How I Saved My First $1,000 – You Can Too!

Save Your Way to Freedom

If you were to of told me a year ago that I would have saved $6,000 in just ONE year, I would have LAUGHED and said “Yeah RIGHT.” A year ago I was at a rough point in my life. I was not financially stable at all, I was the complete opposite. I am not afraid to admit that I got myself into A LOT of debt. Not just with student loans (mind you I never even finished college), but I also had more credit card debt than I’d like to admit…

Fast forward a year later and here I am, the most financially stable I have ever been in my entire life. It truly brings tears to my eyes. Some people would say it’s luck. But guess what, it’s far from luck. It’s a mixture of going after my happiest life, making my dreams a reality, and truly budgeting myself and keeping myself accountable.

I want to share my techniques, and favorite ways to save money so that you can save your first $1,000 this year and feel the freedom of not having to live pay check to pay check! Because ultimately, that was the goal for me. If I can do it, YOU CAN TOO!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and for my full disclosure please check it out here.

Money Saving Tips

1. Set your goal

First things first you need to set your goal. The goal is to save $1,000 within this year. If you think this is completely out of the realm of possibility for you, then set a goal that you believe is attainable. But trust me, I had no idea that I could save $6,000 in a year but I made it happen. SO don’t sell yourself short, you are capable of more than you think.

Write this goal down, put it on paper, look at it and tell yourself this is the goal.

I even like to keep a budget journal/notebook. It doesn’t hurt to have! Here are some of my favorites.

  1. I love the Kikki K journals and notebooks.
  2. I also enjoy the Day Designer Planner.
  3. The Bloom Daily Planner is a more affordable option.
  4. The Mead Organizher Budget Planner is a favorite dedicated to budgeting.


2. Figure out your expenses

Expenses include anything like; gas, electric, rent, food, monthly subscription plans you have, cable, credit card bills, mortgage, whatever expenses you pay monthly, write those down and add up the total. This is the amount you NEED to make sure you have EVERY month.

As an example: we will say that my monthly expenses are $1,500. So I am going to write this down.

Related: How to Feel Rich in your Twenties

3. Set a budget

How much do you make monthly? Write that down and subtract your expenses from this number. The amount you are remaining with is to be used wisely. I will usually give myself a set budget. Depending on your income/expenses etc. will determine your spending budget.

Example: Let’s say I make $2,500 every month. I am going to subtract my $1,500 from my $2,500 income. This leaves me $1,000.

I usually take 2/5 of my remaining total and use it as my personal money for the month. So again from my example, I’d have $400 for my own use for the month. I know it doesn’t seem like much but food should have already been included in your expenses.

Then take half of the rest of your remaining total and add it to your checking account just in case you accidentally go over your balance, if you have automatic bills etc. Let’s face it, we aren’t perfect and sometimes we make mistakes when doing our monthly budget. This will protect you from overdraft fees, just in case!

Then with the other half put it into your savings account. DO NOT touch your savings account unless it’s an emergency. I love watching my savings account grow it’s the best feeling! It shows that I can budget myself and not give into temptations.

From my example: I would have $600 left over after my personal use is subtracted. So $300 to checking for any mistakes I might make in budgeting or for anything that comes up throughout the month, like an unexpected car toll bill, or something silly like that. Then $300 to my savings account.

I try to only give myself cash for my personal use and keep my debit card at home if I can. That way I’m not tempted to spend any money that’s not part of my personal use cash. It usually works pretty well!

4. Add any unused money to your savings.

Any money that you don’t spend throughout the month from your personal budget or checking account, you should add to your savings account. Ideally I try to always have 2 months worth of expenses in my savings account as stability. It’s important for me to have an emergency fund just in case anything goes wrong! You’ll thank me later. It seriously takes a huge weight off your shoulders. It’s so important to really NOT touch your savings account money unless you ABSOLUTELY NEED to.

5. Live below your means.

Try to live below your means. For example: let’s say you make $50,000 a year, try to live like you make $30,000 a year and save all the money you can. No feeling is better than feeling financially stable. It’s your money and you are free to spend it any way you want but I found that living below my means and pretending like the money in my savings account isn’t mine, has helped me a lot in saving. I could have splurge and went on a shopping spree but instead I’m playing it smart and telling myself, nope, that’s not NECESSARY.

[clickToTweet tweet=”It’s not how big the house is, it’s how happy the home is.” quote=”It’s not how big the house is, it’s how happy the home is.” theme=”style3″]

6. NEEDS VS. WANTS stop impulse buying.

This is huge when it comes to saving money. When it comes to SPENDING money, you should really ask yourself “Do I need this or do I want this?” If you don’t NEED it, then you shouldn’t buy it. It’s so easy to see something we want and think that because we have some money in the bank, we can buy it, but this then becomes a habit. It’s okay to treat yourself sometimes but break the “impulse buying” habits.

7. Have NO SPEND months.

I like to have no spend months! Not often, BUT once or twice a year is always refreshing. This is when I don’t buy ANYTHING outside of my expenses. (Food is under expenses & gas), but anything like a cup of coffee, a meal out to eat at a restaurant, any splurge shopping etc. NOPE, not allowed! Those things fall under the no spend category. You’d be surprised how much money you can save by doing this.

