I’ve never met a person who DIDN’T wish they had more in savings. I think we could all agree, a little more cushion would be a great thing to work towards!
The problem is, between cars breaking down and kids needing braces and homes that need to be maintained, it is hard to find extra money at the end of the month to squirrel away for savings.
I’ve found some tricks that have really worked for our family to be able to make savings a regular habit. They are little tips, but the small things add up when they are done month after month after month.
Here are four easy ways to find some extra cash to build up your savings account, too.
- Pay yourself first.
Everything I learned about money, I learned from my Daddy. The first rule he ever taught me? Pay yourself first. Treat your savings account like a regular bill. Start with a number, no matter how small it is, and make it a point to transfer that amount to savings each month when you sit down to pay all your other bills. Even if you need to start with only $20, do it.
If you do this at the beginning of the month when you pay most of your other bills, you make a point of having the money to put aside. Chances are, if you wait until the end of the month, there won’t be much money left.
2. Make it automatic.
Another trick my Daddy taught me? Protect yourself from yourself. Make savings automatic, and you can’t talk yourself out of it!
I always have money automatically transferred to my savings account after my payday on the first of the month. The same amount comes out each month, which makes it easy to budget. And it comes out automatically, which makes it easy to not spend it. Out of sight, out of mind.
3. Pocket those pennies (or dollars!).
A painless way I build up a smaller savings fund, usually for vacation spending or a purchase we might be saving for, is keeping a change jar. Sometimes I keep all my change; other times I commit to keeping all of my one dollar bills as well, adding them to my jar at the end of the day.
My sister keeps a huge glass jar in her room, and every night she empties her wallet of any change. At the end of the year she cashes in all that change for a hefty start to her Christmas fund.
4. Challenge yourself.
Challenges make savings fun! You can find tons of ideas for Savings Challenges by searching on Pinterest. Some of my favorites include…
- No Spend Months – committing to ONLY spending money on things like bills and groceries for the month. If this seems a little too extreme for you, try to start with a No Spend Week. You would be amazed at how much money flows through your fingertips without really thinking about it.
- 52 Week Challenges – there are several options for this one. The basic idea is that each week you save a certain amount of money in a jar. By the end of the 52 weeks, you should have over $1,000 saved up!
- Five Dollar Challenge – saving all of your five dollar bills. This is similar to the change jar, but a lot harder to maintain. If you commit to save all five dollar bills for a couple of months, this is a quick way to save some serious cash.
The biggest step to saving more is to just DO it! Pick the way that you know will work best for you, and stick to it. Figure out a goal to work towards. Commit to follow through one month at a time and watch your savings grow!