If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to save money, you probably prepared yourself for a long year of penny pinching and bargain hunting. But saving more doesn’t have to be such hard work. Here’s five easy ways to put more money in the bank no matter how much you make.
1. Set up automatic deposits into a high interest savings account. Direct deposit or payroll deduction is the ultimate method of painless saving because you don’t have to do anything — money just automatically moves into your savings account. Don’t skip this step if you can’t save much — even $10 a week can add up quickly. And to make sure this money stays in savings, stash your savings in an account at a bank that’s not convenient to reach. Forgo the ATM card to make it even more difficult to withdraw funds.
2. Give yourself a goal. Working toward a goal can keep you motivated. So figure out how much money you could realistically save each month and use that as your goal. Keep track of your progress throughout the year, and even challenge yourself by increasing your savings goals if you find that you’re hitting the mark without too much trouble.
3. Save the loose change. Try making a game out of saving. Team up with your partner or a friend to see who can save more in pocket change in a month. You will be amazed how much those coins add up to every year.
4. Save reimbursements. If you get reimbursed for travel or other work related expenses, consider saving those reimbursements when you receive them rather than treating them like a windfall. (Unless, of course, you charged the expenses on a credit card, in which case you should use the reimbursement to pay off your credit card.)
5. Save your raise or any other windfall. If you get a raise this year, make sure that at least half of it goes right into your retirement account or another savings account. You’re already used to living on your current salary, so it shouldn’t be too difficult. Do the same with a tax refund or cash gift.