This post may contain affiliate or referral links that help keep this site running. For more information about this, please see our Disclosure Policy. As an associate of Amazon.com/Amazon.uk/Amazon.ca/and other websites, I may earn a small commission whenever you click through a link from this site. This commission helps to support this site and keep it running. Six Dollar Family is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com/Amazon.uk/Amazon.ca.
Sometimes saving money means teaching yourself new tricks. If you’re stuck at how to save more, here are 18 things I did to save over $20,000! It’s simpler than you think!
I have not always been good at saving money. In fact, I’ve admitted that there are times even now when I am not the best. It’s a struggle sometimes and something that I have to keep myself on top of. Otherwise I end up spending money I don’t have.
But the actual act of saving money has always come easy to me. In fact, it comes so easily, that I can easily save thousands without really realizing it.
And the thing is that no matter how impossible that may seem? You can too.
How to Save Thousands in One Year
Ove the years I’ve built what I call “my toolbox” of things that help me save money. It is these money saving tools that help me to save the most money possible.
And it is those same tools that will help you as well too.
I Follow a Daily Routine with Swagbucks
Swagbucks is by far my favorite way to save money and it’s also one that I have been a member of the longest. By earning points that I trade in for free gift cards or Paypal cash, I avoid having to spend money.
Swagbucks if by far the site that I earn the most extra cash with and since it’s so easy to do, you could do it too!
Sign up for Swagbucks HEREand you can earn the same way by searching the web, playing games, watching videos and even buying regular groceries!
Average Earnings/Savings Per Year: $200/mo or $2400 per year.
And With InstaGC Too
I also work InstaGC daily for the same reason. By completing offers, surveys and more, I earn cash money or free (and instant paid!) gift cards.
Those gift cards replace cash in my budget meaning I am able to save the actual cash.
Since I began giving InstaGC the time of day in 2015, I have earned almost $11,000. That’s a whole lot of extra savings my friends.
Sign up for InstaGC HERE and get 10 free points when you do.
Average Yearly Savings: $2148
I Kept an Eagle Eye on My Spending
We’ve all been told many times that we need to watch what we’re spending and track those expenses as well.
Bloggers like myself say it so often because it is so important.
If you don’t know where your money is going, you won’t know when you have a spending problem or a money leak.
But you don’t have to do it manually and in fact, I recommend that you don’t. To err is to be human and math errors happen.
For me, I use Tiller Money to track our expenses. With Tiller Money, my bank transactions are automatically imported into a spreadsheet for me.
And if by chance you do prefer pen and paper, THIS is a fantastic expense tracker.
Average Yearly Savings: $1782 in wasted/forgotten expenses
I Saved in an External Bank Account
I talk a lot about saving your money in an external account for a reason. When you have instant access to your savings funds, you are more likely to spend them.
However, by putting them into an external account – meaning a savings account that is not at your regular bank but is connected electronically – it will take 48-72 hours for your money to be transferred from bank to bank.
For our family, I simply transfer any extra money we have at the end of each week – after filling our other savings accounts and paying bills – to the Qapital account. This could be as little as $5 or as much as several hundred. It really just depends on the week.
This gives you time to rethink whether you truly want to spend that money or not. In other words, it’s equal to the thought of literally putting your ATM card on ice.
In our case, we use Qapitalas our external savings account. Not only are they a great bank, but the savings tools they offer make getting ahead of yourself and actually building your savings account super easy.
If you’re not familiar with Qapital, you can check them out HERE.
Average Yearly Savings from Simple Deposits in an External Account: $6280
I Worked Hard to Lower My Grocery Spending
Groceries are one of the largest expenses a family can have and my family is no different. I may have teenage girls, but I would swear that teenage girls eat just as much or more as teenage boys.
In any case, I worked very hard to lower my grocery bill so that I am feeding us for around $150/mo.
To do so, we stopped buying processed foods that only sat in the pantry because no one wanted to eat them. We also worked at reducing wasted fresh food, made meals that fed more people, and did other things to save money on groceries.
As a reward for the work we put in for it, we’re saving $350 a month over our old grocery bill.
Average Yearly Savings: $4200
I Monitor My Credit and Identity
It may not seem as if monitoring your credit and watching for identity theft can save you money but consider how much money you could be on the hook for if something goes wrong with either.
To do this on a budget, I personally use Credit Sesame for a couple of reasons.
First, Credit Sesame is totally free to use. Secondly, they not only offer you your credit report for free with a free credit score, but you’ll also get free identity theft monitoring.
In fact, they will send you an email anytime your credit is run.
And it’s all powered by TransUnion so you can rest assured that it’s safe.
If you have never signed up for Credit Sesame, you can do so HERE. It’s totally free to do so with zero obligation to upgrade to get the free credit score and monitoring.
Average Yearly Savings: Unknown
I Invested My Spare Change
While I transfer all leftover funds at the end of each pay week, I also make sure to take the time to invest my spare change with Acorns.
The way that Acorns works is by rounding up each transaction your bank account makes to the next dollar. They then invest it in portfolios you choose and that are based on what you prefer.
It’s a fantastic way to help build savings and a bit of wealth without really having to do much.
If I have extra money available, I also make a point to transfer it so that it does good work for my finances.
If you’ve never checked out Acorns, you can do so HERE.
Average Yearly Savings/Investments: $1723
I Use a Bill Only Checking Account
Not only do I use an external savings account but I also use a separate checking account specifically for paying household bills.
This helps me to ensure that any money that is spent on non-household necessities never has a chance to short what is needed for those necessities.
