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How to Painlessly Save $1,000 This Year

How to Painlessly Save $1,000 This Year

Do sweat the small stuff. Little things add up, especially when you’re talking money. Make a change here and a change there, and in a year you have $1,000. What you need most is a bit of creativity and discipline.

Take a look at where the savings can come from.

Conquer the 5% challenge

What is your largest discretionary expense? Ask yourself if you can spend 5% less? Say for example, you spend $400 a month at the grocery store. Can you spend $380? Think through your typical items. Can you reduce them or choose different brands? Do what you can to get the bill down to save 5% or $20. Over a year, $20 a month is $240. The 5% challenge works because it is small so it doesn’t seem like a huge sacrifice. Just a little tweak, says Mackey McNeill, CEO of Mackey Advisors, a wealth advocacy firm.

Change your frequency

Prolonged austerity doesn’t work. The key is moderation. If you spend $30 a pop getting nails done and you go every other week, are you willing to do your nails yourself every other time? That way, instead of a manicure 13 times a year it’s 6-7 times a year, a savings of $210.

If you let go a bit of that daily $3 java jolt and make coffee at home one day a week, you’ll save $2.50 a week. That adds up to $130 a year.


The best way to save $1,000 a year is to have $38.47 deducted from each paycheck and deposited automatically into a savings account (assuming you get paid twice a month). Paying yourself first, is a sure fire way to accumulate savings over the long haul, says Jim Scheinberg, managing partner of North Pier Fiduciary Management.

Along the same lines, to get $1,000, pay yourself $19 a week in your 401k plan. Your firm may match a portion (which is free money). The feds will pick up between 15-31% of the contribution as a tax write off.

Tap technology

According to a recent report by the Internet Innovation Alliance, the average consumer saves about $47 a year by paying bills online, reports consumer savings expert Regina Novickis. Utilize your online banking services to pay your monthly bills. This eliminates the cost of postage, check reorder fees and additional charges for paying by phone.

Comparison shopping on travel websites for transportation and accommodations can immediately save hundreds of dollars on just one trip. For example, a recent search for a flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on multiple airlines showed a difference in price of $260 from one airline to another, says Novickis. Take your travel savings further by comparing rates for hotels and rental cars; then applying promotional codes for additional savings. Go to sites like PromotionalCodes.com or CouponWinner.com to find codes to really maximize your savings. You could save $300 a trip, she says.

If you are thinking of purchasing an electronic item, hold on to your money and monitor sites like Techbargains.com. These sites provide you with short term sales and discounts that can save you hundreds. Ted Collins, a certified public accountant with Vicenti Lloyd Stutzman says he just saved $250 on a camera.

Be fastidious about fees

Keep track of your ATM withdrawals. Most people don’t realize how much money they are wasting when they simply go to the ATM and withdraw cash.

Try and pay off credit cards each month, instead of paying interest, especially with interest rates creeping upward. If you do carry a balance, call your credit card company and ask for a lower rate, this can save you dollars with very little effort.

Get creative

Sharon Lechter, co-author of Rich Dad Poor Dad is full of ideas. Take advantage of daily deals on things you would be doing anyway, but get them for half the cost. Buy bottled water and take it to neighborhood sports practices and games to sell to parents attending the events. Sell clothing or other household items for you and your friends on Ebay for a fee. Start an online blog and advertise others’ products for a fee.

What’s the story here? Saving can be simple, yet significant.

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51hh   |     |   Comment #1
This article may be good for beginners:D

For example, the 5% challenge for "mide-level" savers:

Find the 5% cashback credit card(s) or 10% cashback credit card(s) for all purchases.
51hh   |     |   Comment #2
Correction: "mid-level" savers.


Change frequency: What is "manicure" or "pedicure"??  Eating/drinking for essentials only.

Automate: Make sure the regular salary deduction goes into a 4% RCA.  Make sure the 401K contribution goes into a worthy cause; i.e., earning meaningful money for retirement (hint: not in the 0% MM/cash reserve funds or even the 2% CDs).

Technology: surf on various profitable websites (e.g., this one, SD, M*, and FWF) for immediate financial gains.

Fees: Definitely PIF for all credit cards; get 0% BTs without fees, aim at getting reward (e.g., cashback. airline/hotel points) for all financial activities.

Creative: Most great deals are hidden, some with risks.  Be adventurous but prudent and moderate.

My two-cents without retribution:-)

Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
Do you mean 1% cash back, 10% and I'm on easy street.
51hh   |     |   Comment #4
"Do you mean 1% cash back, 10% and I'm on easy street."

No, I really meant 10% cashback on everything.

