5 Creative Ways to Encourage Yourself to Save More
Among the most common financial goals set by consumers each year is the pledge to save more. Chances are, whether you want to save up for your emergency fund or increase your retirement savings, you hope to save more money this year.
As you get ready to tackle your goal of saving more money, here are 5 creative ways to stay motivated:
1. Make it a Game
Turn your savings into a game. How many dollars can you save this week? This month? Keep score, with each dollar equaling one point. Try to see how many points you can rack up regularly. Whether it’s clipping coupons for something you normally buy, or whether it’s canceling cable, add up your points each month.
Your goal is to try to beat your “score” the next month. As you look for increasingly creative ways to save more money, you’ll focus on how you can reduce your costs, and you’ll pay attention to all the little ways you can save more money over time.
2. Make it a Competition
You don’t have to just play the game with yourself. You can turn your savings into a competition. Choose an accountability partner who also wants to save more money. You can compare efforts and see who can earn the most points.
It’s also possible to make this a family game. If you have a family savings goal, such as going on vacation or buying a new big screen TV, you can get everyone involved. Provide each family member with a mason jar, and ask each member to put coins and bills into the jar, and see who can fill up his or her jar the fastest, or who can put the most in, by the end of the month.
3. Round Up Your Purchases
There are different programs out there that will help you automatically save more by rounding up your purchases. If you spend $4.60, the program will list your purchase as $5.00, and deposit the remaining 40 cents into a savings account. This can be a good way to automatically save on every purchase that you make.
Other programs, like Digit, can also help you automatically save creatively. This app monitors your bank account, takes a look at your habits, and then determines how much extra can be set aside for savings. This is one way that you can squeeze the most out of all of your efforts to save.
You can do this on your own, too. Make most of your payments in cash. At the end of the day, go home and put all of your change, including coins and one dollar bills (the truly ambitious also include their five dollar bills) into a jar. At the end of each week, or at the end of each month, take the money into the bank for deposit.
4. Join a Goal-Based Matching Program
Even better than the rounding up program is the goal-based matching program. Something like BoostUp helps you organize your savings goal, and then provides certain matches for your efforts. This can be a great way to super-charge your savings efforts. It’s a fun and creative way to get more out of your money, and keep you motivated. After all, there’s nothing better than watching your balance grow at an accelerated rate.
5. Find Ways to Earn More Money
When we think of saving, many of us think of cutting back on expenses. However, you can get creative by earning more money. Look for small, creative ways to earn more. You can do this by selling items you don’t use on eBay, getting paid to give plasma at your local center, or doing a little freelancing on the side. You might be surprised at some of the small, creative ways you can earn $20 to $100 extra per week. Use those creative money making strategies to put more into savings.
No matter how you go about it, approaching savings with a sense of fun can help you stay motivated, and encourage you to greater savings efforts.
Miranda Marquit is a freelance journalist specializing in topics related to personal finance, investing, and entrepreneurship. She writes regularly for a number of web sites, including AllBusiness, Huffington Post, and Wise Bread. Miranda’s work has been published at U.S. News & World Report, MSN Money, Fox Business, and Business Insider. Her work has been linked to from USA Today, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, and she has appeared on NPR Morning Edition and American Public Media’s Marketplace