I then keep my “blow money” – or my spending money – in an account by itself. This helps me to make sure that I’m not overspending (Six Dollar Family). Yes, I could use my regular bank, but they have a minimum balance requirement for checking accounts.
Since I keep differing amounts of money in it at any given time, I am risking fees each month. Since Chime is fee free, I don’t have to worry about that. could use our regular bank, but since I keep
If you need a new account for this purposes, I recommend Chime. Not only do they allow you to have your direct deposit up to two days early, but there are no account fees and no account minimums.
No account minimums makes it perfect for using as your spending account.
Yearly Average Savings in Bank Fees: $90.00 or $7.50/mo.
I Scaled My Streaming Services Back
How many streaming services are you currently paying for? If your family is anything like mine, the answer is several.
Now answer how many you actually watch? Again, if you’re like my family, the answer is few.
So why are we all paying for all those streaming services we don’t watch?
To save that money, I scaled ours back to include only Hulu, Philo and Amazon Instant Video since those are the only ones we really watch often.
In doing so, I saved myself far more than I realized I would.
If you haven’t already, Hulu offers 30-days free when you sign up HERE. Philo also offers over 60 channels of live TV with 7-days free right HERE.
For Amazon Instant Video, you automatically get it FREE when you are a prime member. If you’re not currently a Prime member, you can get 30-days free right HERE. Not only will you get Amazon Instant Video for FREE, but you’ll also score all the other benefits of being an Amazon Prime member.
Total Yearly Savings: $324.00 (Based on 2020 prices for Netflix 4 screens and Disney+ )
I Consolidated Our Music Streaming Services
I have two teenagers who are very much teenagers but are still just a bit too young to get their own jobs. In a couple months yes, but for 2020, they couldn’t work outside of the home.
But yet they both still wanted their own music streaming services. Emma prefers Apple Music while Laura prefers Spotify. Meanwhile, Steve and I use Amazon Music.
So, to save money and since I already pay for an Amazon Music Family plan, we had the girls move to Amazon. They still get their music and I save over $20 a month after taxes.
If you’ve never tried Amazon Music, you can score 30-days free right HERE. After that, plans start at just $7.99/mo.
Yearly Savings: $240.00/year
I Used Honey When Shopping Online
Honey is just as sweet as it sounds and if you’re shopping online, you ill want it too. With Honey, there’s no searching for coupon codes to help you save!
Honey does the work for you! It’s so simple to use that it just makes sense to use it!
If you’re not using Honey currently, you canadd the extension to your browser right HERE for free.
My Savings in 2020 with Honey: $111.76
I Added Even More Extra Money with Survey Junkie
Another way that I add quick money is by taking surveys with Survey Junkie. Like InstaGC and Swagbucks above, the money that I earn with Survey Junkie is used to replace regular cash in my budget.
Like the others, you can cash out with Paypal, or a gift card. They also offer a direct deposit option using Dwolla.
If you’re not familair with Survey Junkie, you can check them out HERE. Be sure you click the link in any email they send you. If you don’t, you won’t be sent any surveys to earn with.
I Raised My Credit Score and Saved Money with Self
With Self, you have the ability to both raise your credit score and build a savings account that you can’t touch until the time limit is up. At the end of your term, you get the money that you saved back.
It’s a fantastic way to kill two birds with one stone.
Want to check out Self for yourself? You can do so HERE on the Self website.
I Buy All Our Eyeglasses from Zenni Optical
In a home where all four family members wear glasses and in some cases contacts as well, eyecare can get really expensive.
That’s why to keep our cost down, we get our prescription from our regular eye doctor but don’t purchase our glasses from him.
Instead, we purchase all of our glasses from Zenni Optical. With frames starting at just $6.99, it would be silly to do otherwise.
I Learn New Skills to Help Save
There is always something to learn and a lot of the time the things you learn can help you save money. For me, I use Udemy and their online classes to learn most of my new skills.
Udemy is packed with online lessons in so many different subjects that you will never be bored with learning new things. It doesn’t hurt that they often run sales helping you save even more money on the classes you want to take.
Bonus side is that if you know how to do something and want to do a class on it, you can also earn extra money doing so!
I Never Go Shopping Without Ibotta
Buying groceries is expensive but what if you could get paid cash back for those groceries? With Iborra, you can do just that.
Before you shop, head into Ibotta to check what cash rebates are available. Head to the store and buy the items you need, scan your reciept and you’ll get paid cash back for those items!
They even offer rebates for things such as milk and produce a lot of thetime!
If you’ve never used Ibotta, head HERE to check it out.
Average Yearly Savings: $632.00
We DIY If Possible
There is so much money wasted by families who are buying things they can simply do themselves. In our case, we do DIY it if possible.
This isn’t anything new as we have done it since 2015 when we began removing as many toxins from our home, but it is something we’ve kept up because of the improvement in our health and our finances.
If you’re new to DIY’ing it, THESE 30 things to make not buy are the perfect place to start. In fact, they’re exactly where I started at.
Average Yearly Savings from All DIY: $2500
We Fish and Hunt to Save Grocery Money
The final thing that I do to save up to $20,000 per year is to provide for myself. Well, we provide for ourselves. Not only do we have a garden that provides fresh produce for ourselves, but we also hunt and fish to provide.
One of our fishing sprees alone saved us over $150.00 on fresh fish for a year.
In other words, if you have the means, providing for yourself will save you more than you’ve ever imagined.
And if you don’t, well, it’s not that hard to learn.