How to Save $1,000 When You’re Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck

Joseph Meyer
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How to Save Your First $1,000

Saving a thousand dollars doesn’t have to be hard. You just have to be smart about it. Here are a few tips on how to do it.

#1: Open a targeted savings account – and earn bank.

If you have a hard time saving, start by opening a savings account. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bank account or a separate account like a cash-back credit card. Save your money in a location that’s hard for you to get to it but still accounts for your savings. That way, you can automatically redirect unplanned expenses to your savings account.

Once you have a dedicated account, you can start estimating how much money you’re saving. Use this savings to pay off debt or pay for any upcoming costs.

Remember, banks will offer you dividends or other incentives if you set up an account with them that you deposit a certain amount of money in. You should keep an eye out for these banks or bonuses and use them to your advantage.

#2: Earn money in your free time.

You’ve probably heard about America’s favorite side hustle … the Uber and Lyft gig.

You can do this in your spare time punctuating your full-time job. And since you’re already going everywhere you’re going every day, you could set getting money in between your regular activities of the day.

This offers some consistency. This is more realistic especially if you are saving initially from a full-time job without any side hustle. And you’ll need something sporadic to jumpstart your savings.

#3: Stop paying crazy-high interest rates.

Let’s say you’ve managed to get out of any crazy debts, but you’re still living pay check to pay check. One reason for this is you’re paying 18% interest on any credit card debt, student loan debt, or car loan.

If you can lower this interest rate, you can save a lot of money. Unfortunately, this is easier said that done. Your credit score affects your ability to obtain a low interest rate, so if you have a bad credit rating, you may be better off trying to pay off one of those debts to improve your credit rating in the long run.

#4: Pick up a side hustle.

Side hustles make the perfect solution to make quick cash for bills and to have a fun way to earn some extra money. The great thing is, a lot of side hustles do not require a ton of experience or a huge investment a time! Some ideas for earning some extra cash are:

  • Offer to be a day nanny or babysitter.
  • Offer to walk dogs or watch small pets.
  • Offer to run errands and do chores for elderly neighbors.
  • Pretend you are still in college and sell your class notes.
  • Sell items you have lying around or on-hand.
  • Sell old, unused items you have tucked away in your attic, shed, or garage.
  • Offer to mow lawns, rake leaves, shovel snow, etc.
  • Ask for extra money on top of your current work-related offers (bonuses, tips, commissions, etc).

#5: Refinance your pesky student loans.

Consolidating your large student loan may shave thousands off the cost.

Your mind is fixated on the past: the time it took to earn your degree, the loans you took out to pay for it, and the seeming impossibility of ever paying them off. As soon as you paid off your last one, another loan appeared. It seemed like there was always a loan out — with your interest accruing and adding up fast.

If your student loans are weighing you down, it may make sense to refinance them to a shorter term and lower interest rate. Many companies are offering millennials the opportunity to refinance their student loans. These companies have streamlined the process, making it easy to apply and receive approval.

If you've consolidated your loans with a private lender or the federal government, there's a way to reduce the total cost of your debt by refinancing into a lower-interest loan. Refinancing will give you more flexibility and a chance to lower the cost of your debt. And in some cases, you can even lower the length of your loan. These loans may save you thousands of dollars.

By refinancing, you will have a lower interest rate that will make it easier to pay off your loans.

#6: Lower your mortgage payment.

#7: Download apps for cash.

Cash can be tricky to come by when living paycheck to paycheck, but it’s far from impossible. There are a ton of ways to get some extra money, no matter how much…or little…cash you may have in the bank.

With any of the following ideas, you can start earning extra money now, regardless of your background, income, or skill level. The great thing is that all of the options below are only going to take up a small portion of your available time. Plus, you can put each of these ideas into action from anywhere, using your smartphone or tablet…which means your extra cash will start rolling in immediately!


Swagbucks® is one of the best rewards sites out there. This site rewards you for doing almost anything you already do online, including shopping. There are also surveys, instant wins, videos to watch, and much more, all of which grant you Swagbucks® which you can then redeem for gift cards.

#8: Negotiate your auto insurance rates, and save big!

Start Saving Now….and Don’t Let Anyone Stand in Your Way

For most people, the holidays mean big spending, which is one of the reasons why we can end up with credit card debt that are worth being payed off for overyear.

For people who are trying to save money, it can be frustrating to deal with friends and relatives who insist on spending money during holiday celebrations.

When you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, birthday presents, wedding gifts and payment for a family dinner can seem like luxuries. But it’s important not to let anyone stand in your way of saving money during the holidays.