5 Ways to Create an Extra $500 a Month

Piggy BankIt’s becoming increasingly popular for Millennials to save their money instead of increasing their debt. This generation, while engendering the start-up boom, is simultaneously spending and saving wisely. This powerful shift in financial consciousness is partly a response to the devastating burden of student loans. With projected retirement at 65 becoming increasingly unattainable for Baby Boomers, Millenials understand this caution and know that a key factor here is one’s early creation of a meaningful personal savings account. I know, because I’m a Millennial myself and my entire financial strategy revolves around how much I can save each month.

I read about a younger couple who have cut their spending down so they can put away 71% of their income each month. I’m proud to say I’ve created a savings plan of about 55% a month, and it’s VERY do-able. Can you imagine saving an extra $500 a month? What would that mean for your overall savings plan? Here are a handful of ways to save/earn an extra $500 a month – or more – and increase your overall savings.

1. Don’t buy a drink at dinner. I won’t tell you to not go out to eat, although I can advise that getting food delivered or ordering take-out can save 15-20% off the price of a sit-down restaurant bill. Buying a drink at dinner can cost you close to the price of your meal. Most sit-down restaurants offer a cocktail menu ranging from $7-12 a drink, except during Happy Hour. So after two beers or two glasses of wine, you have run up a $14 pre-tax beverage bill, yet you hardly even have a buzz on after that hard day at work! The average American eats 4-5 meals each week in a restaurant. If you get a glass of water at each place instead of a $7 cocktail, you are saving $35 per week or $140 per month. SAVINGS: $1,680 a year ($140 x 12). Which brings me to my next point…

2. Don’t go out to eat as oftenLike I said, Americans are eating 4-5 meals per week in a restaurant. The average meal outside of the home (without alcohol) costs $12.75 – #inflation. Cut your out-to-eat plan down to 2 times a week. This will save you $153 per month. I know what you are thinking…”I’m just going to spend the money on groceries instead.” You are right: groceries are expensive, but meal-planning and leaning more towards a vegetarian diet can reduce the grocery bill significantly. SAVINGS: $1,836 a year ($153 x 12).

3. Seriously, do you still have cable? Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime… and for those savvy enough: Tor and Pirate Bay. They all exist to make your life easier and more affordable. They typically run around $8 a month versus regular cable which can run up to $70 per month, depending on your package. Choose one! I go with Netflix. It has a great stand-up comedy section and all the good drama series: Dexter, OITNB, House, Scandal, etc. You’ll save 80% by canceling your cable and going with a live streaming site. SAVINGS: $744 a year ($70 minus $8 = $62 x 12).

4. Have a car? Drive for Uber or Lyft a couple of times a week. Of course, you need a car that’s newer than 2003, but that probably includes many/most of you. Lyft offers a sign-on bonus so if you give 50 rides in your first month, you get an additional $750! Awesome, right? Even doing this a couple times a week, for a few hours, could make you an additional $75 a week. SAVINGS: $3,900 a year ($75 a week x 52).

5. Monthly Memberships. I don’t know about you, but as a dog owner, I buy a lot of toys for my dog. He loves them – so much so that he scatters their chewed-up parts all over the house, mere hours after I purchase them. The average dog toy at Wal-Mart costs about $6; the cheaper $2 toys just fall apart faster. I figure I am spending around $40 a month on treats and toys. So I’ve opted for Bark Box. I pay $18 each month for two bags of treats and a few toys. This is a huge cost-savings for me as a dog owner, and it’s also really fun. And Bark Box isn’t the only site that offers shipments sent to your door that are tailored to your needs. SAVINGS: $264 a year ($40 minus $18 x 12).

Dollar Shave Club is a recent phenomenon that is revolutionizing shower time. You pay between $1-9 each month with free shipping for a pack of new razor heads, an incredible savings! The 4X Model razor costs $6 a month which includes four top-quality German stainless-steel 4-blade cartridges. Four equivalent name brand cartridges bought at the store would cost you around $12 (plus you have to drive to the store and back). SAVINGS: $72 a year ($12 minus $6 x 12).

Birch Box offers women skin and beauty products for a small monthly price. (If you ask me, kicking make-up and beauty products to the side is just another way to save a lot of money. Trust me, it works – at least it does here in Colorado where The Natural Look is esteemed!)

Anthem Vault is even working on a new savings plan membership that will allow customers to save as a little as $1 per day in physical gold and silver bullion. More to come on that!

All of the memberships I have mentioned are easy to sign up for and easy to cancel. There are no gimmicks, keeping you entangled in monthly charges; no, you can cancel at anytime.

In my list above, I have saved you about $8,232 a year and that’s not including Bark Box (if you are not owned by a dog). And I am not even a Certified Financial Planner, outside of my own home. If you follow these quick and easy lifestyle changes, you’ll see quite more in your savings account at the end of the month…

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  • Mike Kennedy

    Awesome tips Megan!

  • Emily Brazil

    YAY! Great tips! So true about everything!! I am working on DECREASING my amount of cable that we have available in our home (I’m not ready to cut ties completely just yet!)
    And of course, we can’t forget the all mighty COUPONS if you absolutely need to buy something :-)
    Thanks Meg! Keep the advice coming please !!!

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