My husband and I had a goal to save a large sum of money in a year.  Naturally, I’m a saver, but extreme saving is a whole other ballpark. It was hard, but, we did it! It’s the best feeling ever.  You’re probably wondering just how we saved tens of thousands of dollars in one year, right? Well, today is your lucky day because I’m going to share with you a few things that helped us.

Set a goal

I think with saving you need to have a goal. First, think about what exactly it is you’re saving for.  Are you saving for a car? A house? Renovations? Or maybe a trip? Once you figure out what you’re saving for you’ll be able to place a dollar amount on how much you will want to save, along with the amount of time you will give yourself to save.


Now that you know what you’re saving for and how much you’re going to save, it’s time for you to take a look at your finances to see where the money you’ve worked so hard for is going. Make a list of the bills you pay on a monthly basis.  These may include rent or mortgage, car insurance, car payments, student loans, credit card bills, cell phone bills, cable bills, groceries, laundry etc.

Using this list, decide what expenses you can reduce and/or completely dissolve.  For us, we lowered our cable bill – I called the cable company and threatened to leave.  We were spending almost $2,500 a year on cable and internet. That’s a lot. I had one credit card that needed to be paid off, which I used my tax refund to pay, and stashed the rest – making it one less bill to pay per month.

We called our student loan companies to find out ways we can reduce our loan amount. For the most part, you can save .5% interest by enrolling in auto pay.  It doesn’t sound like much, but it makes a difference when saving. You may also call your credit card companies to see if you qualify for a lower APR. Whatever money you do end up saving, either by reducing a loan or ridding yourself of credit card debt, continue to use that to pay yourself – into your savings account, of course.

Cash is King 

The goal here is to SAVE, and not add more debt.  Decide how much “mad money” you will allow yourself per paycheck, and take it out in cash on payday. When you’re out — you’re out.

We opted to place our credit cards in a bowl filled with water, and literally freeze them.

Cut back on dining out

Dining out, especially if you do it more than once or twice per week, really adds up.  Brunches, especially here in New York City can run one couple over $40.  My husband and I went to brunch often, I’d say almost every weekend.  That’s a lot of money spent on food I could have cooked at home myself, so we cut back. I started cooking more so we could bring lunch in from home to work, and I also stopped visiting dunkin’ donuts every morning for coffee. $2.15 cents a day per work week adds up.

Cut back on shopping

I love to shop, especially for beauty items, shoes, and handbags.  I cut out all of those things because honestly, how many shoes can one person wear? I wasn’t even using most of the stuff.  One thing that helped a lot was unsubscribing from sale alerts, especially from flash sale sites like Gilt, Ideeli, Hautelook, and Zulily.  I even removed their apps from my phone, too.  By doing this you remove the temptation to buy.

At Home Beauty Treatments

I stopped getting my hair done on weekly basis.  I think prior to this, I’ve spent close to $4,000 or more on having my hair done.  And I do my own manicures and pedicures. The $500 I spent a year on Brazilian waxing was nipped in the bud, too.

Learn to say ‘No’

Hardcore saving means you must learn to say ‘No’.  Sorry, I’m poor, so I can’t “loan” you anything. Your friends or family, if they are understanding and respect what you’re trying to do will not get upset when you can no longer make a function where you have to spend money.

We’ve had to decline birthday dinners and such.  And for Christmas we only purchased gifts for the children. Normally, our family goes on a cruise every other summer, and we had to opt out of that, too.  It all comes down to one word: PRIORITIES.  It made no sense spending at least $5,000 on a trip for a few days when that amount can be added to our savings, and bring us closer to our goal. Vacations will be there.  Saying ‘No’ is hard, but in the end you have to do what’s best for you, and in our case, for our family, too.

Automatic Savings Plans

I have a Capital One 360 Savings account, formerly ING Direct.  Capital One 360 Savings was the best option for me aside from my regular savings account since it allowed me to set a goal amount, and figure out how much money I’d have to save either weekly or bi-weekly to achieve that goal by a certain time. I chose bi-weekly deductions to coincide with when I get paid. So, when I received my paycheck, a large portion of whatever I had left over after paying my bills went straight into my savings account – and I don’t even notice it.  Since it takes a long time to withdraw money from this type of account, it makes it less desirable to try and “steal” from it.

You may sign up here

What about the 52 Week Challenge?

I know a lot of people started putting aside money so that by the end of the year, they’d accumulate $1,378 by the end of the year.  This is a good start, but, it wasn’t enough to help make even a small dent in the amount of money we needed to save. I skipped it.

Getting Extra Money

I sold a lot of items I didn’t use anymore and/or have worn once or twice.  These items included shoes, boots, designer bags, old gaming systems, beauty items, a point and shoot camera and more.  I used sites like Ebay, Poshmark, and even my blog to sell things. Redeem your empty soda (or beer bottles) and cans to get back that 5 cents deposit you pay at the grocery store. The nickels add up, just ask my Mom!

Use your talent!

If you have a talent that can earn you extra income, then use it to your advantage, and don’t do things for free.  For instance, I do makeup.  Any money I earned I put a portion of it aside for myself, and then the rest went into savings.

What are ways you save money?