Saving money doesn’t come easily to a lot of people. It’s one thing to open a savings account, but it’s another thing entirely to have the discipline to contribute to it. Likewise, just because you add money to your savings doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll resist the temptation to spend it later. If you’re the type who has trouble saving money, here are a few tips to force you into the habit:
1. Sign up for automatic transfers.
This is probably the most effective method for saving money. Have your savings account linked to your checking account and arrange for a certain amount to be automatically drafted from one to the other every month. Whether it’s $10 or $100, the steady contributions will add up more quickly if you don’t have to think about it.
2. Commit to putting spare change into a jar every day.
Even if it’s only a few cents, make it a daily ritual to add change into a jar. Then, once a month, roll the change and take it to the bank. Some people like exchanging their spare coins for cash through one of those change counting machines you see in grocery stores. While these are great inventions, they aren’t very conducive to saving money. For one thing, these machines charge a service fee, so you’re not really getting all the money you saved. Secondly, you exchange the coins for cash – and having cash in your hand makes it very tempting to spend it. You’re better off just taking the coins directly to your bank and depositing them.
3. Save your tax refund.
If you don’t have any major expenses to pay off, why not put your tax refund into savings or toward your retirement? Of course it’s tempting to spend it – after all, you worked hard all year long for this and you deserve a little fun money, right? Of course you do, but don’t blow the whole check. Commit to saving at least a percentage of the refund before you file your taxes. If it helps, write it down on a piece of paper and sign it. Make it like a contract with yourself. Researchers have found that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. It sounds strange, but there’s something in our psychological makeup that makes this an effective strategy.
4. Use prepaid services when you can.
From utility bills to cell phone service, using pre-pay features can literally force you to save money on things like your electric bill or text messages. Although these services are typically aimed at consumers with low credit scores or low incomes, anyone can apply for them – at least for most services. Talk to your utility companies or cell service provider for details.
Can you think of any other ways to make yourself save money? Let us know in the comments!