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Sometimes life throws a wrench at you and you need to figure yourself out of a sticky situation. Having an emergency fund available for any unexpected expenses is a great way to provide peace of mind. The amount to save will vary depending on your lifestyle and your own finances. Here, I’m going to talk about how to save $3,000.
Establishing time frame is essential. If you don’t earn $3,000 per month it is going to be impossible to save that amount of money. 30 or even 60 days isn’t going to be reasonable for most people. For some, 3 or 6 months may not even be enough when trying to save that much money.
Establish A Time Frame
How long do you have to save $3,000? Obviously the longer period of time, the easier it is going to be to accomplish your goal. Is saving $3,000 possible in 30 days. It could probably be done and is going to highly depend on your expenses. Earning an extra $3,000 cash would be pretty tough to do in this time span. So let’s look at a couple of time spans that are much more reasonable.
Save $3,000 in 3 Months
This breaks down to just $1,000 per month. If you break it down into weeks, its $250 a week. That is much more doable.
Here are a couple ways you could get that done easily:
- Offer your friends babysitting for $15 an hour with a 2 hour minimum. In fact, give them some ideas on where they can go for their date night.
- Know someone going out of town? Offer to feed their pets or even pet sit at a reasonable rate.
- Pick up a part-time job. Even if it is minimum wage, it will get you closer to your goals and the benefit is.
Of course these numbers are how to earn cash, I cover ways to save further down in the post.
Save $3,000 in 6 Months
The more we can extend our saving goal, the more reasonable it becomes. If you give yourself six months to reach your savings goal, that means you only have to save $500 per month or roughly $125 per week.
The more we can extend our saving goal, the more reasonable it becomes.April Lee – Hassle Free Savings
Start looking closely at your expenditures. If you were to pull all of your bank statements and add up your transactions each week, how much do you usually spend? Can you cut that amount? If so, how?
Side hustles are still a great option at this stage. I wrote a post with ideas for side hustles for single moms but the ideas apply to anybody really.
Now, you don’t have to save it all in even increments. Maybe you save $50 this week and $32 next week but you pull in $250 helping your friends move next weekend. That’s OK, just keep plugging along, small amounts add up!
Save $3,000 in 12 Months
This goal is the easiest to attain of the three we mention here. Let’s see some different ways to slice this pie:
- Save $250 per month for 12 months
- Save $58 per week for 52 weeks
- Save $8.22 per day for $365 days
You see, when you break it down this way, the goal doesn’t seem so overwhelming.
Here are some ideas to meet this goal:
- Cut Groceries
- Make Your Coffee at Home
- Pack a Lunch for Work
- Eat at home before you go run errands.
- Always keep a granola bar or snack in your purse.
- Help curb overspending by designating at least 3 no-spend days per week
No matter which goal you choose, the key is to stay motivated. One great way to do that is to track your savings.
Track Your Savings
Whether you are saving cold hard cash or cutting expenses to save money, track your savings in a printable savings chart. Hang it on the fridge or the bathroom mirror. Somewhere you can look it in the face each day and see how close you are to achieving your goal. Every little bit helps.
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. We’ve included the following money savings printables in our free resource library just for you. There are a few other money trackers that are great as well. Pick one that inspires you to want to color it in!
Free Printable $3,000 Savings Tracker
This free printable savings tracker is what we call a “medley” style tracker. You can fill it in any order. Simply color in the amount corresponding to the money saved. This can be money you earned and are saving in the bank account or money you saved by cutting bills or expenses. It is completely up to you! When the chart is full you have reached your $3,000 goal!
Free Printable Savings Thermometer
This savings thermometer is blank but works great for this challenge! Write in your amounts on each way and track how close you are to your goal. How long will it take you to get to 10%? What about 30%? The benefit of this tracker is you can easily see what percentage of your money saving goal you have achieved.
Where to Save Your Money
Where you save your money has a lot to do with what your goals are. The one place you should not save it is your checking account. In order to resist temptation to spend, save the money somewhere that isn’t easily accessible.
I personally use an online savings account with no atm card (well, it had one, I shredded it). I transfer money in from my checking account and if I want to get money out it takes a couple of days. Any thoughts I might have of “just use a little bit” to buy something I want fly out the window.
Piggy Bank or Jar
If you are a visual type person, maybe you would prefer to save your funds in a clear mason jar designated for that purpose. Seeing the cash stack up and the jar get fuller and fuller definitely is inspiring. The only caveat here is can you resist the urge to dip in when you need to tip the pizza guy or your kid needs an extra $5 for lunch?
If you use the cash envelope method, it makes sense to create an envelope specifically for this savings goal and add to it. When you have reached your goal, transfer the cash to the account or fund that makes the most sense.
If the $3,000 you are saving is meant to cover multiple goals, go ahead and distribute it each time you save and just track your overall progress in one of our savings tracker sheets.
If you haven’t heard of the cash envelope method, check out our post for Getting Started with Cash Envelopes.
Ways to Save Money
To get started we need to think about the ways we can save money.
Saving money isn’t just about saving cash. We can save money in other ways. Earlier this month I noticed my car insurance premium went up from $96.53 to $112.78. That is a $16.25 increase per month!
