A Fun Technique to Effortlessly Save More Money This Year

by Travis Pizel · 12 comments

Why do we find the act of saving money so hard? In a world where everything can be done online, it takes almost zero effort to type a few numbers, click the mouse a few times, and transfer money to your savings account.

It’s sad but true that some of us need the physical act of saving money to be even more effortless than that. One way to accomplish this goal is to use the round-up method. It isn’t new, maybe you’ve heard of it, or even tried it.

Here’s how it works.

Save Money by Rounding Up

Each time you make a purchase, and enter it into your checking account register, you simply round up the amount to the nearest dollar. Bank of America has implemented something similar with their “Keep The Change” program, as has Acorns with their “Invest Spare Change” motto.

Saving money using this method has several positives. It makes the math much easier for keeping track of your account balance, and literally takes no effort since it’s just altering transactions you have to account for anyway.

But there are drawbacks as well. You’ll reconcile your checking account to the penny very infrequently (when you want to “withdraw” your savings), thus you could make a mistake and have no idea for a long period of time. Finally, you don’t know how much you have saved until you fully reconcile your account each month.

Stash Hundreds of Dollars a Year

How much would an average person really save using this method? It’s very easy, and fun, to round up to the next whole dollar, but does it really work?

I decided to do an experiment. During the last month, I analyzed my checking account activity and came up with the following analysis:

  • During this time period I had 105 transactions
  • If I rounded each purchase to the nearest dollar, I would have saved $35.85
  • Based on this and roughly saving the same amount each month, I would save $430.20 in a year!

While not a huge sum of money, the rounding up technique is a nifty way to stash away a little bit of your hard-earned cash.

And if you consistently do it over a 12-month period, you could save several hundred dollars. That could go towards next year’s holiday budget, or gifts for birthdays throughout the year. It could be used to beef up your emergency fund, or to build a vacation fund.

If you’re looking for more ways to easily save more money this year, try the round-up technique. You may find it to be a fun and easy method to implement.

Have you ever used the round-up method to save money?  Do you have any other unconventional techniques to save more money this year?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Deb says:

    Thanks for explaining it a bit more, Travis. I’m not sure I can wrap my black/white brain around doing it this way, but it sounds like a great way to save money. Maybe someday I’ll try it!

  • Deb says:

    Could someone explain the details on how to do this? I have never balanced my checkbook against a statement because I prefer to balance it nightly before bed, online. I always know where every penny is. I’d love to try this, but how foes it work when it’s time to figure out how much “extra” you have each month? What if not every transaction has posted onto the monthly statement when you do it?


    • Travis @enemyofdebt says:

      @Deb – Those are great questions…..what I would do is this:

      1.) One of the hard things here is that you cannot balance your checkbook to the penny because you round each transaction. All you can do is ensure you keep track of the transactions and ensure each one is accounted for in whatever mechanism you use to reconcile your account.

      2.) When it comes time that you want to “withdraw” your extra, I would stop rounding and start putting the “real” numbers in….then completely reconcile the account (to the penny) once every “rounded” transaction has posted. Then you can transfer the “extra” to your savings and go back to rounded transactions.

      Hope that helps!

  • Joseph Hogue says:

    This is great! Personally, I just do the “pay myself first” method. I may try this out too though. Thanks!

    • Travis @enemyofdebt says:

      If you have the discipline to pay yourself first, go for it, Joseph! Some of us need a more creative way to make ourselves save. 🙂 thanks for commenting!

  • Michelle says:

    I have not done the round up method. But I do use automatic deductions from my check, so it as if I never miss that money because it is money that I don’t have (see.)

    • Travis @enemyofdebt says:

      That’s really the strategy behind the “rounding” method Michelle – if you don’t see it, it doesn’t exist, and you can’t spend it! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

    I like the fun aspect of this idea and think it could be a great way to start saving if its not already a habit for someone.

    I sort of save money in the reverse–I consider anything I spend as a debit to my savings, which helps me to keep my spending in check. Since I know that spending a dollar removes that dollar from my savings, I’m much less likely to spend it.

    • Travis @enemyofdebt says:

      That’s an interesting perspective……You’re hardcore, Mrs. Frugalwoods!!! Of course, I’m not surprised, I’ve visited your site a time or two and know how you guys operate. Kudos to you!

  • Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom says:

    I’ve always just done the conventional pay yourself first thing. I do have a friend that likes the round up feature on her debit card though.

    • Travis @enemyofdebt says:

      If that works for you, then great Emily! Some people (myself included) seem to need to “trick ourselves” into saving. LOL.

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