How to Save $1000 and Budget Your Money When You Are Super Broke

How to Save $1000 Even If You're Poor- A 30-Day Money Challenge

Last Updated on April 13, 2021 by Serish | I Hated My Boss

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Want to learn how to save $1000 in 30 days, but you’re broke as hell? 

Well, you’re not alone. 

Afterall, nearly 70% of Americans have less than $1000 in their savings account.

Fortunately, learning how to save $1000 and budget your money when you’re broke, is easier than you think. Take it from me, I’m living proof.

A few years ago,  I quit my job on a whim and moved back home with my mom. While my first business venture proved to be fruitful in its first year, it went into complete shambles soon after.

Living on less than a $17,000 annual income, and struggling to make ends meet, my quality of life was significantly declining and I found myself in a downward spiral.

I had racked up nearly $15,000 in credit card debt due to my impulsive spending habits- I knew I had to get my shit together and make some financial improvements.

But living on a low income, and paycheck to paycheck, saving money seemed like an impossible task.

Luckily, I discovered a few simple and effective ways to save money, even when I had none.

In this post, you will learn the exact steps I took to save $1000 in 30 days, and how it completely transformed my life.

How to Save $1000 and Budget Your Money When You Are Super Broke

(This post may contain some affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. I only promote products and services I absolutely love or use. Thanks for your support!)


How to Save $1000 and Budget Your Money When You Are Super Broke

When it comes to saving money, everyone’s financial situation is going to be unique.

Your journey may not be the same as mine; we all have different expenses, spending habits, needs and wants.

However, the basic ideas are going to be the same.

There’s no secret recipe to saving money, whether you’re on a low income or make a six-figure salary.

My goal here is to share the tactics I used to save money, that can also work for you.

So, if you’re tired of being broke, read on to learn how this 30-day money saving challenge changed my life, and it can change yours too!

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1. Download the free Monthly Spending Planner

To make this money-saving challenge easy for you, I created the Monthly Spending Planner that will help you keep track of your expenses.

I also threw in an extra freebie to encourage you to keep pushing 🙂

Download the free printable here and check your inbox:


2. Know your ‘Why’

Before committing to the money-saving challenge, it’s important to know why you’re doing it in the first place.

A few days from now, if things get a bit tough, what will be the reason you give yourself to keep going?

For me, I was sick and tired of being broke and miserable. I wanted to reach financial peace so that my mom could live with me, rather than me living with her.

The thing is, when you don’t know what you want and why you want it, it’s easy to bail out and find yourself back at square one.

So, have a clear goal in mind and get obsessed with your purpose.

Take a moment to ask yourself the following-

  • Why do I want to save money?
  • What’s holding me back from doing so?
  • What will I do with the extra money?

Whether you want to pay off debt, contribute to retirement, save for your child’s education, or add to an emergency fund, your intent should be well-defined and clear.


3. Write down your goals

I know, I know.

As cliche as it may sound, there’s some truth and power behind achieving your goals when you write them down.

What’s more, the likelihood of you transforming your thoughts into reality are even higher when you tell a trusted friend about your goals.

In fact, this study here found that 70% of participants who sent weekly updates to a friend, were more likely to succeed in achieving their goals.

This is a powerful indication that transferring your goals from your head to a written form brings clarity and focus.

That said, don’t type it in a Word doc or save it in your smartphone’s notepad.

Write it down on paper.

And I’ve already given you a headstart with the free Monthly Spending Tracker printable.

All you need to do is print it and fill it in.


4. Improve your money mindset

One of the greatest roadblocks to attaining financial freedom is the way we think about money.

More than ever before, we tend to want everything now: happiness, money, success, love. Unfortunately, this is also how we approach our financial goals.

And when we don’t see immediate results, we give up before we even start because our end goal seems far out of reach.

This leads us to think negatively about our situation; rather than having a positive outlook on the changes we can make.

For example: “I’ll never be able to pay off my student loans, so I might as well buy that new iPhone 25.” 

If this sounds like you, perhaps it’s time to shift the way you think.

Instead, practice turning your negative thoughts into positive affirmations: “I will pay off my student loans and become debt-free.”

Granted, change won’t happen overnight.

Heck, if it were that easy, you wouldn’t be here reading this right now.

I’m not saying you should make drastic changes by couchsurfing, dumpster diving and eating ramen.

Unless that’s your thing, then more power to you!

Rather, learn to take baby steps and break up your goals into smaller victories so they’re more manageable and easier to knock out.

Even the smallest action can make a big impact.

More importantly, don’t be so hard on yourself!

Forgive yourself for any past financial mistakes.

I could go on for daysss talking about all the dumb money mistakes I’ve made in the past! But that would only hold me back from moving forward.

However, all that I’ve learned from my past blunders has allowed me to make smarter financial decisions today.

