Let’s face it – you want to save month every month but you don’t. Just like starting that diet or cleaning out that junk drawer, you put it off and think it’ll somehow magically be easier next month.
Newsflash: it won’t get easier until YOU make it a HABIT!
Habits are tricky beasts, though, aren’t they? The bad ones are awful to let go of, the good ones are seemingly impossible to start.
So rather than trying to force yourself into saving money, how about we try fooling you into do it instead?
Here are six “tricky” ways to get into saving money that, when done, will leave you thousands of dollars richer each year and you won’t even realize you’ve done it! Disclaimer: there are affiliate links below – meaning I may make a commission should you click through and invest. This is no way impacts my recommendation of services or products, but it does help fund my coffee addiction.
Do a “Savings Challenge”
There are a number of different ways to challenge yourself on a regular basis when it comes to saving money. You can adjust any sort of challenge to suit your needs and goals, depending on how much “extra” cash you have each month and how much you want to end the year with. My preferred method is to save $.01 for whatever day of the year it self – i.e. the first week of the year, you save $.28, the second week would be $.77, etc. By the end of the year, you’ll have nearly $700!
I prefer this method above the others because it allows you to start later in the year without your bank account taking a serious hit. For example, even if you started halfway through the year, you’d only need to set aside about $160 to get on track to hitting the year-end goal!
Get a Piggy Bank
Okay, so you don’t have to have an actual piggy bank, an empty mason jar or water jug will do, but let’s face it – if you’re like me, a cute piggy bank (like this Panda one!) will make saving money just a bit more fun. Whatever you decide to use, make sure you actually use it! The easiest way to make this happen is to use cash whenever possible. Not only will the act of using cash help you save money in general – physically giving away cash makes you MUCH more aware of your spending rather than swiping plastic – but you can easily toss all the change you get into the savings vessel of your choice.
After we held a garage sale this summer, we had a lot of change left over – about $60 worth! While it was tempting to take it to the bank with the rest of our profits, I used it as an opportunity to start my own savings bank. Near the end of the year we decided to finally take it in and we ended up with nearly $300 (!!) Talk about a great Christmas bonus!
Don’t Cash Out Constantly
If you use money saving apps like Ibotta, why not actually SAVE that money? With Ibotta specifically, you can’t cash out until you hit $30 anyway. So why not wait and only cash out once a year, putting that money immediately into your savings account? And if you’re not yet familiar with Ibotta, it’s a great way to earn cashback on your groceries – it’s FREE to sign up and you’ll get an automatic $10 back by signing up through my referral link.
Likewise, if you earn cashback on your credit cards, don’t apply it to your card balance! Instead keep it on your card account and when you do cash out, put it in savings.
Personally, I have a Discover IT card because I’ll get DOUBLE all the cash back I earn in the first year but I definitely encourage you to shop around and find a card that best suits your needs. If you’re a hardcore Amazon shopper like I am, the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card might be a better option for you (both offer a $50 sign-up bonus!)
Provided you use your card wisely, you’ll see a great amount of money suddenly adding up without any extra effort on your part.
Most cards are 1-2% back on everything, and then somewhere between 3% and 5% back on random specific things, like Amazon purchases.
So let’s say you have an Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card like I do and you use it each month to pay for the following bills and purchases:
- Pet food/supplies, diapers, toilet paper, dry groceries – all Amazon purchases: $200
- Gas/Transportation: $100
- Trash Collection: $20
- Electric: $100
- Groceries in-store: $400
- Car insurance: $70
- TV (hopefully just Netflix/Hulu and not cable!): $15
Provided these are all in your budget as they should be, you will earn nearly $25/month on expenses you had to pay anyway! That’s easily $300/year in your savings!
Round Your Bills
Hopefully you’ve already created a budget (if not, check out THIS post now!) It’s really easy to then go into your budget and round up one or two of your bills. For example, we pay between $96-$180 on our electric bill each month (depending on the season). Rather than trying to guess what our electric bill each month, I budget out $200 for it. Once it’s paid, I then transfer whatever is left into our savings account. This quickly adds up to hundreds of dollars automatically saved every year without having to specifically budget for it.
When you do this with your own budget, limit yourself to just one or two bills that you’ll round up – especially if you have a lot of debt you should otherwise be paying off. Try it with your mortgage or car payment to start!
Buy Gift Cards
If you’re not yet buying discounted gift cards, you NEED to start today. This alone will save you SO much money. Personally I love Raise.com for this. I buy gift cards for gas stations, department stores, restaurants – basically for anywhere I’d be spending money anyways – and automatically save anywhere from 4-10%! Since these purchases would already be in your budget, take the savings from the gift cards and actual save it!
Pro-tip: Use Ebates to save even more! Check out my post on how I’ve earned over $1,000 thanks to Ebates!
Duh, right? But I don’t necessarily mean get a second job! There are hundreds of different ways to earn a few extra dollars each week and those extra dollars can certainly add up fast over the course of a year. Whether you’re earning via websites like SurveySavvy or InboxDollars, or trying your hand in affiliate marketing, you should save at least half of what you earn. I believe in treating yourself well, so if you are working on a “side hustle”, you don’t have to save it all. As with anything of these tips, use common sense and smart budgeting practices, but don’t be so strict that you cause yourself to splurge.