With the new year just around the corner, I thought I’d give you some food for thought on ways to build up your savings account in the coming year.
It seems like one of the resolutions on everyone’s list come January 1st is to do better with their finances. That might mean paying off debt or saving more money. In addition, that might mean increasing retirement savings.
In honor of that long-held resolution, I’m sharing 7 savings techniques that are relatively painless for most. Even if you’re on a tight budget, I’d encourage you to do something to build up your savings account. And remember: every penny adds up.
Don’t dismiss your small savings attempts. Instead, just focus on the fact that you’re saving more than you did previously. Give yourself a pat on the back for the success of having a bigger, healthier savings account.
Here are some savings ideas to help you get started.
1. The Old Standby: the Change Jar
People often forget that those dimes, nickels, quarters and pennies add up quickly when they’re thrown into a jar each day and left untouched.
I routinely read stories about people who reach big goals by throwing loose change into a jar. They create an emergency fund, pay off debt or save to pay cash for a vacation.
And it all happens simply by throwing that loose change into a jar instead of spending it. I’d encourage you to try it yourself for 60 days. See how much extra money you can find by saving your change.
2. The Grocery Bill Game
Here’s a savings idea for you: When you go to the grocery store and buy the on-sale items that fit into your food menu, put the money you saved by buying on sale into the bank.
So, for instance, if milk is regularly priced at $2.79 a gallon, and it goes on sale for 2 for $5, you’d buy the milk, and transfer the money savings of 58 cents into your savings account.
Again, don’t pay too much attention to individual amounts, just make the grocery bill game a habit, and watch the pennies add up.
A bonus benefit? Playing this game will encourage you to be more diligent with buying groceries on sale.
3. Pay Cash
Another way people learn to be successful with growing their savings account is by paying cash for everything. Then, at the end of the day, they put change and $1 bills into a jar or savings fund.
These small bills and the change that comes with it are often spent on little, unnecessary items. And having a purpose for the change will ensure that you are wasting less money and working to build up your savings account at the same time.
Yeah, I know: you’ve heard it before. But, I’m saying it again: AUTOMATE!
Work through your employer or your bank to have a specific dollar amount from your paycheck put into a savings account every single month.
You likely won’t miss the cash during the month. And at the end of the year, you’ll have a nice, cushy savings account to show for it.
5. Save Unexpected/Extra Cash
When you get a birthday gift of cash, a raise, a tax or other refund, or any other unexpected cash that’s outside of your regular paycheck, commit to putting it all into savings.
Don’t view that unexpected cash with spending eyes, looking for a fun something-or-other that you can buy. Instead, use it to build yourself a more firm financial foundation.
6. Do the 52-Week Challenge
The 52-week challenge says that you put money each week into savings that matches the week of the year.
For instance, in week one, you put $1 into savings, week 2 gets $2 into savings, and so on and so forth.
Alternatively, some people also do the challenge in reverse, putting $52 in savings during week 1, making the challenge easier as the year goes on.
7. Save What You Don’t Spend
This is another savings technique that works well for many people. It works like this:
If you’re out somewhere, and have a hankering for, say, a cheeseburger, you stand strong and skip the drive through. Then the $1 or $2 you would have spent on the burger goes into savings.
Similarly, the same goes for if you’re out to eat and order water instead of a soda. The $2 you would’ve spent on the soda goes directly into savings.
This game is also a great way to see how much money you would have spent had you not chosen to be disciplined about your budget and your spending.
8. Start Using a Challenge Everything Budget
I hope you’re using a budget. Using a budget is a great way to see where your money goes every month. It can help you find black holes of spending that make your money disappear.
You can take your budget one step further by using a Challenge Everything budget. The Challenge Everything budget works like this.
You start by making your regular budget. Next, you go through each budget line item and find a way to reduce or eliminate it.
For instance, you might cancel unnecessary services such as cable or a gym membership. Another option is to shop around for car insurance and try and get a lower rate.
Finally, take any money you save from challenging your expenses and make it a regular monthly deposit into your savings account.
9. Declutter Your House
Yes, you can build up your savings account by decluttering your house. Start by going through each drawer, closet and cupboard in your house.
Set aside anything you no longer need, use or want. Sell the items that are worth selling. You can advertise those items on sites like Craigslist.
Or, if you have CDs, DVDs or electronic items, you can sell them immediately using a site like Decluttr. Put the money from the items you sell straight into your savings account.
10. Get Rid of Cable and/or Satellite
Cable and Satellite TV packages can cost you over $100 per month. Why not cancel your cable or satellite package and put the extra money into your savings account?
There are many alternatives to cable TV that can cost a lot less than a cable package. Check them out and see if you can use them and save yourself some extra cash each month.
11. Get Refunds When You Shop
You can save more money by not buying things unless you need them. However, you do need to buy some things.
There are several websites that will pay you in cash when you shop online. Use them for purchases you need to make, and put the cash rebates in your savings account.
12. Get a Side Hustle
A side hustle is a money-earning venture over and above your regular job. There are dozens of side hustles you can choose from to make money.
In fact, my “side hustle” of freelance writer has turned into a bona fide business that supports me and my children.
Check out this post on 60+ creative side hustles you can use to put more money in your savings.
If you like caring for kids or pets, you can set up a profile on Care.com. There are lots of side hustle jobs or businesses you can choose from.
Find one or more that work for you, and use the money you earn to build up your savings account.
What are your favorite way to build up your savings account? Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments section on our Facebook page.