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9 Killer Savings Tips

by J. Money on Tuesday, March 27, 2012

green $20 dollar bills

I pulled these out of Kiplinger’s mag this month – pretty good stuff! They even made all tips under 140 characters a la Twitter style, haha… the key to my heart ;)

Some of these you’ve already heard over and over again I’m sure, but if you rocked just ONE of these savings tips over the years you’ll be SO much better off. They really aren’t that hard to take up! Just gotta get motivated and DO SOMETHING about it. And hopefully these tips help :)

Great Tips to Help You Save More

  1. Start now. Don’t wait till you make more money. The more you make, the more you spend. (YES! Avoid lifestyle inflation!)
  2. Start small. Even $100 per paycheck will add up over time – see how much here. (Interestingly enough, there was *another* article in this same mag that talked about how $200 a month saved becomes $1.2 Million by the time you hit retirement age (if you start in your 20s). I know that’s long-long term, and no one likes to think that many years off, but still – pretty crazy stuff!
  3. Keep your budget simple. Keep your budget and your goals simple. Zeroing in on your main objective will help you stay on course. (Here’s a pretty simple way to budget from Money Mag ;))
  4. Write down specific goals. That makes them more real. Pledging to save $2,000 for a beach vacation is likely to get you there. (Exactly like our Gigs For Goals post the other month!)
  5. Set up an account for each goal. For education, vacation, car, computer — or for large, recurring expenses, such as insurance premiums. (I think this is more of a personal thing. Yes, it probably DOES help you get there faster, and with a clearer mission in mind, but man – too many accounts for me makes my head hurt. If you haven’t tried though, might be worth a shot?).
  6. Have your boss take money off the top. Have your employer (or your bank) take money off the top of your salary for retirement or some other goal. You’ll never miss it. (AGREED!!! Automate it.)
  7. Toss spare change. Toss spare change into a bank or glass jar and watch your money grow into enough to pay for holiday gifts or even a vacation. (See if you can beat my record of $101.62 ;))
  8. Give yourself an instant reward. Each time you brown-bag your lunch instead of eating out, toss the savings into your cash jar. (Or when you save on *anything* really – I know some of you love your eating out ;))
  9. Keep writing the check. Keep writing the check after you pay off a loan or a bill, and send it to a savings or investment account. (YES!!! OMG I can’t tell you how EASY and HELPFUL this is. Once you’re already in the habit of paying $XXX for something, why not keep it up and send the snowball somewhere else?? It doesn’t require any extra action on your behalf!)

Simple, right? :)  I bet you’re already doing some of these right now. But no harm in picking up other sexy habits!  With everything in personal finance, it’s just a matter of motivation and setting things into motion.  This stuff isn’t that hard when you think about it, we just gotta keep pushing forward and doing our best.  And I KNOW you can do it!!

What other tips would you add to this list?  Are you finding any of these already helpful in your life?  Have any screwed you over?? Haha… that would be interesting ;)

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PS: To check out the entire article, click here.
PPS: Here are 13 *other* ways to save too – from regular people like you and me!

(Photo by MoneyBlogNewz)


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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Frugal Fries March 27, 2012 at 7:03 am

Since we have two dollar coins, it was easy for our spare change jar to grow into more than $300.00 over the course of a year. We use the money for laundry though, so it’s not really a savings tactic.

I think starting now is the best advice I’ve used for myself. Don’t get hung-up on life, and just get in there!

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2 Daisy March 27, 2012 at 9:29 am

I’ve recently set up an account for each goal; I have a retirement (of course), down payment fund, vacation fund, extra car payment fund (lol), etc. I also started small and have found saving a bit addicting so have been throwing my extra money into savings.

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3 DebtnTaxes March 27, 2012 at 10:02 am

We do a couple of these already, like #9. The wife paid her vehicle loan off over a year ago and has continued to pay the payment into her savings account. We were so used to paying it I see no reason to stop, will only save us money in the long run. We try hard not to let lifesytle inflation get to us, automatic saving defenitely helps with it.