And it’s time for you to do the same.

RELATED: 57 Epic Money Quotes from Wealthy People to Empower You to Be Rich


5. Create a budget plan that works for you

When I first started looking into different ways on how to save $1000, most of the financial advice I stumbled upon was to first and foremost create a budget.

But there was just something about that ‘B’ word that made it sound so ancient and depressing.

I was imagining myself sitting at the table, with piles of bills and a calculator, ready to pull my hair out.

Turns out, there’s science behind why I felt this way, and it all started to make sense. I’ll let Brad Klontz, a psychologist and certified financial planner, explain why:

“Your emotional brain responds to the word budget the same way it responds to the word diet. The connotation is deprivation, suffering, agony, depression.”

To combat this, Klontz suggests changing your approach by creating a spending plan, instead of a budget. Practically the same thing as a budget, it’s just a different approach that sounds more promising.

Now, there are a few different methods to choose from when it comes to tracking your spending.

However, the one that resonated with me, and I still use today, is zero-based budgeting.

With this method, you account for every single penny you earn, spend and save; allowing you to know exactly where your money is going.

For example, you’ll start by writing your monthly income, then subtract all your monthly expenses. If you have any funds left over, allocate it to your targeted goal (i.e. savings, retirement, pay down credit card).

At the end, your total should amount to zero.

How to Save $1000 and Budget Your Money When You Are Super Broke zero based budget

However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have any money left. This just means you’ve assigned your funds to another category.

If you find yourself in the negative, with no other source of income, then you’ll want to do #9 on this list.

You can read more about zero-based budgeting in my post here.


6. Cut back on things you (seriously) don’t need

If you’re on a low income and struggling to figure out how to save $1000 in 30 days, then it’s time to take a hard look at your spending habits.

One of the biggest drains of money is buying unnecessary crap.

As mentioned earlier, my greatest roadblock to financial independence was putting an end to my frivolous spending habits; especially when it came to dining out, coffee and socializing.

Not only that, I had a habit of buying dumb stuff I absolutely had no reason buying.

You know those impulse buys, when you’re in the grocery store checkout lane and see that “supermarket tabloid” with news about George Clooney being abducted by aliens, and now he’s the father of 3 extraterrestrial babies?

And although you know it’s pure bullshit, you still wanna know what these hybrid alien babies look like. So you buy the damn tabloid for $9.99.

Okay, perhaps your scenario was slightly different, but we’ve all been guilty of impulsive buying at some point in our lives.

By the same token, if you have recurring monthly subscriptions, it may be time to say goodbye to them; especially if you’re struggling to make ends meet every month.

And if you feel like: “I deserve this because I earned it”…

Instead, tell yourself: “I don’t need this right now. I’ll come back to it later.”

Now, this may sound harsh…

But if you’re broke, there’s absolutely no reason to be splurging on things you don’t need.

I’m talking about,

  • Netflix ($14)
  • Hulu ($12)
  • Amazon Prime ($13)
  • Gym membership ($58)
  • Spotify ($10)
  • other unnecessary apps/services

To give you an idea- the total cost of all these memberships come out to $107 per month.

Think about it: that’s a whopping $1,284/yr that could go towards paying down a debt or contributing to retirement.

RELATED: 12 Stupid-Easy Dave Ramsey Tips on How to Save $1000


7. Trim your monthly expenses

You may be surprised at just how much money you could instantly save by renegotiating a lower rate on certain bills, such as your phone, cable and insurance.

For example, I noticed I wasn’t using most of my cell phone data, so I switched to the lowest plan.

By placing a simple call to AT&T, I managed to save $25 every month (that’s $300/yr!). Those were extra funds I stashed away for my trip to Spain.

Other smart ways to reduce bills:

  • Car insurance – many of us have this on autopay and may not realize it when our premiums increase. Review your coverage and decide on what you really need. Call other providers and compare quotes. Also, if you have a pretty clean driving record, most companies reward good drivers with a discount. Just ask! 
  • Electricity – switch out your lightbulbs and use LEDs or CFLs. Don’t run the dishwasher or washer/dryer until they’re full. Dryers use up a lot of electricity. Instead, line dry your laundry like the good ol’ days. Plus, your clothes will last longer!
  • Water – lower the temperature on your hot water heater and check for leaky faucets. Install low-flow faucets and shower heads. Time your showers, and stop the shower flow while shampooing, shaving, etc.

Even though these budget cuts may seem insignificant, their cumulative effect can equate to MASSIVE savings.


8. Get money back from your purchases

Believe it or not, you can actually earn cash back on your usual online purchases.

When I first heard about Ebates, now Rakuten, I immediately thought it was a scam. 

But the joke was on me.

Because there are over 2 million people taking advantage of Rakuten’s free cash back program.

Now I’m pretty sure you’re wondering: How does Rakuten make money?

