UPDATED: February 20, 2023

So you want to save $10,000 but you don’t know where to start. You might even think that it’s practically impossible to save that amount of money especially if you’re stuck in an average paying 9-5 job. But as the cliché goes, nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it.

A lot of similar articles online give out suggestions on how you can get to your goal amount, however, most of them do not give you a clear step-by-step guide on how to really save or earn that money. Some articles provide vague recommendations while others propose unrealistic suggestions.

In this article, we’re going to give you an actionable plan on how to get to your $10,000 savings goal painlessly and realistically.

Save $10,000 in a Year with These Easy Steps

The easiest way to save $10,000 in a year is to cut out $833.33 out of your paycheck every month. But hey, let’s be real. That’s tough. If you’re going to cut out that amount in one go every month, you’re probably going to run out of money and give up by month 3.

So scratch that plan and focus on these strategies that will show you exactly where and how to save and earn your way to ten grand.   

1. Save 1 Hour a Day of Your Paycheck

Target Savings: $3900 ( $15/day or $75/week )

Many financial experts advise that you should save 20% of your salary. While many people are aware of this tip, probably including you, it’s still very difficult to stick to this rule. One possible reason is that taking 20% of your total paycheck just seems so big so you immediately think that you cannot afford it.

To help you start saving, one trick is to use a micro savings strategy that is reasonable and effortless. 

The “1 Hour Per Workday Savings Rule”

The average workday in the United States is 8 hours. Let’s say you’re earning $15 per hour so your gross daily wage is $120 a day. If you set a rule that you’re going to save one hour of what you earn ($15) out of the eight hours per day, you can save $75 a week. Multiply that by 52 weeks, that’s a total of $3,900 saved in one year. Of course, if you are getting paid higher per hour, you can save a lot more.

The great thing about setting this rule is that it is not as painful as taking away 20% off your salary. This strategy saves 12.5% of your paycheck but it seems more reasonable because saving one hour out of eight hours of your wages is much easier to digest mentally.

 If you are paid weekly or biweekly, do not wait until the end of the month to separate your savings. There are budgeting apps that can even automate your savings so you won’t have easy access to those funds anymore. Only budget against the remaining amount for your expenses.

Many financial experts advise that you should save 20% of your salary. While many people are aware of this tip, probably including you, it’s still very difficult to stick to this rule. One possible reason is because taking 20% of your total paycheck just seems so big so you immediately think that you cannot afford it.

To help you start saving, one trick is to use a micro savings strategy that is reasonable and effortless. 

2. Get a Side Gig for 1 Hour a Day​

Target Earnings: $3900 ( $15/day or $75/week )

Getting a side gig is one obvious way to get extra cash but the reality is, most people would rather binge-watch Netflix or spend hours on Instagram than work extra. There are also the common excuses of not knowing where to find a job, not having the right skills, or being too tired to get out of the house.

What if you only have to give up one hour of your spare time a day? Is that doable? Of course! You don’t really have to slave for endless hours to get to your savings goal for this strategy. But the catch is you have to look for a side gig that will pay you at least $15 per hour.

The good news is, there are so many high paying micro job sites and online platforms where you can find gigs or side hustles that pay this much even if you have no experience at all. To find jobs, you can go to Thumbtack to list your services or apply in micro job sites like Fancy Hands or Gigwalk.

 Some job options that pay $15 or more include the following:

  • Virtual Assistants
  • Rideshare Drivers (Lyft, Uber)
  • Delivery Drivers (Postmates, Instacart)
  • Online Tutor
  • Foreign Language Tutor
  • Pet Sitters
  • Dog Walkers
  • Handyman

You can mostly do these types of jobs in your spare time so if you only have time during the weekends, you can devote five straight hours to get to your $75 a week goal. Of course,  if you score a higher paying side gig, the number of hours you’ll work will lessen. 

For example, dog walkers are usually paid $15 for a 30-minute walk. So you’ll only have to give up 2.5 hours a week for you to achieve your savings goal.

3. Cut Your Food Costs​

Target Savings: $780 ( $15/week)

If you think you’re spending too much money on food then you’re probably right. If you have no idea where your money is going, it’s good to download a personal finance app like Mint to track your expenses. According to research, the number one reason why Americans can’t save is because of their expenses.

Once you have a record of where you’re spending on, review your expenses and you decide on what to cut out. It would really depend on what you’re spending too much on – whether that’s gourmet coffee, dining out, alcohol, or pizza delivery. The goal is to slash out at least $15 a week on food costs which is perfectly realistic.

Additionally, you can save money by making simple changes in how you spend on food. Here are some suggestions:

  • Pack your own lunch one or two times a week
  • If you’re eating out 3 times a week, cut that down to once a week
  • Explore cheaper dining out options like food trucks instead of costly restaurants
  • When eating out in a restaurant, skip the dessert or the appetizer.