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4 Smart Military Money March 27, 2012 at 10:20 am

J.,
Although I don’t coupon myself, I’m sure there’s money to be saved there. You can look at the receipt, see how much you saved and move that amount into savings.

Also, I know a family that tossed coins in a giant jar for years. They bought their son a car when he was 16 and rolled up all the coins. It was more than $450, enough to cover the property tax for his car!

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5 Andrew from FabulousSavings March 27, 2012 at 10:51 am

Very smart tips, kudos on the find from Kiplinger’s.

@Daisy, I like your multi-account setup! That way you know where your money is going and for what specific purpose.

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6 The Happy Homeowner March 27, 2012 at 10:55 am

I love me some financial goals, but I can’t do the multiple account thing either. I do keep a sheet in my (oh so sexy) Excel workbook that tracks progress towards various goals though, so I always have an idea of where I am with each.

Like Smart Military, I put the savings from coupons directly into my savings account. I also do this when I shop for anything really–if the store lists a “you saved —” line item on the receipt, that much goes to savings when I get home.

The biggest thing with all of this is just DOING something. One of my new favorite quotes is “Action breeds confidence and courage.” :)

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7 J. Money March 27, 2012 at 11:39 am

Glad you liked these, guys!

@Frugal Fries – YUP! I agree – it’s one of my favorite tips too :) And I love those $2 coins!!! So cool!
@Daisy – Def. addicting! That’s why we read financial blogs though – cus we’re around like-minded people! Hehe…
@DebtnTaxes – YES! Brilliant! And not that hard to do, huh? Once you get into the habit of it all? I wish everyone would keep that in mind :(
@Smart Military Money – HAH! Love it! For a second there, I thought you were gonna say they saved up for all 16 years and then bought a car in full with it all! Haha… but yeah, killing your property tax with ‘em is also very good stuff ;)
@Andrew from FabulousSavings – I like her idea too :) Only thing I always have to watch for is having *too many* accounts open all over the place cuz it’s hard for me to keep track and focus… but a handful is def. manageable.
@The Happy Homeowner – Yeah!!! That’s a good one! I’m gonna go and Tweet it out right now, haha… and ofcourse I’ll credit you back too :) Thanks!

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8 AlyH March 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Great reminders!

I like to keep my accounts consolidated, but I will say the targeted savings accounts are a huge help with my goals. I do them through ING, so it’s easy to see a snapshot of all 7 of them. Yes, 7! Emergency fund, car, house, wedding, dog, vacation, and eventual yoga teacher training. I figure I can’t do any more than that because 7 is a lucky number ;) I don’t always put the same amount in each. When I’m saving for a vacation (as is pretty much all of 2012), I put more in there and less in the others (but I still contribute).

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9 Modest Money March 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm

These are all good tips to hammer home. I think I might have to try the multiple accounts thing. It seems like a bit of a hassle, but would make saving for specific goals that much easier. I already do the automatic savings deposits and it is a great way to save without missing the money. It makes sure I’m not lazy and skipping deposits some months. Writing down goals is something I need to work at too.

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10 Steve Zussino March 27, 2012 at 12:52 pm

I like the list but I would like to add one more. Try to reduce your variable expenses (insurance, food, entertainment) by 10% each year – slowly make a nice savings.

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11 ShesPrettyFrugal March 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I definitely like the idea of moving the “you saved xx amount” into a savings account. I’m going to start implementing this. Might even motivate me to work harder to save more, so that more can be transferred!

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12 Rich Uncle EL March 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm

I have done all of these except tips 8 and 9. Eight is huh ok, not too motivating, but 9 is genius if you are really dedicated to directing that money to a new goal. Many will fail at tips number 8 and 9, I feel an emotional pull on the financial conscience within those people. (hope that made sense, lol.)

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13 SavvyFinancialLatina March 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I invested a $100 every month in mutual funds al through college. Although at times I missed the money. Now that I think about it, it’s great that I saved it!

