Do you want to know how to save $1000 a month?
Since the onset of the COVID outbreak in March 2020, many Americans have struggled to meet all of their financial obligations. This was especially challenging for those who had little to no savings.
Who knew it would turn out to be a rampant virus that ruthlessly reminded all of us how important it is to save money in order to be prepared for the unexpected – even a worldwide pandemic.
According to a 2021 survey by LendingClub, 54% of U.S. consumers are living paycheck to paycheck. This includes those in the lower-income range making less than $50,000 a year, as well as the upper middle class earning annual incomes over $100k.
No matter if you’re pulling in a low 6 figures, or you’re just barely scraping by, saving money can be difficult during these trying times. This creates financial stress, anxiety around cash flow, and greater risk of falling into more credit card debt.
So, how do you save money when it seems like you don’t have enough to cover your bills?
In this post, I hope to encourage you with some helpful strategies and suggestions that can help you save more money. And, not just a few dollars here and there. I’ll show you how to save $1000 a month (or more!) so you can build additional savings quickly and give yourself some financial breathing room.
Then, I’ll break down how I did this for my own family. I was able to cut enough living expenses to save over $1000 every month, and I didn’t need to make more money.
In addition, I’ll give you some ways to increase your income, so your savings can grow even faster.
Whether you need to find more in your budget to cover your expenses, save an emergency fund, build your retirement savings, or just improve your relationship with money, I hope these cost-cutting tips will inspire you to start strengthening your own financial future.
Having a $1,000 goal in mind will help keep you focused so you can find every dollar that’s being wasted.
Are you ready? Let’s get started.
Want to learn even more ways to save money? Download this free 50 Tips to Save More Money checklist!
Steps to save $1000 a month: Change your mindset first
If you’ve struggled with saving money in the past, it may have more to do with your perspective than your bank account. To help you be successful with your money-saving efforts, I suggest you make a few adjustments to your mindset first.
Here are 5 steps you can take to improve your money mindset and make saving money easier:
Step 1: Break it down into smaller money goals
Saving up $1000 in 30 days can sound like an unattainable goal, but breaking it down into smaller bites can make it seem more realistic.
For a 30-day month, saving up $1000 means setting aside just a little more than $33 a day. Can you think of ways you can cut $33 out of your daily spending?
Perhaps making a cup of coffee instead of going on a coffee run before work. Or brown-bagging your lunch instead of going out with your co-workers. Or giving up that nightly glass of wine (or two) and drinking water instead.
Another way to think about breaking it down is to reduce your monthly expenses by $500, and then cut discretionary spending by $500. Later, I’ll give you some good ideas for how to do both.
Step 2: Distinguish between wants and needs
Figuring out the difference between what you need and what you want seems straightforward. But, aside from the basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing, we each have varying opinions on what we consider necessary.
Depending on your circumstances, you may think full auto insurance coverage is absolutely necessary. However, your neighbor might think it’s a waste of money to pay for anything more than basic coverage.
Or perhaps you believe it’s necessary to buy a gift every time there’s a birthday, while your spouse is fine just sending a celebratory text.
This is why it’s important to distinguish between wants and needs for yourself. This will help you identify those expenses you can reduce or eliminate, so you can start applying more to savings.
Step 3: Consider value vs price
In the words of Warren Buffett (one of the most successful investors of all time), “the price is what you pay, the value is what you get.”
The price is the monetary cost of an item and is measured in dollars. The value reflects its degree of worth or usefulness, and can be measured in a number of ways (such as emotional, sentimental, physical, etc.).
Everybody may pay the same price, but the value will vary for everyone.
For example, there are many people who will pay $100 or more every month to belong to a gym. Those that use their membership consistently and experience positive results may believe the value is greater than the cost. They receive more worth from it than what they’re paying. But, those that rarely use their membership don’t have a high value for going to the gym, and the price outweighs its usefulness in their lives.
The gym-goer should continue to include this expense in their monthly budget. The gym-avoider should cut it out of their spending plan.
Figure out what your money values are, so you can be intentional with your spending and cut out those expenses that aren’t pulling their weight in value.
