How To Save $500 In 30 Days | Personal finance

The holidays will be here before you know it, and if inflation squeezes your budget, you may run out of money. Fortunately, there are relatively easy ways to cut costs.

“Families and individuals get used to taking on certain conveniences in their lives, which add up quickly,” says Kortney Ziegler, founder and CEO of WellMoney, an online money-sharing community. “Rethinking assumptions about transportation, how and where you shop, and household habits can quickly generate up to $500 in savings.”

Here are some of the expenses that can be reduced over the next 30 days to save $500 before the holidays. The cost savings will vary by family, and some households may find that these adjustments will earn them significantly more money in the bank.

Skip takeout once a week – $40 savings

The morning latte is the fruit at hand whenever someone is trying to save money.

“Cut out your Starbucks habit,” says Joe Buhrmann, senior financial planning consultant at wealth management platform eMoney. And if you already brew your coffee at home, consider making your lunch or skipping the drive through once a week.

An individual could thus save $10 per week, or $40 in savings per month.

Cancel a subscription service $10 savings

Most households have at least one subscription service, and since these are usually paid for automatically, it can be easy to forget how much you’re spending.

“Subscriptions to streaming services, in particular, can add up quickly,” says Sean Fox, chief revenue officer at Achieve, a digital personal finance company in San Mateo, Calif. “Come until you really look.”

In addition to streaming services, look for other subscriptions like Amazon’s Subscribe & Save deliveries, Audible’s e-books, or beauty subscription boxes like Ipsy that can drain your bank account. Canceling just one could save you $10 per month.

Shop around for lower insurance premiums $40 savings

If you pay your insurance premiums monthly, finding cheaper coverage could save you money before the holidays.

“Now is a good time to shop around for a lot of your insurance needs,” Buhrmann says. “It could save you hundreds of dollars a year.”

Changing carriers may be the best way to get cheaper rates, but if you like your current insurance company, increasing your deductible could be another way to lower premiums. Just make sure you have enough savings to cover the deductible amount you choose.

Switch to online bill payment $6 savings

The stamps are now 60 cents each, which means it’s time to switch to online bill paying if you haven’t already.

“If you keep sending checks to businesses, that’s $6 a month (for 10 invoices),” Buhrmann says. While that’s not a lot, it equates to $72 a year that you should be spending on something else.

Many banks offer their customers free online bill payment. Or you may be able to set up automatic payments directly with utilities, credit card issuers, and other companies.

Combine errands or carpooling $32 savings

Gas is expensive, so if you can save even two gallons a week, that’s $32 more in your wallet each month, assuming a price of $4 a gallon.

Working from home, carpooling, combining errands or taking your kids on the bus are all options for driving less, according to Debra Radway, a senior lecturer at Arizona State University’s WP Carey School of Business who teaches financial planning courses through ASU Online.

Switch to Store brand groceries $80 savings

If you insist on buying brand name groceries, you may be paying a premium. A recent analysis by the CNET website estimates that store brands cost 40% less than their branded counterparts.

For a one-person household that spends $200 a month on groceries, that could add up to $80 a month. Families and individuals with larger budgets could save even more.

Another way to save on groceries is to head to discount supermarkets like Aldi. “Cheaper stores can save you significant amounts of money compared to high-end options,” says Ziegler.

Go meatless once a week $40 savings

The price of meat, fish, poultry and eggs rose 10.5% in September 2022 from a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To save money, look for lower cost ingredients.

“Replace pasta and sauce or rice dishes with fish or meat dishes once a week,” suggests Radway. She estimates that going without meat once a week will save $10 a week, for a total savings of $40 for the month.

Eat from the pantry $40 savings

It’s not uncommon for families to have pantries and freezers full of food bought on sale or bought for meals that were never prepared. One week this month, get creative with your meals and plan your menu around these ingredients.

You may be able to significantly reduce your grocery bill that week or even skip a trip to the store altogether.

Replace water with soda $30 savings

Another suggestion from Radway is to replace sodas and other beverages with water. She estimates she saves $1 a day for it, though those with a serious soda habit can save more.

Of course, to maximize the savings from this strategy, drink filtered or tap water. Just swapping a bottle of soda for a bottle of water at the store probably won’t save you much.

Stay home for a weekend $75 savings

Do your weekend plans usually involve going on a road trip, going to see a movie, or going out to dinner? Staying home on the weekend and finding free entertainment — Buhrmann suggests a night of games or puzzles — can be big savings.

A family of four could expect to spend $68.73 on movie tickets and treats, according to an analysis by The Hustle website. Add in the cost of gas or other incidentals and you could expect to save $75 by skipping the ride.

Lower the thermostat $17 savings

It won’t be immediate savings in your pocket, but you should have more money before the holidays if you put on a sweater and turn down your thermostat.

Lowering your home’s temperature 7 to 10 degrees below its normal setting for eight hours a day could save up to 10% on heating costs, according to the US Department of Energy.

The National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association estimates average heating costs this winter at $1,208. Assuming a seven-month heating season, that means turning down the thermostat could save $17 per month.

Redeem loyalty points $50 savings

It seems every major retailer has a loyalty program with points that can be redeemed for valuable rewards. Depending on what you’ve accumulated, this could save you $50 or more this month.

“Always be aware of loyalty points,” advises Buhrmann. He notes that he was recently able to redeem points from a supermarket scheme for a free tank of fuel.

Check with your supermarket, gas station, and credit card rewards programs to see if you have enough points to redeem for cash back or rebate on a necessary purchase. If you use cashback programs for your online purchases, such as Rakuten or Honey, check your balances as well.

Cancel your gym membership $40 savings

No list of money-saving suggestions would be complete without the advice to cancel your membership at a neglected gym, which could net you an extra $40 this month.

“Do you or could you exercise outdoors, at home or at a local recreation center for much less?” asks Fox.

If you don’t have a gym membership — or you have one and are using it — you may have another membership that could be canceled instead. For example, if you belong to a website like Craftsy or Masterclass and you rarely use it, consider canceling that subscription.

Timeline of savings to save $500

To see how this savings strategy might work in practice, here’s an example of how the savings stack up throughout the month.

  • Skip once takeout – $10
  • Save two gallons of gas – $8
  • Buy store brand groceries – $20
  • Go meatless for a meal – $10
  • Drink tap water – $7
  • Cancel Subscription – $10

  • Skip once takeout – $10
  • Save two gallons of gas – $8
  • Buy store brand groceries – $20
  • Go meatless for a meal – $10
  • Drink tap water – $7
  • Upgrade to cheaper insurance – $40

Week three – $210 savings

  • Skip once takeout – $10
  • Stay Home This Weekend – $75
  • Save two gallons of gas – $8
  • Buy store brand groceries – $20
  • Go meatless for a meal – $10
  • Drink tap water – $7
  • Eat from the pantry – $40
  • Cancellation of gym or other membership – $40

Fourth week – $130 savings

  • Skip once takeout – $10
  • Save two gallons of gas – $8
  • Buy store brand groceries – $20
  • Go meatless for a meal – $10
  • Drink water – $9
  • Redeem Loyalty Points – $50
  • Pay next month’s bills online – $6
  • Savings by lowering the thermostat – $17

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