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Save $500 in 30 Days Challenge

Feb. 14, 2017
4 mins
A hand drops coins into a mason jar while keeping track of savings with a notepad and calculator

Maybe you want to go on a last-minute vacation next month or you just anticipate more expenses than usual.

Saving an extra $500 in a month may sound easy to some, or impossible to others. But the fact is, saving money is more than being thrifty and not spending the money you already have. Whether $500 is chump-change to you or a large portion of your take-home pay, it's possible for almost anyone to save that much in just 30 days.

Sometimes you need that extra boost to get you started on your short-term goals, including saving, so here are some tips and tricks to get you there.

Cut back spending on food and entertainment

Depending on your particular financial circumstance, you may have to make some big cuts to your budget in order to save $500 in one month. Start by looking for potential savings in areas of discretionary spending like your food, entertainment, and incidental budget items. These are budget categories where you have a significant amount of control over how much you spend. For example, you can save by:

  • Giving up takeout for a month. If you regularly buy lunch or a coffee on your way to work, you could save as much as $25 to $50 per week by packing a lunch instead and bringing your own coffee.
  • Staying in and watching movies instead of going to the theatre with your friends or partner (if you don’t have a Netflix subscription already, you must know someone else who does nowadays).
  • Having your friends over for a potluck instead of going out to a restaurant or bar.
  • Using up things that you already have in your pantry or freezer.
  • Buying cheap staples like rice, beans, oatmeal, and things that are on sale. You can easily check for sale items by using flyer apps like Flipp or Reebee.

Simple solutions like these will help you save small amounts of money that add up in the end. 

Sell things you no longer need

Aside from cutting back, you can save extra money by finding ways to make more money. Search around the house for things you can potentially sell. Chances are, you can find at least $100 worth of items you don’t use.

If a good ol’ fashioned garage sale isn’t your thing, try posting your items on Craigslist or Kijiji. You’ll probably get more value for your items online anyway. Facebook groups are also a good place to post furniture or gently-used clothing for sale. Just ensure you join groups in your city, take pictures and write detailed descriptions of your items, and use discretion before giving anyone your address or meeting them to exchange items.

Take on extra work

For some people, fidning ways to make extra money may mean taking extra shifts or working overtime. Or if you have a salaried position, you may want to look into doing some freelance gigs this month.

You could also consider doing odd jobs like babysitting, tutoring, dog walking, snow shoveling or lawn mowing. Get the word out by posting on local community bulletin boards, physically or online.

Other possible options include driving for Uber, or looking for quick freelance opportunities listed on sites like Fiverr.

Make daily goals

For something as short-term as this, it may be easier to set smaller, daily goals in order to make saving a part of your daily routine. In order to save $500 in 30 days, you would roughly need to save $17 per day, and this can be a combination of cutting back on spending and making extra money. If you can comfortably make small deposits to your savings account everyday, you can even try out this daily deposit schedule for 30 days, accumulating to a total of $465.

Day Deposit Total Amount Saved Day Deposit Total Amount Saved
1 $1 $1 16 $16 $136
2 $2 $2 17 $17 $153
3 $3 $6 18 $18 $171
4 $4 $10 19 $19 $190
5 $5 $15 20 $20 $210
6 $6 $21 21 $21 $231
7 $7 $28 22 $22 $253
8 $8 $36 23 $23 $276
9 $9 $45 24 $24 $300
10 $10 $55 25 $25 $325
11 $11 $66 26 $26 $351
12 $12 $78 27 $27 $378
13 $13 $91 28 $28 $406
14 $14 $105 29 $29 $435
15 $15 $120 30 $30 $465

Stay motivated and keep your eye on the prize

When it comes to taking on any challenge, it’s important to stay motivated in order to succeed. At some point, you may feel overwhelmed or like your goal is out of reach. There will be days when you’ll be tempted to slip up and overspend. If this happens, try your best to envision having those extra hundreds in your pocket. Imagine youself being debt free next month, or on that beach in the Caribbean.

And remember, even if you don't meet your goal entirely, you've likely saved more money this month than you would’ve if you had done nothing. Also, remember there’s always next month! Developing these habits can also help you tackle bigger savings goals in the long run.

Amanda Reaume

Amanda is a freelance writer and the creator of the blog Millennial Personal Finance. After graduating from university with no debt, and $40,000 in savings, Amanda wrote the book The Complete Guide to a Debt-Free Education. She is also the author of a personal finance book aimed at Millennials called Money Is Everything.

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