Step 4: Keep your defenses up
Most people struggle with saving money, and some of it comes down to being unprepared. When you find an *amazing* sale, or the perfect shoes (!!), or the BEST deal you’ve ever found on the planet – it’s easy to get sucked in.
Retail stores will do whatever they can to entice you to open your wallet. Commercials on TV, emails that promise big savings, coupons in the mail … these marketing tactics have one goal.
To get you to spend money.
This is why it’s important to put your defenses up. Keep your emotions in check. Stay in control.
If your goal is to save an extra $1000 a month, you might need to make a few adjustments to minimize temptation. Later, I’ll give you some practical tips to resist falling into the marketing trap.
Step 5: Be future-focused
A big challenge to saving money is the struggle to delay gratification.
But it’s on sale! I’ll never get a better price! I want it NOW!
The emotional connection people experience with spending money can cause them to forget about the financial consequences in the future.
This is very tricksy for our brains, because spending $10 now doesn’t seem like there would be any impact later. Or $25 … Or $50 …
However, when you count up all of those impulse buys over the course of a year, you’d cry over all the money you could have saved instead.
Stay focused on your financial future by setting some goals. Be specific and set a time limit. Track your progress.
Here’s some motivation for you:
Saving $1000 a month for a year will add $12,000 to your retirement fund.
If you kept that $12k in an interest-bearing account for 15 years, earning an average of 8%, your savings would grow to over $38,000 in retirement income!
Is that worth giving up cable?
Putting your future first will give you the right mindset to make savings a priority. Start seeing your future self as someone you’re responsible to take care of. Spend some time visualizing how it will look and feel to see your bank account increase week after week. Start believing that achieving your financial goals are inevitable, as long as you stay on track.
Then, whenever you get the itch to spend spontaneously, think about how much it will hinder your progress. You’ll find it much easier to keep your financial decisions aligned with your priorities.
Now let’s get to some practical tips for saving $1,000 a month.
Practical Tips To Save $1000 Cash Every Month
Once you have the right perspective of your money, it’s time to take action.
Here are 10 practical steps you can take to save $1000 a month.
Tip #1 Get on a budget
First things first: take control of your money. This means you know exactly how much is coming in, going out, and *where* it’s going.
If you currently don’t have a budget, then I can almost guarantee you’re wasting money.
A budget is like a spending plan, which assigns every dollar you make to a category. These categories will include typical expenses, like your mortgage payment, groceries, insurance, medical bills, etc. But, it should also include a specific amount for savings, and even giving (if that’s a value for you).
The amount you assign to each budget category is like a spending limit you set for yourself. When you’ve reached the limit, you stop spending.
For example, I set a budget of $400 for my grocery category. Sometimes, we might have a week left in the month when I’ve already met the limit. So, that’s when it’s time to get creative with leftovers and whatever is in the fridge. This is taking control of your money.
Tracking your money with a budget will help you find where the “leaks” are – those spending areas that are draining your capacity to save. Once you fix the leaks, you’ll have more money to add to your savings category.
Tip #2 Limit discretionary spending
Discretionary expenses are those that are nonessential, or unnecessary.
Some examples of discretionary spending are:
- Dining out at restaurants
- Shopping for new clothes
- Getting your nails done or hair highlighted
- Going to movie theaters
- Picking up a latte from Starbucks
- Going to professional sporting events
- Buying new home decor
- Spending on expensive hobbies or negative vices
As you can see, all of these are purchases that can provide fun and fulfillment. For that reason, it’s important to identify what your priorities are. Because, if you want to save $1000 a month, you’ll probably need to make some sacrifices.
Keep in mind, you don’t have to eliminate these expenses altogether. You can make the smart decision to limit your spending for each, depending on how much you need to cut in order to reach your savings goal.
So, if you like to eat at restaurants, you could decide to spend money on dining out only twice a month. You can choose to only go during Happy Hour to save money. You can have a snack before you go, so you only need to buy an appetizer.
If you enjoy going to the movies, only go to matinees to get cheaper tickets. Take advantage of rewards programs for additional cost savings. Decide to only go once a month, and do the rest of your movie-watching from your streaming device.
