It’s MONEY SAVING CHALLENGE time!!!
Want to know the cure for insomnia? Try listening to someone talk about budgeting and saving money for more than 5 minutes. It’s also a great way to get people to avoid you at parties (ask me how I know).
So how do you make saving money fun? You turn it into a:
MONEY SAVING CHALLENGE!!!
Think of it like CrossFit for your budget. I don’t know why people get so excited about tossing around tires and doing 5,000 squats in 15 minutes, but apparently they pay big bucks for the
pain opportunity. In the same way, setting a savings goal and cranking up the accountability (with a checklist!) brings out the Type A competitor in all of us.
With this article, I will show you how to do a 30 day money saving challenge to save $1,000 in just 30 days!
30 Day Money Challenge – Save $1,000 in a Month
The goal of this money saving challenge is to save $1,000 in 30 days.
If that seems like a lot, stay with me. This isn’t the “save $12,000 in a year” challenge for a reason. There are a ton of things you can do in the short term to supercharge your savings that you might not be able to do forever.
For example, it’s pretty easy to find 5 or 10 things around the house right now that you can sell on Craigslist to generate some extra cash. But if I asked you to keep doing that every month for a year, you’d quickly run out of stuff to sell. (Or if you were really committed to the challenge you’d have emptied out your house and be living in the storage shed out back with only your pajamas and your pet cat, Snuffles.)
Step 1. Download the Free Money Saving Challenge Printable
If writing stuff down and coloring in boxes to track your progress is your thing (you know you got into the adult coloring book craze), you can click below to download the free printable to go along with the 30 day money saving challenge.
Step 2. Write Down Your Goal
Studies show that having a clear, written goal is incredibly important to stay motivated.
I gave you a head start and already gave you a goal (it’s your lucky day!)
I’m going to make you fill it in though.
Part of the psychology of the money challenge that will help you be successful is to actually write it down. This helps you 1) remember it and 2) own the goal. So on the first line, where it says “Money Saving Challenge Goal”, you can write in save $1000 in the next 30 days (or some form of that).
Step 3. Define Your “Why”
If writing down your goal is important, defining your why is even more important.
A week from now, when things get a little tough, what’s going to keep you from bailing out of the money saving challenge?
Allow me to illustrate with something I think we have all started with the best of intentions – spending late nights poring over its promised gospel, dedicated to following the letter of the law, and buoyed by the anecdotal stories of the changed lives of our friends and family.
I’m speaking, of course, of the Whole 30 Diet.
Maybe it’s just me, but what started off relatively easy, quickly became difficult when I found myself out at a restaurant with friends, or at home alone with nothing but a bag of chips staring back at me from an otherwise-empty pantry.
It’s in those moments that writing down a goal (“follow the Whole 30 diet for a month”) is not enough. The only thing that will stop you from giving in to temptation in moments of weakness is the why behind the goal.
The deeper and more emotional the goal, the better.
Spend some time really thinking about the why behind your money saving challenge goal. Maybe you want to save for a family vacation, or contribute to a 529 plan for your daughter’s college education, or set up an emergency fund. Whatever it is, try to think a little deeper than the surface level.
“I want to save for an emergency fund”
is a worthwhile why, a better one would be:
“I want to save for an emergency fund so that the next time the car breaks down, I don’t have to relive the stress, anxiety, and fighting with my spouse over where the money will come from like I did when it broke down last month.”
Step 4. Write Down Your Money Saving Plan
Further down in this article is a list of a bunch of ways to get you jump-started saving money.
Pick several of those that apply to you, along with any other ideas you have, and write them on your Money Savings Challenge worksheet.
Step 5. Start Saving Money!
Start going down the list of ways to save money, and color in those boxes to track your progress!
10 Brilliant Ideas to Save $1000 Fast (in a Month or Less)
1. Review Your Insurance Policies ($50)
I am constantly amazed at how much my insurance policies increase each year. It’s like they try to sneak in a 20-30% increase every year just to see if I’m paying attention.
I didn’t used to be good at this, but I now set an annual reminder to check my policies and see where I can save money.
Here are a few things you need to look for:
- Check your coverage. Do you really need comprehensive insurance coverage on your 1998 Honda Civic? Probably not. Make sure you aren’t buying more insurance than you really need.
- Check your deductibles. Your deductible can make a huge difference on your monthly premiums. If you have a bit of money set aside for emergencies, consider bumping up your deductible from $500 to $1000, or $1000 to $2000 to cut your monthly payments.
- Check the competition. It’s always a good idea to shop your policies around to other insurance companies. There can be a difference of hundreds of dollars between the lowest and highest cost for the same coverage.
By checking for these 3 things, I was able to save about $60 per month last year between my car insurance and homeowner’s insurance. I adjusted my car insurance coverage by lowering some maximum payouts and removing a few services I didn’t need to save $10 a month. On my homeowner’s policy, I was shocked by how much it had increased, but I was able to lower it by $50 a month by adjusting the deductibles and lowering the overall coverage a bit to be more in line with what I actually needed.
The great thing about negotiating your insurance costs down is that they keep paying month after month. So I get that $60 in savings every month, for a total of $720 a year!
