How To Save $1000 a Month (Free Money Challenge)

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Want to have more money at the end of every month? Here, you’ll find 11 simple tips to save more money, even on a low income: learn how to save $1000 a month consistently. Plus, a useful free printable to help you with the $1,00-a-month challenge!

Top view of desk with a laptop and a printable of a $1000 monthly challenge

Let’s cut to the chase here: most people suck at saving money.

Research shows that over 20% of working Americans don’t have any savings. And what’s even worse, according to this survey, 60% couldn’t cover a $1,000 emergency with savings.

Do you know what this means?

It means that these people will have to borrow money or use credit cards to pay for an emergency.

And you really don’t want to find yourself in this position. But most of all, you don’t want to add financial stress to your life.

That’s why I put together a list of some of the most impactful tips to save money, starting right now.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to take personal responsibility for your money and financial situation.

And no matter whether you are on a six-figure salary or are struggling on a low income, you can make a difference by using these tricks without ever feeling like you are cutting back on the things you value the most.

How to save $1000 a month

1. Don’t spend

You are walking around the mall with a friend and all of a sudden:

An incredibly edgy black dress winks at you from the shop window. You know that you will look like the next Kate Moss by wearing it. You have to walk inside…

Stop right there.

Let’s rewind here. What happened? If you are trying to save money, why are you at the mall in the first place? Second: don’t spend money.

What I mean by that is that if you are trying to save money, you should never hit the buy now button.

Leave the item for at least 24 hours.

Give yourself time to really evaluate each and every purchase and its impact on your monthly budget. Cutting down on impulse buying is one of the best ways spend less money in the long term.

So before you buy anything, the first thing to do is ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I live without this item?
  • Can I really afford it?
  • Will I actually use it?

This highlights whether you genuinely want or need it. By asking yourself these questions, you will be able to make smarter decisions about whether to spend money or not.

If you’re still thinking about the item the next day or a few days later and can afford it, then feel free to make the purchase.

2. Think about what each item really costs you

In my journey to financial freedom, I discovered many good reasons for living with less. ⁣⁣

Every time we buy stuff, we end up exchanging our life for things that we own.⁣

Or, as Henry David Thoreau put it,

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

It’s time to stop measuring the cost of things with money and start thinking: “How many hours will I have to work to pay for it?”.

I now use this strategy all the time.

If there is something I want to buy, I just do some quick calculations to see if it’s worth the effort:

  • Calculate the real value of each hour you work. If you make $40,000 a year and work 40 hours a week, you make around $20 per hour.⁣
  • Now that you know the real value of each working hour, calculate the life cost of everything you buy. Spending $20 on lunches every day? One hour of your life. An $80 pair of jeans? Four hours of your life.

No matter how old you are, we all have a limited amount of time on this planet. Given that, we must spend our money on the things that are most important to us. We shouldn’t spend our time working for things that don’t bring us long-term value.

This is the whole principle around a great book I read a while ago, Your Money Or Your Life. It’s a great book if you are up for a good read. It will help you gain control of your money and your spending habits and finally begin to make a life instead of just making a living.

3. Don’t let sales tempt you

We are all guilty of it.

We see an incredible offer: a minimalist vegetable cutter that goes so well with the rest of our kitchen gadgets. Hard to say no.

But let’s be honest. Will we ever use it? Big sales are created to tempt us to buy things we don’t need. Giving in often means spending money on items we know we wouldn’t use.

So for each item you are tempted to buy during a sale, it’s a good idea to ask yourself whether you would buy it if it were full price.

Also think:

How many things you bought on sale would you give away in a heartbeat if someone offered you the money back?

Think about that skirt you got for $40. How many times did you wear it? Once?

Or that nail polisher that still has the seal intact?

Because the reality is: that when you decide not to buy something and move the difference in your savings account – it’s almost as if you’re getting paid to save.

Shop with paper bags on a wooden shelf and a SALE sign on a black board

4. Sell things you don’t use

Speaking of things you don’t need and don’t use …

A great way to spike your savings when you are first starting out is by selling these things.

Seriously. Look around your house right now, and you will probably find at least a few things in new or nearly new condition that you don’t use. It has never been easier to sell them online, and there are so many great apps to get this done.

When I asked if there were things you bought on sale that you’d give away if somebody offered you your money back, it wasn’t a rhetorical question because, in effect, they are!

Remember that skirt we talked about, the one you wore once? Right now, used clothes are one of the most popular things to sell online.

What else can you sell that you might have laying around the house? Check out my complete guide to the 30 Best Things to Sell to Make Money.

Selling the things you don’t use will not only give you a head start in growing your savings, but it will put you in the mindset of thinking about what you truly need the next time you see a sale.

5. If you save it, move it

Do you know what you should do every morning while you are drinking your cup of coffee?

Check your savings account balance.