When you go shopping, make a list before you leave the house. Then … stick to the list. This will reduce spontaneous spending.
Once you’ve determined your money values, you will inevitably find discretionary expenses that you’re willing to completely eliminate. As you decide what you’re willing to reduce or give up, make sure you’re funneling all of that extra money into your savings account.
Tip #3 Reevaluate monthly bills
While you can’t just stop paying your mortgage or insurance payments, you can lower these monthly bills (and others) and end up saving hundreds every month.
Here are just a few ideas to lower your monthly living expenses:
- Refinance your home loan with a lower mortgage rate
- Shop around for lower insurance premiums and competitive rates
- Find a cheaper cell phone service plan
- Drop cable and use a low-cost streaming service
- Buy generic groceries and household goods
- Drop whatever unused subscriptions you’re still paying for
- Be intentional with conserving energy and water to lower your utilities
- Move high-interest credit card balances to a 0% promotional card
- Get rid of the car payment for that new car and buy a used one with cash
Later, I’ll show you how I saved $1000 a month by reducing or eliminating my monthly bills. You’d be surprised how much extra cash you could save with a few adjustments!
Tip #4 Take measures to remove temptation
Just because you have a spending plan in place, doesn’t mean you are immune to the lure of a good sale.
Go on the offense by doing what you can to remove the temptation to spend money.
You can do this in a few ways:
- Unsubscribe from retail stores’ email lists
- Always shop with a list, and never buy anything not on it
- Don’t drive by your favorite stores on your way home from work
- Keep credit cards at home
- Use the 24-hour “pause” rule to avoid purchasing impulsively
- Stick to cash, as you’re less likely to spend it carelessly
- Never shop when you are emotionally charged (stressed, sad, elated, angry, etc.)
Don’t be a victim to clever marketing. Know what your spending triggers are. Take back control of your spending so you can achieve your financial goals.
Tip #5 Automate savings through your bank
As you cut expenses, fix budget leaks, and follow a spending plan, make sure you’re putting all that extra money somewhere separate from your regular checking account.
The best way to build up your savings quickly is by automating transfers to a savings account. By removing the *choice* to save money, you’re taking one more financial decision off your plate.
You can do this on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. You can automatically transfer a certain amount or percentage. It all depends on your situation and goals.
These days, just about every bank has a website where you can log in and do all of your banking. If you haven’t already, create an online account with your bank so you can set up automatic deposits into your savings fund.
You can transfer to a separate checking or savings account, or even to a different bank. Maximize your savings by choosing an account that provides a higher rate of return so you can make some money with your money.
Then, sit back and watch your savings grow!
Tip #6 Check in with your finances often
It’s a good idea to check in with your bank accounts and update your budget every couple of days or so. I find that if I wait longer than 5 or 7 days, my money situation gets a little messy. I forget what I spent where, and usually discover something unexpected in my online bank register.
This good money habit also keeps you focused on your goals. You feel more in control and connected with how your money is moving, and watching your savings account keep growing is motivation to stay the course.
Tip #7 Make the decision to pay off your credit cards
Debt is like a ball and chain that will keep you from running the race toward financial freedom. If you can, use all extra income to pay off your high-interest credit card debt first.
If this isn’t possible, consider transferring your balances to a 0% promotional credit card. I’ve done this several times over the years, and saved thousands in interest.
Create a debt payoff plan and start attacking your debt. Get a second job or start a side gig to turbo charge your efforts. The sooner you get out of high-interest debt, the faster you can grow your savings.
Tip #8 Make your goal visible
There is something that happens in your brain when you write your goals down. Not only does it help you get specific and focused, stay motivated and inspired, but it also increases your chances of achieving them by 42%.
If your goal is to save $1000 a month, write it down. In big, bold letters. With glitter if you like.
Keep a tracker on your fridge, where you record how much your savings account is growing every week.
Circle a date on your calendar when you want to achieve your ambitious goal.
Create a vision board that represents what you’ll do with that extra $1000 in savings every month.
When you keep these reminders in front of you, you’re much more likely to keep going – even through days when you feel discouraged, have a financial setback, or busted your budget.
Just remember – you’ll never get there if you give up. But, if you keep going, success is inevitable!
