The New “Challenge Everything” Savings Account!

by J. Money - Published September 8, 2014

money street

It’s funny that out of all the days to open a new account I choose today – right after my thesis on condensing bank accounts – but I’ve stumbled onto a great way to kick this “challenge everything” mission into higher gear, and I think the benefits will far out shadow the rule break :)

If you recall, one of the main areas we’ve been able to cut back on with our “normal” expenses is with our cell phones. We switched from Verizon Wireless w/ iPhones to Republic Wireless and Android phones, and because of it we’ll now be saving a little over $100 every month. Which is a lot of freaking money for doing a very little amount of work, would you agree?

Of course you would.

Only, it seems $100 a month is sexy the first few times you hear it, but after a while starts to seem “normal” again as the initial excitement wanes. At least that’s what I’ve gathered from my wife so far… I don’t think she truly understands just how AWESOME keeping wads of your hard earned cash is!

The last few days she’s been hinting at how she misses her iPhone for this reason and that, and all of a sudden my “But honey! We’re saving $100/mo!” fits of joy aren’t getting the responses they used to. Instead of the “I know I know, it’s totally worth it” replies, I’m now getting “Yeah yeah yeah… the things I do for you and your crazy missions.” Not what a man of my stature wants to hear ;)

So how do you make saving money sexy again??? How can you show just how INCREDIBLE cutting back recurring expenses really can be over time???? Well, this is what I’m going to do about it:

I’m opening up a brand new – separate – savings account to house all money saved going forward from each and every challenge completed.

My $100 savings from switching cell phones are going in there, the $30 cut from our monthly car insurance premiums are going in there, and soon the money saved from our cable/phone/internet bills – and future challenges – will go in there too (more on that when we wrap up the series).

If a hundred dollar bill isn’t exciting anymore, you better believe *thousands* of dollar bills will be!  Especially when you can physically see it instead of mentally think it. I imagine that’s much harder to ignore than what seems to be just “one-off” savings in your head as it seems my beautiful wife of 6 years is doing. And it’s actually very much like a marriage if you think about it.

Sure we celebrate an anniversary every year, but when it’s your 6th or 10th or 20th that $hit starts to hit you a bit different! It’s not just “a year of being together,” it’s “Holy crap – look at all the years we’ve spent together! And now we have two kids and a house and a cat and yada yada yada,” Haha… It becomes more of a *whole picture* type deal than just a sliver of a piece – putting things into a much better, and important, perspective. Both in life, and with this case money.

So, that’s the plan. Starting today all saved money actually gets saved

Cutting expenses is hard, but it takes a real hustler to then *put those savings aside* so it COUNTS. Anyone can save $50 on something, but if you then turn around and spend it on something else does it really count as saving money?

So that’s what we’re after here: a 1-2 punch where you do the dirty work to save the money in round 1, and then in round 2 you knock it out by stashing it away and completing the process. Every dollar saved will actually be a dollar saved, and not just for a hot minute until it gets dispersed elsewhere.

And with this strategy comes just one rule: No touching for 12 months

It’s all fine and dandy to put money aside somewhere, but if you don’t restrict yourself from getting all grabby with it, what’s to say you wont’ just xfer it back out a few weeks/months later?

So we’re putting a timeline on this for 12 months where we’ll pour it all in and then sit back and watch it compound*. We’ll fantasize about all the things we can do with this money throughout the trip, and then at the end of the 12 months pull the trigger and call it a day. A year should be enough to really show how powerful incremental savings can be, right? And how important it is to always watch your expenses, especially the “normal” ones?

[*compounding because of the money you’re continuously putting in every month – not due to interest rates. Don’t any of you get your panties in a bunch on how smarter it is to put the $ in X, Y, Z account ‘cuz that’s not the point of this exercise here. Plus it’s only temporary anyways.]

