A thousand dollars seems like a lot of money to most people who have nothing or very little money saved. However, many financial professionals recommend suggest that everyone have at least that much set aside in order to help them deal with unexpected events or life emergencies. Starting with nothing and working towards accumulating a thousand dollars seems like an insurmountable challenge. However, this does not have to be as difficult as most people believe if the individual is willing to take the effort and develop a plan or strategy.

If the individual sets a goal to save a thousand dollars in a set time, he or she needs to break that time into smaller segments. As an example, if the goal is to save one thousand dollars in a year, the individual needs to divide the amount of money by 52, the number of weeks, and try to save that much money each week. For this example, the individual needs to save just under 20 dollars each week.

In order to achieve this weekly goal the individual needs to cut spending, earn more money or a combination of both. The most important action is to actually set aside and save instead of spending the new-found money. It is also a good idea to keep a money journal so that the individual keeps in mind how the money is saved or earned. Following are eight suggestions to either save or earn money in order to reach the goal of saving a thousand dollars.

Do a Spending Inventory
Simply put, if you spend it, write it down. Many people simply amaze themselves when they carry a pocket notepad on their person and start writing down what they spend. The amazing part is when they add up all the small amounts to find that they are spending more than they realized. However uncomfortable this step may seem, it is important to perform a spending inventory to later identify areas that the individual can try to reduce or eliminate.

One of the first ways many financial advisors suggest to save money is to reduce or eliminate purchases at Starbucks. However, if the individual rarely or never stops at Starbucks on the way to work, this suggestion is useless. Instead, each person should track what he or she spends on a daily and/or weekly basis, identifying a specific item or two that can readily be eliminated. It is quite possible to save at least five dollars every week, if not more. This equates to 25 percent of the weekly savings goal if the individual is on a one year plan. Annual savings in this area is $260 per year.

Alternative Brands
While some brands of food and other items are not comparable with any other alternative, there are many items that most people can find a reasonable substitute for and watch their savings rise, especially on items that they purchase on a regular basis. This is not always an option for people who are on a restrictive diet, e.g. low sodium, reduced fat, etc. However, even those who have to monitor their diets may find other ways to save, such as purchasing generic kitchen trash bags. With very little effort, anyone should be able to trim a minimum of $2.50 off of their weekly shopping bill. This equates to an annual savings of $130, bringing the total up to $390.

Designer Clothes
Various professional people may have to dress better than the average individual, but for the rest of us, a careful analysis of our wardrobe inventory needs may help us identify an area where we can save money. There are several alternative brands that wear and look nice. In addition, the individual can look for other ways to acquire designer clothes at a lower price than premium outlet stores, such as Eddie Bauer.

Places to look for designer clothes include thrift stores, such as the Goodwill or Salvation Army. In addition, thrift stores, people can look for designer clothes at garage sales and local auctions. For the individual who insists upon having new clothing, online outlets such as Amazon and EBay offer deals that beat regular retail stores and they have strict policies prohibiting the selling of counterfeit items. The average individual can easily save $50 annually, bringing the total up to $440.

Free Telephone Service
People who have internet service in their home can enjoy free instant messaging, live audio/video communication and free long distance telephone calls to any cell phone and landline in the United States and Canada. Even the most frugal individual who previously only spends ten dollars a month on long distance phone calls can now enjoy an annual savings of $120, for a running total of $560.

Working the Internet
Most people have a hobby or an area of special interest that they are knowledgeable about and can write an article or blog. While some of the beginning pay rates are deplorable, the individual who is able to sharpen their researching and writing skills can find sites that pay better. A proficient writer can produce a 500-word article in an hour or less and sell it for ten or more dollars. By producing two such articles a month, the individual can earn $240 annually, for a running total of $800 for the year.

De-cluttering/Selling Combination
Many people can readily find a surplus of household items that they no longer have a use for, especially when performing seasonal cleaning. Depending upon the item, the individual may elect to sell what they need to get rid of at a garage sale, Craigslist, EBay or local auction. Even if they were to liquidate unwanted items at give-away prices, most people should realize a net earning of at least $75, bringing the total up to $875.

Offer a Service
Everyone has some sort of knowledge, talent or skill that they can offer to others who are willing to pay. Whether tutoring math, teaching piano or guitar or leading a ceramic or craft class: just working one hour per week during the summer at the modest rate of $10 per hour can net the individual an additional $120 annually. This brings the total up to $995.

People literally throw money away on a weekly basis in recyclable materials, including aluminum cans, old electronics and other items that recycling centers pay money for when the recyclables are brought into their collection center. By designating one small area in the garage, shed or basement, the average family can easily net, after gasoline expense for transporting the items, an annual amount of $40, which brings the total to $1,035.

While this exact plan may not fit everyone’s lifestyle or way that they get to the required goal, the individual may adjust the various areas to suit his or her specific needs. In addition, if the timeline needs to be shorter, people can target specific areas where they can readily and easily increase in order to save or earn additional money.

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