Tip #9 Tell your teens and adult kids to pay their own way
If there’s one thing I did right raising my kids, it was making them get a job when they were old enough. Once they were bringing in their own income, I made them start paying some of their own bills.
Of course, they could always get free shelter and food at home. If they needed medical attention, they are still covered under our health insurance. We also paid for any school supplies and activities.
But, when it came to their cell phone service plan, new clothes & shoes, entertainment, and car insurance, that was on them.
And, while this rule benefited them greatly (I have 2 adult kids under 23 that completely support themselves), it was also a welcome relief to our bank account.
If you’re trying to find enough money in your budget to save $1000 extra a month, consider those expenses that your kids could take on themselves. They’ll be more interested in how to manage their own money, and learn valuable lessons about being financially independent.
You might find that this is the one change that could help you reach your goal.
Tip #10 Stop paying for college
I know you love your kids and want the best for them. But, if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and can’t seem to save a dime, you might need to reassess your priorities.
Paying for my kids’ college was always something I planned on doing. After all, my parents paid for mine. Isn’t that what a good parent does?
Good, responsible parents will do what’s necessary to secure their own financial future, so their kids aren’t supporting them and paying for their medical bills in their old age.
Teach your kids how to work for what they want, how to budget and manage their money wisely, how to apply for scholarships and grants. Help them find the greatest value for the lowest cost. Give them free rent and board if they go to college close to home.
There are ways you can support their educational endeavors without putting your financial future at risk. If you’re in your 40s or 50s, building a retirement fund is more important than paying for college. If cutting college tuition out of the budget is the difference between a secure retirement income at 65 and working until you’re 80 – then it’s time to cut the cord.
How I cut $1000 a month from our budget
I was tired of going over budget every. single. month.
Our savings balance was getting increasingly smaller because we kept “borrowing” from it (and never paying it back!)
So, a few summers ago (before COVID came to town), I became determined to lower our monthly expenses. I decided I was going to cut everything I could from our household expenses and find those budget leaks that were draining our savings.
Month by month, I looked for ways to reduce our spending. From cutting a $10 allowance to refinancing our mortgage, every little dollar helped to get us in a better financial position.
When I added up all those dollars, I realized we were saving over $1000 a month!
Just by using many of the tips and strategies I shared above, I was able to free up over $1000 in our monthly budget. Let me show you how I did it.
Cable & internet payments
The very first thing I changed was our cable & internet plan. We had been paying $100+ a month for years, and by just going to the Comcast website I found a plan for $69 that fit our needs. We don’t have all the extra channels, just “limited basic” cable with 30 stations.
Also, I chose an internet plan with a lower download speed. My husband ran a test on our wifi and found the speed we were at was comparable to what we would get on the new plan. So we switched, and have never experienced any difference.
Call your cable company and/or internet provider to negotiate a lower price or find a cheaper plan.
If there isn’t one that suits your fancy, find another provider. Or, better yet, cut the cord and go without a cable bill all together.
Monthly savings: $40
Running total: $40
Cell phone plan
Next, I tackled our mobile phone plan. I had been researching “no contract” carriers and decided to switch to Ting. We only pay for what we use, and there’s no plan that we’re committed to. Our bill went from $160 to $60 a month – a savings of $100.
Thankfully, it’s not difficult to find an affordable option to exorbitant mobile phone bills. Here are a few:
If your mobile phone is paid off and you’re not bound to a contract, look into switching providers for more savings.
Monthly savings: $100
Running total: $140
When our gym membership expired, it was easy to decide not to renew. My husband and I didn’t end up going and it was like money going down the drain every month. Another $60 saved!
Even if you are an avid gym member, consider if the monthly cost is worth it.
You can find a wide variety of fitness classes on YouTube for free and pick up used workout equipment from Craigslist at a fraction of the original cost.
Monthly savings: $60
Running total: $200
Last school year our youngest son would buy cafeteria lunches every day, at an average of $5 a meal. Some months I added $100 to his school lunch account.
I added up what a home lunch cost and it was under a dollar! So, I told him he was going to start brown baggin’ it. I just rolled this minimal cost into our grocery budget, so we’re actually saving that $100 a month now.
