Would you like to end 2015 with a bigger bank account than you currently have? I know I would. Yet, too often we make excuses not to save money, or we feel like our budget is just too tight to save.
But it doesn’t have to be. There are tricks you can use to save more money even IF your budget is very tight.
Consider these strategies:
Save all of your change.
Pay in cash whenever you can and save all of your change. Earmark this money for an emergency fund, a new car fund, a vacation fund, whatever you would like. Try to cash it in at the bank rather than at a coin machine in the grocery store so you don’t have to pay a commission.
Save all $5 bills that you get.
A few years ago, I was operating on a cash budget. Our money was very tight, so I didn’t have much room to save. Instead, I decided to save every $5 bill that I received. I kept those bills in an envelope in my dresser, and I was surprised how quickly the money added up. Within 3.5 months, I had over $200! The real difficulty for me was when I had to break a twenty for a small purchase and got three $5 bills back. But, that was just more money for my savings account.
Take advantage of free money.
If you look around, you’ll find opportunities for free money are everywhere. Take advantage of these opportunities and save the free money.
Two Thanksgivings ago, I took advantage of Capital One 360’s promotion to get $100 when you open a savings account and get another $100 when you open a checking account. I got $200 for free!
Just this past fall, Chase offered me $200 if I opened a checking account there. I did it, and a few weeks later, after I met their requirements, I had an extra $200 in my pocket.
Don’t forget to also apply for and receive rebates.
If you use credit cards, another great source of free money is credit card rewards. (This assumes, of course, that you pay your balance each month and don’t have to pay any interest.) One blogger paid for a $600 Christmas thanks to the rewards she had accrued all year.
Round up in your checking account.
Some people like to round up in their checking account. For instance, if you write a check for $11.52, you record it in your checkbook as $12. Then, you’re continually building a slush fund in your checking account. Many see this as an easy way to save.
I don’t save this way because I like to completely reconcile my account, but I know many people who do this.
Put your emergency fund in an inconvenient bank.
If the money is inconvenient to get to, you won’t spend it as quickly. I live in Arizona now, but one of my savings accounts is still in Michigan, where I used to live. If I need the money, I can call the bank, and they can send me a check (which takes 4 to 6 business days). I don’t have an ATM card, so the money is fairly inaccessible, yet in an emergency, I can have the money within a week.
Sign up for automatic deposit.
Do you have money automatically deposited into your savings account? If not, you should. My husband has $50 automatically taken from each paycheck and deposited into savings. When he first started doing this, we really missed that extra money in his paycheck, but we slowly adapted. Over time, we forgot about it and adapted to his new amount of take home pay. Now, when I check our savings account, it’s always a pleasant surprise because the money is growing, no thanks to us or our discipline (or lack thereof).
What are your favorite ways to trick yourself into saving more money?
I think taking advantage of free money is very important. So many people don’t take advantage of that when it’s available.
One of my favorite ways to save is to go to the store less. We have subscriptions (with percentage discounts and free shipping) for items like diapers, wipes, dishwasher soap, etc. If you can get a better price online & avoid going to the store, you’re less likely to get drawn into unnecessary purchases at the brick-and-mortar store.
Great tips! I especially like your tip on taking advantage of free money. I think people don’t take it is because they’re wary of scams.
One of the things we have started to do is to write down everything we’re spending on, that way we see where our money goes to and we can figure out the expenses we can cut down on.