A few months ago, I was like many people – I had no savings in my account. Living from hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck, I had no idea i could save $1000 without a paycheck. I was freelancing to survive and waiting until I got a better job to start saving. Then I read an article that motivated me look for creative ways to save money for Christmas. The writer suggested that one could travel without money and earn on the trip. Since then, I have consistently strived to save $1000 without a paycheck and continue to aim higher.
When I set my goal to save $1000,the first thing I did was to activate savings on my mobile money app. That way, I could send any amount to savings instantly. Then, I started checking my receipts and recording my purchases and income in a ledger. I was able to reach my goal and save over $1500 at the end of three months.
Here are the 10 creative ways I used to save money for Christmas.
Stopped buying food in bulk
When I got my first job, I would time my shopping to coincide with my payday. I bought the biggest of each item we needed and left a small amount for transport, groceries and milk. I was earning only $250 each month and I was scared of running out of money before the end of the month. As a single parent I didn’t want my son missing stuff at mid-month.
But I am an impulsive giver so whenever people visited me, I would give them some food to carry home. By buying just enough for a week when needed, I save about $100 every month. I can also take advantage of clearances and offers.
Got Rid of my Fridge
Well not literary but just stopped using it. After analyzing what was in my fridge, I realized 80% didn’t really need refrigeration. I was buying vegetables in bulk and keeping left over food in the fridge. As a result, some vegetables were rotting and the foods would be forgotten.
I buy just what I need for a week and there is no need to refrigerate. Since my son is in school, I cook just enough for our meals and if anything is left over, I carry it to the office for lunch. My electricity bill is now $10 from $50, saving me $120 in three months.
Selling Crochet Items
When I started crocheting in 2013, I had no further plans for it. It was a simple hobby to keep myself busy. Within 2 years, I had several shaggy mats lying in my house. That was until I gave one to a friend and she referred some people to me.
I posted pictures on Facebook and Etsy and started getting buyers. I make a little extra by training others and selling some crochet supplies. By selling one mat at $50, I’ve put about $200 into my savings. If you need creative ways to save money for Christmas, read more about how I make money with crochet.
Skipping the green grocer
The local grocery shop was my go-to for fruits, vegetables and cereals. Since I discovered the open market, I save half my usual estimate on each visit. Because the vegetables are brought in fresh daily from the farms, they can keep longer without refrigeration.
I plan my shopping on days when I cook broccoli or other veges that can’t keep too long. I saved approximately $10 every week, and at the end of the first month, I had put $50 into my savings.
Using public transport
Saving wasn’t my only motivation for using public transport. It’s also the ease of travel; as I don’t have to keep looking for parking or go back to a certain place when finish my errands for the day. Running a sales & delivery business, I can plan my day to start at the nearest place, and end close to the public terminal.
This saves me time and money. I spend $50 on transport compared to $150 when driving. I also gotta admit it saves me from a lot of impromptu purchases. Because I get to walk, am also exercising on the go!
Yes I know that feeling. Used to leave a bad taste in my mouth too! But now am convinced it’s all about the choice of companies to promote. First, marketing is not for everyone though it is so much fun! I work with a company that sells beauty products and supplements. Whenever someone comments on my skin tone, I whip out my sunscreen! Yes I’m exaggerating but you get my drift.
The secret is to sell useful products that are in demand, and that you yourself would use – and don’t appear salesy. In 3 months, I had made $180 that I put towards my savings. I also get my own skin care products at a discount.
Making my own spices
I have a natural love for spice and herbs. My shopping included chia, fennel seeds, cumin, cinnamon, pilau masala, tea masala etc. When a friend introduced me to the Indian market, I was able to buy each of the components for my masala at a fraction of the price.
It takes time, but when I buy my fresh spices and grind them myself, I get fresh, natural at a less than half the supermarket cost. Instead of spending $30, I spend $10 and save the balance. It also gives me freedom to make my spices as I like them – works for my taste buds.
Stopped monthly internet Subscription
I was paying $35 for my monthly internet connection, including weekends when am barely in the house. I have now chosen to pay as you go, which costs about $15 per month. I use Wi-Fi in the bus as I go to work or at the coffee shop, making up for the difference by buying cellphone data. I’m double lucky as my mobile provider gives free access to social apps.
When signing up for your cell phone contract find out what exactly is covered. On my contract I get free access to WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook.
Joined a community class
Statistics show that 66% of people paying for gym memberships hardly use them. I was one of those, hardly getting enough time to gym or exercise. When a friend invited me to a donation only yoga class, it opened a way for me to save $100 that I would have paid for the gym. Since the donation is open, I try to be fair and give about $10 each time.
You may as well choose a pay-per-use gym if you are inconsistent in attendance.
Buying second hand clothes
When I buy second hand clothes, I get the same dress for $30 which I would have got for $100. The only downside to this, it really is a trade between money and time because it takes some looking; but I couldn’t get anyone to pay me $70. You need to be patient, check the different sellers, and don’t be afraid to describe what you are looking for.
I don’t shop clothes every month but I have saved about $200. I also mend my own clothes rather than taking them for repair saving around $10 each time.
As you can see, some of these tips can be applied to your savings starting today. Anyone can save $1000 without a paycheck. Every day, I look out for other creative ways to save on household expenses and put the balance into savings. So what are you waiting for? Need some extra money for Christmas? Choose what works for you and feel free to share other tips I could have missed!