Here are a few tools I recommend to help you lower your monthly insurance costs:
- Gabi Insurance – Gabi comparison shops your home and auto insurance among 20 different providers. The average user saves $720 per year!
- Lemonade – Get renter’s insurance as low as $5/mo in 90 seconds or less through Lemonade.
2. Get Paid While You Watch TV ($100)
Online survey sites will pay you for your opinion on various brand or political surveys. I know, I know. Sounds kind of sketchy. I avoided them for awhile, but recently took the plunge to try them out for myself.
Lucky you, I have waded through a lot of research and reviews to find actual, legitimate survey sites that pay out and won’t waste your time.
You are certainly not going to get rich taking surveys, but I think it is a very reasonable goal to make $3 to $5 per day ($90 to $150 per month).
Here is my super secret strategy to make money with online surveys: Haha, just kidding. There’s no secret.
But I do recommend taking surveys during little bits of downtime during the day – waiting in line to buy groceries, sitting on the couch watching TV, stuck in the airport, etc. It’s a good way to pass the time and make a bit of extra money doing it. And some of the surveys are even fun!
The two survey sites I recommend are:
- Survey Junkie – This is one of the biggest survey providers out there, and the one I recommend everyone try. There are always surveys available to take (unlike some other sites), so you’ll always have an opportunity to make some extra money. One thing I like about Survey Junkie is that even if you answer a few preliminary questions and don’t qualify for a particular survey, they’ll still give you a few points just for trying.
- Swagbucks ($5 sign-up bonus) – Swagbucks is much more than just a survey site, but one of the main ways to make money is through surveys. I like that you can also earn points through watching videos, playing games, or surfing the web through the Swagbucks portal. Sometimes it’s nice to have a little variety.
Top 2 Survey Sites to Earn $100 This Month
3. Sell Your Stuff ($200)
My wife is always selling our unused stuff through Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or eBay. Sometimes she is sneaky and tries to sell my stuff while I’m not looking.
She claims if I haven’t unboxed it from our last move (over 2 years ago) I don’t really need it, but you never know when I might need that old college textbook or special hex wrench that only fits that one piece of Ikea furniture!
This is one of those categories that depending on what you have laying around, you could easily make $200, $500 or even more. Pay special attention to things that sell well like:
- electronics (am I the only one that still has like 3 old iPhones?)
- furniture and home decor
- kitchen gadgets collecting dust under the shelf
If you really want to get into it, you can do what my friend Nathan does. He makes several hundred dollars per month by shopping garage sales and thrift stores and selling his finds on eBay for a profit. It would be a great weekend side hustle to start doing to bring in extra money on a consistent basis!
4. Don’t Eat Out for a Month ($200)
Nobody said you wouldn’t have to sacrifice a little for your money saving challenge. You don’t have to cut your restaurant budget forever, but try avoiding going out to eat for a month and see how it goes.
If you have a date night with your spouse once at week at $50 each that adds up to $200 per month! And if you spend $10 a day grabbing mediocre fast food with your co-workers, you can save another $200 per month by brown-bagging it for a few weeks.
A side benefit is it might make you get a little more creative with your date nights. I know for us, with small kids, it’s hard enough just to schedule a babysitter (and hope nobody gets sick in the meantime), so we tend to default to going to a restaurant. But if that’s off the table (ha…pun), it forces you to think of some new ideas. Maybe take a picnic to the park? Or people watch at the mall? Or go for a bike ride together? The possibilities are endless.
5. Cancel or Negotiate Your Monthly Subscriptions ($50)
Google TV: $40
Those are just a few of the subscriptions that I shell out for on a monthly basis. While I get value out of all of them, do I really need them?
If you’re serious about your money saving challenge, think about giving up some or all of your subscriptions for a month or two. They’ll still be there after you’re done with the challenge, and as a bonus you may find that you don’t really miss it as much as you thought you would.
If you just can’t bring yourself to give it up, then another savings tip is to negotiate your bills. While you can’t do this on services like Netflix or Hulu, you certainly can (and should) for things like cable and internet.
Get a Robot to Negotiate Your Bills For You!
If calling up your internet company to negotiate the bill sounds as much fun as a root canal, then I have a great tool for you that I just started using.
It’s called Trim.
It’s a service that automatically negotiates with the cable and internet companies on your behalf and lets you know when it’s saved you money! My friend David was able to save over $700 per year without having to pick up the phone. For an introvert like me, that’s a dream come true. Trim takes a small cut of the savings in return (but they only get paid if they save you money).
6. Get Cash Back for Your Normal Shopping ($50)
This is another one of those categories that won’t make you rich, but it will earn you a little extra money for basically no work on your part. There are several cash back apps out there that give you money back for shopping locally and/or online. It’s a little bit like credit card rewards, but it stacks on top of that to save you even more money!
I’ve tried a bunch of apps and weeded out the good from the bad. Here are the ones I’m currently using. If you aren’t already signed up for them, you can get $30 for free just for signing up!
- Drop ($5 sign-up bonus) – With Drop, you just have to install the app, link your credit card, and choose the stores where you want to earn cash back. It really is that easy. There are a few other ways to earn money in the app, but I like to keep things simple and earn my 1-2% cash back completely passively.