I’m pretty excited about this because I think it’s going to have other effects too. Like:

  • Keeping that high of saving going strong! (Much harder to ignore a continually piling of cash)
  • More incentive to keep cutting recurring expenses since it means recurring balance increases too
  • A better understanding of operational/spending money since savings are separated out
  • A great way to keep LIFESTYLE INFLATION in check (you won’t even notice the extra money!)
  • And ultimately just a fun new experiment to help keep your finances more interesting than normal

I’m also going to take this a step farther and allow the following to be included in this new account too:

  • Any money we receive out of the blue (like change I find on my walks)
  • Any money we receive that we weren’t counting on (like gifts)
  • And any money we get back from returned items, refunds, or any other situations where money had already been spent but then comes back to us unexpectedly. And I won’t cheat by buying stuff only to return them so it “counts” to go in this account, haha… though it wouldn’t be the worst crime ;)

What do you think? So far so good?

Every month I’ll keep ya updated on the current balance, and what that month’s savings consisted of, and then I’ll be sure to email it to my wife a 2nd or 3rd time every month for good measure :) If this doesn’t shift her perspective, I don’t know what will!

Check out what this guy recently told me regarding these challenges:

Hi J. Money,

Thanks for the awesome article. It is very inspiring, and it convinced me to start challenging everything as well.

Since reading this article, I have done the following:

1. Satellite TV – reduced by $15 ($60 down to $45) by switching to a lower package that still has our preferred TV channels, but I am working on convincing the wife to drop completely :)

2. Cell phone – reduced by $90 ($160 down to $70) by switching my phone line to Republic Wireless $10 plan and moving my wife to a single line plan with Verizon ($60) – I am trying my hardest to stick to the $10 Republic plan but may have to go to the $25 plan whenever we go out of town away from my wireless networks :-/

3. Internet – reduced by $25 ($55 down to $30) by doing a quick online chat with a representative to ask them how I can lower my monthly payment because I have noticed another competitor offering lower cost/higher speed. They quickly gave me a monthly bill credit. Maybe I should try this with my satellite bill as well! :-D

Total savings so far: $130 per month

If this guy opened an account and dropped these savings into it, he’d have $1,560 to play with 12 months from now. And that’s not including anything *else* he saves on throughout the journey. That’s pretty powerful. And much more so when you can look into an account and physically see it there vs. just thinking about it in your head. When was the last time you did that with any of your savings from the past decade or so?

“You know that $5 I save from drinking coffee every day at home now? I now have $17,802 in my account to max out my Roth IRA for the next three years – woopee!”

Yeah, no. I guarantee most of that has already been spent on stuff you can’t even remember anymore.

So join me in this experiment if you like what you see

There’s really no way for you to lose, and I’m 90% sure it’ll help grow your savings even faster. Open up a new account with your present bank or at a place you’ve been wanting to test out for a while – it doesn’t matter – and then start putting in the difference of all the bills you’ve been cutting along this Challenge Everything journey with us. Or from your own.

Perhaps I’ll even make one of those reward charts circa 2nd grade to track everyone’s progress on, haha… Only instead of putting shiny gold stars next to everybody’s name, I’ll put in the total $$ amounts people are saving ;)

shiny star stickers

Either way, I’m excited to see how much it all ends up to in the end. It’s one thing to save and pat yourself on the back, but it’s a whole other to then put the money aside and not touch it. If you’re already used to spending it anyways, how will you even notice it’s gone?

Now off to USAA to go open up that account… I’m gonna label this bad boy “Challenge Money” in my profile. Or better yet, “Proof my wife married a financial rock star,” haha… Yeah, let’s go with that one.

See you in 12 months!

——
PS: I’m serious about that poster board.

[Money street cred: @Saigon]

Jay loves talking about money, experimenting, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his two beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!

{ 77 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life September 8, 2014 at 7:51 am

I think when you’re living it in the day to day, all those small savings just seem like a constant sacrifice. But with the separate account in place, it’ll be exciting to get the numbers to grow, especially if there’s a goal in mind for what to do with that money in 12 months.

