Want to learn how to save $3000 in 3 months? Check out these tips to save money when you are broke!
I published this post when I first started blogging and I must say that this has been one of my most popular posts. I get why. Nearly 80% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck and according to a GOBankingRates survey, 39% of Americans do not have savings at all.
If you are one of these people living paycheck-to-paycheck, I bet you are also asking these questions:
How to save money when you are broke?
How to save money on a low income?
Is saving money still possible when you don’t even have enough for the bills?
I hear ya! Indeed, saving money can seem like a pipe dream if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck. Trust me, I know that all too well because I’ve been there.
Years ago, if you had have told me I need to save money, I would probably have laughed in your face because I would never think it’s possible.
But what I didn’t realize was that I could have been saving money in SO MANY ways and that having a low income was not an excuse to not be able to save.
I’ve discovered many creative ways to save money so I want to share a few money-saving tips that have really worked for me and that can help you save $3000 in just 3 months!
If you want to learn more money hacks, head over to this post where I shared 50 of the best frugal living tips we used to live on one income.
Ready to learn how to save $3000 in 3 months?
Let’s dive in!
Save $3000 in 3 Months: Money-Saving Tips
Table of Contents
1. Get Rid of Financial Leaks
Financial leaks are small expenses that we usually don’t notice but when accumulated over time, they eat up a huge chunk of our budget. I really encourage you to track your expenses to see where your money goes.
You can simply record your expenses in an excel sheet, write them down on a sheet of paper or use money apps to track your expenses and learn where your money goes.
Here are some common areas you might be wasting money on.
- Starbucks Coffee
In case you’ve never thought about this expense, your daily $4 coffee becomes $28 in a week or $336 in 3 months.
If you can’t give up Starbucks, here’s what you can do to get free Starbucks coffee and save money: answer surveys via Swagbucks.
Swagbucks is a fun rewards program that gives you free gift cards and cash for the everyday things you already do online such as browsing the internet, watching videos online, or shopping online. But the most popular way to rack up points on Swagbucks is by answering paid surveys.
Swagbucks is free to join. A bonus? They will also give you a $5 bonus for signing up today. I am a Swagbucks user myself and I can guarantee you that it is legitimate and it really pays you for using it.
Important: Make sure to click the confirm button in the confirmation email from Swagbucks to get the bonus!
- Convenient Drinks
Drink more water but do not buy it. Vending machines charge a dollar for a can of soft drink or bottled water.
Instead of buying drinks from a vending machine or gas station, bring a container of drinks with you. This Brita filtering water bottle, which has a filter directly in the bottle, is a great investment you can conveniently carry around and use wherever you go.
If you bring your own water or drink wherever you go, you could easily save $30 a month or $90 in 3 months.
- Credit Card Payments
Missing credit card payments come with late payment fees and may also increase your interest rate. Late fees can be as high as $39, depending on your credit card’s late payment policy. And with compounding interest, you could lose even more money.
- Wasting Energy
Save energy because it is expensive. By using less energy you may be able to save at least $40 per month and $200 in 5 months.
There are many ways to lower your energy bill, including using LED lights, unplugging appliances after use, or sun-drying clothes instead of using the dryer. You might also want to consider batch cooking and meal prepping and avoid turning on your stove every day.
- Gym Membership
According to Statistics Brain, 67% of Americans with a gym membership never use them and that, on average, gym membership owners go to the gym only twice per week. Are you one of these people? Unless you really use your membership, I recommend replacing your membership with free fitness activities.
Monthly spending for gym memberships ranges from $30 – $100+ per month, depending on where you go. Eliminating this expense could help you save easily $100-$300 in 3 months.
- Not Planning Your Shopping Well
Plan when to shop and write a list before you hit the stores so you don’t forget any item and go back to the store later. Going to the store multiple times a week not only wastes your time and gas. You would also be prone to making unplanned purchases.
You might be wasting money on your insurance.
According to a recent study, drivers who have stayed with the same insurer for more than 8 years could save 19% by switching. You might also save more if you bundle your home and auto insurance policies with a single company.
Potential savings from financial leaks: $300-$1000 or more in 3 months.
Even more THIS MAMA BLOGS posts you might like:
- How to Live on One Income
- How to Live Frugally in 2022: 50 Best Frugal Living Tips
- How to Do a No-Spend Challenge
2. Save Money When Eating Out
Did you know that restaurants charge a 300 percent markup? This means that for a $30 entree in a restaurant, the actual cost of the food you are eating only costs $10 if you make it at home.
