5 Creative Ways to Save Cash for This Month's Challenge
Readers, this month we've challenged you to save your spare change , and believe it or not, we're almost halfway through July. We've rounded up some creative ideas to help you stay motivated during the second half.
Rounding up your purchases and saving the "spare" change is a fun and easy way to add some extra savings in your budget. Of course, the old fashioned way is to just empty your pockets and add the coins to a savings jar, but most of us pay with plastic, not paper. So we recommended some digital ways to save:
- Use a tool like Tip Yourself , or Qapital to help automatically save your spare change .
- Use your bank. Bank of America has their own Keep the Change Savings Program , for example. And Wells Fargo has Way2Save .
- Sign up for a tool like Acorns that will automatically save and invest your spare change.
Whether you use these tools or not, there are some creative ways to mix up the challenge and make it a little more doable for the rest of the month.
Save When You Splurge
We all give into the occasional spending temptation (I can't stop buying junk on Amazon ). Here's a clever and prudent trick to monetize your temptation: every time you splurge, put that same amount in a savings account. The Motley Fool suggests this in a post on saving for a down payment , but you can use it for anything:
Inundated by these opportunities to spend, skew the act of spending to your favor. So you want to buy those new boots? Match that spending with an equal contribution to your down payment. Sometimes the pain of doubling a cost is enough to deter a purchase. In the case you still choose to spend, the matched contribution ensures you're at the very least taking measures to save.
This rule is
kind of a win-win
. You either skip the splurge because you can't afford twice the amount or you give in and save some
Save When You Save
When I cook a meal at home on a Friday night, I like to say I "saved" twenty bucks since I didn't go out to eat. The truth is, though, I'm not actually saving anything. The imaginary $20 is still there, in my checking account, ready to be spent on something else. So why not literally save that twenty bucks?
With this rule, you deposit a specific amount in your savings when you hypothetically save money. For example:
- You decide to skip a night at the movies and watch a free movie in the park instead. Add $20 to your savings account.
- You get a free drink at happy hour. Add $10 to your savings account.
- Your grocery receipt says "Total savings: $12" . Add $12 to your savings account.
Basically,when you find yourself giddy that you saved money on something, make sure you really do save that money in, you know, a savings account.
When we posted the challenge, one of you replied: "I've been doing this for years, can I still participate?"
Yes! And another reader came up with a great way to do so:
This is a great variation because you're still challenging yourself. Plus, this tip encourages you to give your purchases a bit more thought. And mindful spending is a good thing.
Make an Automatic Savings Goal
One of my favorite ways to save involves using both If This Then That (IFTTT) and the free savings app Qapital . Qapital saves your money automatically based on rules you set up from within the app. You can tell it to save a certain percentage of every deposit into your bank account, for example. Or you can tell it to save a specific amount every time you spend at a specific store.
Even better, Qapital has IFTTT functionality, meaning you can link Qapital to any app that links to IFTTT: Instagram, Todoist, Google Calendar, the list goes on and on. This makes for nearly endless possibilities to create automatic savings rules. For example:
- Save money in your Qapital account when you finish something on your to-do list .
- Save when you use a specific hashtag, like #gratitude or #goalprogress or whatever you please .
- Save when you hit your step goal or go to the gym .
Save Specific Bills
Finally, a reader suggested this one during last year's challenge: save all of your $5 bills.
Instead of saving only your loose change, make it a goal to save specific bills, too. So if you pay for coffee with a $20 bill and get back a ten, a five, and a couple of ones, put the $5 bill in your savings account.
Of course, this requires you to pay with cash, but if you're doing that anyway, it might be an easy way to boost your savings this month. Good luck, readers! We'll check back in with you at the end of the month to see how much you saved.