Smart SpendingSmart Spending

13 clever ways to save more money

Everyone seems to have little mind tricks for beefing up savings. Some are very creative.

By MSN Money Partner May 20, 2011 3:32PM

This guest post comes from J. Money at Budgets are Sexy.

 

I think it’s really funny/cool how we all do things that force us to save money sometimes -- as if we can't do it without tricking ourselves.

 

A new blog I started reading -- Master the Art of Saving -- talks about stashing $1 coins in her house (the gold ones, which she refers to as "pirate's gold") and how storing them in a box high up in her closet keeps her from spending them -- plus the fact she just really LOVES the way they look. Check out the pictures of her stash here -- they're pretty dope.

 

I find myself doing stuff like that too. I have wads of cash both in my safe, and my currency album, but also outside in my car's console. It just makes me feel safe.

And when I start saving up cold hard cash like that, it gets even harder for me to unload it later -- like, once I hit X amount in "real" money, the odds of it going anywhere are cut down dramatically. (If I were a smart man, it would probably serve me well switching over to a 100% cash system. It's just that I really don't have the patience for it.)

 

Something else I realized I was doing was only investing money in my retirement accounts -- never outside of them. At first it was mainly for the tax benefits, but then I realized it actually forces me to leave that money alone. There's no dipping into it or cashing out because I know I'd be taxed and penalized heavily. So when it's invested, it's invested all the way.

And the beauty is, I can still sell bad stocks and anything else I want to do too. The money just remains in the respective accounts instead of in my pockets. Pretty much like a normal brokerage account, except I don't get taxed on it (yet) and I can't take the money out and spend it on anything. It keeps me in check.

 

Do you guys do anything like that -- ways to force yourself to save better? I thought it would be cool to see what other people were doing, so I asked around on Twitter and Facebook, and got quite a few tips in return (edited for clarity). Maybe you've tried some?

  • @Talar13: Whenever I intentionally save money, I move it out of my checking account. Example: If I save $15 using coupons, I then transfer $15 into my savings accounts.
  • @1bets1: Every payday I make a deposit, but record $100 less. It adds up.
  • @JessOtwell: After a nonessential purchase, I always put 50% of that cost into savings. Can't afford to? Then I don't buy it!
  • @JBird_1205: I buy a roll of quarters every paycheck and put them in the change jar.
  • @MoneyTalksCoach: If I get paid in cash, I stash it away ....
  • @BoomerandEcho: I make a forecast of income and expenses for a whole year, then funnel any unspent money from any category into savings.
  • @jopinion: I have a bank account that I have no debit cards or checks for. I call it the "fun fund."
  • @inexpensively: I use an online savings account specifically so I don't have easy access to the funds.
  • Jen: I set up auto-transfers every weekday of $1 and $2 through ING.
  • Phil Villarreal: I'd say the best way is to use personal-finance software to make yourself arduously catalog and break down every purchase. For instance, an $80 trip to Target would mean a mandatory 10-minute endeavor in which you have to break down every item into its specific category, making you think twice before tossing random products into your basket on the next trip.
  • Adam Piplica: Hide money in a non-online bank that you have to actually walk to. .That way you can't easily transfer it back into your checking account.

At the end though, it really doesn't matter how you end up saving money, just that you do. If you find a way that works like crazy, run with it. And if not, keep on trying new things until something sticks. Sometimes you just gotta find that rhythm.

 

Do you have some of your own tricks to share with us? Drop 'em below so we can all learn from you.

 

More on Budgets are Sexy and MSN Money:

1Comment
May 22, 2011 7:52PM
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If i get a $5 dollar note i stash(hide) it in my purse away from my regular cash eventually i build up enough to put it into savings, but it feels great to finally pull out all the 5's i have saved.  With regard to one salary, its hard work but you have to make a budget and stick to that budget, if that means not eating out, getting your hair done at a low cost salon, only having a treat once a week then so be it.  If i want something i save for it, it gives me a feeling that the item i have saved for has real value!!!

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