I’ve seen a ton of articles out there about how to save up to a million dollars. I’ve even made a couple of them. And, while I want to say that it’s not hard to save up to a million, the truth is that it’s going to take you a long time to hit seven figures unless you’re raking in tons of cash.
In a survey from 2019, the U.S. Federal Reserve found that the median savings account in the United States had $5,300 in it. That means that 50% of Americans had $5,300 or less in their savings. And, considering that 2019 was the year right before a massive global pandemic that lasted several years and caused a global economic meltdown, I would venture to say that things haven’t gotten a whole lot better since then.
So, I’m going to start with a smaller goal and talk about how you can save up $10,000 in a single year. Now, for some people, $10,000 isn’t a lot of money. But, for others, $10,000 can be life-changing. It could get you out of debt, pay for college, or get you behind the wheel of a car.
These are 10 ways to save up to $10,000 in under a year on any salary.
#1: Know Your Why
First and foremost, if you want to start saving money, it’s important to keep yourself motivated and stay consistent. And the best way to do that is by reminding yourself every single day, maybe even several times per day, what your goals are and why you want to achieve them. Write “$10,000” really big on the wall of your bedroom to remind yourself as soon as you wake up what it is that you’re working for.
Why do you want that money? Do you want to go to college? Well, print out your favorite college’s logo and put that on your wall. Set your alarm clock to give you a motivational speech. Whatever it is, just keep yourself reminded of what it is you’re striving for and why you’re striving for it.
Then, once you understand your motivation, it’s time to start coming up with a practical plan of how much you’re going to save every month.
#2: Budget Your Savings
Some people like to budget out every expense in their life from rent to groceries to even a budgeted category for their social life. And that can become a bit obsessive, in my opinion. But, if you want to budget for everything, by all means, go for it. At the very least, though, you should take a quick look at your expenses and budget how much you can afford to contribute to your savings each month.
Make this a reasonable goal. Leave a little wiggle room so that you’re not constantly disappointing yourself and coming up short. Let’s say that you determine that you can afford to put away $500 each month. That’s not bad.
But, now that you know how much you can afford to save, we need to talk about where to save it.
#3: High-Interest Savings Accounts
Personally, I like to keep some of my savings in a high-yield savings account because they’re liquid, meaning they’re accessible if you need that money in an emergency. And they earn more than your typical savings accounts.
Capital One and PNC have some great high-yield savings account products right now, but you can really just Google it and see which bank is best for you. These accounts earn 3% or 4% in many cases, which is a whole lot better than the less-than-1% you’ll earn with traditional savings accounts.
You can set it up so part of your paycheck automatically goes to this account or you can just transfer it manually. But, if you’re willing to take a little more risk for a little more return, you could go with an index fund instead.
#4: Index Funds
I would recommend starting off with at least $5,000 in a high-yield savings account first and then getting into index funds. But, basically, index funds are a great way to benefit from the stock market without having to do much research or work.
Essentially, an index fund is just a fund you can invest in that tracks a sector of the market. They’re already well-diversified for you and, most of the time, investing in index funds works out way better than investing in stocks.
By investing in the right index funds, you could earn even more interest on your money than what you’d earn with a high-interest savings account. Of course, it’s a gamble, because you could also lose money. So, be careful.
High-interest savings accounts and index funds are fairly safe places to put your savings that will earn some interest. So, let’s take a few steps back and see if those savings and that interest is going to get you to $10,000.
#5: Calculate Your Savings
So, let’s just say that you’re able to save $500 a month, which is going to come out to $6,000 per year. But, you put that money in a high-interest savings account, so it’s really going to come out to like $6,080. However, you’re reading this article because you want to save $10,000 in a year, not $6,080 in a year.
Maybe you need to save $10,000 for the next 5 years so that you can put $50,000 on a mortgage. Or maybe you have $10,000 in debt that you need to eliminate. Or maybe you have your sights set on a car that costs $10,000.
Whatever your motivation is, you need to fill in that gap between $6,000 and $10,000, so let’s talk about how you can do that.
#6: Side Hustles
Now, really, if you want to save up $10,000 in a year and you’re currently not making that much money, you have a few options. You could get a higher paying job or you could start a side hustle (or a few side hustles).