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14 Nononcentslife March 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I love your site! I started saving when I received a (small) inheritance at 18. Bought a (modest) house at 22 in early 2010. It is now paid down 20%. I’m pretty much starting over now – I just turned 25. Your site is super motivating!!! Thanks so much :)

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15 Kurt @ Money Counselor March 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I like ‘em all! Here’s one I’d toss in the ring: Each week (or maybe each month–you choose), give up just one thing you spend money on regularly that’s unnecessary, a bit of a luxury or a vice or indulgence. Kinda like Lent. You’re only giving it up temporarily, for a short period, so it’s not too hard! And each period you choose something different, so you get your indulgence back soon. Less spending = more savings! Maybe your boss can take a little more off the top–like you say, you’ll never miss it.

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16 maria@moneyprinciple March 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Good evening, J. This is all great – short and to the point; most of these tried and tested. As to ‘tossing stuff in a jar’ I think that last year I did beat you – there was close to $200 in my jar!

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17 Michelle March 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm

These are all great tips! I really want to start creating separate accounts for each goal so that I can keep track of them all.

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18 Young Professional Finances March 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Definitely great tips. My boyfriend just started going through his spare change jar and has only scraped the top of (it’s a huge vase) and already has $30! I’m guessing the whole vase has between $500-1000. It’s pretty crazy.

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19 J. Money March 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm

@AlyH – Yeah, ING is the exception in my book :) I’d totally be cool with having 7+ sub-accounts there too, cuz at least it’s all in ONE spot ya know? Super easy to follow and stay motivated. Glad it’s working for you so well!
@Modest Money – Yeah, check out ING Direct for those accounts :)
@Steve Zussino – Huh… those are my favorite categories so would be hard for ME to do, haha, but I can see how it can help :) I’d prefer to drop 10% off other expenses I don’t like as much though.
@ShesPrettyFrugal – Yeah go for it! I like that one too – I need to start following it as well :)
@Rich Uncle EL – 9 is one of the best for sure – I actually do that now w/ my old loand I had for $1,000 a month. Instead of just going back to “normal,” I now apply it towards my $2k mortgage pay off goal each month :) So now it only means I need to make an extra $1k to fulfil it every month! (still hard, of course, but a lot more easier to handle!)
@SavvyFinancialLatina – Heck yeah! Probably woulud have gone to alcohol if you hadn’t ;)
@Nononcentslife – Oh cool! That’s pretty impressive at 22 and now 25. I didn’t start paying attention to money till I was like 26 or 27! Haha… but thanks for stopping by :) Glad you enjoy the site!
@Kurt @ Money Counselor – Oooooh now THAT is a good one! So you can treat yourself back again to the original stuff you gave up, but then just cut out another? And I BET you start to phase them out over time too as not all of those habits will get picked up again after that time’s up. I might have to make a post out of this one good sir, thanks for dropping it by ;) (I’ll link back if I do!)
@maria@moneyprinciple – Yeah you did! Haha… well done my friend :)
@Michelle – Try out ING Direct for that if you’re looking for a good place to start – you can set up sub-accounts with them :)
@Young Professional Finances – What?? Wow – that’s A LOT! Very sexy!!! :)

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20 nonegiven April 2, 2012 at 1:05 pm

@J. Money

Make sure your extra payment on your mortgage is going to principle. Some banks don’t want you to pay less interest so they apply any extra to your next payment, instead.

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21 J. Money April 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Yup! Great heads up indeed :) I def. make sure it’s going 100% towards principal for sure – and USAA does an excellent job of making it easy and clear for people too, which is something I really respect about them. They don’t try and make it all complicated for you in hopes you give up and/or make a mistake. Great point though! Thanks for sharing it with us :)

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22 PMToolsThatWork April 2, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Once I buy my car, I start immediately saving for my next one. This is similiar to #9 and avoids having to take out a loan (I keep my car for 10 years). The trick was to take what had been my car payment and continue it but put it into my new car account. By the time I needed (or wanted) a new car, I always had the money — and could purchase it with little or no loans. It is just a bit of will power, made easier by automatic deductions to savings.

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23 J. Money April 3, 2012 at 2:19 am

Yeah! That’s a great strategy for sure – love it.

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