In a nutshell, stores will pay Rakuten a commission for referring you to them. In return, Rakuten will share that commission with you, in the form of cash back.

This is called affiliate marketing, and it’s 100% legit.

Here’s how it works:

Once you’ve signed up for free, you’ll be taken to Rakuten’s home page.

To see if your store is a partner with Rakuten, type the store’s name in the search bar.

You’ll then see exactly how much cash back you can earn with that store.

To begin shopping, click Shop Now, and you’ll be taken to the store’s website to shop as usual.

Once your purchase is confirmed, you’ll earn cash back and you can choose to get paid via PayPal or a check.

Just make sure you go through Rakuten every time you shop, and not directly to the store’s website, otherwise you won’t get paid.

This is how stores will know Rakuten referred you, which is how you’ll earn cash back.

However, it’s important to mention: If you’re in debt, or barely making ends meet, this program is only for you if you’re purchasing necessities (i.e. groceries, hygiene essentials).

Luckily, you can still make money with Rakuten’s referral program. For every person you refer, you can earn $30 after they make their first purchase through the site.

Here’s a recent screenshot of my cash back from two purchases.

Rakuten cash back I Hated My Boss

Get My $30 Bonus


9. Make money with side hustles in your spare time

I know this post is about how to save $1000 in 30 days. 

But if you’re feeling overwhelmed with debt and struggling to make it to the next paycheck, taking up a side hustle is a great way to earn extra money to pay off deft faster.

Personally, side gigs is what helped me boost my monthly income significantly.

I took up a number of side hustles, including selling items on eBay, participating in paid focus groups, took online surveys, and better yet, it paved the way for me to start this blog!

Thanks to the income from all my side hustles, I’ve paid off nearly $15,000 in credit card debt in less than 7 months, traveled to 26 countries, and built up an emergency fund.

Beyond just the financial gain, side gigs offer flexibility, allow you to learn new skills, and it could possibly turn into a career that you love.

Fortunately, there are a bunch of lucrative side hustles you can do, and most from the comfort of your home.

Here are a few side hustle ideas; some you can even start today:

Become a Proofreader

Proofreader’s check documents for spelling and grammatical errors on publications, such as blogs, newspapers, or magazines.

The average salary of a full-time proofreader in the U.S. is around $68,000. However, you can expect to make between $15-$22 per hour as a part-timer working from home. 

If you want to learn more about how to get started, Caitlin Pyle, from Proofread Anywhere, offers a free workshop.

Join Free Workshop


Drive for Uber or Lyft

Before you frown upon this, just hear me out.

The average Uber driver in the U.S. earns around $15/hour, aside from tips.

Depending on your schedule, if you dedicate a minimum of 10 hours per week, that’s an extra $600 in your pocket each month.

And you have the flexibility to work when you want. 

But if hauling people around ain’t your thing, consider Uber Eats. You’re only picking up and delivering food.

And I hear the tips are pretty sa-weeettt!

Deliver food and groceries

Similiar to Uber Eats, with Postmates and Instacart, you pick up and deliver food, groceries and sometimes, beer.

Plus, every now and then, they offer bonuses when you complete X amount of deliveries.

Recently, my cousin, who’s a college student, made $1,500 with Postmates in just 2 weeks!

And it’s a flexible job; turn it on/off whenever you please.


According to these stats from Zipcruiter, the average Postmates delivery driver makes $18/hour.

Let’s put this into perspective: if you work only 2 hours a day, you can earn an extra $1000 in a month.

You can choose to do as many, or as little, deliveries as you’d like.


Become an Instacart Shoppper and shop for groceries at local stores and deliver those items to customers’ homes.

You can earn anywhere between $5-$10 per order, but a bulk of earnings come from tips; this is typically 20% of the total bill.

Participate in paid research studies

One of the first side gigs I participated in were focus groups.

You’re basically just giving your opinion on various different topics, services or products. 

While some sessions take place in-person, others are online or on the phone.

And it’s a super fun way to make extra cash in such a short amount of time. 

From my experience, the average focus group paid $100 for about 60-90 minutes of your time.

The highest I’ve earned from paid studies alone, was $800 in one month!

You can learn more about my experience with focus groups here.

Still looking for more? Here’s a list of even more flexible side hustles you can do.


Final thoughts: How to save $1000 in 30 days

As you can see from this post, saving money isn’t that hard afterall.

Following these simple, yet practical steps, will better position you to save $1000 in 30 days, even on a small income.

Just remember, shifting your money mindset will pave the way to financial awesomeness. 

And you deserve that! 

Before you go, shoot me a line in the comments below and let me know what’s your biggest money struggle.

Yes, I do reply 🙂

“If you buy things you don’t need, soon you will have to sell things you need.”– Warren Buffett

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How to Save $1000 and Budget Your Money When You Are Super Broke

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