We’d all like to have an extra $1,000 in savings—for when the car battery dies, for that spur-of-the-moment vacation, for that unexpectedly expensive trip to the dentist.
But saying you’d like to save an extra $1,000 and actually doing it are two different things. With a few extra hours of time each week and some strategic planning, it is possible to save money this month and still enjoy going out to dinner (we promise!).
Here are 10 easy ways to save an extra $1,000 this month. If you’ve got other suggestions, we’d love to hear from—leave a comment on our Facebook page.
1. Inspect Vehicles
Yep, you read that right—inspect vehicles and get paid. Not mechanically inclined? That’s just fine. This is one side gig that doesn’t require much expertise.
When you become a field inspector for OnSource, a company that helps insurance providers and other companies perform vehicle inspections, you just need to be able to take notes and use your smartphone to take pictures and videos. There’s even a handy mobile app that walks you through each step of the inspection.
How much you can earn: $18 to $25 per inspection.
Savings this month: Complete four vehicle inspections this month and earn $100.
Total saved so far: $100
2. Get A High-Yield Savings Account
If investing your money in the stock market or your company’s 401(k) is too confusing, consider opening a high-yield savings account until you can research more about retirement savings.
What is it? A high-yield account is just like any other bank account except it pays a super-high interest rate. These rates change, but for the most part, you can earn roughly 1 percent with these types of savings account. The best part? Interest is deposited monthly, meaning you’ll start to see the fruits of your “investment” fast.
How much you can earn: 1 percent on your own savings.
Savings this month: $5 if you stash $500 in your new account, more if you’re able to put more in the account.
Total saved so far: $105
3. Scour The Thrift Shop
Pay a visit to your local Goodwill and look for items that might have a high resale value. Then, sell them on eBay.
Yes, this is a totally legit way to make money. Just ask Kat Tretina, who made an average of $800 a month buying and reselling thrift store items. The trick is to know what works—clothes with the tags still on them (I find these all the time!), name-brand jeans that are in good condition and cashmere sweaters seem to perform the best, according to Tretina, who shared her story with The Penny Hoarder.
How much you can earn: Up to $800 a month for 10-15 hours of work a week.
Savings this month: $115 for reselling three pairs of name-brand jeans.
Total saved so far: $220
4. Share Your Opinion With A Focus Group
Though this might sound sketchy, if you do your homework, you can actually make a decent amount of money through legitimate market research companies. They’re looking for people in specific age and income ranges to share their opinion on a range of things—from food products to advertisements.
The website Find A Focus Group can help you learn about upcoming focus groups in your area. But still, you’ll want to vet each opportunity first. How can you tell if a focus group is legit? You shouldn’t have to pay to join or provide a credit card number. You should also review the company’s listing on the Better Business Bureau to see how many complaints they’ve received.
One that has a good reputation for being legitimate is Fieldwork, a market research company with locations in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis and a handful of other major cities. But some of their focus groups are also conducted over the phone, too, so you don’t necessarily need to live in one of those cities to participate.
How much you can earn: $75 to $350 to share your opinion, usually in the form of a Visa gift card.
Savings this month: $150 for completing a two-hour focus group.
Total saved so far: $370
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5. Sign Up For Medical Research Studies
Similarly, you can make a little extra cash by signing up to help researchers out. If you’ve got a research university nearby, this is a super easy and totally legit way to make a few extra bucks.
You won’t get rich doing this, but it’s still something.
Here’s an example: Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, was recently looking for people who were right-handed and native English speakers. They were willing to pay participants $30 for the first hour and $20 for every hour after that to solve problems and play word games.
If you’ve got a specific health problem, you could also sign up for a clinical trial. Sometimes researchers are also looking for health volunteers. In addition to your local university or medical center, a good place to look for clinical trials near you is ClinicalTrials.gov, a site run by the National Institutes of Health.
How much you can earn: $10 to $30 per hour, depending on the complexity of the research.
Savings this month: $50 for participating in one research study.
Total saved so far: $420
6. Get Your Hair Cut For Free (Or Super Cheap)
Get a free hair cut this month and put the money you would’ve spent on a fancy new do into savings. Most haircuts cost between $40 and $110 for women and between $25 and $50 for men.
With the help of the website Salon Apprentice, though, you can score a high-quality haircut for free. The website posts regular updates from stylists looking for volunteer hair models. They’re looking for people to help them practice a certain trendy new cut or they want to prove themselves to a new salon.
How much you can earn: Technically, you’re saving, not earning. But you get the idea. Anywhere from $25 to $110 a month.
Savings this month: $80 for one high-end women’s haircut (including tip)
Total saved so far: $500
7. Deliver Packages For Amazon
You’ve got a car and some spare time, why not make a little extra cash by delivering packages for Amazon? Once you’re hired as an Amazon Flex driver, you tell Amazon when you’re available to work. Then you’ll pick up and deliver packages using the Amazon Flex mobile app.
You can set your own schedule and wear whatever you want to work!
How much you can earn: $18 to $25 per hour.
Savings this month: $200 for two hours of work each week.
Total saved so far: $700
8. Become A Tutor
Pass along your skills and knowledge to someone else by becoming a tutor. These days, you can even tutor online without having to leave your house, thanks to sites such as Pearson, Tutor.com and Chegg.
Chegg online tutors can make more than $20 per hour, with top tutors earning up to $1,000 per month—not bad if you’re looking for a little supplemental income.
Of course, if online tutoring isn’t your thing, there are plenty of ways to tutor students face-to-face. Search job sites such as Indeed.com or print up your own fliers and hang them on college and coffee shop bulletin boards near you. Think outside the box too—if academics aren’t your speciality, can you offer lessons in a musical instrument? Public speaking? Ballroom dancing? The sky’s the limit.
How much you can earn: $20 an hour (on average).
Savings this month: $100 for five hours of tutoring.
Total saved so far: $800
9. Sell Your Clothes And Collectibles
It’s a good idea to clean out your closet at the end of every season, both for your sanity and your wallet. Take a pile of gently worn jeans, sweaters and other clothing items to a local consignment shop.
If you’re feeling ambitious, clean out the basement and search for items that could be super valuable, such as specific LEGO blocks and certain VHS tapes.
Declutter the other parts of your home and join a neighborhood garage sale. Or, list big-ticket items on Craigslist.
How much you can earn: The sky’s the limit on this one—but be sure to set a realistic goal for yourself. You won’t get rich cleaning out your home.
Savings this month: $100 from a laundry basket full of clothes and a successful garage sale.
Total saved so far: $900
10. Stop Impulse Spending
When you add up all the little things you spend money on each month, you’re looking at some serious change. Set a goal to stop impulse spending this month and you might create a lifelong habit.
This includes: individual bottles of water, magazines, packs of gum, gas station energy drinks, overdraft fees, gym memberships you don’t use and more.
How much you can earn: Anywhere from $5 to $200 a month.
Savings this month: Set a goal to save $100 that you would’ve spent on impulse buys.
Total saved so far: $1,000