4. Buy Only the Things You Love and Need​

Target Savings: $780 ( $15/ week)

Stop online shopping! Don’t go to the mall! Buy only cheap stuff! Avoid buying video games!

Do these lines sound familiar? These are the common advice that you’ll often hear from money gurus. But to tell you honestly, you don’t really need to ban yourself from the Sephora makeup counters or Amazon checkout pages to start saving money.

If you deprive yourself of the things you love, this might backfire on you. You will start to resent your savings plan and you’ll probably quit before there’s enough money in your bank account. Plus, it’s not a good self-care strategy.

 So, you might be wondering, how can you save then?  

 Believe it or not, there are financial benefits to buying only the things you love, even if they cost more. The reason for this is that if you are mindful of what you’re buying, then this lessens the chance of impulsive shopping where you end up getting stuff that’s cheap and not really useful.

 The trick is to avoid buying things that you do NOT love. Surely, you’ve found yourself impulsively shopping for stuff only to find out in the end that you don’t really like these things that much and they usually end up at the back of your closet or in the garage.

 For this strategy, the goal is to cut at least $15 a week in your shopping budget. Before buying something ask yourself these qualifying questions:

  • Do I need it?
  • Is it something that I don’t already have?
  • Do I love it?
  • Does it spark joy?

 After asking these questions, sleep on it, and ask yourself again after three days before you hit that add to cart button. If you start doing this exercise, you’ll find yourself saving even more than $15 a week.

5. Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions​

Target Savings: $180 ( $15/ month)

Do you know that the average American has 3.4 monthly subscriptions? Another research found that 84% of Americans underestimate how much they’re spending on subscriptions and spend over $200 a month unknowingly.

This means that if you cancel one subscription, this can already save you money. While the target savings in this strategy is only $15 a month, you can probably save a lot more than that especially if you subscribe to a lot of services.

Subscriptions that you can consider cancelling include unused gym memberships, subscription boxes, digital services, and multiple streaming services.

6. Sell Your Unwanted Stuff

Target Savings: $100

A great way to raise funds is to sell stuff that you already have. There are many online platforms and Facebook Groups where you can sell pre-loved items and still make good money.

 You can sell almost anything online as long as they’re in good condition. You can also raid your closet for clothes, bags, and shoes that you no longer use. Stop hanging on to that pair of pants that you think will still fit you after you lose ten more pounds!  Instead of just letting your stuff rot in storage, find new owners who will find them useful.

 For this savings strategy, we’ll be keeping it to a minimum of $100 for a one time online garage sale. However, if you have more stuff, you can obviously earn more money from this idea.

7.Don't Pay Full Price for Products and Services

Target Savings: $360 ( $30/month)​

To achieve your target savings of $30 a month for this strategy, take advantage of cashback offers, discounts, and coupons. Aggressively look for these deals before paying full price for anything. If you’re going to spend the money anyway, why not spend on companies that will give you some money back? Even the biggest stores like Amazon, Target, and CVS offer cashback offers and coupons so there’s really no excuse.

When taking advantage of such offers, make sure that you’ll only take the deal if you’re buying the item anyway whether there’s a promotion or not. Don’t buy just because there’s a deal because that’s the easiest way to overspend.

For example, if you’re getting a haircut, go to discount sites like Groupon or LivingSocial that offer discounted rates before paying the full amount. But avoid getting a spa massage just because there’s a sale on Groupon if that was not in your original budget in the first place.

For cash back offers, most companies offer 3-5% cashback. So if you spend $500 a month and get a 3% cash back that will be $15. For coupons and discounts, you don’t need to go crazy using these. The goal is to save another $15 a month to achieve your $30 a month savings goal.

How to Save $10,000 in a Year Chart

The calculations used in this article are just estimates and were kept to a minimum. Of course, these figures will change depending on how much you’re earning, what type of gig job you’ll get and what type of lifestyle you’re living.

These figures, however, will give you an idea that even if you’re not earning that much, you can still save money. You also do not need to spend a lot of hours on a side gig because just one hour a day will make a huge difference. Remember, every dollar counts!





Save 1 hour a day of your paycheck

$15 a day x 5 days a week


52 weeks


Get a side gig for 1 hour a day

$15 a day x 5 days a week


52 weeks


Cut your food costs

$15 a week


52 weeks


Buy only the things you love

$15 a week


52 weeks


Cancel subscriptions

$15 a month


12 months


Sell your stuff



1 sale


Cashback, discounts, and coupons

$30 a month


12 months



Grand Total


Managing Your Finances Better to Save $10,000 in a Year

The key to saving $10,000 a month is taking control of your finances and knowing where your money is going. This way, you can easily spot what you can cut down and how much extra you need to hustle to get to your target savings.