10 Ways To Save $1K This Year

The holidays are so great: Family time, vacation, and unprecedented credit card debt. If you're feeling a little drained this week, you're not alone. Your bank account has a hangover, too. But, a new year is on the horizon — 365 days of chances to get your financial shit together. The best news is that it doesn't take much effort to save a significant sum. Say, $1,000?
We rounded up a heap of dummy-proof saving tips, did some calculations, and came up with 10 ways to help you save $1K. Rated on a difficulty scale of 1-10, we tailored these tricks to be reasonable and flexible to your own particular budget, lifestyle, and goals. Some of these tips will get you to $1K in two months. Others could take a year. $1,000 isn't a life-changing sum, but if you're saving up for a trip or paying down a debt, it can make a serious dent. Above all, it's attainable — no investments, no risks, and (almost) no math. So, why not?
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Simple as that. Put 20 bucks in an envelope once a week and by this time next year, you'll have a thousand. Tip: Put the envelope in a highly visible spot in your home so you remember to add the $20 every week. (Also, so you can stare at it and fantasize about how you're going to spend the cash.)

Level Of Difficulty: 2. The envelope trick is dummy-proof and adaptable. Want to save more (or faster)? Try $40 per week. If $20's too much to lose, start with $5. Either way, you'll wind up with a wad of cash you didn't have before.

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I mean, duh. It's not exactly simple, but it is a no-brainer. A smoking habit is a huge drain on your wallet. This year, the average cost of cigarettes was $18.70 per pack. Quitting might not be easy, but it will leave you with better health and way more cash in your wallet.

Level Of Difficulty: 10, if we're being fair to the regular smokers out there. The good news is there are tons of resources out there that can help you, free of charge. If you smoke casually, you should save $1,000 in about a year. But, if you're a pack-a-day smoker, you'll hit $1k just two months after quitting.
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Soda alone costs the average American household $850 annually. Add to that the $100/year most people spend on bottled water, aaaand the occasional (or not so occasional) $10 juice, and you're out the cost of a roundtrip international flight — in peak season. Dig out your water bottle and get to know your tap. Soft drink vs. Paris?

Level Of Difficulty: 3. Depending on your current habits, replacing a drink with water will save you a thousand in a year. To calculate exactly, track your beverage-spending for a week, then do the math to see how long it will take (or how many drinks you can supplement) to reach $1K.
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While it's easy to dismiss coupon-clipping as a sucker's game, savvy users report savings of over $1-2K per year. We don't recommend you go the Extreme Couponing route and devote your life to bargain-hunting, but a few of these money-saving apps can actually save you significant cash.

Checkout 51 is a great place to start. This app has weekly specials on basic grocery and drugstore items, giving you up to $3 back for each one you buy. Snap a phone pic of your receipt after you shop and the app adds money to your account.

Sure, if you don't shop for groceries every week it takes time to add up to big money — but it takes almost no time to use the app. The bottom line is you're getting back cash buying items you'd purchase anyway. Throw in a few more of these tried and true shopping apps and you'll be a convert:

Grocery Pal: Make a shopping list on your phone and let the app find local specials on each of the items.

Coupon Sherpa: Get coupon codes for hundreds of brands and stores (everything from Kmart to Kiehl's), then just scan your phone at checkout.

Key Ring: Keep all your loyalty cards in one place. No more plastic jamming up your wallet.

Level Of Difficulty: 4. Seriously. Takes two minutes.
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82% of American workers buy coffee every week. On average, they spend $1,092 on the beverage every year. Let that sink in for a minute. We'd never begrudge you your daily Starbucks excursion, but if you're looking for a simple way to save a thousand bucks, it doesn't get much simpler than this: stop buying coffee.

If your office offers the free stuff, drink the free stuff. If the free stuff sucks, try making it at home. You'll still be paying approximately 1/4 of what you'd pay at a coffee shop. Now you get to fantasize about how to spend all that cash and line-waiting time.

Level Of Difficulty: 5 (maybe 6 during Pumpkin Spice season).
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This takes the envelope trick and steps it up a notch (plus, earns you a little interest). Take a look at your bank statement and see how much wiggle room you have between paychecks. Decide on an amount you'd like to save each week and set up an automatic reoccurring transfer to your savings account — either weekly, monthly, or for every paycheck.

Level Of Difficulty: 1. It helps to start with a small amount on a weekly basis — if you know your spending habits this trick is entirely painless. If you've already tried the envelope trick and wound up digging into it for cash, this is your best bet.
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Obvious, right? Brown-bagging lunch is the #1 money-saving tip on everyone's list for a reason: it works. More than half of Americans claim that ordering lunch is their biggest spending pitfall during the workday. They're not wrong. Most of us order at least three times per week, at a cost of $10-15 per lunch. The average cost of of a homemade lunch is $1-3.

If you want to figure out your personal expenditure, check out this handy (terrifying) brown-bag lunch calculator. But, statistically speaking, just six months of DIYing lunch will leave you $1K richer. Yikes/yay!

Level Of Difficulty: 3-6. There's a difference between making a tuna sandwich and making boeuf bourguignon. But, if you need help, we've got you covered.
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For a number of reasons, people typically spend more when using cards versus cash — like, 20% more. Financial and psychological studies indicate that our brains are simply more willing to part with money we can't see.

So, put your cards in the freezer for a while and give yourself a weekly cash budget. It doesn't even need to be a cutting-back budget. Just take a look at the money you realistically need every week, then withdraw that amount on Monday. Need help? Here are five billion templates and apps you can use. With the cards out of reach, you'll be far less likely to impulse-buy or overspend. Of course, if you do see areas where you could reasonably spend less dough (ahem, lunch), you can adjust your budget accordingly. But, the key word in the cash-budget trick is cash.

Level Of Difficulty: 7. We're being generous, but we know it's hard to let go of your credit card. Give it a few weeks and this 7 should go down to a 3.
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The best part about this trick is you're not cutting out a thing. Keep the coffee! Log onto Seamless! Diet Cokes for everyone!

Choose something you regularly spend money on (gas, taxis, bagels, whatever) and create a spend/save match. For every late-night cab home, put an equal amount into your savings account. Simple as that.

Level Of Difficulty: 4. The other best part of this trick is that it's adaptable depending on your budget. If you don't have much wiggle room, choose something small. Saving a little money is better than none at all. And, if you have more flexibility (or you want to rack up that chunk of cash faster), choose something bigger, but still manageable.
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Each year, the average American spends $500 on booze, $2,700 on dining out, and almost $3,000 on recreation. Combined with things like transportation, tips, etc., going out is — drumroll, please — really fucking expensive.

This time of year, it also kind of sucks. We're heading into the slush season, people. Without the holiday season forcing you out of the house, take the opportunity to stay in and save up cash for warmer weather.

Level Of Difficulty: 5. If you're a go-er out-er, this might be tough at first. But, staying in doesn't mean you can't have buddies over to join you! 'Tis the season for Sunday baking ventures, cozy DIY dinners, and secretly reading 50 Shades Of Grey before the movie comes out. Let's be real: Friends is about to hit Netflix. You'll be fine.
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