How to Save $5000 This Year

Unless you’re rich enough to have buildings named after you, five thousand bucks is a nice chunk of change. It’s enough to max out a Roth IRA for a year, get a good start on a fully-funded emergency fund, pay for a year of community college, or head off on an awesome vacation. Here’s how to save $5000 this year.

Give it a purpose

Before you can save $5000 this year, you’ve got to have a meaningful reason for doing so.  Of course we all know that saving for retirement and building an emergency fund are great ideas.

But you’ve got to feel your goal. It’s got to mean something to you. That’s when you’ll be willing to make it happen.

So figure out why you want the money, and how it will make you feel when you get it. Then you can get started.

Break it down

$5000 sounds like a lot (heck, it’s more than I made for a few years running a while back) so the next step is to break it down into more possible-feeling chunks.

$5000 comes out to about $416.67 a month. If that still sounds huge (it’s pretty close to the typical car payment these days) break it down even further.

It’s about $96.14 a week, or $13.70 a day.

I’m betting that at least one of those numbers sounds doable to you. (You might even spend $15 or so a day on lunch, depending on where you live.)

Evaluate

Now, look for some wiggle room in your budget. If you just went, “Yeah right” when you read that, bear with me a little longer.

Take a look at what you’re really spending your money on right now. Not just what you think you’re spending it on, or what you plan to spend.  Track your spending and see what you’re actually doing.

Chances are you’ll find that wiggle room right there. But if you don’t, or there’s not enough, it’s time to go out and MAKE some more money. A part time job will cover that amount, or there are many other ways to bring in about an extra $100 a week. Go out and get it.

Automate

Once you’ve found that wiggle room or gotten that extra money coming in, automate your savings.

Set up weekly automatic transfers to savings. Have your whole check from that part time job direct-deposited to savings. Set up a weekly “savings transfer day” in your calendar if you really hate the idea of automating.

The idea is to make it so automatic (or such a habit) that you won’t accidentally spend that money on something else instead.

After all, watching that money pile up as you get closer and closer to your goal is a whole lot more fun.

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