Whenever you save money by not buying something, just transfer the equivalent amount you saved into a separate savings account.

CIT Bank has a great savings account that gives you up to 10x more than your average standard bank account). It sounds silly, but this is a great way to make sure you keep the money you are saving in your pocket (and avoid further temptations).

It’s a scary savings habit to try at first, but it gives you great motivation when you get into it because you can see the immediate results of your actions by watching your savings account balance going up and up every day.

Believe me:

The more your savings account balance goes up on a regular basis, the more excited to save you will get – and you’ll be more likely to stick with it.

6. Think about your end goal

Saving money is a huge step toward having more freedom and financial security. And it can become addictive.

But what’s truly important to make sure you stick with it is to decide what you are going to do with the money afterward.

And knowing this is vital because:

  • Having a specific goal in mind will ensure you are far more likely to follow through with it in the long run.
  • It will help you to focus on something positive during difficult days.
  • Reaching that goal will give you far more satisfaction.

One of the biggest money mistakes people make is focusing only on the present in their personal finance.

No matter what your ultimate goal is, make sure to write it down and remind yourself of why you have decided to take action in the first place.

Want to book a flight to your dream destination? Pay off credit card debt or your student loans? Set up an emergency fund? Buy a special gift for your loved one?

Just learn how to manage your money, and these simple tips will help you get whatever you want.

Top view of desk with a laptop and a printable of a $1000 monthly challenge
5 life-changing tips to save money

7. Negotiate utility bills, cable, banking, and internet costs

Sure: you can turn off the light when you walk out of a room or try to lower your thermostat one degree…but you know what I really love?

I love to be warm! My grandma’s house was always so cold in winter that I made a decision when I was little: no matter how rich or poor I would be as an adult, I would never feel cold in my own house.

But this doesn’t mean I throw money out of the window or ignore my savings goals! Or pay over the odds to stay warm. The reality is that I saved over $300 in utilities last year. All without lowering the thermostat!

And even with electricity and gas prices going through the roof right now, you can still improve what you spend in many areas of your life.

Negotiate your bills. Compared prices with other companies and find out who has the best deal. Don’t be afraid to switch providers. I know it sounds boring, but you know what?

A couple of hours of your time can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars every year.
  • Set a yearly reminder on your calendar a month before your cell phone deal expires, your utility deal ends, etc.
  • Search comparison sites for better deals, and if another company can offer you a competitive rate, switch.
  • If you are unsure about switching or love your current company for some weird reason, call their customer service and find out if they can put you on a cheaper plan (and feel free to use the “I can’t afford my current plan” line). Don’t give up too quickly. I did this 3 times with my mobile provider, and in the last 3 years, I went from paying $20 for 4Gb of data to paying $9 for 12Gb! How is that for a win?

8. Shop smarter

Online shopping is a great thing.

In the dark ages, if you wanted to find a good deal, you only had 2 options:

  • Be extremely lucky and walk into a shop with a discount.
  • Hunt for bargains going from shop to shop, and probably end up spending more money on gas compared to what you actually saved.

But these days things are much easier!

All you need to do is:

1. Decide what product you want to buy

2. Check for bargains

The first step is to look on websites like:

Within a few minutes, you can find the same item for the lowest possible price.

3. Use cashback websites and apps

Did you know you can get paid to shop?

It’s possible to get 3-20% back on pretty much everything you buy these days (including groceries).

Once you’ve found what you want to buy and where you want to buy it from, simply check on cashback websites and apps to see where you’ll get the biggest cashback bonus.

My favorite cashback apps are Swagbucks and Fetch Rewards.

Swagbucks is one of my favorite apps for cashback. I made over $200 in less than a year! Plus, you can get a free $5 bonus for signing up.

Fetch Rewards is an incredible app. While I am writing this, it has a score of 4.8/5 stars on the Apple Store from an astonishing 2.8 million ratings/reviews, and a rating of 4.6/5 from over 500,000 reviews on Google Play. With Fetch Rewards, you simply scan any grocery store receipt after you shop and save on thousands of popular products throughout the store. The best part is that you earn points on every receipt you scan. Just shop, scan and save. Yes, it’s that easy!

9. Cut unused subscriptions

I know what you are about to say: “I don’t have any unused subscriptions, Sara. I know exactly what I am spending, and I need them all!”

But do you?

A recent study found that Americans underestimate the amount they are spending on subscription services by an average of $133 per month! Moreover, nearly half have forgotten they were being charged for a subscription they no longer used.

Here is the challenge: login to your bank account and go through the last 3 months’ statements.

Look for recurring payments made through automatic transfers, and find out exactly where your money goes.

Look for things like:
  • Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu subscriptions
  • A gym membership
  • Sneaky apps subscriptions
  • Pandora, Spotify
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Software subscriptions
  • Online gaming

You’ll probably be surprised by what you’ll find.

