I know… I know… For a lot of our readers, the thought of saving money when you’re living paycheck to paycheck is a joke.
It’s not that working people don’t want to save; it’s just that too many of us are struggling with trying to pay the rent and put gas in the car. By the time the month is over, there’s nothing left to save.
So I’m not going to lecture anyone on the importance of saving, but let me share some tips on how I broke the “paycheck to paycheck” cycle…
Open an online savings or checking account and deposit $5. Heck, roll your quarters if you have to.
There are a bunch of great online banks, but one of my favorites is Aspiration because it offers an interest rate that is around 100x what a normal bank offers, plus there are no monthly fees.
I know it doesn’t seem worth it to start small, but getting started is an extremely important first step! Just trust me.
This month I want you to save $15 in your new savings account. Again, if you can do more, awesome!
An easy way to earn $15 is with Paribus. It’s a tool that searches your emails for companies that owe you money.
It’s free to sign up for Paribus and once you do, they will scan your email archives for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from Amazon, Target, or one of the other 16 retailers listed on their website, it will track the item’s price and issue you a refund anytime there’s a price drop!
You don’t have to do anything!
Need a different idea?
If you’re a regular Amazon shopper, you can earn money each month contributing to Shoptracker’s research on what people are buying online. Download and connect this to your Amazon account. They’ll instantly send you a free $3 Visa gift card, plus another $3 for every month you keep it installed.
Our goal is to work up to saving $100/month in the savings account. I know that seems lofty, but I’m going to help you earn it.
For this month, I just want you to try and put away $35 in the account.
I’ve had good success making extra money with these two market research companies: Ipsos Panel and Vip Voice. These panels will pay you for your opinions on politics, movies, and other subjects. If you sign up for both, you should easily make an extra $35/month (most surveys pay between $3-$4 each for 20 minutes of your time). Heck, sometimes I fill them out while I’m watching Netflix.
Need a different idea?
Try selling some of your old stuff online. You can sell virtually anything on letgo. This intuitive app lets you snap a photo and upload your item in less than 30 seconds. Not only does it remove a lot of the hassle of selling things online, it’s 100% free to use.
But there are also apps for selling more specific stuff to people who might actually be looking for it. For instance, you could sell old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and video games, cell phones, and iPods to Decluttr. Plus, enter PENNY10 at checkout to get an extra 10% for your trade-ins!
Do you still have a prom outfit from, like, 10 years ago?
It’s never going to fit — or come into style — again, but something just keeps holding you back from sending it to Goodwill.
Maybe money could change your mind? Instead of storing clothes indefinitely, try selling them on an app like Poshmark.
Congrats! You’ve saved your first $55. That’s something to be proud of!
Alright, this month it’s time to try and put away $100. Daunting, I know. But I’ve got a few ideas that might help…
– You can try our list of 16 Companies giving away $1,810.25. These companies want you to try them out and they’ll pay you to do so. Some of them are easier than others, but just check it out.
– Or how about mystery shopping? Before I became a blogger, I was a full-time, professional mystery shopper. And I got pretty good at it — earning around $5,000/month. Here’s a list of the companies I worked for. (None of them will charge you money to sign up. And if a mystery shopping company ever tries to charge you, it’s a scam. Stay away from those.)
I know a lot of people are already working two jobs, but mystery shopping can be a way of earning money and relaxing with your friends/family at the same time. My favorites are the restaurant mystery shops — you get a free meal and you get paid! 🙂
Months 5 – 12
Continue saving $100/month for the entire year. We want your year-end account balance to be $950.
Here are some ideas on how to make your extra $100/month:
It’s important to continue saving at least $100 each month. Use your regular paycheck for living expenses and save any extra money you make from the ideas on this website.
Once you’ve reached year two, you’ve saved nearly $1,000. At this point, my suggestion would be to open an investment account. Stash happens to be my favorite because they give you a free $5 when you sign up through this link, but anywhere will do.
Just one more piece of motivation. If you can continue to save $100/month for the next 20 years, you could end up with $106,022! Can you imagine? More than $100,000 in a bank account!
You can do this. End the cycle today.
Good luck Penny Hoarders!
Disclosure: We appreciate you letting us include affiliate links in this post. It helps keep the beer fridge stocked in the Penny Hoarder break room.