staples in bulk with a nice discount.
6. Clean out the closet.
Your closet may just a be a treasure trove of extra money. Cleaning out your closet of old clothes can actually make you money. Old clothes can be sold to places like Plato’s closet, sold on Ebay or sold at a garage sale. Brand name labels will obviously get your more money back but selling on Ebay or at a garage sale will net you a decent amount of profit as well.
7. Find free or discounted entertainment.
Groupon is a great place to find local things to do at a discount. Check with your local theater and see if they have any special discounts. My local theater has half price movies all day on Tuesday and the first showing of every movie on any day making movie tickets only $4.29. This has the added benefit of being less busy with less distractions. You can also check the local newspaper for free or cheap events to satisfy your families entertainment needs.
8. Forego luxuries for the next year.
We can end up spending a lot of money on things like manicures, hair cuts, massages and car washes. Consider going to your local beauty school for free or discounted spa treatments. Look for fundraiser car washes to find a cheap or donation only car wash. Things like manicures and car washes can also be done at home to save the most money.
9. Always, always, always use loyalty cards.
Always ask every restaurant, business and store that you shop at if they have a loyalty or frequent buyer program. Using your loyalty cards often can save hundreds per year. Here are some of my most common loyalty programs and the discounts I’ve earned.
- AMC Theaters – Costs $6 per year. No online convenience fees, free size upgrades on popcorn and drinks, $10 back for every $100 spent. I’ve earned $30 in rewards so far not to mention the savings on convenience fees and free size upgrades.
- Cafe Rio – Stamp card. Free meal and drink after 10 meals. I usually buy 2 meals each time I go so I get a free meal and drink every sixth visit. I have redeemed these cards around 5 times. Saving me at least $50.
- JCPenny – Rewards program $10 for every $100 spent. JCPenny has saved me several hundred dollars alone. They always have coupons that add to the savings.
10. Grow your own food.
You don’t need a ton of space but a small garden can save you some money. I often go to the store and buy fresh herbs for up to $4.99. I was doing this every week until I invested in an Aerogarden. Now I can grow all of my own herbs at home. I always have them on hand and all I have to do is add water twice a week and replant about once a year.
With these tips you will be well on your way to saving $5,000 this year and being financially stable and happy. Share your favorite tips to for saving money in the comments below.