Everyone wants to save money. Or at least make more money. I know, I've totally been there. Wouldn't you love to save $500 right now? I'm all about making money and saving money. That's part of the reason I love to side hustle and have shared my journey on this blog! Imagine being able to save more of your income by making small daily changes in your lifestyle. By having extra money, could you take more vacations? What dreams could you pursue? Get out of debt? It’s a lot to think about. If you want to jumpstart your savings goals, I'm sharing seven ways to save $500 right now. None of these tips are crazy! All of these are things I have actually done myself, and I was able to notice the savings right away.
Let’s save $500 this month!
1. Review Your Car Insurance
You should be checking your insurance rates at least once a year. When I lived in an urban area and could walk everywhere, I was literally driving my car only a few times a month. When I called my insurance to see if I could get a lower rate since I was barely driving, they couldn't lower the price. I decided to shop around with a site called Insurance Quotes that compares rates for auto insurance along with health, life, and home owner's insurance. It's so important to shop around if you want to find the best premium rate. By comparing my options, I was able to find some more affordable auto insurance which provided me with the same amount of coverage. I saved an average of $600/year! If you shop around for the best car insurance, I bet you could save money as well. This is one of the best ways to reach a goal on how to save $500 pretty quickly!
2. Adjust Your Cell Phone Plan
Cell phones are tricky. They are expensive and it's amazing how much of this expense can eat into your budget. A cell phone is becoming more of a necessity in this day in age. So do you just stick with a high bill and tough it out? Luckily, you have a few options! First, make sure you are getting the best deal. Paying for unlimited data, minutes and texts is only helpful if you use all of these in excess. Consider downgrading your plan to a lower tier – this could save $10-$20 a month. Don't upgrade your cell phone every two years – this often incites new deposits and fees that are one off expenses. If you have a monthly payment plan that includes paying for the cost of a phone, that fee can be anywhere from $10 – $40 per month for a two year agreement. That equates to $240 – $960 for two years, depending on what make and model cell phone you have. Just think how much money you would save if you held onto your phone for four years instead of two! This is a great way to save $500 over this time period. If you really want to save in this area, consider a pre-paid plan. I know plenty of people that pay around $30 a month for a basic phone and low data plan. Here are some of the pros and cons of switching from a contract plan to a prepaid plan:
- Monthly savings (generally cheaper)
- Flexibility (cancel any time since you're not in a contract)
- No overage fees
- Phones can be more expensive
- Limited roaming and international call capabilities (may have to pay extra)
3. Prorate Utilities
If your electric or heating bill spikes during certain months and is lower other months, consider prorating your service. This works really well if you rely on the a/c or heating for half the year. I didn't even know this was an option until I called my utility company to make a payment. The rep asked if I wanted to consider prorating my service since some of my bills in the summer were around $300 but dropped down to below $100 in the winter. By switching to this method, I was able to predict my monthly utility bill instead of waiting around to see what it would be each month. If you prefer to stick to a monthly budget to optimize your spending and maximize your savings, prorating your utilities could allow them to become more regular fixed bills. Depending on the time of year you decide to do this, you could have instant savings and have an easier time budgeting each month!
4. A Pantry Challenge
You guys know I love to go out to eat. Especially if someone else is paying for it, like a mystery shopping company ;). However, this month I’m going to eat as many of the items in my pantry as I can to cut back on expenses. I normally don't stockpile, but I've found myself buying groceries lately and not using what's in my pantry and freezer. I'm talking about frozen fruit and veggies, pasta, sauce, soup, bread mixes, a bag of apples – the list goes on and on! I decided to take a week off from grocery shopping and use the staples that are in my kitchen. The hardest part about this challenge is that it's boring! To make this challenge exciting, I made a list of all the different meals I could make and stuck it on my fridge for inspiration. I've also looked at recipes online to find some dishes that I normally don't make to make it more fun. If you have trouble coming up with recipes like I often do, I'd recommend trying the $5 Meal Plan service. The $5 Meal Plan is a subscription-based service that sends you weekly meal plans for delicious meals that have inexpensive and natural ingredients and also require very little prep. You can check it out for free for 14 days and pay just $5/month for your meal plans after the trial ends!
If you are single, you could save anywhere from $50 – $100. If you're married or have a family, think how much more you could save in a week, potentially $100+. If you do a pantry challenge monthly, imagine how much food waste and money you could save. Even if you skipped purchasing groceries for a week, how much could you potentially save?
5. Haircuts and Nail Salons
Beauty care is such a tough category when it comes to saving money. One of the easiest ways to save money is with haircuts and nails. Do you really need to get your haircut every 6 to 8 weeks? Are you spending $40 – $80 on a mani/pedi every two weeks? Skip the nail services, and DIY it for a month! Consider switching to a beauty school. For years, I have gotten my haircut by my local beauty school. The students are eager and the instructors are monitoring the salon the entire time. I have never had a bad experience! Most beauty schools also offer nail services, eyebrows and hairstyles (think prom, weddings). I used to pay around $130 every time I needed a cut and color (including tip). Once I switched to a beauty school, I was out the door for under $50. That's an $80 savings, not to mention hundreds of dollars a year. The best part – my cut and color looked exactly like what I would get at a regular hair salon. If you love to pamper yourself but know you could be saving more in this area, check to see if there are any beauty schools in your area and compare the rates for the services you need.
6. Save and Double Check on Fees
If you can't pay off your credit card each month, call and ask for a lower APR rate. I know this may seem a little awkward, but do it anyways. Credit card debt burdens many Americans and it's one of the worst types of debt because the interest rate is often so high. A lower interest rate or temporary 0% APR will help you save more money and pay your debt down faster as a result. When it comes to lowering your interest rate, the credit card company isn't just going to do this for you – you have to ask for it! Make sure to ask if the person you are speaking to has the authority to change your rate. If you pay on time and have a good credit history with them, they usually will do this. Sometimes it does involve running a credit check, but if this means lowering your APR rate several points, why not? Don't forget to review your other bills each month, like your credit card statements, cell phone bill and cable bill. Have you ever paid a bill late and been charged a late fee? That's the worst! I recently forgot to pay my credit card and was charged a $25 late fee for paying a day late. That's a ridiculous amount to pay! I called my credit card company and they took it off my bill. If this happens to you – don't accept it. Always call and try to have it taken off. Potential Savings: depends on account balances. The savings could be small or big, depending on what you can negotiate!
7. Sell Something
Bringing a little more money in can always boost your savings! Go through your closets and list stuff on eBay or Craigslist. I know you all have at least $50 to $100 sitting in your closet. If you put your mind to it, you may have the whole $500! If you need help with Ebay, I wrote a tutorial on how to sell and ship an item. One of the best things I ever sold was my MacBook. After I spilled water all over it and dropped it on the floor (bad luck right?), I took it to a repair shop and they were able to save the hard drive for me. I ended up selling the Macbook to a guy on Craigslist for $475 in parts. Consider selling old electronics, clothes and purses, outdoor equipment, tools, camping gear, furniture – the list is endless! You could probably make $500 in this category alone!