Growing a savings account is quite important. Whether you’re wanting to stash away cash for a rainy day, want to save for a college fund, or increase your investments for retirement, being smart with your money takes a lot of discipline — usually. However, the articles about “how to save money” rarely give us easy tips that are handy for people with limited budgets for a lack of knowhow. You might think it requires tons of discipline and self-sacrifice to save, but there are some painless ways to make your savings grow. When you start saving with one or more of these methods, you will notice that more of the money that passes through your hands stays in your possession.
Start a Coin Jar: Place a coin jar, basket or box near the location where you put your purse each time you arrive home. Take a second to empty out the coin compartment of your wallet into the coin jar. When it’s full, bring the coins to the bank and deposit the total into your savings account. It’s the slow and steady approach, but it also requires no sacrifices!
Use Your Ashtray as a Coin Tray: Convert your ashtray into a coin tray. Each time you get change for your drive through order, put the bills into your wallet and the coins into the coin tray. Never use the coins to pay for things—only to deposit coins. When it’s full, deposit the money into the bank.
Deposit Dividends: If you have an investment portfolio that pays out dividends, set it up so the funds go straight into your savings account instead of having them mail you a check, which you might be tempted to cash and spend.
Budget for Savings: Make a household budget and revisit it monthly. Make efforts to spend less than the budget allows as the month goes by. At the end of the month, run an expense report. Whenever you are under budget, even by a few dollars, transfer that money from your checking to savings.
Save Food: The typical American family wastes over $500 on food each year. Learning to store food correctly will ultimately help you spend less on groceries. Take the time to research the best ways to store lettuce, vegetables and fruits. Use your budget expense report to calculate your grocery savings and send that extra cash to the bank.
Skip the Disposables: Disposable items like napkins, paper towels add up to unnecessary spending. Make a one-time investment in extra kitchen towels and cloth napkins. You’re doing laundry anyway, so just toss those reusable items into the washing machine and save bundles of cash.
Divvy up Bulk Items: If you live alone, the temptation is to indulge in single-serving items. But you will pay dearly for the convenience. Save money in your budget for your savings account by buying in bulk—or at least regular sizes—and divvying them up into smaller portions for yourself.
Learn to Cook: If you’re still buying take-out or prepared food every night, you’ve got hundreds of dollars within your control that you can convert to savings just by learning to cook. Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated. You can start with simple things like slow cooker recipes and stockpot soups. Buy some Mason jars and freeze your soups and stews for quick and easy meals any night of the week.
Make the Savings Real: You know those cashiers who hand you your receipt and say, “You saved $12.50 today!” Well, you didn’t “save” anything unless you’re actually putting that $12.50 into your savings account. So when you get home, make the savings real. Hop onto the computer and transfer that amount straight into your savings account from your checking. Now you’ve really saved $12.50. If this is too much to do each time you shop, stash the receipts in a box and make a one-time transfer at the end of each month.
Of course, the key to all this is to have a budget to begin with. If you spend willy nilly without keeping track of the outgoing cash, it will be always be hard to save. Your first step should be to get a realistic budget in place. Then it will be fun to see how much you can lower your expenses each month to make your savings grow!