Need to save money fast? Instead of stressing about adding more income, you can try maximizing your money by spending less. We call it addition by subtraction, and it’s amazing how much you can save in a single month if you’re willing to temporarily go without.
Better yet, you can make a game of it. Why not try out a fun and creative way to build your savings over the course of a single month? Check out our four savings challenges and give one a try to see if you can boost your savings this month.
The Stream-Free Challenge.
According to Deloitte’s 17th annual Digital Media Trends report, Millennials spend an average of $54 per month on video streaming services. Break the trend! For one month, unsubscribe from your streaming services. Need media entertainment? Hit up the local library. You can check out TV shows, movies, books, CDs, puzzles and board games for free. Here’s your chance to indulge in the simple pleasures in life, like a phone call with an old friend or family member you’ve been meaning to get in touch with. Or enjoying some fresh air via a walk, bike ride or game of catch. Or take the opportunity to learn a new skill or explore a new hobby. Besides, this one’s easy to do. Just make a list of all your streaming subscriptions/prices and unsubscribe for one month.
The Splurge-Free Challenge.
Use consumerism to your advantage. Go to a store and jot down the cost of every item that makes you go Ooo, I want that! Then instead of adding it to your cart, add them up and move the amount you saved in the moment into your savings account. If you go shopping once a week, that’s four opportunities to save per month. Your $5 of self-control can lead to $20 in your savings account by the end of the month. By that logic, $20 becomes $80 in savings. $50 can become $200 in savings. $100 can become $400 in savings. It adds up.
The One-Luxury-Less Challenge.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that Americans spend $297 on average per month on entertainment, $250 on dining out, $146 on apparel and services and $74 on alcohol and tobacco products. Don’t be average. For one month, go without that one typical luxury. Could be anything: Clothes. Shoes. Manicures and pedicures. Cute outfits. Dining out. Travel. Movies. Books. Coffee. Snacks. Concerts or sporting events. Pick one, honestly ballpark how much you spend on that single luxury per month, and then put that amount in your savings instead.
The Bare-Necessities Challenge.
This one is the inverse of the previous three. Instead of making cuts to your budget and then adding that amount to your savings account, in this challenge you’ll set aside a certain amount each day and get thrifty by necessity. That means that rather than buying your favorite name-brand item, you might buy off-brand instead. That goes for food items, too; the ingredient lists are often essentially the same, and if you need more convincing, check out consumer reviews to help you determine which items to go on-brand vs. off-brand. Just remember: Saving a few dollars here and there can really add up quickly. If you can thrift your way to saving $5 a day, that adds up to $150 in a month.
You’ve worked hard to build your savings. Now it’s time to let that money go to work for you.