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A new car. A vacation. An emergency fund. New kitchen cabinets for your house. A pool.
We’ve all had times when we wished we had more cash in the bank.
What could you do with an extra $5K?
Pay off debts? Fix your car? Go on a YOLO backpacking trip around the world?
It’s all possible. But you need to save.
And in this guide, we’ll show you exactly how to save $5000 in 3 months, maybe faster.
Table of Contents
How to Save $5000 in 3 Months
It only takes a few steps to save money fast. You’ll have to put yourself out there, try some new things, and maybe tighten up the ole belt. But once you reach your goal, you’ll be happy you did.
Some of these ideas might seem a little outside the box. But remember, they’re just ideas. If you try one and don’t like it, move on to the next step or find a version that works better for you.
Step 1 – Draw up a plan to save 5k in 3 months
The first thing we need to do is figure out where you are right now.
✔️ How much money do you have saved?
✔️ How much is coming in?
✔️ And where can you make cuts with both your budget and your time?
Once you determine where you are, now chart out a path to where you want to be.
The goal is to save $5,000 in 3 months. That breaks down to $1,667 per month.
Next, go to your bank accounts and take a look at your spending. You can go old-school with a pencil and paper, or you can automate expense tracking with free apps like Mint.
If tech isn’t your thing, use the envelope method to see where your money is going each month.
As you gather your data, you should start to notice low-hanging fruit areas where you can save.
The longer you do this exercise, the better the data you’ll have to work with. In the meantime, start brainstorming ways you can start bringing in more money (more on that shortly) — whether that be making a quick $300 or creating a steady $2000-per-month side hustle.
Step 2 – Keep your savings separate
When you’re working towards saving 5,000 dollars in three months, use a savings account to keep this money separate from your other money.
If it’s mixed in with your spending accounts, you’re more likely to spend it. When you open a separate savings account, you can set automatic transfers every month. That way, a portion of your income will go straight to savings before you “accidentally” spend it all on an Xbox.
Step 3 – Save $5,000 in three months by shaving expenses
Cutting expenses is one way to save, but it should be used in tandem with Step 4.
We all have something that can be cut from the budget. It’ll hurt for a little while, but you’ll be happy you did it when you hit your $5k goal in three months.
Here are a few expenses that you can definitely trim, at least temporarily.
Food is one of our biggest expenses.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average monthly expense for food in the US was nearly $400 in 2019. This sounds a bit low to me. Food has gone up quite a bit since the pandemic and this cost is for groceries only, it doesn’t include takeout or dining out.
The easiest way to save some cash is to slash some of these costs. Sure, it sucks to eat ramen. But how bad do you want to save 5,000 dollars in three months?
I’ve had to do this. It’s fine. You’ll survive.
(Clarification: I’m not literally saying to eat only ramen for three months. That would be bad. But you get the idea. Find a couple cheap meals you like, and eat them often.)
The average cable bill in the US is now over $100. Many are cutting the cord and switching to streaming services.
But if you’re not careful, these services can add up as well.
If you’re serious about your savings goal, just eliminate TV and movies from your budget altogether.
Not only will you save a pretty penny, but it’ll free up time for you to earn more money.
I am anti-TV. It’s a time suck. And time is your most precious resource. In fact, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to just sell your TV.
It’ll boost your savings. And after a week, you’ll be used to occupying your time with more productive and fulfilling activities.
Cell phone services are getting cheap. But big companies like Verizon and Sprint are only getting more expensive.
Do you really need the latest iPhone? Do you really need unlimited data?
No. You don’t.
Go to your local Wal-Mart, get a StraightTalk phone, and spare your bank account. Other similar services include Mint and Visible.
When we traveled the US in an RV for six months, we used $25 unlimited Visible plans for both our phone and internet. Worked like a charm.
Saving $50 a month on a cell phone plan might not seem like a big deal, but it is.
It all adds up. Save $50 a month on your phone bill here, $80 from cable there, and so and so forth — eventually you’re saving hundreds of dollars per month. And when you switch phone providers, you’re really not sacrificing anything.
Our Visible $25 Visible plan (with party pay) worked just as well as our friend’s $80 Verizon plan.
Paying rent sucks when you’re trying to save money. Especially expensive rent.
Fortunately, by choosing one of these cheapest ways to live, you can drastically cut down on housing costs, or even eliminate them.
The most effective strategies require some pretty big life changes. But even if you simply find a roommate, you can cut your rent and utilities in half.
If you cut your housing expenses in half for three months, how much would you save?
Let’s take it one step further.
How bad would it be to simply move in with family for a few months? Or couchsurf?
It might not be ideal, but it’s certainly effective. Given that the average cost of rent in the U.S. is well over $1,000 a month, you can use this method to easily launch yourself towards your $5,000 goal.
The problem here is the dreaded lease.
Once your name is on that paper, you’re legally locked in. However, you may be able to finesse your way around this. Consider subletting your apartment while you find a cheaper option.
Find someone willing to take over your apartment for a set period, or possibly the remainder of your lease. This isn’t always allowed by property managers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get away with it (not that I would ever encourage anyone to break rules).
A word of caution. If someone illegally sublets and destroys your apartment, you will lose your security deposit and possibly end up in civil court.
So weigh your risks, and think twice before leasing out your next place.
