The holidays are fast approaching.
With just 49 days until Black Friday and 78 days until Christmas -- and with the economy being what it is -- many Americans may find it hard to come up with cash to buy presents for their loved ones or throw holiday parties.
Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments and "Good Morning America" personal finance contributor, appeared on the show this morning to share four simple ways in which you can save $1,000 over the next two months.
Many people get a refund at tax time. According to the Internal Revenue Service, the average refund in 2009 was $3,000. If you received a refund last year, why not get that cash now, when you really need it? All you have to do, Hobson said, is adjust the withholding allowance on your W-4 form for the next two months so you can end up with more money in your paycheck.
Click HERE for Mellody's bonus money-saving tips.
Hobson broke down the math: The tax rate for the average family with an income of $61,265 is 15 percent. If you are in that bracket, you can claim up to five allowances. Making that adjustment will put an extra $230 into your pocket each month, for a total of $460 extra. You should be sure to change your allowances back to normal by January so you won't have to pay extra taxes next year, Hobson said.
Click HERE to visit the IRS' withholding calculator.
You can save money by cutting down on your restaurant food and eating at home for the next two months. A date-night dinner for two could cost about $50 dollars a shot, Hobson said. Cutting out one of those trips per month could save you a total of $100.
The average family of four spends about $100 at the supermarket each week, Hobson said. Instead of going grocery shopping, you should try using what's already in your freezer or pantry. If you can eliminate one of your weekly grocery shopping trips, you can save $200 in two months, she said.
Premium cable is great, but it's also very costly. Depending on your cable company or where you live, you could shave about $80 from your bill by switching from premium to basic cable, Hobson said. If you do this for two months, you could save $160.
If you follow all of these money-saving tips, your grand total of savings could be $1,028.00, Hobson said.
You may want to consider asking a trusted friend or family member to watch your children instead of paying a babysitter. You can save money and have peace of mind that your children are with someone you know well and trust.
Shop smarter by using coupons. You can find coupons in the newspaper or on a variety of online sites such as CouponMom.com, Coupons.com and CouponCabin.com. Coupons offer a sure way to save money on items you may need.
Check out billshrink.com to comparison shop for TV and wireless service, and the cheapest gas near you.