Maybe you don’t have kids, but you go out for lunch with your work buds every day. You could be spending close to $200 a month on just lunch!
Take 10 minutes to pack your own, and put that money in savings.
Your future self will thank you for it!
Monthly savings: $100
Running total: $300
Another change was eliminating a weekly allowance for my daughter, who got a job last summer. I had a few different reasons for doing this (one being she was bringing in a paycheck, another being she never did her chores), and she agreed it was fair. It was only $10 week, but that added $40 to our monthly budget.
If you have a teen that’s still getting an allowance, maybe it’s time they get a job and earn their own paycheck.
They’ll feel differently about that money in their pocket, and they’ll learn the value of hard work.
Monthly savings: $40
Running total: $340
One unexpected surprise was the savings from paying for our life insurance premium annually instead of monthly. When I had to transfer the automatic monthly payment to a different account, I decided to just pay the annual premium so I’d only have to think about it once a year.
Turns out it’s cheaper to pay annually than monthly! (I’m sure some of you already knew that, but it was a surprise to me!) I ended up saving $80 a year, which is a little over $6 a month.
Check your insurance premiums to see if you can save by paying annually or bi-annually.
Every dollar counts!
Monthly savings: $6
Running total: $346
For our little long-haired chihuahua, I decided we didn’t need the $45 grooming expenses every 3 months. We bought our own grooming kit for $30 and just do it ourselves in the kitchen sink. This saves us $15 a month.
Look at your budget and see if there’s a way you can cut down on pet care costs.
After all, Spot doesn’t care if he smells like baby powder and has a bow in his hair.
Monthly savings: $15
Monthly savings: $15
Running total: $361
Online grocery shopping
Switching to online grocery shopping has been a total game changer for me. I create a menu for the week, make a list, and do all my shopping in less than 30 minutes.
The best thing I like about it is I know if I’m staying within my budget before I pay. But a really nice result of shopping online has been how much lower my monthly grocery bill is now.
I ran a couple of reports and found that our average monthly grocery bill for 2019 was $800 (yikes!), and for the past two months, it’s been $600. That’s a savings of $200 a month! I know it’s because I’m going in the store less and sticking closer to our budget. (*2022 Update: I’m still staying under $600 a month!)
If online grocery shopping intimidates you, start out with a small order.
Most stores require a minimum, usually around $30. Stick to your list and stay within your budget. You can always go inside to pick out your fresh produce, but you might really like having your groceries brought out and loaded in your trunk for you!
Monthly savings: $200
Monthly savings: $200
Running total: $561
With some of the money we’ve been saving and with the extra cash flow from our recent mortgage refinance (see below), I’ve been able to pay off 6 different credit card balances.
These cards’ minimum payments totaled $200 every month, but now they’re at a zero balance. This means I can put that money toward other things (like the high-balance card I’m currently chipping away at).
If you have some credit card bills that you can pay off easily, do it.
You’ll save on interest, time, and effort. Maybe you don’t like the idea of dipping into your savings to pay off credit cards, but it’s worth it in the long run.
Once you do, you can start applying those payments to your nest egg!
Monthly savings: $200
Running total: $761
Mortgage refinance rate
Finally, the mortgage refinance has had the biggest impact on our budget. When we bought our house in 2012, we had to go with an ARM loan for various reasons. Our starting rate was 2.75%! In the 6th year it jumped to 4%, then in the 7th year it was 5.25%. Our payment went from $1,735 to $2,182 a month in 7 years – almost $450!
On top of that, we also had a second mortgage with a payment of $260 a month. When we refinanced, we rolled the second into the first and brought the entire payment down to $2120 a month. This is saving us close to $325 a month!
If you haven’t refinanced in the last year, you could potentially save hundreds every month by getting a lower rate.
Talk to a mortgage lender to see what your alternative options are.
Monthly savings: $325
Running total: $1,086
After adding up all of the savings, I was able to reduce our monthly expenses by $1,086!
It took about 8 months to fully realize these total savings, but the great news is I know I can save even more!
