by Bobbie Jean Knealing
We all know the importance of having a savings account for emergency purposes, for the future, as well as savings towards a goal for the future. We know the importance, but the problem sometimes lies in the actuality of accomplishing this. I know this all too well!
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Here are some ideas that have painlessly worked for me:
I never ever use change to pay for a purchase. If the total is $1.01 I give $2 and put the change in my pocket. At the end of the day I put all change in a pretty bowl I stamped just for that purchase. I keep this bowl out of sight/reach of my family so they won't be tempted to grab a coin out of there here and there as needed for the ice cream truck or the parking meter.
You can exchange the change at your bank usually free of charge. If that's not an option all of the grocery stores in my area have machines that will count the change for you and issue you a receipt to take to the service desk for the dollar amount due.
Small businesses have to pay for change at the bank, so if you know small business owners ask about the possibility of exchanging your change for paper money with them.
Always take the time to grab that rebate form from the box or the customer service department at the store. For the cost of the stamp you can get money back. This money is already spent and gone from your budget, so why not put it directly into your savings account when you receive it in the mail?
I use coupons for as many things that I buy as humanly possible. The grocery store I shop at prints right on the bottom of the receipt how much money I have saved. When I get home I round up to the next dollar amount and put that money into an envelope marked 'Savings'. When I go to the bank for some other purpose I bring that money along and deposit it into my savings account.
I use the Envelope Method of budgeting. Each month I put the amount budgeted for each category in its envelope. For example my entertainment budget is $100 a month. If at the end of the month there is any moneys left over and I know I won't be needing it for the next month for something extra such as a party or gift I put that money into my savings account.
When I receive monetary gifts I either put the money into savings earmarked for something special I want such as a new computer program, or I put it in the general savings account.
If you are living comfortably and meeting your financial needs on your present salary, when you get a raise or a bonus, put the money into savings and watch it grow.
Put all of part of the money you earned from cleaning out your house and having a garage sale. Again, this is unplanned money so why spend it when you can pad your savings account and never miss it.
If your employer offers this take advantage of it and split your paycheck up by sending a small portion straight into your savings account and the rest into your checking account. This way you are paying yourself first and you won't even miss it because it's never in your hands to start with. You can figure your budget with the amount sent to your checkbook and not the total amount earned.
If you sell your old or outgrown items at a consignment store, deposit the checks you receive directly into your savings account if you are not going to use them to purchase new items needed.
In our city they collect recyclables at the curb. I put everything but aluminum cans out there. We save up the aluminum cans and twice a year take them to a place that pays us for them. This money is split between the vacation fund and our children's savings accounts.
When you buy something and see it on sale the next week, most stores will allow you to bring your receipt in and get a price adjustment. The money is already spent, so put that money into the savings account and you'll never even miss it.
Cut a Bad Habit
If you break a bad habit such as smoking, pop/soda consumption take the money you would normally have spent on the vice and put it into your savings account. My grandma bought a new convertible with money she saved from quitting drinking and smoking. My stepmonster took my Dad on a cruise with the money she saved from quitting smoking. One day I would like to quit drinking so much Coke and use the savings to buy something nice for myself. It's amazing how much a vice can cost you, without you even realizing it.
Do one or more of these suggestions, and watch your savings account balance grow. In no time at all you will reach your goal and enjoy the benefits. If you have an idea, please either write an article yourself here or leave it in the comment section for the benefit of all.
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Copyright © 2001 by Bobbie Jean Knealing. All rights reserved.