One of the most anxious moments in our day comes when we take a look at our checking account and get that sinking feeling in our stomachs that there is just not a lot there….never mind saving money, how are you going to get gas, or pay the rent or afford that trip!!! Saving money, like in an account, is one of the hardest habits to learn, and it takes longer than the proverbial 21 days to create a habit. But we NEED savings for that once in a lifetime opportunity, or that rainy day emergency, or that moment that could change your life forever. So start small – try these “behind the scenes” no brainer ways of savings – once you get a little nestegg started you’ll be surprised how excited you will be to maintain it!
- Ebates – It sounds too simple, but I’ve tried it and it works. You buy what you were already going to buy and Ebates pays you a percentage back, that’s it. This works for your online shopping and your credit card in-store purchases. The rate of the percentage payout varies by store and changes from time to time. I got 10% back on a wedding gift from Macy’s that was already on major sale just because I belonged. Each quarter they send me a check (they send mine to my Paypal account) – like found money!
- Direct Transfer – You can schedule a direct transfer from your checking to your savings account, assuming they are with the same bank. Every month the bank (on a pre-chosen date) will automatically move your scheduled amount over to your savings without asking you. Now, the trick is not to move it right back to your checking if possible. The good news, a lot of banks will waive their service fees if you do this so check with your bank.
- Acorns.com – This is really a two-fer. This program creates a forced savings AND teaches some of the basics of investing. Sign up your debit and/or credit card and Acorns will round up all of your purchases to the nearest dollar and deposit it into your account. Once you hit $5 they will begin buying fractional shares of investments pre-selected based on their assessment of your risk and timeline at registration. Best thing is it only costs $1 per month for their help until your account reaches $5000. If you’re a college student, its FREE!
- Walmart Savings Catcher – So, I love Walmart, for so many reasons including convenience and locations. So its an added bonus that every time I shop there, I send a photo of my receipt to WalMart Savings Catcher’s app and they go over it to see if any store nearby offers a better price. If so, they collect the difference and I can either use it or get a gift card. In one year I saved over $150 just by sending in my receipts! I just let it accumulate until the end of the year and then Happy Christmas gift shopping!
- The old fashioned coin jar aka a piggy bank. This one is an oldy but a goody. I used it with my son since he was a baby, and we still do it, and he’s 23! We got a large plastic bottle shaped like a 7Up bottle and every week we emptied any coins we had in our pockets, my purses, the car etc. We were shocked to find out just how much money that jar holds. Years later, and two full bottles later, my son cashed in the coins in one container for $500 in spending money on a trip he was taking. Seems like nobody carries a wallet that can hold change anymore….so pick a jar and start saving it. You too will start to see just how much you can save with this little trick.
There you have it – five do-nothing ways to start a savings account right now! What about you? Do you have any others that I should add to the list? If so, contact us here! And as always – let me know if there is something you’d like us to explore here on the blog.