Saving money is one of those resolutions that I struggle with. Really the only way I have saved money in the past was when the money was transferred out before I even saw it, and then locked away in an account that I had no access to.
Which is great for some situations like buying a car or a house, but if you want to save for a trip away or another big purchase it’s the worrrst.
So here are a couple of savings tricks that have already been proven by some of my friends and that I’ll be attempting this year.
THE 52-WEEK SAVE
This one seems really popular at the moment – basically in week one of a new year, you put $1 in a jar. Then week two $2, week three $3 and so on until the final week of the year when your $52 leaves you with $1,378 in your jar! Yay!!
You can also do a reverse version of this starting with $52 and paying $1 less each week on the countdown to the end of the year.
The trick is, you’ve got to stick to a schedule (say, pick every Sunday as your “put money in the jar day”) and then not be tempted to take any money out. Yeah, that’s the real tricky bit.
You can label your jar something like “Europe Trip” or “New TV”, basically whatever you’re saving for to help keep you focused.
Or if you think a big jar of money is asking for trouble, put the cash in a wallet/purse that you don’t use and hide it in your room. Whatever works for you.
And of course you can go the electronic route too, and have the money transferred from your main account into a savings account – but you’ve got to make sure that it’s not easy to transfer that money back for an impulse buy.
When you get paid, you pay yourself in cash.
I’ve failed with this one a few times but I know a lot of couples that make this work.
Say you agree to live on $50 a week – cool, that’s it. You use your debit/eftpos/credit cards for grocery shopping and bill payments, but anything else has to be paid by your weekly cash amount.
The idea is that you’re learning to budget and restrict yourself in every day spending (a McCombo is how much??) while your cards get a rest.
Okay, say you get $700 on payday. You then spend $650 of it before next payday. As soon as your next pay comes in, you take out what was remaining. So for this example, $50. You put it in a jar (jars seem to be really popular for saving…) or transfer it to another account.
The reason why I say transfer it after you’ve been paid is because there’s nothing worse than transferring it the day before and then forgetting there was that $40 bill still to come out.
Plus no one wants to see $0 in their account each week.
THE $5 CHALLENGE
I actually think this is a fantastic one for getting kids into saving.
For us adults, this really only works if you deal in cash a lot. So if you’re working the Cash Budget already, awesome. Otherwise it might be a little slower to save.
The idea is that every time you get a $5 note, you can’t spend it. Instead it goes in a jar (there’s that jar again). This makes you both love and hate Sir Ed (or Lincoln for Americans) because if you have a twenty dollar note and you pay for something that’s $2 but they give you back THREE $5 notes as part of your change, that full $15 is going in the jar. And no, you can’t say “give it to me in coins”or swap the notes with friends. That’s cheating!
This is why it’s great for kids though – especially if it’s your money but for their savings. Those kids will watch cash transactions like hawks. Every time they see a $5 note they will know it’s for saving and they won’t let you cheat. It’s also a great way for them to grow up playing the game to continue it into adulthood.
A few years back I set up a direct debit from my every day account to a different bank that is notoriously difficult to get money back from (so many different log in pages, it just feels like more effort than it’s worth!) So every week $5 goes out of my account. $5 isn’t a lot, but it’s a good amount to not miss each week.
You can do more (I know a few that do $10 a week but no one that does more than $20) however it has to be an account you’re not likely to steal back from later in the week (or month!)
I actually went years before I bothered logging in again just to check how it was doing, and it’s also another good one if you’re wanting to save money for the kids.
ONE FOR ME, ONE FOR SAVINGS
Such a good one if you use your eftpos card for everything and have your banking app at the ready!
I have a few coffee-addict friends doing this and they are saving so much!! So if you have a vice, then this one is for you.
Say you buy a coffee every morning and each cup costs $4. Every time you buy that cup, you also have to transfer $4 into savings.
If you’re a smoker, when you get a $20 pack, you also have to put $20 into savings. And no, you can’t do it later, you need to do it at the time of purchase.
This can help if you’re trying to give up your vice, but that’s not really what it’s about (although it might help you think twice!).
This works really well with buying those Lotto tickets or fast food too. Hell, maybe even Kmart addicts…
So there’s a few ideas… I’m doing the 52-week and $5 challenges. So here’s wishing good luck to you and me!
Oh, and Happy Saving!