Reply

2 Jay @ ThinkingWealthy.com September 8, 2014 at 9:07 pm

That’s a great idea. Maybe use it as a vacation fund?

Jay

Reply

3 Mrs. Frugalwoods September 8, 2014 at 7:51 am

Good idea! Though it is kinda funny you’re opening another account :). But, I like the concept of using it as a motivator/way to inspire your wife. Mr. FW and I celebrated 6 years of marriage this year too and it was awesome. Made us feel old, but also in love.

Reply

4 Natalie @ Financegirl September 8, 2014 at 7:54 am

“So, that’s the plan. Starting today all saved money actually gets saved. ” — YES! I love this, J. I will say proudly that I’m a success for September. I made a similar commitment to myself. One month down, eleven to go! :)

Reply

5 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:23 pm

Rock on! If you’d like to go on my poster board you just let me know at the end of the month ;)

Reply

6 Jon @ Money Smart Guides September 8, 2014 at 8:09 am

I do this but in a different way. I have a dedicated savings account for all of the side hustles I do. If I sell something on Craigslist or trade in scrap metal for cash, I put the money into a savings account. I leave it there for a year and then at year end I allocate it into my investments. I know I could invest it right away, but I love seeing that account grow in value. It reminds me that taking 5 minutes to post this thing Craigslist instead of selling it is worth my time.

Reply

7 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:25 pm

Yes. Brilliant. Even more so when it’s hard work being done for the $$ vs more passive savings like w/ these bill cuttings. Makes you appreciate all that sweat you’re putting in!

Reply

8 Kalen @ MoneyMiniBlog September 8, 2014 at 8:32 am

I love it! This is great mentally. My wife and I recently started doing some secret shopping stuff to see if we can make money at it, Initially, it didn’t seem like much, but once I opened a separate account strictly for that money, we started to realize that it was like a small side hustle. We were making more than we knew, because it was all in our regular account. I’m all for seeing the savings in a separate account!

Reply

9 Shannon @ Financially Blonde September 8, 2014 at 8:35 am

Great idea!!! It’s one thing to go through the effort to try to save money, but the mission is not complete unless it’s actually saved. We will join you in this effort. I am an overachiever and went nuts for the sticker chart in college so I want lots of stickers next to my name. :-)

Reply

10 Shannon @ Financially Blonde September 8, 2014 at 8:35 am

Oops, meant second grade not college. Wished my college professors did stickers.

Reply

11 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Haha…. I anoint you a new member to the Savings Club! Tell me how much you’ve got in there at the end of the month and I’ll apply it next to your name :)

Reply

12 Mel @ brokeGIRLrich September 8, 2014 at 8:35 am

I’m still sitting here laughing over “Proof my wife married a financial rockstar.”

You’re so right though, those little savings turn into stuff that generally doesn’t matter. I honestly have no idea what happened to the $25 a month I started saving after challenging my internet charges.

Reply

13 Cedes September 8, 2014 at 8:43 am

I was actually just thinking about this the other day! Just this month I’ve lowered my cable/internet bill by $90 and my cell phone bill by $45 and I was debating making another savings account to track all of those savings. Now I think I’m going to do just that and see where I am at the end of 12 months. I think I may also make this my “any additional income” account just like you mentioned. Sell something on e-bay or craigslist, that money goes in there, any gift money, that goes in there, my change that I’m planning to take to the bank and convert to cold hard cash, into my new account. It’ll be exciting to see it grow and I’m definitely curious to see what that total will be after 12 months!!

Reply

14 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:28 pm

Good! I think you’re gonna love seeing (and *feeling*) the results with each passing month. Keep me updated so we can keep each other motivated! :)

Reply

15 Laurie @thefrugalfarmer September 8, 2014 at 9:09 am

LOVE that idea, J$!!!! We need to do something along those lines. I’ll have to think about that. Thanks for the always-consistent motivation. :-)

Reply

16 Brian @ Debt Discipline September 8, 2014 at 9:15 am

Another good one J$. If you make the effort the cut your spending, you might as well make the effort to save it!

