As a KCL, I’m an expert at couponing to save money at the grocery store and on my household expenditures. However, I have to make sure I don’t roll my savings at each store into more purchases that I may not need. Scoring a deal is an automatic high, but capitalizing on my savings has been one of my hardest lessons. In order to save effectively, I’ve had to trick myself into doing it. Use these six simple tricks to help yourself reach your financial goals starting today!
1. Take advantage of any changes to your paycheck
My son recently dropped off of my health insurance policy at work. Instead of finding a way to spend the $51 that newly appeared in my check, I increased the amount that automatically goes into my 401K to include the $51. I never saw the money in my bank account but increased my contribution to my 401K. Another tip is to put any raise towards your savings account before you even see it in your check.
2. Avoid a trip to the bank by using mobile deposit
When I receive a check from Checkout 51, instead of holding the check until I can deposit it at the bank (and to avoid spending it before then), I use my bank’s app to simply take a photo of the check in order to deposit it.
Check with your banking institution to see if mobile banking is available with your smart phone. It’ll save you time and money if you can put unexpected extra cash into your savings account as soon as you get it! My husband and I received a check last week from our previous Electric Membership Corporation from 15 years ago. It wasn’t a big check, but it was money we weren’t expecting, so into savings it went! I deposit all of my rebate checks via mobile instead of cashing them.
3. Round up your debit charges
I have a friend who rounds every transaction up to the next dollar. For instance, if you spend $14.11 at the grocery store, round it up to $15. That’s $0.89 you can put into savings. If I do that every day of the year, that’s $289.11 savings in a year! That is a trick that works well for me when I’m trying to find extra coins in my daily transactions.
4. Assess your account for extra money before you get paid
I get paid every other Friday. The week I get paid, if I have any extra money before I get paid, I take 10% of the amount and transfer it to savings. For example, if I have $250 in my checking account the day before I get paid, I’ll take 10% ($25) and transfer it to my savings. This is a great way to keep extra money from sitting in your checking account, and it’ll keep you from spending it!
5. Set a visual goal to remind you of your savings goal
Last year when I was saving for a new refrigerator, I placed a picture of the stainless steel refrigerator I wanted to purchase on the front of my “old” white refrigerator. This visual goal motivated me to stick to my savings plan. Establish a visual reminder of your goal and place it in a location where you’ll see it at least five times per day.
6. Find the right smart phone app to track your savings
Since I take my phone everywhere, I make sure to have my financial information readily available when I get ready to make a big purchase. I can access my checking account, my savings account, and my current credit card balances from my phone, but it can take a long time if I have to log in to three different institutions.
Mint is one of my favorite solutions for this problem, and it has a mobile app so that you can check out ALL of your finances in one place. Just by adding your accounts, the app will provide you with a detailed report of your spending and your current savings. This can help you make educated choices about what you should really be doing with your money.