With that said, if you regularly spend $3000 a year ( that’s how much the average American spends in restaurants per year), you could save up to $2000 if you cook and eat the same food at home!
When we eat out, here are a few strategies we use to lower our bill:
- Don’t order drinks
A glass of iced tea or soft drink costs around $3 and that’s a savings of $12 for a family of 4 if you don’t order drinks. It might not seem much but it can easily add up if you dine out weekly. I do this not just for savings but also for health reasons.
Potential monthly savings: at least $30 per month/ $90 in 3 months
- Eat out for brunch or lunch
Dinner is generally more expensive than brunch or lunch. So, schedule eating out for brunch or lunch to save a few bucks.
- Buy discount gift cards.
Using discount gift cards when eating out is one great way to save money! For example, if you frequent Applebees, buy a discount Applebee’s restaurant card online through sites like Swagbucks to save 20% or more!
A fun way to save money is by tracking it! Use this cute saving challenge printable to stay motivated while saving money!!
3. Meal Plan
Food is one of the top 3 expenses of U.S. households, accounting for 12.5% or just over $7000 in the average budget, of annual expenditures.
Fortunately, food is an expense you can easily cut back on if you meal plan. I was really surprised at the savings I’ve made since I started planning out our meals!
Here are a few reasons why you should consider meal planning:
- It can help you avoid buying extra ingredients you won’t eat and reduce food waste.
- It can help you create meals according to your budget.
- It can help you become more intentional about the food you eat. This means if you plan more healthy meals, you’ll eat healthy food.
Learn more about how I meal plan on a budget by reading this post: Simple Meal Planning Tips to Save Money.
Need someone create a meal plan for you?
If you don’t have time to create meal plans to follow every week, let Erin from the $5 Meal Plan help you!
For only $5 a month, Erin will email your weekly meal plan + shopping list, where every meal only costs $2 per person or $5 per family. You’ll also never worry about buying extra ingredients you won’t eat, hence reducing your food waste.
For a limited time, Erin offers a FREE 14-day trial through this link. If you’ll like the service, you can continue using the service for only $5 per month. Otherwise, cancel it before the trial period ends and you’ll still get free meal plans for two weeks.
Potential savings in 3 months if you meal plan: $300 easy in 3 months.
4. Cook at Home
Meal planning and cooking at home go hand in hand, and together they can give you incredible savings, in both time and money. Here are a few strategies to help you put a couple of hundred dollars back into your wallet just by cooking at home.
- Buy in bulk
If you like to collect grocery coupons, it’s best to put them to use when bulk shopping for food items with longer shelf life. Think along the lines of cereals, rice, pasta, and baking products like flour, cornstarch, and sugar. This way, you get deeper discounts and slowly build a stockpile of food, which come handy when you really need to tighten your belt.
- Buy seasonal produce
Another important thing to remember when meal planning and cooking at home is to create menus around seasonal produce. For example, make coleslaw and stuffed cabbage when cabbage is in season. It’s important to note to cook recipes that won’t go bad so easily, so you can batch cook and keep the rest in the fridge until it’s time to eat. Also, for cheaper seasonal produce, explore your local farmer’s market.
- Cook less meat
Meat is expensive, so reducing meat consumption can be a great way to reduce food expenses. Explore delicious veggie recipes, and you might surprised by how yummy, easy, and cheap they are. Or, look for cheaper meat cuts, such as chicken thighs, pork shoulder, chuck roast, ground meat, and beef brisket. Try to “extend” your recipe by using less meat and adding more filling ingredients like beans and lentils. And if you’re looking for protein-rich food but don’t want to spend more on meat, you can always go for eggs.
5. Save money on insurance
I hate to say this, but you’re probably spending too much on insurance. I know insurance is a necessary expense, but there are several ways to cut costs on insurance and save a couple of hundred bucks a year.
- Regularly shop for quotes and policies
If you’ve never made a claim, you are a “safe driver,” and you have a high credit score, it’s worth the effort to shop for new insurance once or twice a year. You might be surprised by how much money you can save if you switch policies or insurers, giving you adequate coverage but a much lower rate.
- Ask for a discount
You’ll never know until you ask, so don’t be shy or awkward, and just ask your insurance agent if you qualify for any discount. For car insurance policies, you may qualify for a good student discount if you’re a student with excellent grades, and homeowners may enjoy a discount for installing a home security system. The bottom line is that you need to connect with your insurance company to ensure that you are getting all the discounts you are eligible for!
