You may think, "There's no way I can save any money!"
But most people find they can save when they really put their minds to
it. Here are some strategies to get you started.
Pay yourself first. Make your "savings bill" a part
of your spending plan, just like rent or utility bills. When you pay
your other bills, pay your savings bill by depositing the money in
your savings account. Make this the first bill you pay each month.
Use payroll deductions. Have your employer deposit
your savings directly from your paycheck into a credit union or
savings account. If you never see it, you might not miss it. To see
how quickly even small amounts of money can grow, see How $10 a
Month Will Grow.
Save "bonus" money. Try to save tax refunds,
overtime pay, gift money, refunds, and rebates and invest them for
Pay installments to yourself. Once you pay off an
installment loan (and if other loans are not overdue), continue to
make payments by putting them into your savings account or invest
Pay your credit card bills in full each month. Many
families find they spend more than $1,000 a year on credit card
interest. Make it a rule that if you can't pay the bill at the end
of the month, you can't afford the item. Try limiting yourself to
only one credit card.
If you must carry over a balance on your credit
card, always pay more than the minimum payment. Paying your credit
card(s) off should be your top goal. Then, save what you were
wasting on interest. Also, see if you can find a card with no annual
fee and/or a lower interest rate.
Comparison shop for insurance. There may be several
hundred dollars difference in rates between comparable insurance
coverage for your home and/or car. Be sure to check this annually.
Save money on sales. When you buy an item on sale, save the
difference between the sale price you paid and the full price you
would have paid had the item not been on sale.
The family can work together. Family members can
discuss ways to save money to reach family goals. For example, all
members can choose to eat out less frequently to save for a vacation
or set an amount each will save to help with a goal. You will be
doing your children a favor by teaching them to set goals and save
Be a comparison shopper. Compare prices and quality
at three stores before making a purchase.
Be a coupon clipper. Use coupons for items you use
frequently. Save more by buying an item on sale and using a coupon.
Watch for stores offering double coupons, and combine manufacturer's
coupons with store coupons for extra savings.
Save coupon money. Put aside the amount you save by
using coupons at the grocery or drugstore. Add the amount you did
not spend to your savings account.
Collect loose change. At the end of every week (or
more often), empty your pockets and wallet and put the change in a
jar. Every other week, or once a month, deposit the change in your
Have a "nothing week." Once in a while, have a week
when you try not to spend any extra money: don't go to the movies,
don't go out to eat, don't go bowling. Save the money you would have
Break a habit. Every time you don't have a doughnut
at coffee break or don't spend money in the pop machine, save the
money you didn't spend. For another example, people who quit smoking
can save this money for something else that will be a positive
reinforcement of their new good habit. Sometimes we spend small
amounts daily without thinking. Small purchases add up to big
Don't use an ATM card for withdrawals if you must
pay a fee for using it. Banks may charge from 75 cents to more than
$2 each time you use this card. Try to plan your spending so that
you can withdraw the money you will need directly from the bank.
Save lunch money. Get up ten minutes earlier and
make your own lunch instead of buying it. Save the money you would
have spent on lunch.
Use a crash budget. A crash budget works just like a
crash diet. You try to cut out all unnecessary spending, don't buy
on impulse, and save as much as possible. This may work especially
well for short periods.
The two-week rule. If you want something, wait two
weeks to get it. This will help you become an impulse saver, rather
than an impulse buyer.
Do not waste. Turn off the TV when no one is
watching, turn down the heat at night, or turn off the air
conditioner when no one will be home. Conserving energy also saves