How To Save $1,000 By The End Of The Year — Without Even Noticing

Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
News flash: There are a little less than nine weeks until 2017. And it is totally possible to save four figures before then — without sacrificing socializing, travel plans, or Thanksgiving-eve catch-up cocktails with your out-of-town besties.

Here, our 29 best tips to save. Use one or use them all to have extra cash left over to spend on gifts, travel, or an amazing NYE celebration. The idea is to cut the little stuff you won’t miss out of your life, apply smart savings hacks to your everyday routine, and strategically spend on the things you need. Some tips will only save you a dollar or two, and some (like taking $15 out of your account every single day) will lead you to the big $1,000 in one step.

However you decide to save, one thing's certain: You're going to have more money than you do currently, which is always a good thing.
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Quit Boutique Fitness Classes
For the next two months, cut pricey workout classes out of your routine. At-home workouts are great, but if you’re addicted to the camaraderie of a class, check out local in-person studios and see what they offer for an intro rate or class. Chances are, the intro class will be a lot less than the regular cost. Consider it your chance to try new studios and develop a new workout strategy in the New Year.

Amount Saved: $20 to $60 a week (assuming a $20/class average)
Amount Saved By End OF Year: $180 to $540
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
DIY Date Night
Whether it’s hanging out with your friends or your S.O., make sure one evening is either at your casa or their casa. The trick is to make it fun. Have a Pumpkin Spice beer-tasting party, have everyone bring their favorite versions of chips and salsa, organize a book swap or closet cleanout, and it feels way less “we’re doing this to save money” and way more “we’re doing this to do something different.”

Amount Saved: $50 a week
Amount Saved By End Of Year: $450
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Downgrade Your Phone Plan
Are you actually using the maximum amount of data allotted by your plan? Are you sure? If you’re always around Wi-Fi, it makes sense to primarily use your phone on that and go as bare-bones as possible on data.

Amount Saved: $10-$20 a month
Amount Saved By End Of Year: $20-$40
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Set Up An Office Snack System
Do you know you get hangry at 3 p.m.? Chances are, so does someone else in your office. Instead of running down to the convenience store and spending $5 to tame the hunger beast, grab some healthy snacks on the weekends and let your work bud know that this week, snacks are on you. Next week, they can return the favor. A box of granola bars, bag of pretzels, a container of hummus, and a six-pack of sparkling water will cost you about $10 — way better than the $25 you could easily spend a week on the same stuff.

Amount Saved: $15 a week
Amount Saved By End Of Year: $135
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Have Lunch Do Double-Duty
We’re not going to ask you to give up buying lunch if it’s the thing that makes you happy. But we are asking you to be strategic about how you spend your lunch money — just until the end of the year. Do you normally buy lunch five times a week? Twice a week, try getting a meal that can do double-duty as dinner. I’ve started adding a $2 order of rice to a lunch-bowl order I love, and I find that — plus an extra $2 for extra chicken — can easily be saved for dinner or lunch the next day. It’s much less expensive than Seamless-ing both meals, and still makes me feel like I’m indulging.

Amount Saved: $20 a week
Amount Saved By End OF Year: $180
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Be All About Bartering
Have a trip to the airport coming up? Chances are, so do a lot of your friends. Ask around and see if you can trade airport drop-offs and pick-ups. Yes, you may have to wake up at 5 a.m. one morning around the holidays. But it totally beats the $20-plus Uber fare.

Amount Saved By End Of Year: $20 to $120 (depending on how much you travel)
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Be Vigilant About Coupons
Before you buy anything, double-check to see if there’s a coupon code on offer. (It's as simple as Googling "coupon code" and the retailer's name.)

It’s also worth keeping the stuff you plan to purchase in your cart for a few days — many retailers will cut the price if they think you’re on the fence about buying. For an all-in-one way to do this, try the app Honey, which automatically finds coupon codes and the least expensive prices.

Amount Saved: $10-$200, depending on how much you spend
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Transfer All Your Gift Cards To Amazon
If you’re like most people, you’ve got a wallet full of gift cards you plan to use — someday — and an increasingly long gift list you need to buy. Cardpool lets you automatically “sell” gift cards for certain retailers in exchange for an automatic Amazon gift card. The site takes a hefty 10% fee — but an Amazon credit is almost as good as cash, and can help you pay for gifts or everyday household stuff.

