All financial advisers such as David Ramsay and Suzanne Orr will advise that every household should have an emergency fund. For a lot of people, just the thought of saving money when you’re living paycheck to paycheck is a joke.
The Paycheck to Paycheck Epidemic
In fact, a 2016 CareerBuilder survey of 3,200 full-time workers and 2,100 full-time hiring and human resource manager found that 75% were living paycheck to paycheck.
It’s not that working people don’t want to save; it’s just that too many of us are struggling with trying to pay the rent and put gas in the car.
By the time the month is over, there’s nothing left to save.
To help end the vicious paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, we put together this month-by-month guide to get you on track — and potentially put $1,000 in your bank account.
Open an online savings or checking account and deposit $5. Heck, roll your quarters if you have to.
There are a bunch of great online banks, but one of our favorites is Aspiration because they offer an interest rate around 100x what a normal bank offers — plus there are no monthly fees.
Starting small may not seem worth it, but getting started is an extremely important first step! Just trust us.
This month we want you to save $15 in your new savings account. Again, if you can do more, awesome!
An easy way to earn $15 is with Paribus — a free tool that searches your emails for companies that owe you money.
Once you sign up, the app scans your email archives for any receipts.
If it discovers you’ve purchased something from Amazon, Target, or one of the other 16 retailers listed on their website, it tracks the item’s price and issues you a refund if there’s a price drop during the return period!
You don’t have to do anything!
Need a different idea?
If you’re a regular Amazon shopper, you can earn money each month contributing to Shoptracker’s research on what people are buying online.
Download and connect it to your Amazon account. It’ll instantly send you a free $3 Visa gift card, plus another $3 for every month you keep it installed.
Your goal is to work up to saving $100/month in the savings account. It seems lofty, but we’re going to help you earn it.
For this month, try and put $35 in the account.
These panels will pay you for your opinions on politics, movies and other subjects. If you sign up for both, you should easily make an extra $35/month (most surveys pay between $3-$4 each for 20 minutes of your time).
Heck, sometimes I fill them out while I’m watching Netflix.
Need a different idea?
Try selling some of your old stuff online. You can sell virtually anything on letgo.
This intuitive app lets you snap a photo and upload your item in less than 30 seconds.
Not only does it remove a lot of the hassle of selling things online, it’s 100% free to use.
But there are also apps for selling more specific stuff to people who might actually be looking for it.
For instance, you could sell old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and video games, cell phones and iPods to Decluttr.
Congrats! You’ve saved your first $55. That’s something to be proud of!
Alright, this month it’s time to try and put away $100. It sounds daunting, but we’ve got a few ideas that might help…
You can try our list of 16 Companies giving away $1,810.25. These companies want you to try them out and will pay you to do so. Some of them are easier than others, but just check it out.
Or how about mystery shopping? Before our CEO Kyle Taylor became a blogger, he was a full-time, professional mystery shopper. And he got pretty good at it — earning around $5,000/month.
Here’s a list of the companies he worked for. None of them will charge you money to sign up. And if a mystery shopping company ever tries to charge you, it’s a scam. Stay away from those.
We know a lot of people are already working two jobs, but mystery shopping can help you earn money and relax with your friends/family at the same time.
Keep an eye out for restaurant mystery shops — you get a free meal and you get paid!
Months 5 – 12
Continue saving $100/month for the entire year. We want your year-end account balance to be $950.
Here are some ideas on how to make your extra $100/month:
It’s important to continue saving at least $100 each month.
Use your regular paycheck for living expenses and save any extra money you make from the ideas on this site.
Once you’ve reached year two, you’ve saved nearly $1,000. At this point, it might be a good idea to open an investment account.
Just one more piece of motivation: If you can continue to save $100/month for the next 20 years, you could end up with $106,022! Can you imagine? More than $100,000 in a bank account!
You can do this. End the cycle today.