If you’re anything like us, you’re probably just now realizing it’s April (!) and somehow you have none of the summer vacation savings you’d promised yourself on January 1. The penny pinching you planned likely went the way of your other resolutions, which is to say you forgot about them in two weeks.
Before you freak out and start googling “how to fly to Europe for $200 round-trip in June” or pick up a side gig at TGI Friday’s, we suggest you scour the following slides for some relatively painless ways to save $1,000 over the next two months. No, we’re not going to tell you to bring in a roommate or work a night job; instead, we’ve set forth steps you can take without disrupting your life in any major way.
So, let the getaway planning begin, because this is how you’re going to pay for it.
1. Sign up for Digit
Digit is an app that analyzes your spending habits and decides how much you can afford to save. It then squirrels away that amount—alerting you by text in the process—to slowly build a savings fund. We signed up two weeks ago and it’s already pocketed $45 without us noticing.
2. Pack Your Lunch
We once did the math on those sad desk lunches we pay $10 to $15 for and were horrified. Think about it. $10 a day, 5 days a week, 4 weeks a month, 12 months a year = $2,400. We don’t know about you, but we don’t make enough to casually spend $2 to $3K a year on lame salads. Pack your lunch and cut your daily cost by half or more and you can save around $200 toward your goal over the next two months.
3. Try a No-Spend Day
We find it best to try this on Monday and use Sunday to prep—fill your car with gas, make sure you have your meals organized and prepped, etc. If you find you can go longer than one day, by all means carry on until you run out of steam. For once, you’ll be bringing money in without simultaneously funneling it out. All those little expenses—$1.99 for an iTunes TV episode, $3.99 for coffee, etc.—add up over time to more than you might expect. Ultimately, we’d aim for at least three of these per week between now and June 1 if you really want to save $1,000. Early in the week is always a good time to relax at home, but if you want company you can always buy a bottle of wine on Sunday and crack it with a friend on Monday without doling out a dollar.
4. Cancel Your Subscriptions
These days, it’s easy to subscribe yourself to something with one click. We do it all the time and truthfully can’t remember all the deductions we’re getting hit with on a monthly basis. Apps like Truebill or Trim will seek them out for you so you’ll know which to keep and which to cancel. We signed up and saved ourselves more money than we’d like to admit (mostly on various forms of television, sadly).
5. Share the Burden
Our generation is all about the sharing economy. What costs can you shoulder with friends or family instead of on your own? For example, we saved $200 a month by going back on a family cell phone plan as full-grown adults. Humiliating? Maybe, but it’s saving us $2,400 a year. How many TV service subscriptions are you paying for between Hulu, Amazon, HBO and the like? Think about who you might split those accounts with. Do any of your co-workers live near you? Carpool on days when neither of you has after-work plans. These simple moves require you trust another person, so we suggest you choose wisely—your deadbeat younger brother isn’t an ideal candidate—but they can also mean major savings if executed properly.
6. Spend Cash Only
We suggest you test this out for a week, then go from there to see if you can do it for the bulk of the next two months. It works on a number of levels. For starters, you can’t spend what you don’t have in hand, and if what you have in hand is $40 and it’s only Wednesday, you’re probably not going to impulse buy a $15 Moon Juice latte. It also keeps you from buying things electronically, so if you’re a regular UberEats user, this will force you to make a sandwich instead of ordering up pad Thai for five times the cost. The added benefit of spending this way is that it makes you hyperaware of your cash flow—you’ll feel flush at first, but it won’t take you long to realize how fast those dollar bills exit your wallet.
7. Practice Delayed Gratification
Recently, we impulse bought a pair of ankle boots. Two weeks later, we’re totally over them and annoyed about the amount of money we spent. For the next two months, try not to make purchases this way. Instead, wait two weeks to assess whether or not you still want the item. More often than not, you will have moved on—trust us.
This post originally appeared March 25, 2017, on The Zoe Report.