If your savings account isn’t as healthy as you’d like it to be, you may need to rethink your savings strategy. While some people are natural savers, others have to work a little harder to build up the habit. Sometimes beefing up your bank account means tricking yourself into stashing your extra cash. (And that cash can really start to add up – a savings calculator can show you how.) If you’re ready to up your savings game, here are a few creative ways to keep more money in your pocket.
1. Put Your Savings on Autopilot
Many financial experts advocate the philosophy of paying yourself first. But this only works if you actually do it. All it takes is one unexpected expense to put your savings plan on the back burner. Setting up automatic deposits to your savings account guarantees that the money you’re planning to put aside won’t slip through your fingers.
Automating your deposits is also a great way to build up your nest egg. If you’re able to participate in your employer’s retirement plan, you can schedule automatic deposits to your account every pay period. You can also arrange for automatic deposits to your IRA and enjoy some tax benefits in the process.
2. Save Your Payments
Saving can be difficult when you’re trying to pay down debt. But getting rid of it for good can free up more of your cash. The trick is to make sure you’re saving the extra money before it gets absorbed back into your budget. Once you pay something off, keep writing the check for it every month but send it straight to your savings account.
This is also a great strategy to use if you’re planning to make a large purchase in the future. For example, if you’re planning to buy a car, you could save the amount you’re estimating your payments will be for six months. This will give you an idea of how well a car payment will fit in your budget and you’ll have a nice cushion saved to put down when it’s time to buy.
3. Round Up
An easy way to save is to simply round up when you’re balancing your checkbook and transfer the difference to your savings account. Even if it’s just a few pennies at a time, it can really add up in the long run. Some banks making rounding up even easier by doing it for you automatically.
4. Keep the Change
If you prefer to spend cash instead of using a credit or debit card, it’s time to start feeding the pig. Even if you’re just tossing in a handful of change each day, you’ll be surprised at how fast the money adds up. Once your piggy gets full, you can convert all that loose change into cold hard cash. Just make sure that you transfer the money into your savings so you’re not tempted to spend it.
5. Forget About Your Raise
Raises are not as rare an occurrence as they have been over the past few years but getting a bump in pay doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to save more. It’s easy to spend more when you’re making more. Forgetting about the extra cash is a smart way to bulk up your savings. Unless you really need the money to cover your living expenses, you’re better off setting up an automatic transfer of your extra pay to your savings account or retirement plan. As long as you’re sticking to your pre-raise budget, you won’t even miss the money.
6. Stash Found Money
When you score an unexpected chunk of change it can be tempting to go out and spend it. The smarter move is to sock it away. Hanging on to found money is a no-brainer since you weren’t counting on it in the first place. Found money can include things like rebates, tax refunds, reimbursements for medical bills, bonuses and birthday gifts from Grandma. Even putting away as little as $5 can get you that much closer to your savings goal.
Saving money may seem like a foreign concept but it doesn’t have to be. It’s really a question of mind over matter but sometimes you have to give your brain a hand to get it right. By using a few simple tricks, you’ll be able to see your hard-earned dollars multiply more quickly.
Photo Credit: Christin_Schuckert