- Dosh ($5 sign-up bonus) – Dosh is very similar to Drop, but it has different stores where you can earn cash back, so it’s a good companion app. Right now they have a deal with Walmart to give you 6% cash back, which is great. It also has a lot of local restaurants, and the ones near me tend to give 5% cash back or more.
- Rakuten ($10 sign-up bonus) – Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is the grandfather of cash back apps. It’s been around awhile and has relationships with almost every online retailer out there. With Ebates, you have to start in their portal to get the cash back (you don’t link your credit card). Fortunately there is a great Google Chrome extension that does this for you, so you don’t have to remember. I typically get 2-5% cash back on every online purchase with Rakuten.
- Ibotta ($10 sign-up bonus) – Ibotta lets you earn cash back for grocery shopping. Out of the 4 apps, it’s probably the most time-intensive. But even still, it probably takes me 5 minutes or so per shopping trip to select the deals I want to redeem and take a picture of my receipt. Ibotta claims the average user saves $20 per month or $240 per year, which is not bad for 5 minutes a week!
If you want to learn a little bit more about these apps and how I use them, you can check out this article: The Cash Back Apps I Use to Earn $500 Per Year.
My Goal to Make $500 Per Year With These 4 Apps
I have a goal to make $500 per year with just these 4 apps, and so far I’m on track to reach that (see how I made $72 in one month here).
Sign up for all 4 apps now and get a $30 bonus, plus earn $20-$50 per month with almost no effort!
7. Cut Your Phone Bill ($30)
If you haven’t looked at phone plans in the last few years, the number of options has exploded. And with competition comes lower prices.
Two providers to check out to save you a ton of money are Republic Wireless and Google Fi.
Both have plans that start at $20 for unlimited talk and text.
If nothing else, consider banding together with family or friends on a shared plan. It’s generally quite a bit cheaper per line to get a shared plan than it is to go it alone.
8. Drive with Uber/Lyft a Few Hours a Month ($150)
This is a great side hustle to earn a little extra money during your down time. If you drive 10 hours a month and can make $15 per hour, that’s an extra $150 in a month.
One unique strategy you can use is to look for passengers along your daily commute to and from work. I know a few people who do this and make a couple hundred dollars per month and don’t even have to go much out of their way!
If hauling people around isn’t your thing, consider Uber EATS. You can get paid to pick up and deliver food.
Whichever way you go, you will tend to make more money if you can work during rush times – lunch/dinner and on the weekends.
9. Take Advantage of Credit Card Rewards Bonuses ($600)
I personally make over $1,000 per year by signing up for rewards credit cards that offer welcome bonuses.
One of my favorite cards for everyday spending is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Currently you can get a 60,000 point bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months!
Of course I have to add the disclaimer that if you consistently carry a credit card balance, DO NOT sign up for another card! No amount of credit card rewards will make up for the exorbitant interest rates you are charged if you don’t pay your balance in full every month.
Add $600 to Your Savings With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Take advantage of the credit card I personally use for my everyday spending!
Sign up now for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and get a 60,000 point bonus ($600) after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
10. Cut the Fat From Your Grocery Budget ($100)
Groceries are the one thing I see people overspend on more than anything else. I do it, you do it, we all do it.
Without being conscious of your habits, it’s so easy spend more than you need to. Here are a few things to watch out for, and tips to cut your grocery bill:
- Shop the perimeter of the store. Not only will you save money, but it has the added benefit of being healthier, too. By staying away from the center of the store, you avoid all the mass-produced packaged products full of cheap grains and corn syrup.
- Buy what’s on sale and freeze it. We do this with most of our meat purchases. Usually either chicken, beef, or pork is on sale any given week. Instead of buying a little of each, just buy what’s on sale and freeze enough for a few weeks.
- Don’t go to the store more than once per week. We used to live right next to a grocery store, so it was easy to pop in and pick up whatever we needed for dinner. Except that we ended up spending $40-50 every time we went in. Don’t even ask me where the money went. If you only shop once a week, it forces you to plan ahead and get what you need, and prevents you from impulse shopping.
RELATED: 7 Simple Tips to Save Money on Groceries (Without Sacrificing Your Health)
Money Saving Challenge – Time to Take Action
If you’ve read this far, I hope you’ve gotten some good ideas on how to save $1,000 in the next 30 days. Now it’s time to take action!
Make sure you download the 30 day money saving challenge free printable, write down your “why”, and the steps you’re going to take to get there.
Good luck, and let me know how it goes in the comments!
Andrew Herrig is a finance expert and money nerd and the founder of Wealthy Nickel, where he writes about personal finance, side hustles, and entrepreneurship. As an avid real estate investor and owner of multiple businesses, he has a passion for helping others build wealth and shares his own family’s journey on his blog.
Andrew holds a Masters of Science in Economics from the University of Texas at Dallas and a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University. He has worked as a financial analyst and accountant in many aspects of the financial world.
Andrew’s expert financial advice has been featured on CNBC, Entrepreneur, Fox News, GOBankingRates, MSN, and more.