Reply

17 Bridget September 8, 2014 at 9:19 am

Ok… I might actually do this.

I just wrote about opting out of my student health plan today (+$500) and because I’m a student I can reduce our internet bill by $40/mo.. and I just lowered my cellphone bill by $15/mo. That’s already over $1,000!

The only catch is I have tuition to pay for so I feel like I can’t leave savings untouched for a whole year =p maybe I’ll just do this for the joint expenses and dump the savings into my boyfriend’s & mine shiny new joint savings account.

Reply

18 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:29 pm

I’ll be impressed with either route you go :)

Reply

19 Andrew@LivingRichCheaply September 8, 2014 at 9:24 am

Interesting idea…I may have to implement it as well. I get excited about saving money, even small amounts. My wife is pretty frugal and likes to save as well, but I get the same line from at times…since it’s human nature for the excitement to wear off and to feel like you’re just sacrificing. The savings account is something tangible that you can look at and say…look honey! Look at all that money we saved!

Reply

20 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Exactly. And I’ll be the first to admit I struggle with fully understanding the benefits of saving too at times. So I’ll be looking at it as much as I force my wife to ;)

Reply

21 May September 8, 2014 at 9:37 am

This is a great idea. We will be cutting the cable on Sept 18th and I see lots of heartache in the future as husband will complain (first world problems) but if I could whip out a bank statement that show $$$ would def. help with the motivation. I am surprised (and a little ashamed actually) at the grief I am feeling about the end of cable.

Reply

22 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Haha… getting rid of cable is a biggie. It seems like every other person commenting on our blogs here have long since cut it, but I assure you that’s not a normal thing in the real world ;) It’s supposed to be scary! It’s hardcore!

Reply

23 Adam September 8, 2014 at 9:53 am

We do this with our entertainment/travel savings account w/Sallie Mae. Anything extra that comes in along with what we take add from our monthly budget goes in here. Survey money, refund checks, and most recently savings from switching insurances from monthly payments to annual and turning off the cable we weren’t watching.

This account is purely live it up money. If the kids want season passes for the waterpark for the summer it comes out of here. If we take a family vacation, the contents of the account is all we have to spend. We have taken some spectacular vacations and some vacations that just barely break “staycation”. It really all depends on how hard we work @ it.

Reply

24 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:34 pm

I love it :) So so smart.

Reply

25 debs @ debt debs September 8, 2014 at 9:56 am

I think this is an excellent idea and I think I will implement this myself. The aggregation will make all the difference. Maybe I will call it my FINCON2015 or BUST! account! Ya, I’m totally going to do this…. like a Rockstar!

Reply

26 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:33 pm

DO it! And if you tell me the totals at the end of the month I’ll share it on my blog with mine too :)

Reply

27 Aldo @Million Dollar Ninja September 8, 2014 at 10:06 am

Opening a separate savings account to truly see how much you save with your challenge is a pretty good idea. I’m curious to see how much you’ll be able to save at the end of the 12 months.

Reply

28 John C @ Action Economics September 8, 2014 at 10:21 am

I love the idea, it will be interesting to see how much ends up in the account by the end of the year. Some real sexiness would be if you could find a high interest checking account to put it in, getting some more icing on the cake. We have a bank up here that pays 5% on up to $5K (with some hoops to jump through of course).

Reply

29 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:36 pm

5%??? That’s incredible!

