Today's post is from my friend Andy. Enjoy!

One month challenge: Powerful tips to save $1,000 in the next 30 days

It is a myth that you’ve to make dramatic changes in your life to save $1000 in a month. Depending on how much experience you’ve on saving techniques, this money challenge can simply be a piece of cake for you.

A few days back, I asked my friends how they can save $1000 in a month and I got loads of tips. I’m sharing a few of them with you.

Just think what you could do if you managed to save $1,000 in 1 month! Here are 6 crazy, helpful tips to save money.

1. Plan your menu a week ahead and then go for grocery shopping

Sit with your family and plan your menu a week ahead. It would help you understand what to buy and what not to buy from the market. This would also help you avoid ordering pizzas for dinner since you’ve no clue about what to cook for your family.

A small tip: Try to create a menu with what you already have in your pantry. For instance, if you’ve chicken in your freezer, then plan your menu with this item.

If you want to have an interesting meal, then just browse through the cooking apps installed in your smartphone. Check out all the delicious chicken recipes and choose the one that can be cooked with ingredients that are easily available at your home. This way you won’t have to make a long grocery shopping list.

Your net savings will be between $100 and $300 per month.

2. Create 4 ‘no spending days’ in a month to discipline yourself

Select one day every week and challenge yourself to not spend a single penny from your wallet. Mark this day as your ‘no spending day’. No matter how hard it is, control your urge to spend money. Don’t carry your wallet when you go outside. And, don’t even think about using your credit cards on that day.

Create 4 ‘no spending days’ in a month to save money. Initially, it’ll be tough. But later, you’ll get used to this new system.

Your net savings will be $300 per month.

Tip – if you have to spend money, start with Ebates. Ebates pays you via PayPal every time you shop online – hello, free money! 

Also, check out Ibotta which is another free cell phone app. You use it after you go grocery shopping and use your receipt. It's basically a rebate app, so you can earn anywhere from 50 cents to $5 off everything you buy.

My favorite part about this app is that it's not always brand specific, like a lot of coupons are. So you'll be able to scan “any brand of bread” for 50 cents off, etc. If you do coupon – you can STILL use Ibotta and get a rebate. For the diehard couponers out there, this will often result in getting an item for FREE. Crazy, right?

If you want to grab the Ibotta app and start making money off your grocery receipts, click here to get started. You will receive a cash bonus of $10 when you scan your first item! 

3. Defer a single large purchase till you get a nice offer 

New laptop – wait. New smartphone – wait. New TV – wait. Just set a reminder in your smartphone to check out the deals in the next one month. Two things may happen in these 30 days. Either you may lose the urge to buy the product or you may get a better deal. 

This tip can potentially help you save between $50 and $3000.

If you decide to make a purchase, you can also use Mr. Rebates to do an online search and shop online. Similar to Ebates, you can earn cash back. If you are going to spend money, you might as well make money!

4. Build a love-hate relationship with cash and credit cards

Love your cash and hate your credit cards for a month.

Keep your credit cards at home and forget about them. Withdraw a small amount from your checking account and set your goal to use it for the next 4 weeks. This will compel you to spend cautiously.

Real life scenario

Cash forces you to make an instant decision. Cash will force you to think if a particular product is worth the money before buying it. But credit cards will force you to buy it instantly without thinking about the consequences.

This tip can potentially help you save $50 to $300 per month. 

5. Prioritize between generic and brands

You can’t have the best of everything in life. So, you’ve to prioritize between brands and generic items. Buy generic for the items that don’t matter to you. Slash expenses mercilessly on those items.

3 Items you can buy generic:

  • Beverages
  • Cereal
  • Cleaning products

Your net savings will be between $550 and $500 per month.

Don't forget to use the Shopkick app. It's a free app and you earn “kicks” every time you go grocery shopping, simply by walking into a store or scanning items. You can redeem these for gift cards to places like Target and Walmart.

Final tip

This tip works best when you’re unable to give up goodies despite of your best efforts.

The little luxuries eat up a big fraction of your savings. So, whenever you throw a booze party or sip Starbucks’ coffee, make sure you pay a penalty tax within the next 24 hours.

Don’t get scared. I’m not asking you to pay a penalty tax to the IRS. All I’m asking you to do is pay the penalty tax to yourself. Create a penalty jar and deposit the exact amount you splurged on luxury goodies. This means if you’ve spent $200 on luxury goodies, then deposit the same amount in your penalty jar within the next 24 hours. 

This tip really works. The more you spend, the more you save. !!! Yeppie!

Don’t miss out – 6 Secrets to save $2000 in 2015 without sacrificing your lifestyle


Author Bio: Andy is an editor with Penny Less Dad and contributes specifically on personal finance topics. You can also find him fielding queries based on money management topics at various online communities and social media platforms.You may find his writing here Comparecards, Realmoneyanswers, Familyshare

What's the easiest way you have saved money each month?