How to Trick Yourself Into Saving $700+ Every Month


How to Trick Yourself Into Saving $700+ Every Month | thegoodstuff

By Jeanette Pavini & Brooke McLay

Saving money is easier said than done. But it’s not impossible if you develop a system, set rules, and stick to them. As always, paying yourself first is key, and if you’re able to you should automate a portion of your paycheck to go directly into savings.

It’s also important to remember that no savings is too small. Whatever you can save is better than nothing. In certain ways, the key to saving more is to alter the way you think about your money each month. Sounds weird, right? But these eight easy ways to save money can actually trick you into saving $700 — or even more! — each month.

Still don’t believe me? Our writer Brooke took on this monthly challenge! Read on to find out what she said about each saving tip and how it saved her money over the course of a month.

Groceries and fashion can make us feel like big spenders, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are 26 ways you can save $1,000 on groceries each year, plus how to build your wardrobe on a budget.

Trick #1: Sneak cash back into savings

How to Trick Yourself Into Saving $700+ Every Month | thegoodstuff

Source: Yahoo! on Flickr (Creative Commons)

Once a week, I choose the cash back option at the grocery store and take $5 out. When I get home I put that five dollars directly into savings. While $5 doesn’t seem like much, at the end of the year I’ll have $260 stashed away — all without noticing because it will just feel like grocery money.

Total savings: $20/month

Brooke’s take: I pay for my groceries with credit, because, hello rewards!

Don’t worry — I pay off the balance every month. The interest rate for cash back on credit cards is sky high, so it would be insane to follow this advice if using credit.

However, it does work if you’re using a debit card, but who is really going to take that cash and head straight to the bank to make a deposit? I’ve got better things to do than drive around town all day.

A better plan? At the end of each month, tally up the number of times you’ve been to the grocery store — it’s easy to look on your credit or debit card history online. Multiply the number of visits by 5, login to your checking account, and automatically transfer that money to savings. A whole lot easier, don’t you think?

Trick #2: Upgrade your spare change jar

How to Trick Yourself Into Saving $700+ Every Month | thegoodstuff

Source: Megan on Flickr (Creative Commons)

Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard of the spare change jar. We know those pennies can add up, but dollars add up to even more. Why not start a singles jar instead and dump all your leftover dollar bills into it at the end of each day? By the time December 31 rolls around your singles jar may be overflowing with hundreds of dollars!

Estimated total savings: $15/month

Brooke’s take: This tip was easy, and quite possibly the most effective of all tricks on the list.

To really make it work, I took out $150 in cash (since I almost always swipe a card, it seemed like having cash would help me…well…save cash.) Throughout the month, I pulled out the cash for small purchases like gas station snacks and morning coffee trips. Whenever a $1 bill was handed back to me, home it went for the savings jar. By the end of the month, the ones added up.

Instead of keeping it around, I decided it was smartest to move that money into my savings account. One additional tip if you’re trying this at home: Look into a high interest savings account — the interest rate isn’t earth shattering, but way better than leaving your cash sitting around! Plus, leaving cash around will tempt you to spend it. Those bills are better off in an account gaining interest than sitting in your nightstand.

Trick #3: Treat coupons like cash

How to Trick Yourself Into Saving $700+ Every Month | thegoodstuff

Using a $1 off coupon means one less $1 that’s coming out of your wallet. Why not put that $1 into your savings?

What I like to do at the end of every grocery trip is look at the bottom of my receipt and see how much I saved in coupons, then immediately transfer that amount into savings.

Estimated total savings: $200/month

Brooke’s take: I had a hard time with this task, since I just didn’t want to go through all my old receipts. Some of my favorite stores have their own coupon apps, so I was able to view my savings on my smartphone and transfer money to my savings. With just a few store loyalty apps, I was able to transfer an impressive amount to savings, so I’m patting myself on my back!

Trick #4: Pay the Laundromat

How to Trick Yourself Into Saving $700+ Every Month | thegoodstuff

If there’s one chore we can count on every week, it’s laundry. But this tiresome task can become a savings goldmine. That’s right, I said goldmine! Here’s how:

For every load you wash, put $1 into a “Laundromat” jar and watch the savings add up. Any loose change or bills found in pockets is a bonus!

Estimated total savings: $15/month

Brooke’s take: Remember your first tiny apartment, where having your own washer and dryer was just a pipe dream? We’ve all been there at some point, desperately scrounging for laundromat change.

I’m loving this idea, because somehow I was always able to come up with the change I needed to do laundry. Clean underwear is not a luxury! With that in mind, I was totally able to find change for this money-tricking tip.

Again, a jar of bills should not sit around for more than a month! Gather that money and put it in your savings account to accrue interest.

Trick #5: Round up your bills

How to Trick Yourself Into Saving $700+ Every Month | thegoodstuff

If my rent is $1,485, I usually round up and think of it as $1,500 a month instead. So, I might as well round up my bill and put that extra $15 into savings every 30 days, right? You can do this with just your rent bill, or start rounding up all your bills and watch the savings add up.

Estimated total savings: $25/month

Brooke’s take: I chose to round up my mortgage payment, since it would get too confusing and expensive to round up every one of my bills.

Guess what? I actually stuck to it, and transferred money to my savings account! I love this idea, since you can customize the amount depending on how you round up. Bingo! My savings account has been fuller and happy with this quick and easy tip!

Trick #6: Continue payments

How to Trick Yourself Into Saving $700+ Every Month | thegoodstuff

Once I pay off a long-standing payment like my car loan I like to congratulate myself. I deserve a pat on the back, right?

But guess what? Now I’m already used to making that car payment every month, and it fits with my current budget. So why not keep “paying” my bill — to my savings account instead of the bank every month. At the very least I can keep it going until the end of the year when I typically reassess my budget.

