Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
SUBSCRIBE
By Sharon Epperson

Saving is about discipline. And the best way to save is to start small and be consistent. You'll be surprised how quickly you can save $1,000 by the end of the year by reducing or eliminating some expenses for three months and stashing that money away.

Save your loose change
Putting aside fifty cents a day over the course of a year will allow you to save nearly 40% of a $500 emergency fund, according to AmericaSaves.org. Most people may think it's not worth it to put aside two quarters a day, but if you do this for the rest of the year you can save $46.

Drive sensibly and save
Have your money go the extra mile by driving sensibly. What does this mean? Staying calm, cool and collected on the road, because aggressive driving, such as speeding, rapid acceleration and excessive braking, can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent around town, according to fueleconomy.gov. With the national average gas price around $3.40 per gallon, if you drive sensibly, you can save at least $0.17 per gallon in town, and up to $1.12 per gallon on the highway. That's a savings of $23 to nearly $150.

Savings by year-end: $23 or more

Shop and save on gas
Check your local grocery stores for gas rewards programs for another way to cut down on your gas bill. Some allow you to earn one point for every dollar you spend, and for every 100 points you earn, you’ll save $0.10 per gallon at the pump. For the average four-member family spending about $245 per week on groceries, the savings could total $33 or more by the end of the year.

Savings by year-end: $33 or more

Look for cheaper car insurance
Americans overpay an average of $368 each year on car insurance, according to a 2013 survey by NerdWallet. Savings are available with a little comparison shopping, and only buying as much coverage as you need. For example, in Stockdale, Texas, a hypothetical 40-year-old married male driver with a clean driving record would typically pay $1,436 for auto insurance, but the cheapest premium offered in his area is $1,045, a savings of 27% or $391. 

To find out which car insurance discounts apply to you and get better savings, check out Insure.com's car insurance discounts tool.

Savings by year-end: $92

Sharon took questions from TODAY fans in a live Facebook chat on how to chop bills and sock away extra savings.


Turn down your thermostat
You can save energy and money by keeping your thermostat at 68 degrees while you're awake and setting it lower while you're asleep or away from your home. According to the US Department of Energy, by turning down your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours, you can save 5-15 percent on your heating bill.

Savings by year-end: up to $50

Sell your old smartphone
With the launch of the Apple iPhone 6, you may be ready to turn in your old iPhone. Or maybe you decide you can live with a cheaper phone. You can go through Apple's Reuse and Recycling program and get an Apple Store Gift Card, but if you want cash try a reseller like NextWorth or Gazelle. For example, you can get $170 for an 16GB AT&T iPhone 5 in good condition on NextWorth. However, the price drops for phones with scuffs, scratches and water damage.

Savings by year-end: $170

Brown bag your lunch
The typical American buys lunch nearly twice a week, and spends about $10 each time. Only 30 percent always bring lunch from home, according to the 2013 Visa Lunch Spending Survey (PDF). If you're one of the people who spends $20 a week on lunch, brown bagging it it for the rest of the year and spending half that amount on groceries will net you $140 by the end of the year.

Savings by year-end: $140

Skip the theater and wait for the DVD
Going to the movies can be pricey. Instead of catching the latest-and-greatest flick once a month, perhaps skipping the theaters and waiting for your movie to show up on DVD is an option. The average movie ticket price was $8.13 last year, according to the National Association of Theater Owners, so if you and your partner currently go to the movies monthly, skipping the cinema would amount to $48 in savings by year end. Hold off on the $6 each for a large soda and $8 for a large popcorn to share - that's another $20 in savings each time you go. 

Savings by year-end: $108

Drink water
Habitual bottle water drinkers can spend up to $1,400 per year. Plain old tap water costs less than a $1 per year. Switch and save. If you don't like the taste of tap water, invest in a water filter pitcher. To keep yourself from buying bottled water in a pinch, keep a refillable bottle at work and in the car.

Savings by year-end: $350 for bottled water drinkers

Cancel your cable plan, or threaten to
With taxes, surcharges and fees, most monthly bills cable round out to $80. But this basic household expense can bargained down with a phone call. Threaten to cancel and you can sometimes get offered a more affordable plan. And if you’re bold enough to cancel your cable altogether, you’ll save around $240 for the last three months of the year.

Savings by year-end: $240

Do all these steps and your savings by year-end could total $1,252. And all that "extra" money can be put towards emergency fund or your retirement savings.