6. Do It Yourself
Before you even hire help to fix something, YouTube it first or do a quick research online.
I even learned how to cut my own hair by just watching tutorials on YouTube and believe me it’s not really that difficult. It’s like anything in life–if you want to get better at it, practice more.
I am not saying you should give up all your little luxuries in life but if you have a tight budget and want to save some money, you can DIY certain things (and I don’t just mean cutting your own hair), achieve the same results and pocket the money instead.
Here are some other things you can DIY to save more money:
- Home maintenance
- Home cleaners such as detergent
- Home organizers or decorations
- Clothes (altering old clothes)
- Kitchen items
Savings goal from DIY projects: $50 per month/ $150 for 3 months.
7. Find free entertainment
If there’s one thing going through the pandemic taught me, it’s that fun doesn’t have to be expensive. We’ve survived months without attending concerts, music festivals, and movies. And now that we’ve overcome it, it also means that there are even more ways to entertain ourselves without breaking the bank.
- Go out for a hike
One of my favorite free forms of entertainment is hiking. It’s a great way to avoid the crowd, reconnect with nature, and even get some workout. Consider walking around the neighborhood if you’re not near any hiking trails.
- Go on a picnic
Eating out is expensive, but not going on a picnic. Whether picnicking in your backyard, at the nearby park, on the river, or on the beach, it’s much cheaper than eating out in restaurants. Pack a gameboard or frisbee, bring a book or a fishing rod, and you won’t mind passing the time without spending another dime.
Another great way to immerse yourself in nature is camping. Some camping sites may charge you a fee, but you can find free ones, especially on national forest lands. It’s also an educational experience for kids, as camping can take them out of their comfort zones. You can play games, gather around the bonfire, and make s’mores – all of which costs next to nothing!’
- Visit free local events
Chances, there are free community events that you can attend. The Farmer’s Market is a great place to start, as you’ll see many people and various products. You could take the kids to free outdoor cinemas. Or, there may be free classes that align with your interests, whether those are yoga classes, cooking classes, crafting, etc. These events are a great way to connect with other community members and make new friends.
8. Earn money from your hobbies
Do you have a hobby that you spend a lot of money on? It’s about time to do it in reverse and make that hobby make money for you. I think most hobbies can generate an income in one way or another, making it a great way to help you save $3000 in three months.
Here are some of the most profitable hobbies to consider:
Blogging is one of the best ways for many men and women to generate extra income right from their own homes. Blogging is a profitable hobby if you want to express yourself and share your knowledge and expertise with a broader audience. You don’t need much to start your blog, and only a few technicalities are involved in setting up one. Once you’ve established your blog, you can monetize it through ads, paid or sponsored content, selling merch and digital products.
Crafting handmade products is another great hobby that you can make money from. Whether you enjoy making jewelry, hair accessories, home decor, or personal care products, there’s always a demand for them. It’s easier to sell handmade products now that you can set up your own digital store on Etsy or Shopify.
- Graphic design
So you enjoy making event invitations, posters, and flyers for others. Why not make money from this amazing skill? There are plenty of places where you could monetize your graphic design skills, whether as a remote employee or a freelancer. For instance, you can sell services on Fiverr or bid on jobs on Upwork. Another way to monetize your graphic design skills is through Print-On-Demand. POD platforms like Printful, Printify, and Redbubble allow you to upload designs online and earn money when customers request to put those designs on physical products like T-shirts, caps, mugs, and hoodies.
Do you have a nice camera and smashing photography skills? It’s about time you make money from photography. One popular option would be to become a freelance photographer, where you can shoot weddings, birthdays, and corporate events. Or, you could earn passive income by taking photos and selling them on stock photography websites like Getty Images, Shutterstock, and Dreamstime. Either way, you’ll make money doing something you love.
Although online and video gaming gets a bad rap as a hobby, it can be lucrative if you know how to monetize it. One of the easiest ways to make money gaming is to create your own online streaming channel on Twitch and YouTube. You’ll build a community of fellow gaming fans; they can send you money to support you, and you can even sell merch to them. Or, you could earn extra cash testing new games on MistPlay and PlayTestCloud.
9. Save money on clothing
If you feel like you spend too much money on clothes that would have otherwise nicely fattened up your bank account, consider these ways to save on clothing.
