12-Month Money Challenge: Save $5,000 This Year

Spring is the time for renewed growth and a chance for everything to start fresh. Why not include your credit repair efforts? Saving as little as $100 per week can yield more than $5,000 by 2015. Get started by approaching your goals in a seasonal manner. Allow 2014 to become a transformative year.


Turn up the heat on spring and summer savings. Begin by reducing your dependence on:

  • Air conditioning. It’s the main culprit of summertime utility bills. You may love a climate-controlled home (who doesn’t?) but you’ll love savings more. Keep the thermostat between 78 and 80 degrees this year. Your temperature adjustment will pay off big by next year.
  • Long showers. Hot days lead to long showers, we know, but the cost to heat gallons of water is likely to eclipse your thermostat savings. Place a timer in the bathroom set for 5 to 7 minutes and work to keep your showers within range.
  • Vacations. If relaxation is long overdue, research some getaways in your region. Driving will allow you to enjoy the scenery, rest, see something new and keep costs low. Don’t blow your savings on expensive trips; get creative and look for fun in your own backyard.


Fall and winter are full of family visits and holidays. They’re also full or sickness and cold weather. Protect your finances by:

  • Staying healthy. A flu bug can wipe your health and your finances easily, especially if you are paid on an hourly basis. Protect your paycheck by avoiding illness this year. Wash your hands regularly, wash your clothes often, and be sure to get a flu shot.
  • Budgeting entertainment and gift costs. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa: whatever your faith, the holidays are expensive. Don’t lose your savings momentum. Start budgeting for gifts and entertainment as early as possible. Stockpiling is the best way to spend without straining your finances.  
  • Weatherproofing. Leaky windows and drafty doors can lead to inflated utility bills. Get serious about savings by scheduling an energy audit or buying weatherproofing materials at the local hardware store. If you’re renting, avoid the added costs by asking your landlord to pick up the tab.


You’ve reached the final stretch. Keep your saving efforts strong by:

  • Turning down the heat. Just as we learned during summertime, a thermostat adjustment can lead to large savings. Keep your costs low by adjusting your heat. Put on a sweater and turn the dial to 68 degrees.
  • Avoiding comfort food. The months leading up to spring can be brutal, especially in a colder climate. You’re sick of rain, snow and sitting inside. A dreary day leads many people to seek comfort food, probably at the local drive-thru or Panera Bread. The average family spends thousands on dining out every year, an unnecessary and avoidable expense. Further your savings and improve your health by cooking at home. You can’t lose.
  • Cashing in on taxes. April 15 presents an opportunity to reclaim your cash and put it to good use. Find a qualified financial planner to help you earn as much as possible on your tax return. The result will help you cross the savings finish line!