How to save $500 a month

Practice these tips to stretch your paycheck

If saving money seems impossible and you consistently run through your entire paycheck each month, the tips provided in this article can show you how to potentially save as much as $500 a month. Sound unbelievable? Practice even half of these strategies and learn how to regain control of your finances while saving a significant amount of money at the same time.


Step 1

Grocery shop with cash

Use only cash when you grocery shop. Schedule your shopping trips no closer than once a week. Keep a list of the items that you need to restock your kitchen. When you shop, stick as close to your list as possible. Use a calculator to add up the cost of your groceries as you put them in your cart. If your total exceeds your cash, put back those items that weren’t on your list.

If you must run to the store between shopping trips, pick up only the items you are out of. Avoid unplanned purchases. Almost half of an average monthly grocery bill is made up of spur-of-the-moment expenditures.

Step 2

Share a restaurant meal

Look back at your checkbook to see how often you have been eating out. Cut your frequency in half. When the restaurant allows it, order one large meal to share with your partner and supplement with an additional dinner salad. Drink water instead of tea or soda. If you’ve been averaging $100 a month in restaurant charges, making these changes will cut your expenditures to $50.

Step 3

Budget a monthly amount for entertainment

Regardless of what you do for entertainment, most of it probably costs money. Whether just a Blockbuster rental or dinner and a movie, the average family easily loses track of the mounting costs associated with entertainment. So set a budgeted amount and stick ot it. When the money is gone, find other ways to have fun without spending more money. By disciplining yourself, you can save between $50 and $100 a month by not continuing to eat out or spending excessive amounts on entertainment that is out of your budget.

Step 4

Stop buying bottled water

Drink tap water instead of bottled. If filtered water is a must, either purchase a filter for your kitchen faucet or a pitcher that will filter your water as you drink it. Refill the pitcher in the refrigerator whenever you use out of it. Chances are you won’t miss that bottle as you pour yourself an ice cold glass of water.

Step 5

Rideshare to work

Carpooling with a friend or co-worker can cut your gasoline expense by at least a third. In many communities you can drive and park your vehicle and take a bus into the metro areas. This will save you even more money. Ridesharing can potentially save you another $100 a month.

Step 6

Transfer credit balances to an interest free card

If you have good credit you probably receive frequent offers for credit cards with no interest for nine months to a year. Many offer interest rates on balance transfers as well. By moving your credit card debt to an interest-free card, you can apply what you normally pay in interest toward the principle. Not only will you pay off your credit card sooner, but you’ll save a tidy sum by not continuing to pay more interest than principle.

Step 7

Cancel your home phone and use your cell

Cancel your home phone service and use your cell as your primary number. Most service carriers allow you unlimited free calling to a designated number of family and friends. Also consider using an online long distance service like Skype. Skype offers you free long distance calling anywhere in the world to another Skype caller. All together, you can easily save as much as a $100 in service fees and long distance calling charges.

Step 8

Roll left over monies into a savings account at the end of the month

If you follow most of these tips you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that you have money left over at the end of the month. Don’t blow it, though. Instead, roll it into a savings account, leaving just enough in your checking to cover fees and last minutes expenses until your next check gets deposited.

Whether or not you actually save $500 will depend a lot on your income and your monthly budget. The more steps you follow, the more you can expect to save. You may wonder why you need to save at all if you can meet your monthly budget with several hundred dollars left over. But in an unstable economy, jobs can suddenly disappear and you might one day find yourself out on the street looking for a new one. With the money you’ve saved you’ll have a cushion to tide you and your family over until you are back at work again.

Having extra money left over at the end of every month can significantly increase your feelings of financial security. If it comes down to being in or out of control of your finances, it’s a no brainer. So get started today and by this time next month, you could be sitting on an extra $500 cool cash.

Things Needed
• A budget for groceries and entertainment
• A calculator you can take shopping
• An updated grocery list of items needed each time you shop
• Cash to take to the grocery store
• Access to a rideshare program
• An interest-free credit card for transfering balances
• A savings account to put extra monies in
• The self-discipline to follow these steps

Tips & Warnings
• Do stick to your grocery list when you shop
• Don’t be tempted to pick up items that you haven’t budgeted for
• Do bring your calculator to the store
• Don’t overshoot your entertainment budget for the month
• Do shop for an interest free credit card to transfer your balances to
• Don’t use the card for fresh charges
• Do pay down your debt with the money you save from finance charges
• Don’t be tempted to spend the money left over at the end of the month
• Do save in case of an economic downturn


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