How's your emergency fund? Probably not as big as you would like.
But with nine simple money hacks, you could save up that $1,000 emergency fund, and even more. And the best part: you may never even notice it.
Two women share great advice
Melissa Jordan is an associate for an insurance agency. Alex Singleton is a mom of school age kids.
What do these women have in common? They both are experts at saving a few bucks every day.
So they agreed to share their best money "hacks" with us, to help you save money with no pain.
9 Money Saving Hacks
1. Save your spare change: Jordan says whenever she breaks a dollar, anywhere, she takes the change and puts it in a jar, at her office or at home.
"After a while I have enough to fill the jar," she said, "and that becomes my vacation money. I keep all my change, and I never spend any of it.
For a more high-tech version, try the smartphone app Acorns.com. It rounds up purchases you make on your phone (such as your daily Starbucks fix, or Amazon purchases), and then saves the change for you in an investment account.
2. Join the "$5 Savings Club" (or "$5 Savings Challenge)", made popular on Pinterest.
It's a turbo-charged version of saving your pocket change. Every time you get a $5 bill, you tuck it away, for even bigger savings.
3. Hide your raise, which Melissa Jordan has done two years in a row.
"Whenever I get a raise, I pretend like I never got it," she said. "I just take whatever the amount of my raise was, and take it right out of my check and put it into my savings."
The savings were stunning, she says. "That's an extra $2,000 I am saving every year."
4. Join a prescription rewards program at a drugstore like Walgreens, or your grocery store.
"I've saved about $900 this way," Singleton said.
For Singleton, every new prescription means cash to spend on groceries.
Even refills give her $10 to spend. (Rewards plans vary among stores)
5. Download one rebate app onto your phone.
"Ibotta is a life saver for me. I love it," Singleton said, referring to one popular app. With Ibotta, you scan your receipts, then earn cash back for certain items, giving her an extra $25 a month, or $300 a year.
6. Downsize your latte to a regular coffee, saving $2 a day, or $600 a year.
7. Brown bag your lunch 3 days a week, saving $20 a week, or $800 a year.
8. Drink tap water, not bottled water.
Alex Singleton and Melissa Jordan have just shown you how to save more than $2,000 a year.
Too much effort? Then start small, with those dimes, nickels and quarters. "The last time I did that for one year," Jordan said, "I made $250 at the end for my vacation."
9. Don't give up after a month, like most New Year's resolutions.
MORE FROM "DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY":
“Don't Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”). John Matarese reports on deals and scams so you Don't Waste Your Money. "Like" his page on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @JohnMatarese.