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10 Tips to Increase Your Savings

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I suspect that you probably work really hard to earn each paycheck. After you pay your mortgage and bills do you have the money that you need? I wish I would have learned years ago to put my money on “autopilot” and to pay myself first.  It is easier than you think.

  1. Direct Deposit: More companies are paying wages via direct deposit because it is cheaper.
    • If you have the option of having your paycheck direct deposited into your bank account, do it.  It is it safer and you eliminate the temptation of keeping “just a few dollars” for yourself.
    • Keep in mind that the bank where you have your paycheck direct deposited does not need to have a local branch.  I use a bank account that conducts most business online and it pays the highest interest.
  2. Pay Yourself First.  Fund your retirement first. The easiest way is to have your bank automatically transfer a percentage (xx%) from your regular bank account every month to a savings account or mutual fund account.

    Catching Money

    • The reason for PERCENT rather than DOLLARS ($xx) is because when you get a raise, your automatic transfer will automatically increase by that PERCENT. The amount of DOLLARS you transfer will remain the same when you get a raise unless you manually change it.
    • Research banks (or credit unions: Nat’l Credit Union Assoc, My Credit Union, Credit Unions Online) to know which bank pays the highest interest and which charges a monthly maintenance fee (whether or not you do not maintain a minimum daily amount).
      • If the bank requires a minimum daily balance keep that amount in your account “blind” or hidden.  Not seeing that amount in your check register balance should prevent you from spending it.
      • If you cannot maintain the minimum daily balance then change banks.  Even if the monthly service fee is as little as $7.00/month, you will be GIVING the bank $84 every year just to hold your money!
  3. Use Your Job’s Matching Program: Some companies offer to match (up to a certain amount/percent) your retirement fund contributions.  Put the maximum amount that the company will match into that program.  They are giving you FREE MONEY!  If your current situation will not allow that, contribute AT LEAST something until you can fund the entire amount for the full match. Make revisions-it will be worth it!
    • Rather than buy coffee at a coffee shop, make it at home and bring it to work. If you able to make coffee at work, buy an inexpensive coffee machine to keep there.
    • Use leftovers for lunch instead of buying from the cafeteria or ordering out.
    • Have 2-3 nights of meatless meals each week. When I do have meat, I cut it into pieces and make casseroles and stir fries.  I use less meat, and all of those veggies make me healthier.  I use my crock pot to cook beans or cheap cuts of beef in a variety of seasonings, and the end result is delicious!
  4. Spend only CASH rather than using your charge card(s) when you are shopping.  This one tip alone will make you spend less money!  It hurts when you see the money cross from your hands into the cashier’s hands!  You become much more aware of how much money you are actually spending and you will buy less.  If you don’t have the cash, you can’t buy it and will have to use credit card, put it back.

    Feed Your Piggy Bank

  5. Spend only paper money and NOT coin change.  Toss the change from into a container that is hidden in the corner of your closet and use it to fund mini-emergencies or your savings account.  Read an Unexpected Lesson from Spending Only Paper Money.
  6. Change your $1 and $5 and $10 bills into $20 bills and carry ONLY ONE $20. Once again, because I simply would not break the $20 bill, I put things back on the counter in stores.  That helped me to realize my WANTS versus my NEEDS.
  7. Know Where Your Money Goes: track ALL OF YOUR EXPENSES.  Keep a pen/pencil and small notebook in your pocket or a slip of paper in your wallet and add to it every expense.  You will be surprised how quickly it adds up and should motivate you to do things in a different way.
    • Transfer the money you spent to your regular financial document whether that is by way of a financial software package, Excel spreadsheet, or old fashioned paper spread sheet.  I laid out how I do this with my Excel spreadsheet on my website.
  8. Increase Your Credit Score: Obviously it is best not to have a lot of debt at any point because you will always end up paying interest on the money.  It is the credit card’s money and not your money.  They have every right to charge interest for you to use their money.
    • It is a good thing to pay more than the minimum amount due because credit card companies are looking for ways to increase their profit.  Therefore, they make the minimum amount due low so that you will be fooled into paying ONLY the minimum amount.  That means they can charge interest for longer.  However, the credit reporting agencies only take note when you either do not pay on a regular monthly basis and whether you are 30, 60, or 90 days overdue.
    • If you are considering buying a house or refinancing in the near future, it is best to pay at least 2 times the minimum amount on a regular monthly basis.  The reason is that payment method raises your standing with the bank and helps with risk decisions, interest rate negotiations, and credit line increases.
  9. If you get a raise, increase your savings IMMEDIATELY. Treat yourself to something with HALF of the amount of the raise but ONLY with the first paycheck that had the raise in it.  After that, the entire amount of the raise went to savings.
  10. Can you pay a bill on an annual basis?  Most companies charge $1 extra per month to cover their cost of billing.   Even if you can only start out by paying once each quarter or once every six months, just be sure to put the $4 or $6 immediately into your savings account.
    • The first time you do this is the hardest.  Then, each month, put the money that you would have paid each month into a savings account so the money collects interest.  When you pay the annual bill, leave the interest you earned in your savings account and also deposit the $12 that you saved by paying for the bill annually.

Please share your tips to help increase your savings.

 

 

Updated: August 8, 2015 — 7:11 pm

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