Estimated total savings: $400/month

Brooke’s take: We just finished paying off my car payments, and it felt like a really big hit to the wallet. Since we have some other bills that need to get paid, we just can’t continue to put away the full amount that we were paying on the car. But I have tried to roll that amount — not into savings — but into small overpayments for other bills.

As long as you don’t have other bills piling up, by all means stash away that money you were sending off as a car payment every month. If other bills creep up, you’ve got to be a responsible adult and deal with those first.

If you can’t fork over the full amount of your previous car or orthodontic payments, start with a smaller amount, like $20 to $50, and put that in your bank account.

Trick #7: Pocket that postage

How to Trick Yourself Into Saving $700+ Every Month | thegoodstuff

Source: Allan Foster on Flickr (Creative Commons)

Let’s face it, in today’s electronic age we can easily skip the extra 49 cents we pay for a stamp when we mail in our bills. (Did you know that if you mailed 10 bills a month, you’d be spending about $5 on postage plus about $3 for a box of envelopes? Ridiculous!)

That money would be better off in our savings accounts — and it can stay there by switching to online billing. Some companies may even give you a bonus discount for going paperless, like Brooke’s garbage removal company did!

Estimated total savings: $8/month

Editor’s note: Whoops! Our math was a little off in our original calculations. Do you have a way to save $20 or more each month? Let us know in the comments below!

Brooke’s take: I hit the jackpot on my first try with this tip! Instead of sending in my garbage removal bill, I went online and paid it. Guess what? I automatically got $5 off my bill for paying online.

I wish I had known this sooner — just think of all the money I could have saved over the years!

Trick #8: Cash in low gift cards

How to Trick Yourself Into Saving $700+ Every Month | thegoodstuff

Source: Mike Mozart on Flickr (Creative Commons)

Some states have gift card laws that give you the option to trade in low balance gift cards for cash at the issuing store. Say what? Not only is this an easy way to save your money, but it eliminates those $3 gift cards that clog your wallet.

Californians, listen up! You stand to save the most, since any gift card with a value less than $10 is redeemable in cash. Under $5 is the norm in most other states with this law:

  • Colorado, Maine, & New Jersey: You can get a refund on your gift card balance if it’s under $5.
  • Rhode Island & Vermont: Better use up that gift card until the balance is under one dollar. You won’t be able to get a refund otherwise.
  • Massachusetts: Talk about a complex law! This state allows you to get a refund for your gift card with a balance under $5, but you must have used 90 percent or more of the card’s original value. Time to get out the calculator…
  • Montana: You’re allowed a refund for any gift card with a balance under $5, but it’s original value must have been more than $5.
  • Washington: Time to refund all those gift cards with balances under $5 — just make sure you’ve purchased something that brings the balance below $5 first.
  • Oregon: You’re allowed a refund on your gift cards with balances under $5, as long as you’ve made a purchase with them. There are a few other rules to go along with this one, as well.

If you’d like to explore the full list of state rules regarding gift card refunds, you can visit the National Conference of State Legislatures.

So how much could you potentially add to your savings account each month if you use these easy ways to save money? About $685. That’s definitely not pocket change!

Brooke’s tip: So, this tip is never actually going to happen when I have gift cards around. Is anyone with me here? Starbucks, Target, Amazon — bring it on! Whether it be a treat or a need, I guarantee the gift card will get used.

I’m not saying I don’t like money, but who wants to stand around at the customer service desk waiting in line to cash in a gift card? I’m off to see how much my Target bill goes down with a gift card!

 

Brooke’s total savings: By the end of one month of trying on these savings tricks, I was able to stash just about $24 in savings. Though, I should qualify that by saying: $24 extra bucks into savings. Add that up over a year, and I’ll be looking at somewhere around $300 extra cash annually. Not quite the $700 promised in the original article, but enough to make these tiny changes worth adding to my routine.

How about you? Are you up for the 30-day Savings Challenge? If you try these tips, we’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below, or post on social, and don’t forget the hashtag: #thegoodstuff.


Comments

  • Paige Turner

    10 bills at .49 cents does not equal $58.80.
    10 x .49 = $4.90
    You should probably fix that.

    • couponscom

      Hi Paige,

      Whoops! We totally flubbed that one. Thanks so much for catching it — we’ve updated the cost to the correct total. :)

      If you have any other tips for saving some money each month and you’d like to share, let us know!

  • http://thegirlisfierce.wordpress.com Kristin Avril

    I work for a company where I occasionally get expenses reimbursed, and these expenses are reimbursed to us monthly on a separate check. Usually by the time I get that money back, it’s already been forgotten anyway, so it’s already “money spent,” or even better, it’s a mileage check and that money never even really left except in the form of gas and miles on my car. I take that reimbursement check and deposit that bad boy directly into my savings account.

    • couponscom

      Hi Kristin,

      What a great tip! Thank you for sharing. :) It’s always easier to save “surprise” money that we forgot was coming, isn’t it?

    • http://thegirlisfierce.wordpress.com Kristin Avril

      Also, I do the rounding up trick on pretty much all major purchases (“major” purchase is anything over about $150 for me, and I round to the nearest $50 mark). Grocery store trip at about $180? Round that up to $200 and put the other $20 into savings. I should mention that my savings account looks awesome, and I only put about $100 per biweekly paycheck into my savings account, maybe $150 or $200 on the occasional low-bill pay period–the majority of my savings actually comes from “tricks” like the above and like this one.

      I also will randomly move $10 or $15 over into savings for no good reason sometimes, just because I see I have a little extra in checking and figure, “what will it hurt if I have $10 less to spend until I get paid again?” $10 doesn’t seem like much at the time, but just like spending $10 on junk here and there adds up, it adds up in my savings account as well.