For each subscription, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is this subscription for?
  • Do I actually use it?
  • Do I really like it?
  • Is it worth keeping it for that amount of money, or will the money look better in my savings account?

For example, last month, I was having fun going through our statements (I am a nerd like that) and found that we were still paying for a car-sharing service we barely use. We decided to cancel it straight away, and boom, we saved around $60. We would have never known if I didn’t enjoy so much looking through numbers.

An easy way to do it: Use apps like Trim or Truebill to lower your internet, cable, and phone bills

10. Reduce insurance costs

This is pretty much the same deal as with your bills. Whether we are talking about house insurance, car insurance, medical insurance, or any other type of insurance, savings can quickly add up if you get a better deal.

Most of us tend to pick a good rate to start with and then can’t be bothered to shop around ever again.

And this, my friend, is what insurance companies live for.

They wait for you to become complacent, and then they start to let your premium creep up year on year until, all of a sudden, you pay hundreds of dollars more than you should.

Last year, we finally managed to save over 30% on our home insurance by using a broker. We live in an apartment in an old converted house. It comes with much charm but also with a hefty price tag on insurance.

If you want to save on insurance policies, a good way is to shop around at least once a year.

You can start by comparing rates on websites like Bankrate. Bankrate’s site lets you find the lowest rates just by entering a few details, so you’ll know where to start in the short term. You can then start checking with other reputable insurance companies to see what prices they can offer you.

With insurance, always check reviews and the legitimacy of the companies you are looking into. What’s the point of saving $50 if they won’t cover your claim?

11. Earn more money

Sometimes we get so fixed on the idea that we don’t have enough money that we seem to forget about one of the most powerful tips to save money: earning more money.

You can increase your monthly income in so many different ways:

There is money waiting for you if you are willing to put in a few extra hours a week to save more and reach your financial goal!

Ready for the challenge?

Take the next step and download my free $1,000 savings challenge printables and get started today!

Let me know how your challenge goes!

Stop being addicted to shopping and become addicted to savings!

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27 Comments

  1. Rudo Matangira says:

    Powerful I am ready to start saving 😊

  2. I really want to do this
    Does it have to be 30 consecutive days?

  3. Hi Sara,

    thank you for the free printable 1000 in 30 days.
    Would you please send me a copy of this article too? Cuz I would love to put it on my fridge.

    I am super excited to finally start saving. All my life I was just spending money. I always loved buying stuff for the kids and me. Most of the time stuff we don’t really need, stuff that the kids didn’t ask for also almost everything they ask for,….. I don’t want that my kids end up like me with 0 savings….. cuz they only learned from me how to buy useless stuff… πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

    Thank you soooo much I am really excited to finally change that!!!!

    1. That’s fantastic, Andrea! It’s great that you are taking your financial future into your hands and you are going to teach your kids how to save money, too. I’ve just sent you a PDF πŸ™‚

  4. Nicole Edwards says:

    Very informative article I am ready to make a change ! I requested the download to save $1000 a month .

  5. Is it free to subscribe

    1. Sara @ Gathering Dreams says:

      Yes, there are some free apps and paid ones.

  6. Karen Racki says:

    Sara-
    I would love to have a copy of this article/blog as well as your printable save 1000 in 30 days pdf. Thank you for your help.

    Karen Racki

    1. Hey Anna, sure! You just need to subscribe to the email list and you’ll get it straight to your inbox after you confirm πŸ™‚

  7. Thank you for sharing these useful tips on how to save money. I agree that sales are VERY tempting. Though I am well aware that I must not buy things randomly, I still buy random things here and there. For instance, I often buy stuff from Amazon. It took me quite a lot of time to change this bad habit.

    1. Thanks Khoa! Yes, sales are very tempting. And it does take determination to avoid buying stuff we don’t need. But if you have a goal in mind (like saving for a holiday, a house deposit, or something else) things get easier!

  8. I like the idea of simply saving each day. I will start doing this and focus on the goal of getting to $1000. Thank you.

  9. Cathe McIntosh says:

    …and it just showed up…thanks! looks awesome!

  10. i subscribed to get the printable PDF, but didn’t get it….site looks interesting but kinda frustrating having to search about for it. πŸ™‚ kindly email to me…

  11. I subscribed as well but no pdf for the download πŸ™

  12. Where to find your downloadable pdf file for the money challenge? I have already subscribed to your blog. Please advice. Thank you.

    1. Hey Zeti,
      I’ve just sent you an email with the link to the PDF. Let me know if you have any issues downloading it!
      Good luck with the challenge πŸ™‚

      1. Christi G. says:

        I tried to have it emailed to me too, but it won’t come to my email. How do I download this file??

        1. Hey Christi,
          You should make sure you have subscribed to the newsletter. Check you promotion tab in Google email or your spam folder just in case πŸ™‚
          I sent you a copy via email, just to be sure you have it πŸ™‚