7 Key Ways to Save Money and a $5 Saving Challenge for Real Results

We all know we need to save money. However, it can be difficult to stay motivated and actually save money. Many of us end up doing yo-yo saving, where we save money and then pull money out of savings. We repeat this cycle over and over.

We need to save to maintain financial stability and afford larger priced items. We need to save in order to handle emergencies, the major vacations, life events, appliances, education, etc. There is always a reason to save money.

Well let’s talk about ways to save money and how to stay motivated. Saving challenges are a great way to stay focused, keep saving top of mind, and have a fun saving goal.

I encourage you to try out what I’m calling the $5 Saving Challenge. Okay here are the rules.

$5 Saving Challenge Rules

1) Save up to $5 per day.

Work on saving a dollar amount between zero and five every day. Every day? Yes, every day. This will put you in a mindset of saving money in order to build that habit. You will start looking for unique ways to earn money to save as well as decrease expenses in order to save that money.

If you can only save $0.50 for the day, then do it. If you can save more than five dollars for the day, then do it. Try to make it a multiple of five. For example, instead of five dollars maybe you save $20.

2) Do it for 14 Days.

Work on saving money every day for 14 days. This is a great amount of time and is long enough to potentially save quite a bit of money.  If you save five dollars for 14 days, you’ll end up with $70. Most importantly, you will have shifted your mindset and thinking to making progress on financial goals and take action.

You can save your money in a regular saving account. I suggest an online bank as they have the highest interest rates currently. These are not investment accounts so it’s still not a lot of interest. However, you might as well get the highest rate that you can and 2% is much better than .01%.

7 Key Ways to Save Money

1) Meal Prep and Cook Meals

During the challenge, no ordering in or eating out. It’s always cheaper and healthier to cook your own meals. To make it easier and maximize your time, plan out your meals and do meal prep on the day that you have the most time. If it costs $10 to buy lunch and only three dollars to bring lunch from home that’s a saving of seven dollars per meal or $35 per week. Check out how I cut my food costs by 79%.

2) Cut Down on Your Budget for Your Hobby

You likely have something that you do just for fun. This activity does not bring in money, but it brings you joy. Calculate exactly how much you are actually spending on this activity. It’s likely much more than you think you are spending. Cut back on that dollar amount for the challenge and save it instead.

3) Do a month of no spending

One of the simplest ways to save money is to simply not spend it. As my mom would say, stay out of the store. When we go shopping, we usually end up picking up additional items that we see while walking around the store. Outside of survival items, try not to do any additional spending so you’ll have more money to save.

4) Host Potlucks Or Get Dessert Only

Going out to a restaurant, bar, or lounge with friends is a common activity. Of course you want to hang out with friends but it can also get costly. Instead of going out to eat, try sometimes having everyone bring a dish to your house. The point is to spend time together and you can do it for a lot less. If you really want the experience of going out and being served then try going to a place that specializes in dessert.

5) Cancel Subscriptions

Review your bank statement, the spreadsheet, or at that you used to track your spending. Determine if you have any subscriptions that you don’t really use. If you have and use that gym subscription and eight months, then go ahead and cancel it. Anything that you have not used for several months, cancel that monthly fee. Save that money instead.

6) Compare Insurance Rates

it’s a good idea to periodically shop around to see if you are able to get a better car or home insurance rate. If you are able to get the same coverage for a lower price, then why not switch. You could have more money available every month just by making a call.

7) Increase Your Income

Saving more money should always be two-pronged, cutting expenses as well as increasing income. Start or grow a side hustle e.g. cutting hair, dog walking, pet sitting, part-time job etc. think about what you can do to bring in additional money and get started. Check out this list of side hustles. If you already have a side hustle think about what changes can you implement to increase your income.

You can spend on the important things and decrease spending on things that do not help you reach goals or increase joy.

Are you ready for the challenge? Do you think you can save at least $5 every day for 30 days? What’s going to be your top strategy?

About Dr. Maria James

Dr. James, The Money Scientist, has expertise with designing income management, debt management, and wealth strategies to help you live your best life. She is the founder of Pocket of Money, LLC and the creator of The Wealth Protocol™. Dr. James has also been a guest financial expert on ESSENCE, WEAA, Madame Noire and more.

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