I encourage you to start by cutting one expense each week. Put your savings in a separate account. Take the extra time to find the lowest rates and best deals. The effort is worth it!
Save more money by earning more income
There could be some circumstances that will prevent you from saving $1000 a month, no matter how much you try. But, that doesn’t mean you should give up on this goal. Instead, consider bringing in a little extra income to help you get there.
Here are a few ideas to generate more income, so you can build your savings faster.
Rent out a room
Do you have an extra bedroom in your house that’s going unused? Instead of waiting for the occasional guest to fill it, why not rent it out and make some money from it?
According to the 2021 Rent Report, the national average rent price for a 1-bedroom apartment was $1,680. In addition, the cost of a 1-bedroom has increased year-over-year by 21.3%.
What you can charge will depend on where you live, what amenities and extras you provide, if the tenant gets a private bathroom, etc. However, in the current market you could probably earn between at least $800 and $1000 a month.
If you don’t want a permanent roommate, you could offer short-term lodging on a nightly or weekly basis. This is especially lucrative if you live in a hot vacation spot or close to a big city where people travel for business.
Charging $100 a night for a clean, comfortable room with free breakfast would be quite reasonable, and you’d only need to rent the room for 10 nights a month to reach your financial goal.
Consult, teach, or tutor
If you have some expertise in a specific area, you can leverage that knowledge by charging others for your one-on-one instruction.
Consulting is great for someone who’s had a lengthy career in a specific capacity. Years of experience provides you with the skills and knowledge that others are willing to pay for.
Or perhaps you enjoy teaching others. From social media marketing to speaking a foreign language to learning a musical instrument – there are many students who will pay for someone to teach them in a private setting.
The greater your expertise, the more you can charge. Finding 5 students that will pay $50 weekly for your services would get you to your $1000 monthly savings goal.
Sell your creations
Do you enjoy baking or drawing? How about building websites or doing graphic design? Are you handy with a camera or a sewing machine?
Why not make some extra cash doing what you already enjoy? If people are always complimenting you on your creative skills, then it’s time to start using them as more than just a hobby.
Be a freelancer
Just about everybody has some skill they can use to make extra money. All you have to do is offer this skill, for a price, to people in your area or on the internet.
Here are a few freelancing services you could offer to start making money fast:
- Write articles
- Proofread books
- Transcribe YouTube videos
- Write resumes
- Do data entry
- Be a virtual assistant
- Walk dogs
- Be a personal shopper
- Do yardwork/gardening
- Tax preparation
Get a promotion
This might be the most convenient way to increase your income. Show your boss that your time is worth more than what you’re currently making. Go the extra mile, stay a little longer, get additional training.
Then, ask for the raise. Apply for that promotion.
Who knows? You might find that extra $1,000 a month right where you’re at.
And, if your boss declines your request … well, maybe it’s time to find a new boss. One who *will* pay you what you’re worth.
Don’t forget to grab your free 50 Tips To Save More Money checklist!
Maybe you don’t have teenagers that want an allowance, or pets that need to be groomed. Maybe you don’t go to the gym or watch cable.
It doesn’t matter. Your financial picture will look different than mine and everybody else’s.
If you’re struggling to save money, it’s likely you have spending leaks of your own.
Get on a budget, track your spending, and find out where every dollar is going.
Then, determine the difference between your needs and your wants. Figure out what your financial priorities are, and make some goals. Be willing to make some sacrifices.
Saving $1,000 a month might sound impossible right now, but once you become intentional about your spending, you can find opportunities to save more.
Other posts you may enjoy:
- The Cheapest Way To Live: Best Tips For 2022
- 23 Smart Strategies To Save For Retirement At 50
- 50 Good Money Habits To Help You Save More
- Budget 101: Budgeting For Beginners Step-By-Step Guide
- Pinecone Research: An Easy Way To Make Extra Money
- How To Beat Lifestyle Inflation In 8 Steps
- 50+ Easy Ways To Make Extra Money (Offline & Online)
- 51 Money-Saving Challenges for 2021
- A 5-Step Plan To Save $5,000 In A Year
- 50 Smart Ways To Save Money On A Tight Budget
- I Need Money Desperately: 35+ Ideas For Fast Cash