If you are living within a tight budget, making it on one income, or trying to pay off debt then saving money can be very difficult. It’s important to have an emergency fund when your are doing any of those three, but what do you do if there’s something you want that isn’t an emergency? Finding little ways to put money aside without it affecting your budget is essential. These 7 ways can help you save money without wrecking havoc on your budget.
This idea made the rounds on Pinterest near the beginning of the year. The idea is pretty simple – every time a $5 bill comes into your possession, save it. Keep an envelope in your wallet and immediately place them inside. When you get home, add them to a jar, and watch your savings grow.
I can remember my grandfather saving all his coins. He had one of those large coffee tins on top of his dresser. Whenever I was at his house, he would reach in, grab a handful, and pass it over to me and my brother to split.
Thanks to my grandpa, I keep all my change as well (in a piggy bank that I love). When the bank is full, I cash it in. I usually end up with $300 in change each time I do this (maybe once a year, sometimes a year and a half). This money is used to pay off a debt I’ve been working on, buy gas or grocery gift cards, or to splurge on something I’ve been hoping to buy. I never notice the change missing from my budget.
Is there an activity that you loathe to do and need an incentive? Maybe you hate cleaning the bathroom, folding the laundry, or hitting the gym? Create an incentive plan to encourage you to do what you struggle to do and save yourself some money.
I have a friend who created a “Sweat Equity” jar. As she was training for a half marathon, she put $1 into a jar for every mile she ran. Her first week alone, she saved $9. This increased each week until the race occurred. She then used the money to buy herself something she really wanted.
This is a great way to put money aside and encourage you to seek out coupons (you are using coupons, right?). Every time you use a coupon to save yourself some money, put what you saved into a savings account. If you save 50 cents at the grocery store on bread, put 50 cents into a jar at home. If you are really good about this, you could save $20 or more when grocery shopping.
You can maximize your savings by adding money saving apps like Ibotta, SavingStar or Checkout 51. These apps can help you save a few extra dollars each week, sometimes on top of coupons and by using more than one app for the same item. These savings apps won’t affect your budget in any way and will easily put more money into your savings account.
Usually when we create our budget, we round up. Our $33.65 internet bill becomes $35 in our budget. That extra few dollars remain in your checking account and with time, adds up. This same thinking can be used for purchases.
Any time you use your debit card to make a purchase, roundup to the nearest dollar and put that amount into a savings account. (You could do this once-a-month as some banks only allow a certain number of transfers.) This small amount of money won’t be noticed in your budget and could be helpful for your ability to save.
Using the same philosophy of rounding up, Tip Yourself gives you the ability to send small amounts of money into a savings account throughout the day using their app.
In the similar manner that you would tip for great service, you can tip yourself for doing a great job. Run 2 miles? Tip yourself a couple of bucks (or $1 per mile as mentioned above). Make a great meal? Tip yourself $2. Survived a difficult staff meeting? Tip yourself $5. All those small tips will add up to big rewards for you after a short time.
Digit will help you save by you literally doing nothing. It uses state-of-the-art algorithms to track your spending habits and then find money to save. It will automatically move money from your linked checking account into a savings account without you even noticing! A few dollars here and there that won't interrupt your normal spending, but it all adds up!
Each of these six ways can help you save small amounts of money each month without damaging your budget. Pick one or two and start saving right away. By the end of the week, you could have $10 put aside that you didn’t have last week. If that happens each week, you’ll have over $500 within a year saved that you never realized was missing from your budget.