Five Easy Ways to Boost Your Savings

I know how hard it is to build up a savings account. Even when you make a good living, it seems like there are always unexpected expenses. A broken garage door, cracked toilet and money for kindergarten field trips…that was just the past week in our house, and I’m sure you’ve all been there. That being said, building up your savings is important, so here are some easy ways that we’ve been able to boost our savings over the years, without feeling much of a pinch.

1. Bank of America Keep the Change program
Bank of America makes me crazy sometimes, but, like many others, we use them because they are everywhere. One of the best programs they offer us is Keep The Change. I enrolled a few years ago. It’s pretty simple. Whenever you use your debit card, they round up your purchase amount to the nearest dollar and automatically transfer the “change” to your savings account. For the first few months, they also match your savings, so it’s an even better deal. We don’t notice the missing 50 or 75 cents, but the savings adds up. Since we joined the program, we’ve added $1,800 to savings without even thinking about it. It’s also great for people like me who still balance their checkbooks – all even numbers makes for easy math. If you don’t use B of A, I’m sure other banks offer similar programs.

2. Stash unexpected cash
On rare occasions, we get random checks. It could be money from grandma on my birthday (the checks correspond with age, so I’ll be getting a whopping $35 in October!). Or a rebate I forgot I submitted to Bed, Bath & Beyond. We get profit sharing from USAA for having our insurance with them. Once, we somehow overpaid our property taxes for the year, and I got a check for $400. Since you are not depending on this money in your budget, just pretend you never saw it and put it in savings instead.

3. Make company expense reimbursements work for you
Chase drives a lot for work. While he is going all over San Diego doing budgeting and credit seminars, he incurs mileage and parking expenses. A great way we’ve added to our savings is by using our personal debit card to pay his transportation expenses. In smaller chunks like a tank of gas or a few hours of parking downtown, we don’t really notice the expense. Then when he gets the reimbursement checks from his company, we put them into our savings account rather than checking.

4. Sell stuff you don’t use and save the profits
When we decided we were done having kids, I started selling baby gear we no longer used on craigslist. Chase would tease me about it because I always had cash from my craigslist sales. Truth be told, I put most of that money in savings. I got rid of clutter and padded our savings. A win/win.

5. Direct deposit part of your paycheck into a savings account
All companies offer direct deposit and many let you split your deposit among multiple accounts. When I got my first job in San Diego, I was taking a pay cut from my salary in D.C., so I knew if I didn’t deposit money into savings via direct deposit, I would never have money left over at the end of the month to add to savings. I put $50 per paycheck into savings. Not a lot, but it adds up. If you already feel strapped, a good way to start is to begin a savings direct deposit whenever you get a salary increase. Put the increased earnings into savings instead of checking. You’ll never notice the difference since you were used to living on your prior salary.

Saving money isn’t fun, but if you use these tips maybe you won’t even notice the money is missing! Believe me, if your income changes or you face other financial challenges, you’ll be glad it’s there!

 

 


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