16 Savings Strategies
1. Free up money to save by coming up with a plan and sticking with it to pay off credit card debt.
2. Pay yourself first. Save something every payday. Before you pay your bills and withdraw cash for spending money, deposit a set amount into your savings account.
3. Put your savings habit on “autopilot”. If your paycheck is directly deposited, set up and automatic transfer to your savings account to make it easy. Or set up a weekly, biweekly, or monthly transfer from checking to savings.
4. Choose a savings target that fits your budget. If your goal is so ambitious that you need to dip into your savings account regularly to pay the bills, you won’t be able to maintain your savings habit. It’s OK to start small – maybe $10 or $25 per paycheck – and build your savings habit over time.
5. Start by savings a “windfall.” Instead of spending your tax refund or holiday bonus, save it. And then add it to regularly.
6. Make an emergency savings account a priority. Set aside what you estimate you might need for unexpected or periodic expenses you might have had to charge to your credit account previously.
7. Tuck your emergency savings account away. Make it hard to get to – an account you can’t easily access from an ATM or transfer funds to your checking account with just a couple clicks online.
8. Come up with a savings “gimmick.” For example, set aside every $5 bill you get in change and deposit your stack of cash whenever you get two $20 bills. Or combine a savings goal with a weight loss goal, and set aside the $10 per week you save in cutting down on snacks to buy new clothes.
9. Go with cash. Because purchases are typically higher when people pay with credit cards instead of cash, establish your own “cash-based economy” when grocery shopping and going out to eat. Then stash the left-over cash in a savings jar and see how it adds up.
10. Budget for fun. Establishing a savings habit doesn’t mean you need to give up spending on entertainment, but make sure you include these expenses in your spending plan.
11. Take the “impulse” out of purchases. Impose a one- or two-day “timeout” on purchase to decide whether they’re needs or wants, whether you can afford them, and what you might be giving up to make this purchase.
12. Trade in short-term “splurges” for bigger rewards. Brew your coffee at home, by-pass the coffee shop, and use the savings that accumulate over a couple months for a weekend getaway. Subscribe to the most economical digital TV/Internet plan you can find and set the savings aside to buy that new TV you’ve had your eye on.
13. Get creative on free/low-cost date nights and entertaining. An evening around a board game at the dining room table can be more fun and more memorable than dinner out. And then give yourself the extra treat of transferring what you didn’t spend into savings.
Looking for more tips on saving money? Check out “10 Ways to Cut Your Energy Bills this Winter“, or https://www.mycreditunion.gov/Pages/pocket-cents-landing-prepare-and-save.aspx.
Ideas from: CUNA Financial Counseling Certification Program