With the holiday season nearing, every dollar that you can save will help a lot towards adding to your gift-giving budget. If not that, there could be some other thing that you are saving for. What if you can add $500 into your savings fund, no matter what you are setting aside the money for?
Here, we will take a look at what you can actually do if you have $500 saved up somewhere, and how you can set aside that amount of money in a span of one month.
Creative Ways to Save $500 This Month
First, let’s take a look at what you can actually do with $500. If you have a huge financial goal of buying a house, a car or if you need to replace a major appliance at home, $500 is a big enough contribution. Saving this amount per month will give you $6,000 – which will go a long way towards that home or car deposit.
If you’re planning to take a long, well-earned vacation from work, the same amount can go towards your spending money for the trip – or it can pay for a portion of your accommodations or airline tickets. You can use it to add to your retirement contributions or your kids’ college fund. If not that, why not use the money to build an emergency fund? Those who have debts can pay off all high-interest rate cards first to eliminate compound interest, and work towards building a solid nest egg.
If you have no immediate financial goals, you can use $500 as an initial investment to make your money grow. There are many paths that you can take for this. One is putting the money on DRIPS or DRPs, a Dividend Reinvestment Plan which gives investors the opportunity to buy stocks directly from companies even without the help of a broker.
As long as you can afford to buy at least one share, you can put your money on this investment and watch it grow. You can also invest in traditional individual stocks or mutual funds. You can even start your own business with $500. Starting a money-earning blog, offering dog-walking or dog-sitting services and advertising through flyers – there are many small businesses that you can begin even with very little capital.
Ways to Save $500 This Month
Based from the examples above, you can see how even a seemingly small amount goes a long way towards giving you financial security. If you would like to achieve your short-term and long-term financial goals, exactly how can you start saving $500 per month? Take a look at the following list:
If you’re paying for a car, determine if it is a need or a convenience
If you are fresh out of college, just secured a job and are still paying off those student loans, you might think that a car is something that you cannot live without. If you live in an area where it is highly inconvenient to take public transport, you might want to invest in a second hand vehicle first. But if you do live somewhere that you can easily take cabs, bus or train rides, a car loan payment might be something that you can remove from your monthly budget.
Even if you are paying for a car, there are ways for you to cut back on your car maintenance expenses.
When filling up the tank, for example, you can visit sites like GasBuddy.com which tells you which gas station offers the lowest rates. You can also cut back on the number of days that you are driving by joining a carpooling service. You can even plan to do all your errands in one day to save on gas. Expenses related to car maintenance takes up a huge chunk of your budget, so finding ways to save on it or eliminating it will save you a lot.
Slash those pricey monthly subscription fees
Financial experts recommend paying special attention to subscription services that automatically get renewed every month. Do you even remember signing up for that pricey gym membership plan when you gained a few extra pounds over the holidays last year? You might have used the facilities for a few months but totally forgot about it – and still not cancel the service.
The same thing holds true for organization memberships, charitable donations, audiobook/ newspaper/ magazine subscriptions, television or music services. If you can, ditch your landline and cable or satellite TV subscriptions and simply use similar services over the Internet. You can place calls online or watch premium cable TV shows through streaming services while paying just a fraction of the price.
Stop carrying a balance on your credit card
According to Consumerism Commentary, the average debt of a consumer is $2,200 and the annual interest charge for this is 15.2%. Even if you have a couple of thousand dollars saved up on a savings account, the interest rate that your credit card bills will accrue will simply negate any financial progress that you think you’re making. As such, it pays to pay the full amount of your debts first so that you would not have any interest or fees to add onto your expenses. After your debt is cleared, that’s the time that you can work towards giving your savings fund a boost.
Go for do-it-yourself treatments and at-home entertainment options
Just because you are trying to save $500 per month does not mean that you should give up on life’s little luxuries.
Women can have at-home spa sessions using natural ingredients which can be found in the kitchen for facial or hair treatments. Men can have friendly poker sessions at home instead of hitting the casinos.
Instead of eating at a restaurant, you can have a potluck dinner or outdoor barbecue at home. Ditch movie theatre tickets for DVD marathon nights right in the comfort of your home, and all you need is a cheap pack of microwaveable popcorn.
Trim your energy consumption
Heating and cooling costs make up 50% of your utility bills. By simply making sure that everything is sealed properly, you can prevent cooled or warmed air from escaping outside. The heating or cooling appliance works overtime if there are lots of areas where the air can seep through, so winter-proof your home prior to the winter month.
Phantom electricity is also another factor that adds to your consumption, which occurs when the electrical appliances are left on Standby Mode instead of completely turned off. Using a power strip will help you get rid of this. When replacing big or small appliances, make sure to choose an energy saving model.
There are plenty of other things that you can do at home to save on electricity, and make sure that all family members are doing it as well so you can boost your savings.
Go for generic and store brands
Don’t discount the generic and store brands when filling out prescription medication or buying body care, hair care or cosmetic products. An acne-formulated facial wash, for example, might cost double or triple if it is under a popular cosmetic brand.
However, a drugstore brand with the exact set of ingredients works just as well – and you don’t have to burn a hole in your pocket while buying it. The same thing applies for the other products that you are buying, always look for cheaper store brands or generic options.
Get the entire family to join in your saving campaign
If you have a big family and you are the only one who is in on the campaign to save money, your efforts might not amount to a total savings of $500 per month. But if you will get your spouse and the kids to join, you can all add to the piggy bank – virtual or otherwise – and reach your financial goals in no time.
Add to your income
If you’re having a hard time looking for areas of your monthly budget to trim, why not simply add to your income? Get a part-time job, start an online business, go freelancing – there are plenty of income-earning opportunities, no matter how small, that you can easily take on.
The good news is that these opportunities exist without the need for you to shell out anything on capital. If there is capital needed, it’s probably just to advertise your business locally so you need to spend on printing flyers. Otherwise, you can use the old-fashioned word-of-mouth advertising to spread the word about your business.
Other ways to save $500 in one month
Reviewing your insurance policies every month, using your spare change, ditching the fancy lattes for home-brewed coffee, using a refillable bottle instead of buying bottled water – when you add all these seemingly small efforts altogether, they will surely add up. In no time at all, you will find that you have saved around $500 in one month and you can use the funds to realize your long-term or short-term financial goals.