Are you tired of living paycheck-to-paycheck? We don’t blame you. However, as of 2013, nearly 75 percent of Americans live this way, waiting for the next check from their employer so they can make rent or buy groceries. If you want to join the one-quarter of Americans who enjoy more spending power, here are four ways to save $1,000 in just one year.
Branded merchandise can cost much more than its generic counterpart, so why part with more of your hard-earned cash? When you pick up a prescription at the drug store, shop for back-to-school clothes with the kids, or stock up on groceries at the supermarket, pay attention to labels. Generic alternatives can get you one step closer to saving $1,000 in the next year. Choose well-loved generic brands that enjoy excellent reputations among consumers.
When you shop for generic products, use prepaid debit cards to track your spending. You’ll notice that your expenses decline as you buy less costly merchandise, and your prepaid debit cards can help you allocate money toward specific expenses.
Run the Numbers
While $1,000 might seem like a lot of cash, it becomes less intimidating when you break it down. Spread over the entire year, you’ll need to save approximately $2.73 per day. Looked at another way, you’ll need to sock away about $20 per week.
That sounds more doable, right? Bankrate offers several ways to put extra cash in your pocket without impacting your lifestyle too drastically. Those pennies, nickels, and dimes add up quickly, especially if you focus on daily or weekly goals instead of an annual milestone.
Most importantly, set your goal. You know you want to save $1,000 over the next 12 months, so set aside money each week toward that goal. If you stay focused, you’ll be less likely to fall off the wagon and spend frivolously. Prepaid debit cards can help you stay on track.
Put Your Cash Away
It might feel good to have some cash in your wallet, but you might find yourself more tempted to spend it that way. Instead, get a Green Dot prepaid debit card and put all your funds on the card. You’ll have to think a little harder before you swipe your plastic, which might help you cut down on spending.
For even more benefits, sign up for direct deposit on your Green Dot prepaid debit card. Every time you get paid, your money gets automatically deposited onto your card. This way, you can decide exactly how to budget your money during the pay period. As long as you set aside money for savings, you’ll work toward your $1,000 goal.
Many consumers benefit from dividing their purchases into two categories: essentials and non-essentials. Reserve one Green Dot prepaid debit card for the bills and other expenses you incur every month, from grocery shopping to the electric bill. Add some money to another card for non-essential treats like going out to eat, buying a book, or seeing a movie. These two categories are separate from savings, and budgeting effectively will help you stay on track toward your $1,000 goal.
Check Your Employee Benefits
Before you buy a television, car, blender, or another item, look at your employee benefits. If you work for a large company, it probably has arrangements with several other businesses to offer its employees discounts. You might save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a new car, for example. Even if you only shave $50 off a replacement smartphone, you’re that much closer to your $1,000 savings goal.
You can also check into memberships with warehouse clubs. While you have to put up the annual fee, you can shave hundreds of dollars off your clothing and grocery purchases. Use a prepaid debit card to manage memberships and to order products through your employer’s savings program.
Saving $1,000 sounds difficult, but if you add up little efforts, you’ll end up with great savings. Before you spend that Christmas cash, get a card* and start socking more money away for next year.
*Disclaimer: Fees and limits apply. See Cardholder Agreement for details.