Reply

30 John C @ Action Economics September 9, 2014 at 9:56 am

Here is the link to the 5% one,
https://www.honorcu.com/personal/checking/benefits-checking
The bank I currently use, offers 3%, but up to $15K instead of $5. https://www.lmcu.org/banking/checking/checking_max.aspx

Reply

31 Emily @ evolvingPF September 8, 2014 at 10:22 am

What a great idea! You are right that it’s not worth cutting expenses if the money “saved” just gets spent elsewhere without thinking. Actually saving it and watching the balance in the account grow will be so powerful. We haven’t done this exactly, though when we first started cutting expenses it was for the purpose of increasing our Roth IRA contributions, so it was sort of similar.

Reply

32 Free to Pursue September 8, 2014 at 10:23 am

I like it. I didn’t open an account (I have enough of those) but I do track what happens with “unexpected money”.

I have a spreadsheet showing all additional revenue coming in and what we do with it. Any unexpected money must be put into savings (TFSA, RRSP, regular savings, other investments). I don’t let us get away with potential lifestyle inflation.

The spreadsheet feels like a bank statement to me, so it seems to have the desired psychological effect.

BTW: I suspect your wife spends more time on her smartphone than you do, given you work from home and it sounds like she’s out and about…What are the chances you will lose the “Wireless Wrangling” over the medium term? The iPhone is pretty sweet. You can buy a used one online…anniversary present maybe? ;)

Reply

33 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:40 pm

I like the idea of a spreadsheet :) I don’t think it would have the same affect for me or my wife, but it is a nice medium. We’ll see how long the Mrs. can go with the new phone :) I won’t hate her for going back, but I do want her to give it more time before reaching that point!

Reply

34 Brit September 8, 2014 at 10:41 am

This is a sexy idea!! I’ll be in after I deal with our wedding. Does that count? :)

Reply

35 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:40 pm

Saving money any time counts :)

Reply

36 Jeff September 8, 2014 at 10:41 am

if your wife is really having issues getting rid of the iphone (you kept it right?) then return the republic phone & put her on ting.

Reply

37 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:41 pm

I’ll tell her about that option once she gives it enough time to fully make up her mind :)

Reply

38 Chantal September 8, 2014 at 11:02 am

I think it’s a very good idea! It would be pretty interesting for me to see the final number from my savings after 12 months. I’m a woman who likes her iPhone, too and in some things, I’d be like your wife. On the other hand, to be honest, this way with separate account would persuade me if I were your wife. To see the whole amount after 12 months would make me feel that I actually don’t need the best mobile phone in the world. It would make all the savings be worth it. I wish you good luck with your wife on your saving journey and thank you for a good tip that really inspired me!

Reply

39 Betsy September 8, 2014 at 11:10 am

I’m with you … seeing the actual money in an account really helps.
I do something similar…. any money I make from selling clothes at consignment shops, or selling unwanted jewelry — goes into one if my Capitol One accounts. Rebates and such go in there too.

I used to do this a few years back, although not consistent with it…. but if I was tempted to buy a book at the bookstore but decided to be smart about my money and get it at the library, I would toss some amount of what I saved into a jar. Same if I was tempted to bring in take-out that say would cost $15, but decided to eat leftovers instead — I would toss say $10 in the jar (since the food I ate did have some dollar cost).

Reply

40 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:42 pm

Very good idea indeed. In most of those cases it would have been spent anyways, so you just spend it on your future savings instead!

Reply

41 Danielle September 8, 2014 at 11:18 am

I recently started sending all my rebates, extra money and part-time job money into my savings accounts and it’s made suuuch a difference. It feels so much better to know I’m not going to fritter it away on restaurants or alcohol.

Reply

42 EL September 8, 2014 at 11:34 am

Good reason to open a savings account. Savings in general are always great.

Reply

43 Kassandra @ More Than Just Money September 8, 2014 at 11:37 am

This idea makes a whole lot of sense and I would say it justifies opening yet another account :) I wonder if your wife will still want the iPhone 12 months from now lol!

