I often hear people say they would love to put more money into their savings but at the end of the day, there's just no extra cash to set aside. Why not just trick yourself into saving hundreds maybe even thousands of dollars a year? If you get in these simple rules, you'll see your savings grow like magic.
Let's start with paying yourself first. Fifteen years ago, I set up a $50 a week automatic transfer from my checking (usually where the paychecks go) into a special savings account. I now have thousands of dollars in this account. Every payday, have a certain amount go directly into your savings account. Even if it's just s $10, it adds up. If the money never gets into your checking account and goes straight into savings, you won't miss it.
Let's say you finish paying off a personal loan or a car loan; You're already in the habit of paying that amount every month. Keep the habit up. Continue making that "payment" but put it into your savings.
For every purchase you make for your wardrobe or home, save the receipt. Most larger stores offer a 14-day price adjustment period. This means if the items you purchase go down in price within 14 days, you can get the difference between what you paid and the sale price back. I have saved hundreds of dollars by doing this one simple thing. Put that money directly into your savings account.
If you aren't using coupon apps or grocery store loyalty programs, you're missing out on a big money saver. Just by building your menu around what is on sale at your grocery store and using coupons, you can slash your grocery bill by up to 50%. I have done this experiment hundreds of times and by doing those two things you will save.
Usually, at the bottom of your receipt it will show how much money you saved. Take that amount and put it into your savings account. Now you just put the money into your bank account instead of the store's.
A penny saved is a penny earned and those pennies add up. As do nickels, dimes and quarters. I am a big fan of throwing your pocket change into a jar when you clean out your pockets, the car, your bags. And while you're at it, why not start a dollar jar? Put all of your single bills into a jar. Once the jars fill up, trade them in for cash and put that money directly into your savings.
Rounding up your monthly bill payments is another way to sock some money into your savings. Let's say you are online doing your bills, and your water bill is $48.25. Pay the bill and then round up and put the difference into your savings. In this example, it would be 75 cents. Keep a tally and when you are done with paying your bills transfer the total of what you've rounded up into your savings. You would be amazed at how much you will save this way.
If you haven't started paying your bills online, now is the time. You will save money on postage and, often, late fees -- because it's easy to forget to mail those payments on time. Some companies will give you a discount on your bill if you set up autopay.
It's also a big plus for the environment since you won't need to receive paper bills. Another perk: it's easy to keep records organized which helps when it comes time to do your taxes.
Here's my 2 cents: Try all of these tips or just a few, either way you will save money.
About the author: Jeanette Pavini is a two-time Emmy Award winning consumer reporter completely over 10,000 money-saving stories. She is a columnist for The Street's Retirement Daily, and a contributor to various news outlets and a guest contributor for The Today Show. Her work has appeared in MarketWatch, The Wall Street Journal Weekend and USA Today. She was the chief consumer reporter for CBS 5 News in San Francisco where her money-saving segments became the backbone to her 30-minute consumer show.