We have saved cash for a lot of cool things (and some that I wish we didn’t have to buy). The magic trick to saving money is to spend less. (I know, clever.) But we have found a neat little system that works really well and we don’t even miss the money we are saving – Keep the Change.
Here’s how it works:
Use cash as often as you can. I know, we are tied to our check card too, but whenever possible we use cash. I prefer using cash when I can plan ahead…like for groceries, the occasional (one a quarter) meal out, clothing purchases, etc.
Whenever you use cash, pay only with the next largest whole bill. For example, if the purchase is $15.99 pay with one $20 bill. If the purchase is over $20 go up to the next $5. For example, pay for a $36.23 purchase with two $20 bills. If the purchase is $41.50 pay with two $20 bills and one $5 bill. Never pay with ones or coins.
After a cash purchase, put the change (ones and coins) from that purchase in a separate place in your wallet or in an envelope in your purse. When you get home, set that money aside in a canister or jar (we use an old canister that used to be at my grandma’s house when I was a kid). Watch the money pile up.
When the canister gets full, roll the coins and take all the money to the bank. Open a savings account that you cannot access with your ATM/Check Card and put the money in it.
To really motivate yourself to save, set a goal. A vacation, computer, TV…whatever. Make the goal something you will do in the next year. We have paid for 2 vacations to Disney World (for 4 people – including food, souvenirs and one year plane tickets) this way. While in Taiwan, we saved enough money this way to hire movers to pack everything for our move to Taipei.
TWIST – When you use coupons put the amount that you saved with the coupons in the fund. Or do this with the amount you saved by using your shopper card.