Reply

44 SavvyFinancialLatina September 8, 2014 at 11:58 am

I actually opened up a new savings account with $250 to start off with just 3 weeks ago. The purpose of the Capital One Saving accounts is to put any leftover cash that is not spent from our budget. Right now I’m trying to reduce our monthly credit card bill from $2000 to $1500. I told myself any difference between the 2K and 1.5K on each monthly statement will get put in the savings account.

Reply

45 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:44 pm

Perfect! Great way to reward yourselves when you come under budget… what happens if you go over though? Do you pull from it? That’s where it gets tricky.

Reply

46 Emily September 8, 2014 at 12:30 pm

You should totally withdraw it all at the end of the year in one dollar bills so you can really see how much it is. (Just call the bank beforehand and give them a heads up so they can be ready for you to withdraw so much awesomeness in singles.) Then you can even let the wife swim around in it for awhile before redepositing it somewhere and getting it to work for you again.

Reply

47 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:45 pm

You joke, but I would seriously do that :) I’ve dreamt of being Scrooge McDuck for many a years now. And diving in paper would hurt a lot less than gold coins.

Reply

48 MMD September 8, 2014 at 12:41 pm

This sounds awesome! I just wish I had the discipline to actually truly save the money that gets saved. In the past I’ve declared that I was going to invest all my blog income towards retirement, etc. But that never seems to happen. Perhaps I just need to make it so that I don’t NEED the extra money and will be less tempted to snatch it up.

Reply

49 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:46 pm

Exactly. If it’s needed (whether justified or not) you’ll never save or invest it. It has to be all extra where you don’t even notice it’s there. Which is why it’s important to siphon it away ASAP before it *turns* into needed money with lifestyle inflation!

Reply

50 Myles Money September 8, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Great idea for motivation… and we all need a bit of that from time to time, don’t we?

Reply

51 Lance @ Healthy Wealthy Income September 8, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Good idea. What good is it to sacrifice something to save money just to transfer the money to another expense, might as well save it up.

Reply

52 Amy September 8, 2014 at 1:34 pm

What a great idea! I bet if I’ve been guilty of using my savings to purchase something else, thereby defeating the whole purpose of the savings. I love this concept of saving the savings!

Reply

53 Christine Presto September 8, 2014 at 1:57 pm

It is very difficult when you get used to seeing savings and then spending it! I’ve been working on this as well – good job to you for being so proactive about it. It definitely gives me some ideas on how to do the same.

Reply

54 Nicola September 8, 2014 at 2:08 pm

I love this idea! Just think how great it’ll be in 12 months when all that money has added up :) I’m going to mull this idea over and see what I can do for it.

Reply

55 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:48 pm

You can do what others have mentioned and just put aside side hustle money or when you sell stuff on craigslist/ebay etc :) Doesn’t have to be humungo amounts or anything, just enough to get a good rhythm down and then hopefully a habit!

Reply

56 Even Steven September 8, 2014 at 4:21 pm

I’m with you on the challenge, my savings will not be sitting in a savings account, but rather making extra payments on my student loan debt, but I’m with you!

Reply

57 Grayson @ Debt Roundup September 8, 2014 at 4:34 pm

I am going to see what else I can cut. I typically go on a cutting binge every few months to see what else I can reduce. It is getting harder now. I took my savings and put them in an investment account as I have enough savings accounts.

Reply

58 weenie September 8, 2014 at 5:45 pm

For the past few months, I’ve been investing all my ‘unexpected’ money, eg gifts, gambling winnings, cashback, etc, so whilst it’s not all in a separate account like yours, it’s being put to good use!

Reply

59 Tim September 8, 2014 at 6:27 pm

I think this is a good idea. What works better for me is to zero sum budget. Most would say to set your savings aside at the beginning of the month; I disagree because of unexpected (not emergency) expenses or the possibility that I would (gasp) go over budget in a category every once in a while. I zero sum at the end of the month. Anything in your checking account that didn’t get spent gets transferred to savings. To me this is more effective at solving the problem of actually saving money that you save!

