A Month-by-Month Guide to Saving $1,000 and Ending the Paycheck to Paycheck Lifestyle

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Monthly plan to avoid living paycheck to paycheck
A photo of a hand piling or stacking coins on a calendar implying saving or investing
Honest Abe

Disclosure:

Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.

For a lot of people, just the thought of saving money when you’re living paycheck to paycheck barely getting by is a joke.

The Paycheck to Paycheck Epidemic

In fact, a 2017 CareerBuilder survey of about 6,000 full-time workers found that 78% were living paycheck to paycheck (up from 75% the year before).

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.

To help end the vicious paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, we put together this month-by-month guide to get you on track and potentially put $1,000 in your bank account.

These methods could help you get on better financial footing, no matter where you live.

Month 1

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 Aspiration is one of my favorites because they offer an interest rate around 100x what a normal bank offers — plus there are no monthly fees:

Starting small may not seem worth it, but getting started is an extremely important first step! Just trust us.

Month 2

This month we 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 Earny — a free tool that searches your emails for companies that owe you money.

Once you sign up, the app scans your email archives for any receipts.

If it discovers you’ve purchased something from Amazon, Target, or one of the other 20+ retailers listed on their website, it tracks the item’s price and issues you a refund if there’s a price drop during the return period!

You don’t have to do anything!

Month 3

Your goal is to work up to saving $100/month in the savings account. It seems lofty, but we’re going to help you earn it.

For this month, try and put $35 in the account.

An easy way to do is with these two market research companies: Harris PollPoint Club.

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 another idea?

The folks over at InboxDollars will pay you up to $225/month to watch videos online! This works because the videos are sponsored by brands who need to get them in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

Every time you watch one of their ads, they’ll credit your account with cash. Plus, they give you $5 for free just for signing up.

Congrats! You’ve saved your first $55. That’s something to be proud of!

Month 4

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.

Need another idea?

If you have a PC or laptop, this Nielsen panel will pay you $50/year to keep their software on your computer and browse the web like you normally do. The software collects data and helps companies better understand our web and mobile usage — such as what times of day people browse, how long they stay on websites and use apps, and what types of sites and apps are popular (or not).

Month 5

Alright, this month it’s time to try and put away $100. Do you have a spare room? Might as well use Airbnb to make some money by renting it out.

If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.And there’s no reason you can’t be creative. We even found a guy that earns $1,380/month renting out a backyard tent on Airbnb!

Here’s the link to sign up as an Airbnb host.

Need another idea?

You can try our list of 16 Companies giving away $1,810.25. These companies want you to try them out and will pay you to do so. Some of them are easier than others, but just check it out.

Or how about mystery shopping? Before our CEO Kyle Taylor became a blogger, he was a full-time, professional mystery shopper. And he got pretty good at it — earning around $5,000/month.

Here’s a list of the companies he 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.

We know a lot of people are already working two jobs, but mystery shopping can help you earn money and relax with your friends/family at the same time.

Keep an eye out for restaurant mystery shops — you get a free meal and you get paid!

Months 6 – 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:

How to Make $750/Month Selling Used Books

Get Paid $50 to Write a Guest Post

What’s in Your Fridge? Get Paid to Share…

How to Make an Extra $50/Week Working for Amazon.com

How to Get Paid $200/Month Testing Websites

Year 2

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 site.

Once you’ve reached year two, you’ve saved nearly $1,000. At this point, it might be a good idea to open an investment account.

We like Stash because it gives you a free $5 to invest when you sign up through this link, but opening an account 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!

Your Turn: Have you ended the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle?

Disclosure: Here’s a toast to the affiliate links in this post. May we all be just a little richer today.

Honest Abe

Disclosure:

Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.