Amount Saved: Depends on how many gift cards. If you had $100 in gift card value, you'd have $90 to spend on Amazon.
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Set Up A Direct Daily Debit
When you can't see the money, you can't spend the money. Setting up your bank account to directly transfer $15 a day leads to $1,000 a year. Doesn’t that sound totally doable?

Amount Saved By End Of Year: $1,000
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Skip The Gifts
Have an annual gift exchange with your friends? Now's the time to start the group text suggesting that this year, you skip the candles, journals, and novelty T-shirts in favor of a new tradition. Maybe it's just doing a get-together without presents; maybe it's spending $20 max for wine and cheese for a group dinner, but whatever it is, cutting out those non-essential gifts will add up.

Amount Saved By End Of Year: $120
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Commit To Using Cartwheel
Chances are, you go to Target on the regular. The best way to maximize your savings is using the Cartwheel app, especially since it also accepts manufacturer coupons. Download it, use it, and watch the savings trickle in.

Amount Saved: $5-10 a week, assuming a $50-$100 once-a-week Target run.
Amount Saved By End Of The Year: $45 to $90
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Have A Savings Friend
Here's the thing: The more you want to save, the more support you need to have. So set up a group of other friends committed to saving $1,000 before the end of the year, too. Not only can these friends keep you accountable, they can also form a great resource to draw from. For example, say you want to try a recipe and realize you're missing a few key spices. Instead of ponying up the cash for a few containers, text the group and see what they have. This is the sharing economy on the most basic, NBD level, and it can absolutely save you cash — and strengthen your friendships.

Amount Saved: However much you want!
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Buy Generic
This is a common-sense tip, but if you're a two-ply-loving TP user, it makes sense to go minimal — at least for a few weeks. For the most part, generic brands are often just as good as their namesake counterparts and can cost 20 to 40% less. Paper products, medication, and pantry staples like flour, sugar, and cereals are all good generic bets.

Amount Saved Per Week: $5 to $10
Amount Saved By End OF Year: $45 to $90
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Download $$$-Saving Apps
It seems like every day, a new money-saving app comes out. Focus on the stuff you regularly spend cash on the most, whether it's gas, parking, or happy hours, and download the appropriate app. Even small savings add up for the stuff you use almost every day.

Amount Saved Per Week: $10 and up
Amount Saved By End Of Year: $90
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Put $20 In An Envelope Every Friday
Yes, it's the old-school version of transferring cash from checking. But if you're the type of person who always likes to have cash on hand, this can be a really tangible way to "see" your savings. This is especially true if you're like me and take $80 in cash out for the weekend so you can easily split the bill or pay bartenders in cash. Because when you've only got $60 in your wallet, you'll only spend $60.

Amount Saved Per Week: $20
Amount Saved By End Of Year: $180
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Make A Spend/Save Match
We're not asking you to stop taking a late-night Ubers. But we are suggesting you take the equivalent amount and save it. Why? It makes you more conscious of the cash you're spending and provides a tangible and doable savings strategy. After all, if you already have wiggle room in your cash flow for an Uber, you have the wiggle room to save that amount, too.

Amount Saved Per Week: $10 to $20
Amount Saved By End Of Year: $180 to $360
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Trade In Your Tech
Chances are, you have one old phone/iPad/laptop you're no longer using. Depending on the condition, you can get cash back — even for gadgets with cracked screens. And if you're going through the moves to recycle your tech, let your friends know you'd be happy to take their old stuff off their hands. Ask for $20 of the sale price — you'd be surprised at how many mail- and detail-averse friends would be happy to take you up on the offer.

Amount Saved Per Year: $100 or more, depending on the amount of tech you have to sell.
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Share A Netflix Account
If you're not already doing this, now's the time to start. By splitting your account with your partner, BFF, or family, you can save $6 a month for your Premium account. Sounds NBD, but it adds up.

Amount Saved Per Month: $6
Amount Saved By End Of Year: $12
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Hack Your Coffee Order
Everyone tells you to make your own coffee. And yes, it's an easy way to save significantly. But we also know that sometimes, you just want that red cup. So learn some smart swaps.

If you're going on a coffee date with a friend, order one Venti Chili Mocha (or whatever) with two tall cups, and you'll save $2.50. Or DIY your own iced latte (two espresso shots over a cup of ice) and you save $2.50.

Amount Saved: $5 assuming two Starbucks runs per week.
Amount Saved By The End of the Year: $45
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Be Smart About Your Drink Order
Fact: It's so easy for bars to up-sell — even charging extra for a fancy-sounding name (because, admit it, The Pirate's Curse sounds so much better than a gin and tonic, right?) The best way to make sure your bar tab is reasonable is to have a few go-tos that can work anywhere. Craft beer is always a good option — a pint will run you $7 to $9 pretty much anywhere.

