Did you hear about old MacDonald?
Apparently, he had a farm. And on that farm he had some pigs. He had other animals too, but the pigs were his most valuable livestock.
Anyway, the poor guy almost lost everything in a nasty divorce.
His wife cleaned him out. Took his money, the house, the kids, his 57 Cameo, and damn near anything she could get her hands on.
Fortunately, the one thing she couldn’t take was the farm. That was tied up in a trust left to old man Mac by his (smart) parents. However…
He had to leverage the farm and livestock to pay for his divorce.
A tough choice indeed. But when it comes to your
Cameo kids, nothing else matters.
Eventually, when the dust settled, the pigs were all that remained on the farm. The rest of livestock and equipment were sold to the bank.
But old MacDonald didn’t care about that. He knew his pigs would help him make the money needed to get everything back. The problem for him was…
Unless he figured out a way to save $5,000 in 26 weeks, his pigs would die from starvation.
As legend has it, the old man did some crazy things to save that money. The kind of things most people wouldn’t dream of doing. But he was determined to feed his pigs.
In the end, his sacrifice paid off. He managed to save the money, feed his pigs, restore his farm to glory, and live happily ever after. E-I-E-I-Oh!
I know, I know. You’re wondering: what was the point of that story?
The point of the story was to let you know that it’s possible to save as much money as old MacDonald did, in six months.
And in this post, I’ll explain how you can do it.
I’ll also show you five ways to save, break down a real example, and give you a free printable savings worksheet to use.
Alright. Keep reading.
How to Save $5,000 in 6 Months
To achieve your goal of saving $5,000, you need to break it down into manageable targets using the power of mathematics.
This will depend entirely on your income, as well as your: commitment and sacrifice.
You see, there are lots of guides about saving money. And they’re usually a one page “savings challenge printable” that’s supposed to help you save.
The problem with most of those guides is… they’re totally unrealistic!
They’re based on a fixed incremental plan that doesn’t factor in your personal situation.
Here’s an example:
According to the creator, “this 26 week money challenge printable is incredibly easy to use.” All you need to do is “find a way to earn or save the specified amount for the week.”
Wow! It’s so easy. You will magically “find” $300 to save in one week.
Finally! You’ll save a ton of money and do the Humpty Dance. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I’m not sure about you, but…
If I knew how to save $300 a week, I probably wouldn’t need to do a freaking savings challenge. My pig would straight up have obesity!
Look, if those money saving challenges work for you, cool.
But if you want a more practical solution, keep on reading.
5 Ways to Save $5,000 in 26 Weeks
Saving money doesn’t have to be complicated. You just need to put a solid plan in place to make it happen. Here’s how you can do that:
1. Get a grip on your finances
Before you can do anything else, you need to go through your finances with a microscope.
You should know how much money you have coming in and, more importantly, where exactly it’s going.
This is a crucial first step that will reveal some astonishing facts about your financial habits.
It’s probably the part that scares most people because they can’t stand the thought of knowing how much money they waste every month.
2. Cut bad expenses
Once you have a clear idea of where you money is going, you can start saving immediately by cutting bad expenses.
Things like your rent, mortgage, insurance, etc., are all fixed expenses. They’re part of your necessary living expenses and seldom change every month.
The expenses you CAN cut are those things you don’t need to survive.
Examples of bad expenses are: every new smartphone, those cool sneakers, that gorgeous handbag, or the bajillion subscription services you have.
This is where you’ll have to make some tough decisions if you want to not only save $5,000 fast, but save money in general.
BTW, just because you have fixed expenses, doesn’t mean they can’t be changed. For example, you can get a better rate on your car insurance or live in a cheaper home.
Nothing is ever fully immune to savings.
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3. Increase your income
Even if you cut everything except for your basic living expenses, there’s only a FINITE amount of money you can save.
When you get to that limit, the only way to save more is by increasing your income.
Most people only have one source of income – their job, social security, or pension. And losing any one would be extremely devastating.
It’s the reason you see so many people clinging to jobs they hate, hoping for government help, or scrambling to invest 12 months before retirement.
That’s why you need multiple streams of income to build wealth and financial security. So if you lose one, you’ll still have money coming in from another.
4. Automate your savings
Every month your fixed expenses (e.g. rent) get taken out of your bank account on time because you set up automatic payments for them.
But you probably never thought of automating your savings.
In fact, not many people do this. Yet, it’s easy to setup at home if your bank offers online banking, or you can set it up at your local branch.
Another option is to use an app like Acorns. It’s simple and perfect for helping beginners like you to save and invest money.
Besides automating your savings, you should get into the habit of paying yourself first.
After all… you are your most important asset.
5. Track everything (FREE WORKSHEET)
I definitely believe in the phrase “what gets measured gets managed.”
