8 Tricks to Help You Save More Money

February 10, 2017

8 Tricks to Help You Save More Money

Finding ways to save more money can be challenging. If it weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading this, and the average savings rate of Americans would be much higher than 5.7%.

Whether we’re talking about attempting to save more money by spending less on everyday expenses or keeping some money in the bank, saving money will not happen by accident. Have you ever heard the story about the guy who saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by chance? No? Neither have I. To save, we must be intentional about how we go about doing it; we must have a plan.

And sometimes, that plan might involve employing tactics that give you no other option but to spend less and save more money. In other words, at times, you have to play tricks on yourself. Not the mean variety of tricks but the I-had-no-idea-I-was-capable-of-that kind of tricks.

If you are one of the many people who can’t save because “something always comes up,” give one or more of these tactics a try. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you have no other choice.

Here are eight tricks to help you save more money.

1. Use Postal Money Orders to Help You Meet a Savings Goal

If you are working on reaching a savings goal but aren’t making significant progress because your money seems to always go elsewhere, I highly recommend using postal money orders to help you save.

This is a bit unconventional, but it works. The idea is to “lock your money up” so it’s inconvenient to spend, but have it accessible enough for when you do need it. When your savings is in your checking account or a savings account at the same bank as your checking account, you can access it within seconds, and the possibility of doing so is high.

But since cashing a money order in requires a trip to the post office, the inconvenience of doing that just might make you think twice about the reason you want to cash it out. Money orders can be purchased in amounts up to $1000, and presently they cost between $1.20 to $1.60. While yes, this method of saving money costs you a little money, I think it is worth it if you lack the discipline to accumulate savings. (You can purchase money orders at other places besides the post office, however postal money orders usually cost less and do not expire.)

2. Use Apps That Force You To Save Money

Ever notice how easily you can spend $20 and not know what you spent it on? $5 here, $7 there, $8 over there and bam, you blew $20. Well, the same can happen with saving money — if you allow it.

Saving small amounts that seem insignificant on their own can add up to some serious savings. That’s where automatic savings apps come in. One of my favorites is Digit. Based on your spending habits, it makes transfers every few days to a separate savings account. You don’t have to think about it, and you don’t have to do anything. You are essentially “forced” to save — and let’s face it, that $7 would have been spent anyway — you might as well save it.

In addition to Digit, other automatic savings apps to try are Acorns, EvoShare, and Keep the Change (if you are a Bank of America customer).

3. Leave Your Wallet in the Car When Shopping

This trick is simple but impactful. When doing any kind of shopping, use cash, and only take the amount of money you want to spend in the store with you. Leave all other cash, credit cards, and debit cards in the car.

This is very powerful, especially when grocery shopping. In addition to the amount you plan to spend, you can consider bringing in a small cushion of a few dollars (in case there are hiccups at the register). You will shop (and spend) completely differently when you only have a hundred dollar bill with you versus a hundred dollar bill and your debit and credit cards.

Don’t give yourself a way to spend more money than you want to — and you won’t.

4. Declare a No-Spend Day

Select one day out of the week that you won’t spend any money. This is both easier and more effective than you think. We are not always mindful of the “tiny” purchases we make on a daily basis, so skipping them for a day will shed some light on just how unnecessary they are.

After having a no-spend day, work yourself up to a no-spend week and then to a no-spend month, during which you only buy necessities.

5. Eat From Your Pantry and Freezer for a Week

Because we drop hundreds of dollars on groceries a month, pulling back in this category can provide some significant savings.

For one week, decide to forgo your regular grocery shopping and only eat food you already have. Of course, you may need to purchase some fresh items but do so sparingly. This exercise will cause you to realize that when it feels like “there’s no food in the house” there usually is a lot more than we realize! Eat what you have and bank what you would normally spend on groceries.

Try this for a couple of weeks and eventually a month.

6. Give up One Habit For a Week

How much do your habits cost you? Find out by dropping one of them for a week or even better, a month. If you have a Starbucks habit, typically purchase alcohol, go out to lunch, etc., choose one to put on the back burner.

You will be surprised to learn that you can live without that particular expense, and this could be the precursor to reducing or kicking that habit altogether!

7. Leave Your Debit and Credit Cards at Home For an Entire Week

Sometimes we spend money simply because we can. When you don’t have a way to spend, impulse purchases and even your “needs” take a back seat.

Decide for one week to leave all your debit and credit cards at home. If you currently use cash for most of your purchases, this shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. The idea here is to cut yourself off from making mindless purchases above what you have already planned.

8. Eliminate One Spending Category for an Entire Month

Similar to kicking one habit for a week or month, select an entire category in your budget to eliminate for one month. Entertainment? Dining Out? Choose just one category to forgo.

You’re not depriving yourself of all things fun; you are simply temporarily halting spending in one particular area. Do this exercise for one month and the following month, choose another category to skip. You’ll learn that is possible to survive without some of your “must-haves”.

Have a Plan For Your Savings

All of these “tricks” can help you find some savings in your budget. Be sure to track what you have saved and decide ahead of time how you will use the money you save. Otherwise, you may not see the fruits of your sacrifice.

These tricks and tactics prove that you, yes you, can save more money than you think you can. After a while, your discipline in this area will be developed, and saving will become second nature.

What other tricks and tactics have you used to save more money?

If you're looking for ways to save money, check out these tips. Sometimes you have to trick yourself into spending less and saving more.