Personally, I find side hustles to be a bit more fun than going to interviews and begging for a job. But that’s just me. So, if you’re looking for a side hustle to start, you can check out one of the many videos we’ve made on the topic. I’m sure you’ll find something that sounds appealing to you.
I’m going to just rapid fire some side hustles real quick. Ready? Blogging, web development, dog walking, YouTube channel, dropshipping, selling art on Etsy, bake sales, music lessons, teaching english online, creating online courses. Any of those sound good to you?
If not, there are a million other side hustles out there that can help you increase your net income, so you’ll have more money flowing into your savings and you can reach your $10,000 goal.
The other thing you can do, on top of starting side hustles is to try to increase your earnings at your main job.
#7: Increase Your Salary
In addition to starting those side hustles, you can also increase your monthly income by making more money at your main job. How do you do that? Well, a lot of the time, it’s just a matter of asking. A lot of companies are willing to pay you more than you’re currently making. But, if you don’t ask them for a raise, why would they?
So, evaluate your worth as an employee. And, if you think that you’re pretty important to the success of the company, don’t be afraid to ask for some more cash.
You can also just work at being the best employee that you possibly can be so that, when that next round of promotions comes around, you’re getting the corner office and making the big bucks. It’s simple math. When you have a high-salaried job, it’s much easier to save a lot of money.
However, regardless of what your salary is, a lot of people are just hemorrhaging money on things that they don’t even use. So, go through your statements and see what you can eliminate.
#8: Review Your Statements
There are some finance gurus out there that are going to tell you to cut back on every expense and live on the bare bones. I’m not one of those guys. Life is for living, but that doesn’t need to include unnecessary expenses.
So, at the very least, it’s worth going through your past credit card and debit card statements and just looking for stuff that you don’t need to be paying for. I helped my friend do this the other day and he was paying $15 a month for Amazon Prime (a service he hadn’t used in over a year) and $8 a month for Disney+ (a streaming service he got to watch Season 1 of The Mandalorian and then never used again).
That’s just money going down the drain. And, if you can eliminate expenses like that, it’s going to free up more money for saving. From there, you can also just start buying the lower-cost versions of things you need or just be more conscious of what costs money. You’d be surprised how much it could help you save.
#9: Live Frugally
Again, there are people out there that are going to tell you that, if you want to be rich, you have to live on as little as humanly possible. And, again, I’m not into that. But, by simply being aware of the different expenses in your life and where you can save a few bucks here and there, you can increase your savings significantly.
For instance, unplug devices when they aren’t being used and turn off the lights when you leave the room. These things are easy to do, they’re good for the planet, and they’re going to save you lots of money over a lifetime. Just turning off the lights in your house could save you around $10 a month or $120 a year.
Here’s another one: try doing a blind taste test between the expensive coffee that you drink now and the cheap coffee that you buy at Costco. If you can’t tell the difference, you should be buying the cheap coffee.
How about this: instead of ordering Uber Eats three times a week, you cook yourself a meal and only order Uber Eats once or twice a week?
These are all things that can add up and save a ton of money without really changing your lifestyle at all. You know what else won’t hurt your lifestyle and could save you money? A new credit card. It might even significantly improve your lifestyle.
#10: Get a Different Credit Card
First, a disclaimer: getting a new credit card is not going to help you save money if you’re not familiar with how credit cards work or you don’t have self-control when it comes to spending. If that sounds like you, don’t get a new credit card. However, if your current credit card is charging a ton of interest, you might be able to switch to a different one and save some money.
You’re basically looking for balance transfer cards with no fee and 0% intro APR. That means you can transfer your balance over to that card and not pay any interest for like a year. If you have a lot of credit card debt, I highly recommend this.
If you don’t have debt, it’s still worth looking into getting a new credit card, specifically, ones that earn a lot of points or miles. While these cards may not save you money upfront, think about this: you have to book a flight to see your family next Christmas and you’re worried because it costs $500. However, then you realize that you have enough points in your credit card account to cover the flight and you essentially just saved $500. Not bad. Credit cards can be a great tool when used the right way.