Booze. Drugs. Tobacco. Vaping. Gambling. The list goes on. We all have vices. And yes, that daily $8 latte falls into this category.
If you want to save money, you have to let these go. I’m sorry. There is no way around it.
Keep in mind, it’s only temporary. Once you hit your goal in a few months, you can go right back to the “good” life — although you may find your newfound cash flow motivates you to kick bad habits.
Step 4 – Get that money
Earlier we mentioned that to save 5,000 dollars in three months, you need to save roughly $1,667 a month.
Penny-pinching that much is hard for anyone. And if you already have a low income, there aren’t going to be enough cuts to make without being homeless and starving yourself.
So what’s the play?
The answer could be side-hustling. That way, you can split that $1,667 monthly savings goal in half (or more). For example, if you make an extra $833 a month side hustling, you only need to focus on cutting expenses by $833 per month.
Tacking on two hundred a week to your income isn’t difficult. Here are a few side-hustles to get you there with relative ease.
Uber, Lyft, Doordash, and Grubhub are all options to earn money delivering either people or food.
These are app-based independent contractor gigs. All you have to do is sign-up with basic information, download the app, and after a brief vetting period, you’ll be good to go. You work whenever you want for however long you want.
Many drivers report earning an average of $20 an hour. If you want to make $200 a week, that’s ten hours of your time — less than an hour and a half per day.
Selling your stuff
One other thing you can try is to sell some crap you don’t need.
Five thousand dollars might seem intimidating. But if you start off by selling $1,000-worth of stuff you don’t need, you’re already 20% of the way there.
Start by taking nice photos of your things, then listing them on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or even eBay.
One approach is to try to squeeze out every penny of each item. But communicating and negotiating with potential buyers for weeks can be exhausting.
I prefer underpricing my offers so people buy them up super quick. That leaves me extra bandwidth to earn money in other ways.
Freelancing is a super broad term. All it means is that you use the skills you have as an independent contractor. You don’t work for a company. You are your own boss.
This kind of work is perfect for people who want to work from home using skills they already have or skills they want to learn. Potential freelance skills include:
✔️ Writing – This can be anything from product descriptions to emails blog posts
✔️ Graphic Design – You don’t have to be an expert graphic designer to earn money as a freelancer. Canva takes like one hour to learn. And there are plenty of free design courses online.
✔️ Transcription – Transform audio and video into text
✔️ Voiceovers – Many people who don’t speak with native accents need voiceovers for their videos
✔️ And here are a bunch of other beginner-friendly freelance gigs.
Some people debate whether Fiverr and Upwork are still worth it. I say it can be a good place to gain some quick experience and testimonials. After that, you can move up the chain to higher-paying clients.
If you like writing, I created a free course on how to make your first $1K as a freelance writer. If you follow my steps, you should be well on your way to your $5,000 goal.
Being a virtual assistant can be a lucrative side-hustle.
If working from home is your priority and you like doing something different every day, then try this out. One day you could be scheduling trips and the next you could be editing blog posts for a different client.
The average rate of pay for a virtual assistant is around $20 an hour. But if you take some courses or specialize in a particular skill, you can make substantially more. It’s a super flexible job, and you can choose a path that best fits your needs.
What is Amazon FBA? It is an acronym for fulfillment by Amazon. You source a product and send it into Amazon warehouses.
When someone orders your product, Amazon handles everything, from warehousing, packing, and shipping.
Starting an Amazon FBA business requires a lot of front-loaded effort. But once it’s up and running, it can be relatively passive.
Here is a free Amazon masterclass that shows how to get started.
The main problem is that you need capital to buy your initial product inventory. So, you can’t start if you’re completely broke. But starting a business would be a great reason to save that $5000 in the first place.
If you’re wondering if Amazon has become too competitive, check out this guide on if Amazon FBA is worth it still.
Do you have an eye for detail? Do you enjoy reading and finding problems in the written word?
Proofreading might be right up your alley. Full-time experienced proofreaders can make more than $50,000 a year.
But even if you’re looking to make an extra $50 a day in your spare time, you can make it work.
To get up and running as fast as possible, check out this free training.
Step 5 – Set Reminders
Saving 5k in three months requires effort. And if you forget to put in the effort, you won’t make it.
That’s why reminders are so important. I’m talking physical reminders. Like sticky notes and screensavers. Put them where you’ll see them every day.
Break down how much you need to save and earn, then track your progress weekly. This helps you stay motivated and accountable for your goals.
Honestly, putting all of this into practice takes time. Try not to get frustrated with yourself if you aren’t able to hit your goal in the first or second month. If you think you may have some issues, start working all of this out well in advance so when day one hits, you hit the ground running.
Mitch is your typical nomadic backpacker. Or at least, he was. But after stopping in Colombia to take “one week” of salsa lessons, his life took a sharp left turn. He met a cute Colombian girl in dance class, fell in love, and got married. Over half a decade has passed since he left his career to travel the world as a digital nomad, and he’s never looked back.
Nowadays, he’s the blogger behind Project Untethered—where he runs an awesome email newsletter and Youtube channel teaching adventure-craved wanderlusters how to escape the rat race, earn money from anywhere, and build an “untethered life”.
His advice has been featured in Forbes, USA Today, Yahoo, Reader’s Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, and more.
Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills.
Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Skyscanner - Find cheap flights.
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Anytime Mailbox - Virtual mail service that can handle your mail while you’re away.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).