Anonymous   |     |   Comment #5
Sorry, but I hate this type of lecture article based on common sense. As long as there aren't too many of these, I'm still a fan of the site.

Anonymous   |     |   Comment #6
Forget about the lecture, I want to know WHICH credit card is giving 10% cash back!!!  This is a joke, isn't it?  That could get me out of the CD funny farm if I found that credit card!  Please share "soon"!

I also am getting bored with the above type of reports by Sheryl treating us like we are off the farm and haven't gotten our feet wet yet.  I learned the same stuff she is writing about and more in a $3.00 money management course (with book included!) over 40 years ago!  These reports do not help me get the info I need "today".  (Like the 10% cash back credit card!)  Sheryl:  a little hint:  I want more info on places to safely make the funds I may have grow faster and give me more income.  When it comes to being frugal, I am the QUEEN of Frugality!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #7
This site is set up so that you can read what you want and skip the rest. But it doesn't hurt to skim through a reminder-of-the-basics article like this. 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #8
Maybe its's the "the exception to the rule" rule. This type of common-place article makes us appreciate the real nuggets that are posted here.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #9
How about putting the author's name on the main page headline?  We wouldn't have to click on the article if we knew it was another a beginners piece from Sheryl or Miranda.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #10
I hope there aren't too many threads like this one.
lou   |     |   Comment #11
Okay, 51hh, I too would like to know who is giving 10% cash back!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #12
Don't hold your breath waiting to hear anything substantive from 51hh. He loves to throw out numbers but is very secretive when it comes to specifics. I don't know how that is supposed to help the readers of this blog, but that is his modus operandi when it comes to deals that readers could benefit from.  There are lots of his posts, but most can be ignored.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #13
I am posting this to counter all the negative comments on post like this.

i have no problem with tips on saving, yes a lot of it is common sense,if you don't like it don't read them.

but even someone with lots of commomn sense with their spending. casn learn something

my tip is if you want to save money stop eating junk food, learn to make  healthy food  choices. The less animal products you eat the better off your heralth will be.  Eating a plant based diet will save you an incredible amount of money on your food bill and your health bills as well.

Anonymous   |     |   Comment #14
Eating meat can save a great deal of money as well.  If you are the type to grow your own vegetables and fruits, add hunting to the mix.  Just like anything else there is an initial investment needed to get started, and then you have a supply of very inexpensive meat coming in.  Plus you get the same satisfaction of providing for yourself as you do when going out to the garden and making a fresh salad from there.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #15
Ok, if we REALLY want to save money, let's all sell our computers and printers and not have to pay the charges to run them!   I had to spend $300 just to get a virus out of mine!  These computers are not free!  But on the other side, in order to make money, we must spend money.  (I HATE that saying!)  So we can keep our computers.  But the hunting thing and growing a garden is out of the question for me.  I live in a small apartment.  Lots of squirrels around but no deer that I can see! 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #16
Still waiting on 51hh to tell us about the 10% card.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #17
i've been getting 10% on all grocery purchases ... two chains in my area offer 5% discount/rebate on "bulk" purchases of gift cards (>= $1000) ... which i purchases with a CC which (still) gives a 5% rebate.  clearly not as good and convenient as a straight 10% rebate card, but it is 10%.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #18
I tried "goggling" the 10% cash back credit card and could not find anything on it.  Just a gas card but nothing like I thought the poster was referring to.  If it does exist, I do hope he/she will share the name.  Thanks!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #19
#18 can you read?  #17 clearly states s/he is using a credit card that only gives back 5%!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #20
#19   Excuse me but the post you are referring to was NOT posted when I posted mine!  They must have over-lapped.  The computer is not human, you know.  Glitches do happen.

Thanks #17 for explaining about the card.
51hh   |     |   Comment #21
I was using the 10% credit card just as an example for motivation.

As someone has mentioned already, if too many poeple are getting into this deal and "abuse" it to some degree; it will be as good as dead.  Thus I have good reasons to keep it private.

To prove my point, I was referring to the 10% cashback from Citizens Bank (and Charter Bank; both are for limited states) for 90 days.  The cashback is for everyday usage (supermarket, gas station, and drugstore).  How is it a 10% cashback for all purchases... I shall keep this answer a secret:D



51hh   |     |   Comment #22
And there are practical ways to extend the "90-day limit" if one is resourceful enough:D  That, my friends, is also for you to explore and enjoy.:-)
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #23
Ahh, yet another mysterious post by 51hh....and the beat goes on he/she continues to post with a forked tongue.
lou   |     |   Comment #24
51hh, thanks for the information. I am one of those guys that does not go after these temporary deals because it is too much a hassle for me. I will spend the time trying to get good CD deals or credit cards I intend to keep, but all these short term deals I generally pass on. However, I understand why others would feel differently.
mrvirgo   |     |   Comment #25
Technology: surf on various profitable websites (e.g., this one, SD, M*, and FWF) for immediate financial gains.

