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4 Ways to Creatively Meet Your Savings Goals

Guest post from Katie of Along For The Journey

Do you have trouble saving money? I know, at times, I certainly do.

I set ambitious saving goals, only to have my ambition slowly dwindle down. However, I have learned that if you are determined to meet your savings goals, creativity can help you get there. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

1. Round up your purchases and save the change.

When you purchase something with a debit card, round up the purchase to the next dollar and transfer the extra change to your savings account. There are some banks that will automatically do this for you. If you use a cash system for purchases, then throw your change in a jar and let it add up.

2. Take surveys, read emails, and search the web.

I am currently saving all of my online earnings for Christmas. I have set a Christmas budget of $500 and a goal to earn that $500 online. By doing this, I will also be able to take advantage of great deals all year long.

Note from Crystal: Check out this list of Legitimate Survey Companies to Sign Up With, as well as my 15 Ways to Earn More Swagbucks series for more information on how you can earn money by taking surveys and searching the web.

3. Take on side jobs.

Find a way you can make some extra cash by doing something you already love doing. Here are a few ideas:

These, of course, are just generic ideas. We all have different talents and interests, recognize your talent and think about how you could utilize that talent to earn some extra money.

4. Automate your savings.

If at all possible, set up an electronic transfer from your paycheck or checking account to your savings account. It’s much easier to save money that you never see. Even if you can only afford to save $5 out of every paycheck, do it. Small amounts add up quite nicely over time!

Some of the things on this list may look insignificant, but it might surprise you how fast they add up. If you are having trouble saving money, remember to stay positive and think outside the box.

Katie is a mother of two beautiful girls. She currently works part-time as a bookkeeper and goes to college full-time pursuing an accounting degree. She enjoys blogging about personal finance at Along For The Journey.

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  1. Meredith says

    I can vouch for a few of these myself. We pay cash for things and drop the change in an empty gallon bottle. We usually change it over once a year and have between $250-$350… So easy and so worth it! We also started saving for Christmas automatically in an ING Christmas fund and I can’t believe how much has been saved, painlessly, in only a few short months. Saving automatically for things has been huge for us.
    Using swagbucks for Amazon cards has been great, as well.

  2. Martina says

    this is also the first year we do a christmas fund, our bank offers it, we actually started small and committed only 40 dollars a month to it, it runs from January to October, as i made our deposit today, i was amazed that we are actually over half way there. We do keep our spare change, but we empty it out each friday for pizza night

  3. says

    I got some great name brand kids clothes and listed them on Craigslist with NO SALES. Bummer. Will try to relist them before long but man what a bummer. I thought they were reasonably priced and if everything sold I would have made $50. :(

    • Amy says

      Craigslist in my area isn’t that great…not many buying. I did sell a lot of my old clothes on Ebay and have had great success…but it can be a pain mailing everything and setting it all up so you can profit. $130 pure profit for 7 auctions was worth it though…just list them in “lots” to make the most $$$. :-) Kids clothes sell really well on there too.

  4. K-Mo says

    My husband and I started going on walks every Saturday and collecting aluminum soda cans – we cash them in at a recycling center and usually make about $10 per garbage bag since the price of aluminum keeps going up. It’s free exercise, quality time together, and we make a little extra cash.

    • says

      $10 per garbage bag! wow I had no idea that they would be worth that much. My husband drinks 3 to 4 cans a day (would love him to quit but I have learned he has to do it and nagging doesn’t help) and tosses them in the recycle bin.Now I understand why I see people raiding our recycle bin for them. Thanks for the tip!

      • Amanda says

        In our area of Richmond, VA they still don’t recycle. So, I kept telling my husband we should take soda cans and metal scraps (from home projects) to a recycle center to make some money. My husband never really wanted to go because the only nearby center was located in the city and not really worth the drive. However, a recycle center nearby recently opened to the public, so my husband took some old duct work and metal pieces and made $40. We were happy with that and the money convinced him we should take our metal to the recycle center. It would have all gone to the dump anyway. We have a collection of soda cans we will take on the next trip. My husband drinks way too much soda (Diet Coke and Pepsi) too. I wish he would cut back, but I have not had much luck getting him to. But I will take the money now that we can recycle it. We have another can collection to take with the others soon.

