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Need to save up for a really cheap car, a new business wardrobe, or 1000 $1 bills to put in your bathtub and swim around in? Try one or more of these simple tips to save cash and you’ll find squirreling away $1000 a breeze.
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Pay Off Your Debt Faster
Whether it’s credit card debt, a student loan, or a mortgage, paying more than your minimum monthly payment can save you a significant chunk of change in just a year. The great thing about this tactic is that you end up making far fewer payments and settle your debt that much faster, and you’ll save hundreds or thousands of dollars in interest.
When you pay off your debt at a faster rate, you pay less interest–it’s that simple. So pay above your minimum monthly payment on that that line of credit, or initiate an accelerated bi-weekly payment plan on your mortgage, and you can look forward to big savings in your pocket and being debt-free that much faster.
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Sometimes saving money can be as simple as moving it from one place to another. Every week, try putting twenty dollars in an envelope in a place of prominence in your home: next to the fridge, for example. You’ll still have access to it just as you would in your bank account. But the point here is to play a bit of a trick on your consumer brain: by putting that cash somewhere special but visible, you’ll be less likely to raid your savings until the year is up.
Want an alternative to an old-fashioned envelope? Set up automated monthly money transfers to a special savings account that makes it difficult or costly to withdraw from. Either way, in 12 months you’ll have saved $1,040. Twenty dollars a week too daunting? Start with $10.
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Cut Back on Your Daily Dose
Many of us have a daily habit we just can’t, or won’t, kick. Smoking is an expensive one, but buying a daily latte or even a daily doughnut can add up. Your everyday habits can be an immense, though fleeting source of pleasure and comfort, but they’re also a gold mine of potential savings. Treat that daily latte as a once-weekly luxury and you could save $750-$900 a year.
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Pack Your Lunches on Sunday
Tired of the same three quick lunch joints near the office? Packing five lunches on Sunday before the hectic work week begins will afford you the time to conjure up some gustatory variety while removing the temptation to barter for extra sleep in the morning with a bought lunch in the afternoon. You’ll save between $40 and $100 a week, and will be eating tastier meals to boot.
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This one’s a no-brainer, but it’s still difficult to pull off. We won’t harangue you to stop eating out when it can provide that spice to a drab week, or give you a break from cooking. Instead, we suggest an alternative: start or join a supper club, and you’ll save money on eating out while gaining the benefit of new friendships and great conversation.
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Try Going Without Cards for a Week
On average, most people will spend more with a credit or debit card than they would with cold hard cash. By sidestepping the visual and tactile experience of involved in handling cash, plastic allows us to forget that we’re exchanging dollars and cents for the services and products we buy. And when credit cards or one-touch debit payments combine with emotional spending, you’ll find yourself conducting some regrettable impulse buying. So visit an ATM to get the cash you’ll need to make it through the week in comfort. Then stow your debit and credit cards away. You’ll be surprised by what you don’t end up buying in one week.
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Declare a Purchase-Free Day
No, we’re not suggesting that you declare next Saturday the Day to Purchase Freely. We want you to try the opposite: fill up the gas tank in your car and make sure you’re stocked up on groceries, and then refrain from making any purchases. Similar to going without plastic for a week, you’ll find that refraining from buying for a day — or even a week — can help you draw the line between needs and wants, or between real value and short-term gratification.