Are you looking to fatten your savings account in 2014? If so, there are loads of different ways that you can do it. I’ve seen the 52-Week Challenge being shared all over the place, but my goal is a little bit different. I want to save a minimum of $1500 in 2014, so I’ve created a plan that will help me do that.
Saving $1505 in 52 Weeks
With my 52-week plan, I’ll save approximately $1505 before interest or any additional deposits are calculated. You can see how I plan to do it in the chart below. I’ve provided this so that you can see what I’m putting away each week and follow my plan if you wish. As you can see, I plan to start off somewhat small. I think the small deposits will help me get used to making a deposit into my account each week. I then chose to keep some small deposit weeks in the mix so that I could better plan for birthdays, holidays and the like.
Of course, one of the big things I plan to do to surpass my $1505 savings plan is to add a few hundred dollars from my income tax returns. Surely, I can live without a few hundred dollars that I waited a year for anyway, right?
Tools to Help Save $1500 in 52 Weeks
It’s true that money doesn’t grow on trees…unless of course you own a successful orchard. That’s why I need to make sure that I budget appropriately in order to accommodate the money that I will be depositing into savings instead of spending on bills, groceries and other necessities. In order to make my budget work, I’m going to have to be proactive. Because my family lives on a very tight budget already, that means that I’m going to have to use every method available to me to save and/or make the money I need to achieve my savings goals.
One of the methods I’ll be using a lot more frequently than I currently do is couponing. Yes, I coupon frequently, but I’m not a die-hard couponer by any means. I can make deals work when I do my homework, but I’ve been skipping classes for a while now. Lately I’ve been using coupons like most people do – here and there to offset my costs by a few dollars to tens of dollars each shopping trip. This year, I plan to change that, get serious about couponing again and put my savings at the store towards my savings plan deposits.
In addition, I will be using cash back and survey sites a lot more frequently so that I can earn money that I can transfer into my savings account during weeks that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it. The key to that will definitely be transferring that cash as soon as I see it available. Otherwise I’ll forget and spend it on something.
Mobile Coupon Apps and Coupon Sites
I’ve downloaded a few apps to my iPhone to help me increase my savings. These are:
- Ibotta – this has got to be one of the easiest ways to earn money back on your purchases. Just shop, take a pic of your receipt and upload it to ibotta. This should easily result in covering at least one of my deposits each month.
- Shopkick – another way to reimburse myself when I shop! Earn kicks just for visiting some stores and earn more kicks when you make a purchase. Cash out for gift cards to offset spending budgets later!
- SavingStar – if you have a grocery store loyalty card, this app is fabulous! Simply download it, register your loyalty card and download coupons to it. When you swipe it at the register, you’ll see the savings!
- Coupon Sherpa – which I’ll be using mainly for the “other than grocery shopping” trips, such as clothes shopping, dining out, electronics shopping and shoe shopping.
In addition to the weekly coupons I receive with my newspaper, I’ve been getting my printable coupons from Coupons.com, Facebook and manufacturer websites. I can also find them on Redplum.com, as well as on the popular SmartSource.com. I need to be more vigilant about doing so, as I often forget to check. I also need to stop leaving my coupon binder at home because that’s where I keep all of my coupons!
Cash Back & Points Programs
One of my favorite ways to save money is with savings programs that pay you back a percentage of what you spent in cash or points. Programs like this are great because you don’t see the savings immediately, which makes it easier to set them aside for when you actually need the money. I’m going to tell you about my favorites below and why I love them.
MyPoints – The very first program that I ever signed up for like this was MyPoints and I have to say, it came in quite handy at Christmas time. All I do to rack up the points there is open the emails they send me and click on them. You automatically earn 5 points on most emails just for clicking on the button and visiting the site. I earn more points when I visit MyPoints when I plan to shop. I just search for the store I want to do my online shopping at, then click on it through MyPoints to go to the store and complete my shopping. Once my order is processed, I see the points added to my account. Those points quickly add up and allow me to cash out for gift cards to my favorite stores, thus saving me cash money that I would have spent out of pocket.
Ebates – About a year ago, I started using Ebates. Now Ebates is very similar to MyPoints in that you visit the site and click through to the online shopping destination you plan to visit, but it’s also very different. How? Well, instead of points, you earn cash. Yes, CASH. I get my cash back sent to my PayPal account so that I can either put it towards something else or deposit it into my checking account and move it over to my savings. The cool thing? If I shop through Ebates each month, I could literally cover at least one week’s savings deposit every month using that alone.
How much money are you planning to save in 2014 and how do you plan to do it? I’d love to hear your ideas!