  5. says

    We’ve found that automating our savings is a huge help – you can’t spend the money that you don’t see come out of the paycheck! Oh, and also earning money through blogging has been a huge blessing this past year!

  6. rachel says

    We canceled our text messaging and data exc to save more and too go to one income when we had our first. Then later we got a family plan with some family members and have everything for way less! We also canceled direct tv and now use hulu and netflix threw the x box we never used anymore. Saved $60 a month. Then paying our car insurance in the 6 month premium. And buying our little girls clothes a year in advance off the clearance rack at the outlets with coupons. :) just to name a few. :)

  7. jessica says

    I cant wait to read the comments from this post because this is defiantly something I am struggling with lately after paying off a large chunk of debt.

  8. says

    I do survey’s mostly through mypoints, and mysurvey, and a company called isop., as well as swagbucks and mycokerewards and recyclebank and save all the points from these various places for gift cards (although sometimes I do cave and get myself a free magazine or two) So far this year I am averaging $50 a month combining all the different streams. Each year it seems to go up, as I get better at understanding how to get the most from my points.

  9. says

    Love this!
    Thanks for the reminder that with a little patience and do diligence, we can accomplish our goals. This is what I remind myself everyday as we strive to pay down our debts :)

  10. Lisa says

    We need to be reminded of this all the time-it is so easy to get off track and much harder to get back on! I just listed 4 things on craigslist and have been purging for a rummage. If nothing else my house will look better and I will feel better!

  11. Jessica says

    My parents collect cans. They live in Michigan where there is a $.10 bottle deposit on all cans and bottles. They easily get $20+ per week. They’re underemployed so every bit helps.

    I quit my job to stay home with my kids, but two years before I quit my job as an epidemiologist, I started freelance writing for two clients. When I quit my job, I took on a third client. So far this year I am earning just over $200 per week. I write for 2-3 hours per day, when my kids are watching PBS or taking naps or in bed or before they get up. I can take as much or as little work as I desire, although as with any work, problems on the client’s end can mean no work for me. One of my clients has me do many product reviews, some are weird products but other times I get a $7 restaurant gift card to try the newest offering or I get a children’s game to test out with my kids. Those are fun!

  12. says

    I haven’t had huge success with craigslist. I’m a sahm with kids ages 2, 3, and 6. I have my degree in graphic design and tried to freelance before the kids came along, but was unsuccessful at it. What has been working for us lately is my dh working extra hours providing security, in addition to his regular shift ( he’s a sheriff’s deputy). He’s paid a min. of $25/hour for this and we’re discipling ourselves to live within his regular income and put all his extra earnings toward oyr debt and savings goals. Not very creative, but…

  13. Whitney says

    I think these are all fantastic suggestions! However I was shocked to see #4 as the last option presented… I know times are tough for many but I believe #4 should be stressed as the first thing you do if you have ANY wiggle room, even as little as the $5 per month suggested in the article. Doing just this one thing alone will surprise many on how fast your money grows… pay yourself first and make it automatic so you don’t have to do a thing. Watch your savings grow and finally feel a sense of security. Blessings to you all!

  14. Tara says

    Instead of selling on craigslist, I found a more local group on facebook. I live in a rural area and not close to any of the cities listed on craigslist. I found a county group and have made almost $300 in a few months just by cleaning my house (kids clothing and toys, decor). And we also sold our van through this site too. Check to see if your town or area has their own buy sell trade site.

  15. Ac says

    For those who have had challenges selling on Craigslist…does your area have large consignment sales? We have something called Rhea Lana’s here and and my friend made over $500 last year selling her baby stuff. They also have a Mothers of Multiples sale that operates similarly. Something to look into.

  16. Krista says

    I use Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program to make extra money. They usually have surveys that I qualify for, and they pay better than the survey companies. I look at the compensation offered, and the time estimated that it will take, and try not to take anything where I would make less than $5 an hour. You can use the earnings on your Amazon account or have them deposited in your Paypal account.

  17. Celina says

    Varagesale has become pretty big in my area. I have been selling my baby stuff since May and have sold over $500 in items ranging from a swing down to clothing. I know I’m not getting what I paid for it but it is no longer just taking up space in my house. And I intend to purchase a wooden play set for the back yard here very soon!!

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