As I said before, most savings challenges and worksheets are basically useless.
That’s why I created the Smart Saver: $5,000 in 26 Weeks Worksheet.
It’s a free printable designed to actually help you save money in the next six months.
Even if you’re in debt or have a low income, you can use the worksheet. That’s what makes it so awesome. You can tailor it to your needs.
How Much Money Should You Save Every Month?
As I said earlier, applying mathematics to your goal will make it easier to achieve. So with that in mind, let’s figure out your manageable target.
First we’ll break down the $5,000 into a daily target with this chart:
|26 Weeks||Monthly Target||Weekly Target||Daily Target|
As you can see, you only need to save $27.37 a day to hit your goal. For simplicity sake, let’s make it an even $28.
Pretty doable right?
Okay, now comes the controversial part.
Here’s where I’m going to make crazy assumptions about you using real data, to help you save money.
First, I’ll assume you earn at least twice the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
So your yearly salary will be calculated as follows:
(7.25 x 2) x (2087 average yearly work hours) = $30,262
Next, I’ll assume you’re single, have no kids, live alone, and have to pay state income taxes.
Based on those assumptions, your estimated take-home pay will be about $24,500 a year… OR… $2,042 per month.
Are you with me so far?
Alright, now let’s find you some savings.
Experts say you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your income on housing costs (e.g. rent, utilities, etc.).
Well let’s ignore them and allocate 40% of your income to housing. That will leave you with:
2042 – (2042 x 0.4) = $1,225
That’s your monthly discretionary income.
According to the BLS and USCB, the average American spends a ton of money on a lot of crap.
To save you the hassle, I went through the reports to find you the BIGGEST saving opportunities.
The following chart shows the items you can potentially give up or reduce to save $28 per day:
|Categories||Monthly Cost est. ($)||Potential Savings ($)||Notes|
|Clothing||102||3||No new clothes for 6 mths.|
|Entertainment||82||3||Give up clubs, parties, etc.|
|Food at home||150||2||Cut your grocery bill 23%.|
|Dining out||123||4||Pack lunch. Skip restaurants.|
|Cable||107||4||Cut the cord. Cancel cable.|
|Cellular||80||2||Get a plan that’s 38% cheaper.|
(Prime, Netflix, Spotify, Gym, etc.)
|204||7||Cut ’em all, unless you workout.|
(Booze, cigs, soda, etc.)
|160||5||Harmful stuff, get rid of them.|
|TOTAL||$1,008||$30||Red bad. Green good. Savings nice. 🙂|
Amazing isn’t it?
Not only did you find the necessary daily savings, you got a $2 BONUS.
And you didn’t even have to give up coffee!
Based on the numbers, you’d still have $12 per day ($373 per month) of discretionary income to satisfy your spending addiction.
Yes it’s a hypothetical example. But it proves that it’s possible to find real savings.
Now for the EPIC disclaimer…
Things like debt, 401K investments, insurance, pets, gift-giving events, medical bills, gambling, tax deductions, tax exemptions, and all other money-related topics were NOT factored into this example.
And frankly, they have no effect on any of the items in the savings chart. Whether you cut the items or not, you’re always going to have bills or financial obligations.
Furthermore, you probably make more than $30K a year. Which means, you can easily save money faster to meet your $5,000 savings goal.
It’s also likely that any expenses you have, similar to those in the chart, may be higher or lower.
If you’re like most people, living paycheck-to-paycheck on a higher income, it’s your responsibility to fix that. You’ve got to learn to live within your means.
The same thing applies if you make less than $30,000. You can do many things to make more money and change your financial situation.
Lastly, if you’re living fabulously rich while your piggy bank is on life support, and you refuse to change, then just keep doing you. YOLO right?
After reading this example, the next question on your mind is…
How can I save more money each month?
The easiest way to save more money is to cut all the unnecessary expenses in your life.
You can figure out what those are by using the FREE savings worksheet.
Keep in mind though, that once you’ve gone through and cut useless expenses, you won’t be able to save any more.
When that happens, the only way to save more is to increase your income.
There are a number of ways to do this. You can get a high-paying job, start a business, invest, and much more.
You can learn how to make more money by clicking here.
Start Your $5,000 Saving Challenge Today
Now that you know what’s required to reach your $5,000 savings goal, it’s time to feed your pig.
It may seem crazy but I promise you it’s possible.
You just have to decide whether you’re willing to make the commitment and sacrifice needed to achieve your savings goal.
If you haven’t done so already, download the Smart Saver $5,000 in 26 Weeks Worksheet before you start. It has everything you need to be successful, and can be customized to fit your financial situation.
I’m not saying it’s the best, but until you find something better and more effective, nothing else compares to it right now.
In fact, many people are still searching for a better way to do the 26-week savings challenge. And they would absolutely love to find a post like this.
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