- Shop end-of-the-season
Still buying winter clothes in November and summer outfits in June? Then you’re bound to spend more money than necessary. Stores typically sell clothes near the end of the season, and this is the best time to snag the best deals. Put those clothes in storage until needed, and you won’t have to pay a hefty price for coats and jackets before wintertime.
- One in, one out
I don’t like a cluttered closet. So, one of the strategies that works for me is to buy one piece of clothing ONLY if I let go of another. With that said, it pays to do a periodic decluttering to see which clothes you still want to keep and which you need to donate and throw away. If you’re always struggling with what to wear, it’s time to keep your wardrobe minimalist.
- Invest in timeless, basic pieces.
Fashion trends come and go; inevitably, some clothes won’t see the light of day as trends change. And I think that’s a waste of money. Invest in basic and timeless pieces to save money in the long run because they’ll never go out of style. Purchase high-quality black and white T-shirts, a nice-fitting pair of pants, a little black dress, a trench coat, and a blazer. These pieces are easier to mix, match, and accessorize, saving you precious time and money.
10. Go on a spending freeze
Okay, so we’ve mostly talked about how to save money while spending it. But how about not spending money altogether?
A spending freeze, or a no-spend challenge, is an amazing way to cut unnecessary spending for a period of time. This challenge aims to curb impulse spending and teach you about restraint and saving money. For example, you can go for a month without spending on new clothes, take-out food, or unnecessary grocery items. You just stick to the basics and don’t spend on anything else.
Doing a spending freeze is challenging, especially if you’ve never done it before. Here are a few ways to help you succeed:
- Set clear goals. Whether you want to pay down debt, add more money to your bank account, or train yourself to restrain from impulse purchases, having a clear goal from the start helps you become more committed to this challenge.
- Set up an emergency fund. Make sure to have enough money to address urgent financial matters. Without an emergency fund, it can be easy to give up and throw the entire challenge out of the window.
- Remove temptations. Temporarily uninstall online shopping apps, unsubscribe from promotional emails and do not set foot in a mall or store.
- Track your progress. Monitor how much you spent and saved throughout the challenge to stay motivated. Celebrate small wins, but keep your eyes peeled on the long-term goals.
11. Sell What You Don’t Need
We all have too much stuff in our lives and we all have extra stuff lying around that we no longer use. Chances are, some people would be happy to pay for those things you don’t use anymore.
How about selling those things you have not touched in ages? Maybe you have a lot of shoes or clothes you no longer use and want to get rid of. You could make money selling them at sites like eBay or Craigslist.
Decluttr is also a great place for selling electronics such as iPhones, CDs, DVDs, and tablets.
Another popular site where you can sell your old electronics is Gazelle. Trade in your old LG Phone for cash at Gazelle and get an extra $5 Bonus on your first trade-in!
You can also sell used items such as books, DVDs, cell phones, Kindle devices, and more through the Amazon Trade-In program. However, Amazon pays only in Amazon gift card credit which is still fine if you shop at Amazon anyway and keep your cash in your pocket.
Amazon also gives you a free pre-paid USPS or UPS shipping label so all you need to do is send off the items you want to sell.
Related post: How to Make an Extra $100 a Week Effortlessly
12. Rewire your money mindset
I really believe that our mindsets have a huge impact on our relationship with money. As for saving more and spending less, we have to understand the true purpose of money. Money is a tool to buy the things we want and need, to secure our financial future, and create opportunities. Instead of thinking of money as a source of stress, think of it as a source of empowerment for both your short-term and long-term goals.
It is also crucial to be mindful with our spending. We need to ensure that we are using money the right way and for the right reasons. One of the things I personally observe when it comes to this is “delayed gratification.” I try not to make huge purchases on impulse. I think about it over and again, and debate with myself whether this purchase is worth it or not. Over the years, I feel like I have become more patient and disciplined with handling money.
Finally, practice goal-setting. Having definite and clear financial goals stay focused on your journey. Why do you need to save $3000 in three months? Do you want to pay down debt, save up for your dream wedding or dream house, start your kid’s college fund or add the funds to your retirement money? Whatever the goal may be, being committed to your financial goals give you clarity and direction, control and self-discipline.
There you have it–over 12 ways to save $3000 in 3 months! As you can see, there are many things you can do to save money, and no matter what your financial situation is, it is possible to save $3000 in 3 months . You just have to act now and get started.