While it's not yet January, it's close enough to the new year to begin incorporating money savings strategies. According to AARP's Bulletin, folks can save quite a bit without even noticing any "new" money in your pocket.
Build your nickels. On Day 1, start putting aside one nickel and increase each subsequent day by the same amount. For example, Day 2, put a dime in the piggy bank, Day 3 make it fifteen cents and so on. The most you'll ever put aside is $18.25 on Day 365, in which event you'll have saved a substantial $3,339.75.
Hang on to those Lincolns. My sister grabs every five-dollar bill she can get her hands on and stashes it. When she reaches $100 in fives, she deposits the amount in a special seniors account. (I've tried this trick myself but don't always have enough control to hang on to Mr. Lincoln without spending him/them! People tougher than I can really make a mint by hoarding this president.)
Continue payoffs. Once you've paid off a credit card, car payment or the like, don't stop paying the amount. Just pay yourself in a savings account. It's amazing how much money we can save using this method without changing our lifestyles. The same holds true for any bonus or pay increase.
Negotiate deals. Cable TV, car insurance, gym membership, and so forth are all negotiable. Then take that savings amount from each company and deposit the funds each month into your special savings account.
Direct deposit works. Perhaps most readers already use this practice; however, the technique can take a step further. Take part of your paycheck – say $50 – and direct deposit it to another bank or credit union, one you don't normally use nor have an ATM card. Since you've made it difficult to withdraw these assets, the savings will quickly add up, especially the more we can save monthly.
Take advantage of "Keep the Change." If any of you readers are Bank of America customers, join their great program. "Keep the Change" rounds up your debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and then transfers it into savings. For example, if you buy a cup of McDonald's coffee for (with added tax) $1.10, BOA with direct the difference to a savings account and you'll save 90 cents.
Save differently with coupons. Not only do savvy shoppers save money at the cash register, but if we also save that same amount to deposit in our savings, it'll be money we don't miss but can add up pretty quickly. For example, this week I saved $3.55 in coupons; that same $3.55 should join other dough in my special account.
Go back to college. For one week every three months, spend like you did in college. If you couldn't afford that $10 lipstick or $125 concert ticket back then, put that money aside now. (Forego credit cards, too.) Find free entertainment, scour supermarket ads and eat cheaply. You'll be amazed how much of a stash you'll salvage.
Contact Ellen Phillips at email@example.com.