Saving money isn’t just about saving cash.April Lee – HassleFreeSavings.com
I immediately emailed my agent and asked what we could do to get that amount lowered (without changing my coverage). My agent is awesome so we talked about a variety of different things. I hadn’t gotten into any accidents or received any tickets so the rate increase wasn’t related to any of that.
He took the time to review other ways a policy can be discounted and we figured out one that applied to me. Low mileage discount. I carpool to work so this was perfect.
The rate was lowered from $112.78 to $109.90. That one call to my auto insurance company will save me $2.88 per month or $17.28 over the next six months.
OK, so that isn’t a huge amount of savings but you would be surprised how little changes like that really do add up over time.
What are some other good ways to save money?
The example above is a real life example of reducing expenses. I could take this a step further and shop car insurance companies to save additional money as well.
Reducing expenses isn’t limited to auto insurance. Almost every service you pay for monthly is negotiable in some way. Your cable package, call them and ask what discounts they have. Let them know the competing cable company is offering you similar services for less. How much would you save if you went with the next lower package?
Eliminate Unnecessary Subscriptions
Do you have both Netflix and Hulu? Could you get by with just one? Do you pay for a gym membership even though your apartment building has one?
Subscriptions are easy to add to your monthly expense list and then are often forgotten about. The smaller the subscription, the more likely you are to justify keeping it each month.
Once again, here is where small number add up. That $4.99 Pandora Subscription combined with the $5.99 Hulu subscription adds up to $10.98 per month, $32.94 over 3 months and $65.88 over 6 months.
When you are trying to save $3,000, those numbers can help get you to your goal faster.
Reconsider Home Phone Service
I haven’t personally had a home phone for the past three years. When you think about it, home phones are becoming more and more outdated. When don’t you have your cell phone on you?
One of the considerations for me when cutting my home phone was how I would communicate with my 12 year old daughter when she was at home and I wasn’t. I don’t think she’s old enough for her own cell phone yet so that really isn’t an option.
We got around this obstacle two ways. 1. She has a cell phone with Whatsapp and Instagram on it. She can text or facetime me using either app whenever she needs to using my home wifi. 2. We have the Echo by Amazon. Gosh I love Alexa, what can’t she do!? One of the things she does really well is make phone calls. Can you believe I had to Google how much a landline even costs. AT&T says basic flat rate service is going to cost me $27 per month!
That means, cutting your landline could save $81 over 3 months or $162 over 6 months. That is crazy sauce!
What if you can’t cut your landline? I am not against having a landline. It is very important that anyone in your household have connection to emergency personnel if and when they need it. My Echo won’t call 911. In my case my daughter has a cell phone she can use plus she’s never truly alone, my best friend and landlord lives right upstairs.
At my last house, that wasn’t the case so we installed a StraightTalk landline phone for $15 per month it was a really good deal!
Reconsider Your Living Arrangement
This may seem like it’s too much but is it? Only you can decide. Housing is often one of the biggest monthly costs we incur. Kids these days don’t realize how good they have it living under mom and dad’s roof. A savings of just a couple hundred dollars a month can really add up.
If you are living in an apartment or condo, consider downsizing when your lease is up. Just in the area around my work there can be a $1,000 or more difference when you rent a 1 bedroom vs a 2 bedroom.
Until your lease is up consider renting a spare room to a friend. If you’re single, a roommate isn’t such a bad idea especially if they are helping out with utilities too.
If you prefer living by yourself, do what I did and downsize. When I split with my ex boyfriend, I decided to sell my 4 bedroom home and rented a quaint 2 bedroom apartment for my daughter and I. The rent is about the same but the big difference is all utilities are included. That combined with no maintenance made the decision a win / win.
Establish A Budget
You knew I’d be saying this one right. It really is key to saving money. If you want to save $3,000 in 3 months, you’ll need to save or earn at least $1,000 each month. 6 months is a little more doable at $500 per month. If you set a 1 year goal that is just $250 per month.
Most of the time when I look at someone’s actual spending for the month, I can see that they can save at least $250 per month if they reduced eating out and grocery costs.
If you need help, my article on setting up your first budget should help you get started.
Earn Extra Money
When you have cut every expense you can think of, eliminated subscriptions and downsized as much as possible, the only option left for you is to earn extra money.
There are a variety of ways you can do this but basically, you need to pick up a side hustle. No matter your situation, there is usually something you can do on the side to earn extra money.
For each of the three savings timelines above, we’ve given some ideas that might work. Here are some ideas for side hustles:
- Pizza Delivery
- Uber or Lyft
- Dog Walking
- Pet Sitting
We’ve come up with 5 ideas that would work for single moms that would be great for just about anyone else as well: Side Hustles for Single Moms.
It may not be easy, but the hustle will be worth it!
Setting a $3,000 savings goal is the first part of the battle. You have identified that you need to save money and set your goal amount. A full plan of action can be implemented once you settle on a timeline.
As your savings journey continues, track your progress. There are many free savings trackers available, including several in our free resource library. Whichever you choose, having a visual reminder of how far you have come and how far you have to go will help to keep you motivated.
Do you have some other ideas about how to save $3,000? I’d love for you to share in the comments below!