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Christmas in July: Save $1,000 by December

It might seem a little early to be thinking about the holidays, but once the first of December rolls around and you're scrambling to decorate, think of unique gift ideas, and round up the money to pay for those many, many holiday expenses, you'll be muttering, "I wish I would have started all of this months ago."

So, while we're not suggesting you break out the tinsel and turn up the holiday tunes (but, by all means, go for it if you wish), we do recommend that you keep up with us during Christmas in July this week to get a financial head start and some ideas forming early on. We promise that doing so now will help December be a much less stressful and much more enjoyable month!

How to Save $1,000 by December | Image source: / Photographer: Tom Wang

First up in our Christmas in July series: How to save $1,000 by December.

Open a Savings Account

Maybe you already have a savings account, but do you find yourself dipping into it from time to time to help pay for non-necessities? Not helpful. Go ahead and open another account and make it untouchable until the appropriate time comes. What makes saving up your dollars in this type of account versus a standard checking account better, is that the money you put in will gain interest at a certain percentage month to month, so it'll grow without you having to do anything extra!

RELATEDSaving at 3Rivers When it comes to making deposits, try starting the 52 Week Challenge now or create your own challenge - maybe it's $5 a week that goes towards this account. With the added interest, you'll be surprised at how quickly it can add up! (Toss in $25 a week starting now, and you'll have saved $550 by December 1!)

Take Advantage of Automatic Transfers

Don't let yourself forget to deposit your set amount into savings week to week! Sure, making a transfer is easy, but if you forget one week, chances are, you won't remain consistent. Set up an automatic transfer and it'll take care of itself. You can have a certain amount of money pulled from one account and placed into another, then you get to pick the date when you withdraw funds.  This is great for people who have a little trouble keeping their hands out of their savings accounts!

Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill

Being on the wrong plan for your lifestyle, and sneaky texting and service fees, can add up quick and clear out your savings even quicker. Take a step back to reevaluate your plan and mobile habits to cut costs.

RELATEDHow to Cut Costs on Your Cell Phone Bill

Find Cheaper Internet Service + Ditch the Cable

Shop around and compare Internet providers in your area, along with their packages and prices. Chances are, there's something cheaper available and still suitable for what you need. If not, see what kind of specials your current provider is running and if they're better than the plan you're on, request to take advantage of those particular deals. Also, if you're paying extra for cable, cut it out. Unless you rely heavily on television shows that just can't be found anywhere else (read: NetflixHulu, or the network's website), then you probably don't really need to be forking over so much money for something that plays such a little role in your life overall.

RELATEDQuick Money Tip: Cut the Cable

Raise Insurance Deductibles

If you feel confident in the amount you have saved up in your emergency fund for any unexpected occurrences, raise the deductible on your car and homeowner policies. This can save you anywhere from 10-15%.

RELATEDHow a $1,000 Insurance Deductible Can Save You Money

Do Away with the Gym Membership (You Can Still Workout)

There are plenty of video workouts and fitness resources available for free online so you can sweat it out at home. Plus, there's no better time than now to take advantage of getting your workout in outdoors.

RELATEDHow to Exercise Without Joining a Gym

DIY Home Repairs

Make sure you're taking care of your home to avoid any unexpected costs due to damage. That is, change your furnace filter monthly, seal up any drafty windows or doors, repair leaky faucets, and so on. Take care of your home so you don't have to pay the experts to do it for you.

RELATED5 Home Repairs You Really Should Know How to Do Yourself

Brown Bag It

Grabbing a cheap, fast-food lunch each workday? Let's do the math. Even just $2 spent 5 days a week over the course of 10 weeks is a costly $100. Bring your lunch and enjoy the savings (and health benefits!)

RELATED | 9 Brown Bag Lunch Tips for Grown-ups

Skip the Starbucks

See above. That morning coffee might only be $2-3 (or, if you go for the fancier stuff, $4-6)  but it can add up to huge amounts by week's and month's end. Start brewing your own or substitute juice or water for big savings.

RELATED| Saving Pennies or Dollars? Making Your Own Coffee

Spend Less Out on the Town

Save on entertainment and eating out costs, even if you only indulge once a week. Skip the standard theater and visit the dollar theater or Redbox. If you're going to the arcade, a local event, or a sit-down restaurant, research any coupons your destination may have floating around, and be sure to sign up for any free memberships or mailing lists that might get you deals.

RELATED20 Ways to Save Money on Entertainment

Save on Your Grocery Bill

There are plenty of ways you can cut your grocery bill in big ways week to week. First, make sure you go in with a list and stick to it. No fluffy extras in the candy aisle or checkout lane. Take advantage of coupons, coupon mobile apps, and retailer mobile apps that offer rewards (MeijerTarget, etc.) Another great way to save? Leave your credit and debit cards at home and shop only with cash. You'll be surprised at what, suddenly, you can live without.

RELATEDQuick Money Tip: Buy Generic

Host a Yard Sale

Now's the ideal time for a yard sale, and with the right preparation, you might make more than you'd expect. Not big on yard sales? Then sort your items into appropriate categories and sell to secondhand shops (like Plato's Closet for clothes and Half Price Books for books, music, and magazines) or try online outlets, like eBay.

RELATEDHow to Host a Successful Yard Sale

Find Alternative Means of Transportation

If you can walk or bike to wherever it is you need to go and the weather agrees, then do it. Also, consider the idea of carpooling. If a co-worker or gym-partner lives near by, craft a schedule that allows for one person to do the driving and split the cost of gas.

RELATEDHow to Carpool

Supplement Your Income

An obvious way to do this is by getting a second job. But time and stress levels don't always allow for that. There are plenty of other ways to supplement your income, though, like babysitting, tutoring, taking your crafty hobbies to the next level, donating plasma, and more.

RELATEDHow to Supplement Your Income

Ditch Your Debt

Does it seem like your credit card, car, and house payments, student loans, and other debts are setting you up for saving failure - or making it impossible to even consider saving money? Then it might be time to break up... with your bank and with your debts. 3Rivers offers a ton of solutions and we want to get you on the right track so you can manage your debt and start saving for your future!

RELATED | SavvyMoney CheckupSWITCHKit Powered by ClickSWITCH

Work hard and keep focused on these money-saving steps and habits. Make sure you're allocating as much of the extra money you see as a result to your holiday savings account and you'll be breathing a major sigh of relief come December!

Most tips found at Money Talks.

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