Six Ways to Trick Yourself into Saving Money

by Guest Contributor · 13 comments

Saving is key to financial success, and it is a healthy habit which develops with time. It might take some time to get into a mode of saving but once you master the art, it’s like having an anchor that would never let you drown in the sea of debt. While there are many tricks people use to help them save more, here are six simple tips you can employ to save money today.

1. Fix the money in your savings account before you actually get it in hand
Ask your employer to make the payment plan in such a way that a portion of your salary gets deposited in your savings account. If you do not get that amount in hand, then you won’t even be tempted to spend it. There are lots of online savings accounts to choose from, and even the low yield is worth your while. Most people try to schedule a transfer once they get the money, but why not have the employer do this for you?

2. Save cent by cent
Whenever you enter the expenses in your budget, try to enter a rounded up figure instead. Then, try to save those amounts and actually deposit the extra into your savings account. It may seem negligible, but these add up through time.

3. Stop using credit card instead use cash
Don’t take out a loan or use a credit card if you want to indulge in luxury. Use cash instead. Start keeping a few dollars aside so that you can pamper yourself by being extravagant, but only after you saved a decent amount. With no means to pay for it but to have the funds available up front, it helps you control temptation and forces you to stick to a budget.

4. Benefit from online savings
Do you use a checking account exclusively for your day to day bills? Many of you can benefit by using an online savings account instead that earns you interest while your money is sitting there. Many bills allow you to electronically withdraw directly from a savings account these days, giving you the option to earn more without any additional effort.

5. Find extra income
Get a part time job or rent a room in your apartment to get that extra bit of money. The neat part about a part time job is that you won’t be spending money if you are working. By working hard for extra income, you will also appreciate the value of money more, which will help curb your spending.

6. Make full use of your student’s discount
The student discount can fetch you special offers at affordable prices. By showing your student ID, you can spend less and get products at cheaper rates. Discounts are the best bargain to buy things of course, but pretend they are full price and pocket the difference in your savings account.

These aren’t ground breaking saving tips, but that’s exactly why they are good. Easy to follow, easy to implement and easy to keep up.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jess May 20, 2010 at 8:40 am

Great tips. I utilize most all of these and my savings has been growing steadily.

Earning extra income is a great way for me to save money. I take on side jobs that I find fun so it doesn’t seem so much like “work.” I am also fortunate that my current job allows for overtime. When I can, I try to work a few extra hours a week and any extra money I receive on my check goes towards savings. I ALWAYS pay myself first.

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Ann May 20, 2010 at 8:58 am

If any of your readers are over age 50, then whipping out their AARP card at a lot of places helps them have a discount. That could also be put toward savings. (I’m over 50, so that’s how I know.)

Keep up the great tips.

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Cd Phi May 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Totally gotta agree with the credit card versus cash one. When you use cash, you feel a little more bad so you have to think harder about what you buy…But when it’s charged, you forget about the purchase almost immediately.

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demniy September 11, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I usually go around feeling bad about the purchase for a week.

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Stephan May 20, 2010 at 1:46 pm

love them all except for number. credit cards are not evil, they become evil when used by irresponsible and fiscaly illiterate people. if you know how to use them and how much money you have, use a credit card as much as you want. just make sure you pay the bill in full each month. No interest fees, no finance charges, all you are getting is a free loan until the bill is due.

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ryan May 20, 2010 at 5:52 pm

nice tips. I’d just like to add for those commuters/travelers out there that planning out a strategic route so you can save on gas by going to the cheapest station can really add to your bottom line. I try to tell myself I can only spend $x on gas this week & it kinda forces me to go to the cheapest station & plan it out. thanks again for the tips.

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basicmoneytips May 21, 2010 at 4:35 am

All good points in this article. Its amazing how much spending can be controlled thru mind games. Things like asking your employer to put money in your savings accounts. There are others, like record expense higher in checking account, then periodically move the “extra” money to a savings account.

One part time job to consider is mowing yards. Its seasonal and is also good exercise. For example, you might work with people who hate mowing and will even allow you to use their equipment – just bring a change of clothes to work and then go after work to mow – make an easy $20 (if not more) here and there.

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Brian May 21, 2010 at 4:00 pm

To help with the “cent by cent” idea (#2), talk to your bank. Bank of America has a program called Keep the Change. Everytime I use my debit card, the bank takes the purchase amount (i.e. $2.51) and rounds it up to the nearest dollar ($3.00). The difference between the two is moved into your savings account, which would be $0.49 for this example. BofA compiles this amount as an end of the day total, so each day I use my card it transfers the leftover amounts as one transfer. I think a lot of the other major banks do the same thing, so check it out.

ADDED BONUS: BofA shows how much you have saved through this program and gives you back a portion of your savings at the end of the year (up to $250, I think)

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Toronto Bankruptcy Trustee May 22, 2010 at 11:47 am

This might sound counter intuitive, but a good way of not overspending is actually using a credit card for purchases.

To explain, let’s say you have cash in your pocket and you use it to purchase your lunch. You get back change, which is burning a hole in your pocket, so you get a bag of chips and a coffee as well. If you didn’t have that change in your pocket, it’s unlikely you would have gone and purchased that bag of chips and coffee. This type of behavior really adds up over the long term.

On the other hand, using a credit card to purchase your lunch would have prevented your from spending the extra money since you don’t have change to spend on the extras.

Any comments on my post would be appreciated. I’ve found that this system actually works well for me and others I’ve recommended this to.

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tom January 27, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Credit cards are great because everything is itemized each month, so if your bill is high, you can go back and determine where your money went to prevent overspending the next month. Credit cards can be a huge problem for wasteful spending, but they can also be a very helpful tool

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Natalia May 26, 2010 at 5:18 am

Another way is to save on bank fees by using only your own ATM and knowing what is free and what’s not. Money leaks away like this a lot of times.

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lydia July 16, 2010 at 4:24 am

I love your tips. I’ve always believed a little planning can take you a long way towards your desired financial goals.

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Gordon T September 15, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Every few paychecks, buy a small gold bar. The 1 gram bars go for $85, and will almost certainly hit $100 each as soon as next year. Even if they don’t raise in price one cent the rest of your life, they would still be a great way to save.

Gold bars are great because they are literally treasure, and you will be reluctant to part with them once you’ve acquired them. And if you did decide to sell them off, you would have to get them from your safe deposit box and then visit a jeweler or coin shop. This small inconvenience serves as an incentive not to touch your savings, unlike an envelope of cash you can always spend at will.

Even if the economy were to suddenly improve and the price of gold dropped, they could be used as gifts for graduations, birthdays, & weddings.

If you do buy any, I recommend spending the extra ~$5 and getting ones in the original holder with a matching serial number, for assured authenticity.

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