8. Save your change.

Have a jar where you collect your pennies & loose change. I did this before a trip and saved a couple hundred bucks! It adds up quick! Many people lose their change and don’t really care about it. I’m opposite, PLEASE give me the change. Let me save it!

9. Make coffee at home.

I am just like anyone else, I love my coffee from Starbucks or my local coffee shop down the street! But, coffee can add up. If you get a coffee every day it can be about $3-$5 a day. Multiply that by 30 and see what you get! A decent amount of money. So cut back on your coffee OR make your own coffee at home.

10. Say no to credit cards.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to build your credit, so maybe ONE credit card that you only use when you HAVE the money in your bank to pay it off right away. One of my biggest financial mistakes was getting myself into credit card debt. WAY TOO MUCH credit card debt. I have learned my lesson and now I only spend the money I have.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Never spend money before you have it. – Thomas Jefferson” quote=”Never spend money before you have it. – Thomas Jefferson. ” theme=”style3″]

11. Money saving apps.

There are some great apps that I love to use that help me save money when I do shop!

Ebates: I love ebates because they have every store imaginable and if you shop them via ebates you get CASH BACK. They also automatically apply coupons at checkout so you are always getting the best deals when shopping online. Huge money saver.

Ibotta: I love using Ibotta when I do my grocery shopping. You get what you need and then once you have your receipt you take a picture of it on Ibotta and they scan the items and give you cash back for qualified items. If I can get paid to grocery shop, YES PLEASE.

Credit Karma: I use this app to help keep track of my credit score. I am sure you all have heard the commercials many times before! But I really do love this app. It shows me remaining balances on all of my credit cards and loans. It also tells me what I need to do in order to increase my credit score.

Mint: A great budgeting app that you can use for personal finance.

12. Ways to make extra money online.

Surveys: You can get paid to take online surveys. It’s tedious BUT, just like loose change, it adds up! One of my favorite sites that I’ve used for this is Swagbucks. I have cashed in for so many awesome gift cards like amazon, sephora, and more! 

Start A Side Hustle: I started a side hustle last year, AKA my blog and now I am making DOUBLE of what I was making a year ago. Did you know that you can make a full time salary as a blogger? It’s crazy! I can honestly say starting a blog was life changing. If you love to write, share, inspire, and have a creative mind, you should consider starting a blog. You can start a blog for as little as $3.95 a month on my favorite platform, and turn that blog into a 5-6 figure salary. You can hear about my blogging journey and how I took it on as my full time job here.

Sell on Amazon: Something I loved doing was selling my college textbooks on Amazon. College textbooks aren’t cheap so I definitely wanted to get some money back.

Offer Services: Do you have services you can offer? Graphic design, social media management, freelance writing, etc.? You can use Fiverr to offer these services and make some extra cash!

Related: 20 Lessons I Learned so far in my Twenties

That’s a wrap! I hope you found these tips & tricks to be useful and here’s to saving your first $1,000 this year! You can do it!!!!


Would love to hear from you in the comments!

Until Next Time,



Author: ellduclos

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  • These are all very good advices! It’s motivating to make a plan and actually set a budget. I have been lucky to make a good income but if I was wiser I would have way more into my savings than I do now! Better late than never, right? <3

  • You’re so right with all of your tips. Number 9 always makes me smile, because for as long as I can remember, my father always used to talk about how wasteful it is to buy coffee out every day lol

    Congrats on getting yourself out of debt, too! I love hearing these kinds of stories 🙂

    • Thank you so much! Yes – SO true!! I spend so much on coffee when you can easily make it at home! Huge money saver!

  • Can I just say that I LOVE how you started this with planners! I am a happy planner girl but not a budget girl so this has given me the push that I need! LOVE IT!

  • I also save by automatically transferring money into my savings account every 2 weeks. It’s like paying a bill to myself, and it’s awesome seeing the money grow in my savings!

  • I hope I get to the point where I can actually implement your savings policy and LOVE that you advise to put half into checking because overdraft fees really are counterproductive. Honestly living on one income as a family of 4 has been pretty rough and after just our bills (mortgage, insurance, lights, etc) we have about 100 left from each paycheck, luckily my side hustles bring in enough to cover groceries! That being said I’ve recently stepped up my side hustle game and will be bookmarking this post for when we can save.

    • Thank you so much! You will! Just don’t give up, I was there before when I had nothing left over and it’s so damn hard. Life can be hard but we push through, pray, and good things come after patience!

  • Awesome post! Looking for ways to make extra money alongside saving money can really skyrocket your progress towards your money goals! Love all the tips 🙂

  • Love this idea! I’m trying so hard to save, but right now I make almost exactly what I need. Hopefully that will change soon, and I can implement this to start a savings account 🙂

  • I LOVE these tips. I’m going to try Fiverr, I’ve never tried that. You’re so right about the coffee thing too. Buying coffee every day can take a SERIOUS blow to your account! I really needed this money saving reminder today! Thanks, Ell!