Saving money is hard. Not getting a good deal or using coupons, but actually putting money away into a savings account is difficult for most people. You start out with good intentions and may get some money put back, but then life happens and you need money for something. After a few “emergencies”, your account can be drained very quickly. One of the best ways to save money is to find ways that you don’t feel as if you are depriving yourself, but are still putting money back – even if it is just a little at a time. If you are trying to increase the amount you are saving, one of the following methods might help you to make your savings grow.
Round it up.
Every time you purchase something, round the final price you pay to the nearest dollar then put the difference in your savings container. There are people who don’t ever spend coinage; they simply put it in a bowl, a bank, or a can and let it build up then deposit it. There are also people who use this strategy with their checkbooks. They round every amount paid to the next highest dollar while writing the check for the exact amount.
However, if you are going to use this method, you have to be meticulous about keeping good records. A word about saving change: Don’t use automatic change-counting machines unless there is no fee to use them. Typically, most change-counting machines charge a fee of around ten percent of the total amount counted.
While it is a fast way to get cash for change, ten percent of the total amount can be a lot to pay for that convenience. The old fashioned way of rolling coins then turning them in to the back, while it is time-consuming and not as convenient, it does allow you to keep all your money instead of losing some of it to fees.
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Save every _____ you get.
There is something about saving every what-ever you get that makes it easy to save. Whether it is quarters, dimes, or five-dollar bills, when you get one of what you decided to save, you simply don’t spend it. When you get home, put it somewhere safe and somewhere that you can’t see how much you have saved, such as in an opaque bank, a coffee can, or some other container. Your container should be small to medium sized so you will be able to deposit some money into your account soon after you begin.
When your container is full, count the amount inside and prepare it to go to the bank. Once you are comfortable saving one denomination of money, you might want to add another. For example, if you decide you are going to save quarters and you have done so for several months, then you might want to start saving quarters AND pennies. Don’t make it hard on yourself by saving larger denomination bills. By saving your change and smaller bills, you should be able to have a deposit for your savings account very quickly.
Find a deal, save the difference.
While this method doesn’t work as well with major purchases, for trips to the grocery or other regular purchases, if you find an item on sale or use a coupon, put the amount you saved into your savings container. Not only will you be able to visually see your savings but you will actually be saving your savings instead of just re-appropriating the money for something else.
With some purchases, such as those you make at a thrift store or another second-hand shop, you won’t know exactly what you saved so estimate your savings compared to paying full price and bank that amount in your savings container. Sometimes it is difficult to visualize the savings we are getting from coupons or store loyalty cards until we actually see them represented with actual money.
The easiest way to grow your savings is through automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account. Each month, you have your financial institution transfer a set amount from your checking to a savings account. You can also set this sort of transaction up with some online financial institutions.
Automatic transfers seem to work for many people for two main reasons. First, there is nothing to remember or think about because the transfer happens automatically and it basically never hits your checking account for too long if you time it right. So, in essence, you don’t really miss the money because it’s not part of what you can see in your checking account.
Second, most financial institutions charge a fee if you have more than a few transfers out of a savings account – and no one wants to pay more bank fees than necessary. Finally, if you don’t have your savings account accessible via your debit card you will be more likely to save more because you would then have to go into the bank in order to access your money, negating the feeling that you are able to get money quickly from your savings account when those impulse buys present themselves.
Found it, save it.
Anytime you find money — whether you find it in the washer, behind the sofa, in the car, or in an off-season jacket — put it into an opaque bank or other container. You will be amazed at how fast your container will fill up just using this easy technique.
Change can pile up quickly in the pockets of a winter jacket then be forgotten when you put the jacket away during spring and summer. If you find money in a parking lot or on the sidewalk, put that in your “found money” container as well. There is an old adage that says that “found money should be spent”. However, it doesn’t say WHEN it should be spent so save what you find now and spend it later.
Saving money doesn’t have to be difficult or make you feel as if you are depriving yourself of something you really need or want. By taking advantage of small opportunities to save, you will see your savings begin to grow as long as you follow the one rule of all these methods – your savings canister is for deposit only! Once money is put in, it doesn’t come out until you are ready to take it to the bank. After a short time, you will begin to see the balance in your savings account grow with just a little effort from you.
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About the author:
Carol Ammon is a professional blogger that provides financial information and advice to consumers and businesses. She writes for PureChecks.com.