Not a beer person? Stick to well cocktails — and don't be shy about asking the bartender what your most economical choice is, to give you enough left over to tip.

Amount Saved: $10 assuming you go out two nights a week
Amount Saved By The End of The Year: $90
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Meet A Friend For Breakfast
This is one of my favorite suggestions of all time. I'm not a morning person, but I've found that meeting a friend for a quick coffee and bagel before work energizes me and isn't the same wallet-suck as dinner or drinks is. Not only that, but it's often easier to find a morning you're both free than an evening. Swap one get-together for breakfast and you save money and arrive at the office in a good mood. Win-win!

Amount Saved: $15 a week assuming one friend date
Amount Saved By End Of Year: $135
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Skip The Mani
Yes, 'tis the season for festive nails. But if you do nail maintenance at home, you can get a polish change at the salon for around 50% the cost of a full manicure (applicable to traditional manicures, not gel). Your nails still look nice, but you're saving major $$$.

Amount Saved Per Week: $6
Amount Saved By The End Of The Year: $54
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Go To The Guy's Side Of The Aisle
File this under "unfair" — a ton of women's grooming products, like razors, shampoo, and body wash, are subject to the so-called "pink tax." Basically, when a product is marketed toward women, it is sometimes sold at nearly 30% more than an identical product marketed toward men. Go for unisex items and save big at the drugstore.

Amount Saved: $9 assuming a $30 essentials run
Amount Saved By End Of Year: $36 assuming you buy products two times a month.
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Buy In Bulk
Time to schedule a Costco run — and buy the staples that will last you well into 2017. Buying in bulk saves big: 30 rolls of TP costs $35 at the big-box store, versus $6 for four at a local grocery store. Is storage space a factor? Go with a few friends and split up your purchases — it's more fun that way, too.

Amount Saved: $20 to $50 — and the bulk-buying means you don't need to buy TP or paper towels until 2017!
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Sell Your Old Books
We love books. But chances are, you've got some taking up space on your bookshelf that you're not going to crack open again (hello, Philosophy 101 textbook). But chances are, someone needs it. Check out Bookscouter, which searches 30 websites to find the maximum prices you can receive for your unwanted books.

Amount Saved: $5 and up, depending on how many books you sell.
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Make Some Calls
Got an hour? Calling your bank, your cable services provider, and even your auto insurance provider and asking for a discount can save pretty big bucks. You do need to have a reason, though. Say your cable company is providing an intro package for new customers. Call up and say you've been a subscriber for X years and were inquiring about the lower rate advertised. Your bank might drop a monthly service fee if you explain you've been with them for five years, but a no-fee monthly rate is making you consider going elsewhere. And your auto insurance may be able to go down if you haven't been in an accident or have updated your address to an area the company might deem safer (for example, moving from the city to the suburbs, or moving to a building with a parking garage). Bottom line: It pays to ask.

Amount Saved: $0 to $30
Amount Saved By End Of Year: Up to $60
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Get A Piggy Bank
And while you're at it, comb your winter jacket pockets for stray five-dollar bills and don't let quarters die a slow death at the bottom of your purse. The point is twofold: First, you find some extra cash, but more importantly, you're mentally reminding yourself that every little cent counts. Now, you can do what you want with the change. Some people like to bring it to the bank for bills; others use it as a way to buy treats, guilt-free (something about buying a $1 soda in quarters feels like less of a commitment than a bill). Whatever it is, you're getting ahead.

Amount Saved: $20 and up
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Be Strategic About Shopping
Saving money doesn't mean completely giving up your habits or the stuff you love. You can even save money at Whole Foods — look at the sales flyer prior to shopping, and you'll have a sense of what purchases will give you the most bang for your buck. Becoming familiar with the least expensive items at speciality grocery stores like Trader Joe's can also minimize your spending.

Amount Saved Per Month: $10-$30 assuming a $50 to $100 shopping trip.
Amount Saved By End Of The Year: $20 to $60
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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Follow Brands You Love On Social Media
More and more stores offer their flash deals and sales online, announcing them on Instagram. And if you don't want a random photo of grass-fed beef disrupting the flow of your feed, consider making a new Insta-account just devoted to following deals. Some brands to follow: Whole Foods, Dunkin' Donuts, Costco, and TJ Maxx.

Amount Saved: $5 and up, depending on usage


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