I do leave some “float” money in my checking so no checks bounce or over draft fees; this is designated as part of my emergency fund. Then when the first paycheck of the next month comes in, it takes care of any temporary dip into that ’emergency’ flex cash. This works well for those with a standard pay schedule.

My method also misses the motivational aspect which is what you are going for here, to be able to see how much your choices to save accumulate throughout the year. Makes a lot of sense for non-card carrying Finance Rockstars™

Reply

60 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:53 pm

Haha…. The zero sum game is pretty sexy too though, no doubt. I don’t like putting $ aside before the end of the month either because I’d always just xfer it back out of savings if I blew the budget thereby defeating the entire purpose and making me feel like an ass-hat simultaneously. If only I enacted the “no touchy” rule back then! I’d have been much more conscious of xfers in, and of course most definitely xfers out.

Reply

61 Charlotte September 8, 2014 at 8:28 pm

oooh I like this idea! Agreed, it’s so much easier to stick to it when you can see the longterm goals & gains – 12 months sounds like a great timeline to start. I’m going to give this a go!

Reply

62 J. Money September 8, 2014 at 11:54 pm

Good! Welcome to the team! Let me know how it goes over the months, okay? :)

Reply

63 Cait Flanders September 9, 2014 at 9:26 am

I quietly did the same thing at the beginning of my shopping ban: setup two new savings accounts and am secretly putting money into them each month. The first is for anything I sold in that massive declutter/purge; so far, it’s chilling at $170. The second is for what I assume I’m saving each month by not drinking takeout coffee ($60 on average); there’s another $180 right there. $350 might not seem like a lot of money now, but I’m hoping to see the two accounts total at least $1,000 after 1 year… and then I’m sure I’ll be happy!

Reply

64 J. Money September 13, 2014 at 8:29 am

Heck yeah! There’s a lot of things you can do with $1,000 too – it’s quite the nice reward for a lot of hard work :)

Reply

65 Prudence Debtfree September 9, 2014 at 5:57 pm

When we started on our journey out of debt, we stopped hiring a house-cleaning service – to the tune of $200 per month. Like you, we put the money in a separate account. For us, it was to pay for big household items. So far (it’s been 2 years and 3 months), we’ve paid outright for 2 TVs ($1,500), a $600 ceiling repair & stipple-removal, and $1,500 to cover the shortfall in paying for our new roof. After all of that, we still have over $1,000 in the account, and we’re planning some renovations to better accommodate my husband’s home-business. It’s wonderful to have this fund on hand, to watch it grow, and plan out our plans. And to avoid going back into debt. SO much better to have it accumulating in an account than to let it simply evaporate.

Reply

66 J. Money September 13, 2014 at 8:31 am

Brilliant!!! And since you were already used to (and had budgeted in) the old expense, it’s not like you noticed any change whatsoever. Except for being much more happier :)

Reply

67 Miss Tae September 9, 2014 at 7:54 pm

I have a savings account for everything..I have cut back on so much unnecessary spending and have been able to save so much.I recently got into the habit of saving money in a Rainy Day Fund I can easily access as well as building up my emergency fund savings split between an online savings account and in a CD. I normally do not like placing money in these type of accounts because they are not readily available but it forces me to save effectively. Navy Federal has awesome rates on CDs. I have one 12 month CD at 3% that I opened in March on top of one I just opened this month at a special rate of 5% for 12 months.

Reply

68 J. Money September 13, 2014 at 8:32 am

Oh wow 5% – and even 3% – is pretty unheard of these days, good for you. Have always heard good things about Navy Federal.

