Do you want to have $100,000?
But the thought of saving $100k is intimidating.
You look at your current financial situation and don’t think it is possible to save $1,000 let alone $100K.
There is hope.
You can save $100,000 and you can save even more than this.
And I am going to show you how.
In this free cheat sheet, I’ll outline how to save $100K by walking you through the 9 steps to get there.
Then I will break it down further and tell you exactly what you should do to make saving $100,000 as easy as possible.
In the end, you will have a step by step guide putting you on the path to $100K. And by the end of the year, you will see major progress.
Let’s get started so you can achieve your goal of changing your financial life for the better!
9 Steps For How To Save $100K
#1. Have The Right Mindset
Your first step has nothing to do with building up your savings.
It is all about your mindset.
You first need the right mindset.
This means you have to stay positive, regardless of what is happening in life.
I have read studies that if you place two people out in the wilderness, one person with all of the survival skills and a negative attitude and someone else with no survival skills and a positive attitude, the one with a positive attitude will survive.
Life can get tough at times.
But if you learn to see the positives in everything, you’ll be much happier and much more likely to succeed.
If you doubt yourself from the start, you have no hope of reaching your goals.
Therefore it is critical to learn to believe in yourself and think positively as often as you can.
And I have a couple of quick tricks to help you out with this.
- Take things slow. Most times when we think negative, our thoughts go a mile a minute. By learning to slow things down, we keep things in perspective. When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, stop and take a deep breath and then think through the situation. Most times you will be able to stop negative thinking in its tracks.
- Take a walk. This is my #1 way to deal with negative thoughts. I go for a 15 minute walk. Usually I start off the walk down in the tunnel of negative thinking. By the end of my walk, I am not. What happened? Along the walk, I noticed things or said hello to someone outside. These distractions change my thought process.
- Find a funny video. I have a funny video saved in my bookmarks that I can start watching in seconds. It not only distracts me from going down the well, but I end up laughing which puts me in a good mood.
By using these tips, you can practice learning to stay positive when negative things happen.
While you will never eliminate negative thoughts, you will be able to avoid dwelling on them and allowing them to take control of your life.
#2. Create Short-Term Goals
The next step towards saving 6 figures is to create short-term goals.
Arguably the biggest problem with trying to save $100,000 is you are starting with nothing saved.
You look at your bank account with $0 in it and look at your goal of $100,000 and immediately get discouraged.
You think to yourself that you will never be able to save $100K.
But if you break your goal down into manageable steps, you can keep yourself motivated and as a result, are more likely to succeed.
For example, years ago I was in over $10,000 of credit card debt.
I wanted to pay it off but felt like I wasn’t making any progress with my small monthly payments.
After a handful of failures, I finally made the change and started looking at my debt in smaller amounts.
Instead of focusing on the entire $10,000, I focused on paying off $2,500.
My goal was to get my debt down to $7,500. This was more manageable and kept me motivated.
Once I hit this goal, I celebrated by having a nice dinner out. Then I made a new goal to pay off another $2,500. Once my debt hit $5,000 I celebrated again.
Eventually, this technique helped me pay off my whole debt.
This worked because of psychology.
My $250 payment towards $10,000 felt like nothing. And that makes sense. It was only 3% of my goal.
But that same payment towards my goal of $2,500 felt a lot more impactful. With a smaller goal, that same payment is 10% of my goal.
And if you drop your goal to $1,000, that $250 payment is 25% of your goal.
The same idea holds true for saving money as well.
You can keep your main goal of saving $100K but focus on a smaller amount.
Try to save $1,000 this year.
Or break it out monthly if that amount is still too big. Saving $1,000 a year is $83 a month.
See how much easier it feels to save that amount?
When you achieve your smaller goal, celebrate. Then create another small goal.
Here is another example of how this trick works wonders.
I can remember when I first started working and was saving $20 per paycheck into my 401k plan at work.
After my second paycheck I saw my $40 and thought I would never be able to retire.
But to my surprise, at the end of that first year, my balance was close to $1,000. That motivated me to try to save a little more.
After the second year, thanks to my increased savings and compounding, I had more than $2,000 saved.
Close to 15 years later and I’m on my way to $1 million dollars and continue to save more.
Take the time to figure out a small monthly savings amount that will keep you motivated to reach your goal and then try to achieve it.
#3. Make Saving Effortless
So far, you have worked on your mindset to try to stay positive as much and are breaking your goal into smaller amounts to stay motivated.
Now it comes times to make saving money effortless.
This goes back to my example of saving for retirement. I set up my contribution and did nothing more.
Every time I was paid, money was automatically transferred to my 401k plan.
I didn’t have to do anything once I set up the transfer.
Your best weapon here is to automate your savings as much as you can.
The less you have to think about actively saving money, the more money you will be able to save.
Here are a few tricks I use to save the most money.
- Contribute to a 401k plan. When you invest in a 401k plan, money is taken right from your paycheck. You never see the money. It just gets invested for you. By far this is your best option for saving.
- Use technology. If you bank online, you should be able to easily set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account. Make the amount small so you don’t notice it and let it compound.
- Question purchases. Before I buy anything, I stop and think about it first. Too many times we buy on impulse because advertisers trick us into thinking we need something we really don’t. By stopping for a minute, I am able to avoid many regretful purchases.
When it comes to saving money at the bank, I opened an online bank account.
I have found that online banks have a more user friendly interface to get things done, and they typically pay a higher interest rate.
The bank I primarily use is CIT Bank.
They offer a great savings account and pay one of the highest interest rates in the country. This means my money grows faster because I am earning more interest on my savings.
I highly recommend you look into CIT Bank. You can click here to learn more.
As for questioning purchases, this trick is a must.
We fall victim to advertising too many times and waste a lot of money on things we don’t really need or want.
By taking a moment to stop and think about the item, you can save yourself a lot of regret and money.
But you should take this trick one step further and actually save the money.
Here is what I mean by this.
Let’s say you see a cool new product and get sucked into the marketing. But you stop before buying it and think things through, realizing you don’t need it.
So you put it back and save yourself the $19.99.
You did a great job questioning the purchase, but the money you saved by not buying the item is still in your checking account, which means you will be tempted to spend it.
Therefore, you need to transfer that money into savings to ensure you save it and are not tempted to buy anything else.
The downside of this is you manually have to save the money every time.
While there are some great apps out there to help you save money, most of them charge you money.
As a result, many people choose to manually transfer the money they saved to their savings account.
Again, this is why I like CIT Bank. With their great mobile app, I can transfer the money I didn’t spend right to my savings account.
By simply making your saving effortless, you can end up with more than $1,000 a year towards your goal of $100K.
But if you want to save even more on your journey to $100K, keep reading.
#4. Create A Budget
The next step is creating a budget. While this doesn’t sound fun, it really isn’t as bad you think.
You can get as detailed with a budget as you like.
For a while, I budgeted for every single expense I had. Then I modified things to only budget for expenses I had a hard time controlling, like dining out and entertainment.
The key is to find a way to make budgeting work for you.
For many, the first step to budgeting is overcoming the idea that a budget forces you to live a boring life today for a better life tomorrow.
If this is you, learn to look at a budget as a tool to help you reach your goals.
You can still have fun and enjoy today while working on saving your first $100,000.
The next step is to find a budget that works for you.
There are many options out there.
If you want total control over your budget, you can go with a spreadsheet budget.
The beauty with a free budget template is you can make it exactly how you want.
By knowing where your money is going, you see where you might be overspending and can take action.
When I first started budgeting, I was blown away at how much money I was spending eating out.
At the time, I would go out to lunch 4 times a week. I never did the math in my head to understand how spending $15 each time was impacting my finances.
I just thought it was $15 measly dollars.
But over a month I was spending $240! And this was only lunches, not all the meals I was eating out!
I decided to pack my lunch one more time a week, saving me $15 each week, or $60 a month. This small change resulted in me saving over $700 a year.
The other benefit I found from budgeting my money was it helped me to question my spending more.
I thought about purchases more before paying. I would ask myself if I really needed the item or not.
Many times I told myself I would buy it next month and then forgot about it completely.
Finally, one last option is to switch to a cash only lifestyle.
When you pay for everything in cash, you will spend less money.
The reason is psychological. When we swipe a plastic credit card, there is a disconnect there and we don’t think about the cost.
But when we have to give up cash in our wallets, we think long and hard before making the purchase.
While I still recommend you building and following a budget, you can start off by going all cash, all the time and see how much of an impact it has on your spending.
#5. Avoid Debt
In order to save $100K, you will need to avoid debt. Spending more than you earn is a guaranteed way to owing $100,000 instead of saving $100K.
So you need to avoid debt at all costs.
If you aren’t in debt, keep up the great work.
If you are in debt, you need to work on paying it off.
The sooner you pay off your debt, the sooner you can take the money that is going to the credit card companies and put it into your savings account.
How do you get out of debt?
I have a handful of great articles in the pay off debt section of this site.
There you will find tips to help you pay off your debt as fast as possible and other tips to help you avoid debt altogether.
But there is one tool that I highly recommend you look into.
It is called Qoins (pronounced “coins”) and it works to help you pay off your debt quickly.
Here is how it works.
You download the app by clicking here.
Once you set up your account, when you spend money, Qoins will automatically round up your purchases on your connected debit or credit card.
The round up amount is then transferred to Qoins and then put towards the debt of your choice.
You might think that rounding up your purchases won’t have an impact on helping you to get out of debt, but you are wrong.
On average, you will have roughly $40 to put towards your debt. Over the course of a year this comes to almost $500 in extra debt payments!
You can click here to get started with Qoins.
At the end of the day, debt is your biggest enemy when trying to save $100,000. By paying off your debt quickly, you will increase the chances of you reaching your $100K savings goal.
#6. Save On Taxes
Another important step to building long term wealth is to keep your taxes as low as possible.
The good news is you don’t need to be a CPA or study the IRS rules in order to accomplish this.
Here are the basic tips you need to reduce your taxes the most:
- Contribute as much as you can to your 401k plan. Your contributions are taken out of your pay before taxes, making your taxable income lower, meaning less income tax paid.
- Contribute to an HSA or FSA account. By saving for medical expenses using these accounts, you save money pre-tax just like with your 401k above and this will reduce your tax burden.
- Know the difference between a credit and a deduction. Many people confuse the two. A credit is much more valuable to you than a deduction, reducing your taxable income dollar for dollar.
- Invest wisely. Bond interest is taxed at ordinary income rates whereas capital gains and dividends from stocks are taxed at a lower rate. If you hold taxable bonds or bond funds, they should be in your retirement accounts so you don’t have to pay taxes on the income.
- Take advantage of tax-loss harvesting. This is where you sell some holdings at a loss if you have already realized some investments at a gain. You can offset your gains with the losses, eliminating any tax you owe. You can also potentially offset some ordinary income too.
- Give to charity. You should be giving because it is the right thing to do. But you do get the added benefit of writing off your donations on your taxes. Keep a detailed list of the donations you made throughout the year including money, clothing, time, travel, etc. Here is a great list of reputable charities to consider giving to.
- Pay attention to the law. I know I said you don’t have to study the IRS rulebook, but you should stay on top of new tax laws and changes every year. You never know when something will change that can affect you. Just keep your eye out for news stories and read them. If you don’t understand what it is talking about or if it benefits you, ask your CPA.
By being smart with taxes, you can easily increase your wealth without a lot of extra work. And the benefits of this will compound over time, along with your account balances.
#7. Generate Additional Income
In order to save $100,000 you need to have an income. And while putting away a portion of your income is critical, you can speed up the process by making extra money.
Luckily there are many ways you choose to do to make extra income.
For starters, look at your current job. By stepping out of your job description, you can quickly increase your annual salary by 5% a year or more.
Your career is your greatest asset in terms of growing your wealth. Because of this, it is important you do everything you can to increase your salary every year.
But your salary isn’t the only thing you can do to increase your income. There are endless amounts of side hustles you can do in your spare time to make extra money.
And if you are smart and pick the right ones, it won’t feel like you are working at all.
This is what happened to me when I started my blog. I fell in love with it and it never felt like work.
In fact, I looked forward to working on it and got excited when I was working on it.
Here are a couple of ideas for you to consider.
- Take surveys. This isn’t the path to overnight riches, but it is steady income. You can easily make $5 a day taking a couple surveys before bed. Over the course of a month this comes to $150! Click to read my guide to the best paid surveys and how to make the most money.
- Selling on Amazon. I used to do this and was making over $500 a month with very little work. The only issue I had was I didn’t know what I was doing at first, so it took me a while to actually make money. You can start making money much faster with the help of this free email course.
These are just a very small list of ideas. There are many more out there.
You can choose to make $100 extra a month or up to $1,000 extra each month. It is completely up to you and what your goals are.
Just remember, the more money you make, the more you can save, and the sooner you will reach your goal of $100K!
#8. Invest Your Money
In order to reach your goal of saving $100K, you’ll need to invest in the stock market.
While you won’t lose principal when you put your money into a savings account, your money will take a long time to grow there.
You can see just how long in the chart below.
As you can see, putting $1,000 into a savings account earning less than 1% a year will take you over 460 years to grow it into just $10,000.
But that same $1,000 grows into $10,000 in 30 years when invested in the stock market.
Because of this, you need to start investing.
And you can do this without taking on risk you aren’t comfortable with.
My favorite way to invest is with Betterment.
They are a robo-advisor that does all the work for you. Remember how much of a fan I am of automating your savings?
Betterment does this with investing.
To start, you simply open an account and answer a few questions about your goals. Betterment then puts you in a portfolio that is right for you.
Then, all you do is set up a monthly investment, which can be as little as $10 a month.
From there, Betterment invests your money for you and monitors your portfolio, making sure it is set up and performing best for you.
By investing a small amount each month, you take advantage of compounding and grow your wealth.
And this is a critical step in the process.
Just look at the difference between saving $50 a month in a savings account and investing $50 a month.
You’ll reach your goal of $100,000 by investing 87 years sooner!
But don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have money in a savings account. You definitely need to a stockpile of cash in a savings account for emergencies and other short term spending.
But for money you don’t need immediately, investing is required.
Click here to get started with Betterment.
#9. Track Your Progress
The final step to saving $100k is all about tracking your progress.
It’s important to track your progress as it will help to keep you motivated during your journey.
After all, you aren’t going to save $100,000 overnight or in one year. It is going to take some time.
As a result, keeping track of where you stand pays off big time.
The best way to track your progress is to calculate your net worth.
The math is simple and should only take you 10-15 minutes to complete.
To calculate yours, simply take your assets and subtract your liabilities and the end result is your net worth.
Note that this number can be negative if you have a lot of debt and not much in savings.
But even if this is the case, by making smarter choices, you can increase your net worth as you work towards your goal of $100,000.
When I started out, my net worth was negative. I had a bunch of student loans and credit card debt and didn’t have much in savings.
But I made it a point to pay down my debt and build up my savings.
I quickly turned my net worth positive and have been growing it ever since. Now I am closing in on 7 figures.
As easy as it is to calculate your net worth, I wanted to point out an alternative option to doing it yourself.
It is called Personal Capital.
It is a free app that you link your accounts to and Personal Capital will calculate your net worth in real time.
But that is not all this powerful app does.
You can budget with it, track your investments and even plan for your retirement.
And it still does more.
It is the smartest thing I did with my finances since I can see everything in one place. And even my wife, who is not a finance person, loves using it since it is so user friendly.
The final question you might have about tracking your progress is how often should you calculate your net worth.
This is up to you. At most, I recommend at the end of the month. But for most people every 3 months or twice a year is good.
Your How To Save $100,000 Cheat Sheet
This was a lot of information on how to save $100,000.
You might be feeling a little overwhelmed.
Here is a simple breakdown so you can start taking action today.
#1. Open your savings account with CIT Bank. Then set up a monthly transfer. It can be $10 or $20 a month. It doesn’t matter right now. The key is to just start saving something.
#2. Set up a budget. You have to track your spending for at least a month. This will show you where your money is going so you can easily cut back or cut out wasteful spending. My favorite budget is Tiller.
#3. If you are in debt, you need to start paying this down. The sooner you pay off your debt, the sooner you can start saving larger amounts of money. And by creating a budget in the previous step, you will see how much money you can put towards your debt.
#4. If you don’t have debt, use your budget to tell you how much money you can save. At this point, I would be putting everything into a savings account, just to build up an emergency cash cushion.
#5. Once your savings accounts has $5,000 in it, start investing with Betterment. Take the money you were putting into your savings account and split it. Put 75% of it into Betterment and the other 25% into your savings account.
#6. All throughout this process, work on your mindset. Learn to see the positive in negative situations so that you don’t get sucked into a bad attitude.
#7. Start tracking your progress. I recommend you start calculating your net worth monthly just to get in the habit of it. As you do so, you will start to see the impacts paying off debt and saving money has on your bottom line and this will motivate you even more. Remember that you can manually calculate your net worth or you can use Personal Capital.
#8. Once you have the above done, you can look into earning additional income and being smarter with taxes. In fact, you could work on earning more money sooner in the process, but it is not required.
Now that you see the plan, the next question is where does the money come from?
For starters, you should be able to save $10 a month. So set up a monthly transfer to CIT Bank for this amount.
Next, think about where you spend your money.
Do you eat out a lot? Could you get by on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or pasta once or twice a month?
If so, you just cut out $30 from your spending and can now save $40 a month.
Now take a look at your other expenses.
Have you tried negotiating your cable lately? Have you shopped for insurance coverage?
Either of these could turn out to be big savings.
In fact, you can use Trim to negotiate your cable bill for you. On average they save you $30 a month.
From there, you can get a free insurance quote to lower the amount you pay. It’s not out of the question to save another $15 a month here.
All in, you just freed up $85 a month, or over $1,000 a year. You are well on your way to saving $100,000!
Frequently Asked Questions
I get a lot of questions about how to save $100,000. Here are the most common ones and my answers to help you succeed.
How to save $100,000 in a year?
In order to save $100k in a year, you are going to have to make drastic changes to your spending and earn a lot more money.
Can it be done? It is not likely, but at the same time, it’s not impossible.
First, you need to eliminate as much spending as you can.
This means no more eating out and when you shop for groceries, you need to be buying the lowest priced items that will serve multiple meals.
Oatmeal, pasta, and eggs are a few items off the top of my head.
Then you need to get serious with other areas of spending too. You might even have to move to a cheaper location.
Next, you need to increase your income as well.
The reality is, you cannot save 100% of your salary, so don’t think if you are earning $40K a year, you only need to earn another $60K.
You need to earn a lot more.
Side hustles should be used, but you probably need to get a promotion at work or switch employers and get a higher starting salary as well.
At the end of the day, it will be a lot of work and try to save $100,000 in a year is not something I recommend for most people.
How to save $100,000 in 2 years?
To save $100k in 2 years, you are going to have to do many of the same things as the person who wants to save $100,000 in a year has to do.
And even when you follow the same steps, the odds are against you. Not as greatly than if you were trying to save the money in 1 year, but still difficult to do.
How to save $100,000 in 10 years?
Wanting to save $100k in 10 years is much more reasonable.
You don’t have to go to such extremes to reach your goal. However, you will still need to cut back on your spending and make more money.
But here is the good news.
Save $10,000 in an emergency fund. Then get to $5,000 in an investment account. All that is left to do is save $5,000 a month.
In 10 years, you will have saved $100,000.
I know saving $5,000 a year sounds like a lit. But refer back to point #2 about breaking this goal down.
If you break it down monthly, you need to come up with $416 a month. This is doable if you follow the cost cutting tricks in the post below.
The bottom line is saving $100k in 10 years is very likely and you should be able to do it.
How much of my income should I save?
You should be saving between 15-20% of you annual income.
By saving this amount, you will put yourself in great shape to not only handle emergency expenses, but also will be able to enjoy retirement as well.
If money is tight, work your way up to this goal.
Try saving 5% of your annual income. Then increase this amount the following year and each year after until you reach 15%-20% of you annual income in savings.
You can save $100,000. You just have to have a plan and put in the work. This post took care of the planning part for you.
You now know the steps involved in saving $100k. All you have to do is to start taking action.
I know taking the first step might feel overwhelming now, seeing how far you have to go to reach your goal.
But it can be done.
There are many people out there who have saved $100,000. Just follow the cheat sheet I created for you and take things slow.
You will make progress on reaching your goal and before you know it, will hit a point where growing your wealth is close to effortless.
Then one day, you will realize you saved $100,000.
And here is the best part.
Once you have $100K saved, saving the next $100,000 is a lot easier. This is thanks to compounding.
While you are working to increase your savings more, your original $100,000 is growing all by itself thanks to interest.
And going forward, every $100K after that is easier as well.
Take it from someone who has experienced it.
You can do this. You just have to take that first step. Make today the start of your new financial life.