31hh, would you kindly spell out (and possibly include links) to SD, M* and FWF. I don't know what those abreviations stand for. Certinly, if these sites  have proven helpful to you, I would like to take a look at them.  Thanks.
vladimir   |     |   Comment #26
RBS is giving 10% back on gas and groceries until 2/29/11. 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #28
mrvirgo-  Don't know about M*, but the other two are fat wallet (finance) and slickdeals
51hh   |     |   Comment #29
M*: Morningstar.com, contains forums for TIAA/CREF, Fidelity funds, etc.

Wow, I did not know the 2/29 deadline for the 10% offer, thanks.  Time to go for a "second-round" soon.

Anon. 23: If you are really interested, send me a PM.  Not so constructive to keep criticizing/attacking.  We are all here to help each other.  What is your contribution to this thread, if I may ask?  Peace.
lou   |     |   Comment #31
I disagree with #30, 51hh makes a valuable contribution to this site and I hope he continues to participate here. I am not sure why all the hostility to someone who is willing to share with us some of the financial deals he has taken advantage of. Many posters suggest all kinds of things; it doesn't mean I have to follow their advice.

In the last few months, there seems to be quite a few curmudgeonly posters who have taken umbrage with other posters because they disagree with them. Not sure I understand where there is coming from. Maybe it is the awful govt policies which have led to zero interest rates and are forcing us to do things with our money we would have never considered in the past. Anyone who wants to contribute their ideas to this site, should be welcome. I am fortunate to have learned about some great deals from other posters. Except for the trolls and scammers, I welcome all the posters who are here to contribute and learn.
stormdog123   |     |   Comment #32
I do agree with 51hh that if you know of a really good deal that you should keep quiet about it. If the bank gets overloaded with applications, they will lower the rate or discontinue the program.

However, he should not come on this board and say "I know a great deal and I am not going to tell you".
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #34
#32  I really think this forum is all about sharing "good deals".  What if Ken never gave us a list of the best deals he can find because he had your same concerns?   I don't just read Ken's list, I particularly keep an eye out for any one on here who has found "other" good deals whether it be at a bank, cu, etc.  Whenever an institution gives a bit higher rate, they are going to pull it when they want to so I say "May the best man/woman win" who can grab it while they can and those who can't just have to keep looking.  We're all in a race here for higher returns, and not everyone can be the winner in a race.   Even  with Ken's list, he doesn't know for sure how long his "best" rates will last.  But at least he still gives them to us.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #33
 I thinlk #32 pretty much nailed it....sort of like either put up or shut up maybe?
51hh   |     |   Comment #35
Anon. #30:

Why don't you take advantage of my information and apply for the 10% credit card, at least you can get 10% for your daily purchases on grocery, gasoline, and drugstore??  I will be gald to help if you want to extend such a benefits for all purchases; but with some discretion (just PM me). 

Not sure about your hostility toward a stranger, who just wanted to offer something useful:-)

pearlbrown   |     |   Comment #36
Lou, I don’t know if we can lay all the hostility at the feet of the government policies which are pushing us to take more risks with our money than we would normally be comfortable with.  That is certainly a factor, but there's also a human factor at play.  Some people just don’t know how to disagree without being disagreeable and also there are always those who find it easier to criticize than to contribute.   Others appear to delight in using the anonymity of the Internet to take potshots without accountability.   It’s disconcerting to see such a lack of civility, but it’s a fact of life on every board where people are permitted to post anonymously.    

51hh is a valuable and trusted contributor to this site and I appreciate the time and effort he commits to sharing information with this community. 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #37
What we have here is a classic example. Please ignore him/her/it and it will go away...

Anonymous   |     |   Comment #38
Paying bills on line is way more expensive than by check and snail mail, considering the monthly fee for internet access, the funds spent on the computer itself, anit-virus software, etc.  I save that by using others' internet access or accessing at work.  This also limits my access which discourages shopping.  Since I first considered getting my own computer and internet access, about 12 year ago, I figure I've saved at least $7,200 in internet access charges, at $50 per month, since I live in a remote area.  Compare that to half a book of stamps per month!
rogeralis   |     |   Comment #39
my tip is if you want to save money stop eating junk food, learn to make  healthy food  choices. The less animal products you eat the better off your heralth will be.  Eating a plant based diet will save you an incredible amount of money on your food bill and your health bills as well.