Reply

69 stephanie September 9, 2014 at 9:18 pm

I’m like Tim, a zero sum budget person. Yes, I sit down every day and check my balance against what’s hit the bank (checks, cc payments, etc) and make sure it’s all correct.
I share one account with my daughter, and it’s a “go to” if she runs short. We don’t keep much there, under $500. She used to take $250/mo, on her own she’s now taking $120. I’m proud of her! And I’ve been able to stash more into my emergency fund, with her (unknowing) help!
Anyway…I put my rolled coins, recycling $$, overtime earned, cash found anywhere, into a little account. I use it to make an extra/bigger payment on anything I have owing. I’m nearly out of debt so any “extra” just gets me that much closer to debt free.
Last time I went to my bank they refused my rolled coin (I had $54.53); they put it in a big plastic bag, tag it, and send it away. So I took a photo of my neatly rolled coins and I’ll be darned, they credited the exact amount to my savings. I will be so happy when all those little rolled coins are going to a different bank, in a different savings, where they’ll live happily for 12 months.
I’ll join you in about 6 mos J$$$; this is one of your best ideas ever!!

Reply

70 J. Money September 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Haha… way to go :) And great job w/ your daughter too! I’m so glad you like this idea. I’m really excited about it and hoping it becomes a game changer for us, and for future savings/expense cutting. Feels like it closes the loop with everything, and can’t believe I’m just now realizing it?

Reply

71 stephanie September 9, 2014 at 9:19 pm

PS-for those of you chopping off or reducing cable TV…I don’t even own a TV anymore. As of September last year I stopped watching it. I was wasting so much time flipping through channels and not watching anything! So it’s not THAT hard. You’ll find fun, interesting, educational, FREE stuff to do!

Reply

72 Chris @ eatthefinancialelephant.com September 10, 2014 at 11:32 am

Hey J,

Here is an idea that may keep you and your wife motivated long term. We, like you, have a young one (will be 2 y/o) in one month. The month before she was born, I started a side job teaching a rock climbing class. I am paid but consider it more of a hobby and am using it more to have access to the facilities to train. Since we really don’t need the money for our day to day, we started putting it all into a separate fund dedicated to paying for her college education. We continue to add my class pay annually + any unexpected money (cash back rewards from credit cards, gifts, unexpected refunds, etc). We project that if I keep the teaching gig (about 3 hours/week, 8 mos/year) + the other additions, we’ll be able to easily pay her whole college if needed and then have some w/o ever putting any of our “real” wages into this fund. A similar fund for you could be a nice end destination for your savings. The magic of small actions, repeated over time can have huge effects! Working on writing up this plan in detail on the blog soon.

Cheers!
Chris

Reply

73 J. Money September 13, 2014 at 8:38 am

Yes, exactly! Very similar idea indeed – you totally need to write that post up for your audience. It’s all these simple, easy, ways we need to take advantage of that end up producing some pretty big results down the line. And I’m all about simple and easy :)

Reply

74 Elle September 13, 2014 at 10:21 am

Challenge accepted!

Waiting 12 months may seem like a lot, but then I thought it would be awesome to use account this for next year’s anniversary. Thanks J!

Reply

75 J. Money September 13, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Great idea! You could switch goals for it every additional year as well. “The Savings of AWESOME” haha..

Reply

76 Rob @ MoneyNomad September 15, 2014 at 12:38 am

Dude, this is a brilliant idea! If you can clearly see what you are saving, it certainly will make saving more sexy. I may have to give this a shot myself – maybe it will motivate even more savings.

And I like the idea of holding onto the cash for 6 months. I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a similar thing every time I start making more money. For example, if I make $5k extra in a year, I won’t let myself spend any of that extra for the first year – just to ensure that my standard of living stays behind my income level.

Reply

77 J. Money September 15, 2014 at 12:39 pm

YES! It’s a double whammy – watching it grow, and then not touching it for a while to really appreciate it, and more importantly no increase your standard of living as you mention. I hope you do give it a shot – I’m pretty excited about it already, even though I only have 15 cents in there right now (found a dime and nickel on the ground this week, haha…). Should be good once the adjusted bills start hitting our account!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: