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Small Steps to Boost Your Savings

Make saving your new habit

  • Break a habit. Pick a habit that you can do without: smoking, last-minute purchases, candy bars in the afternoon—something that doesn’t give you much benefit and may even be of harm. Every time you resist the habit, put the money you would have spent into a cash jar or into a savings account. After a few months, you’ll be amazed at how much you saved.
  • Make good use of your automatic habits. When you pay off a loan, put the money you were paying each month into a savings account. You will keep the same standard of living, and your savings will just continue to grow!
  • Make extra payments on your home. Paying just $40 a month extra on a $100,000 mortgage will slash five years off your loan!

  • Save for retirement or other goals right now. Make a deal with yourself to contribute to a retirement or education savings plan today. Even the smallest amount will build up over time.

  • Sign up for the free Money Club Makeover, 21 Days to Boost Your Savings
Join with others
  • Ask your friends about savings ideas. Does anyone have a great credit card deal? Know of an outlet store that’s a little far away but has great bargains? Use the Internet to get great deals? Ask around and see if you and your friends can save money together. It’s a great basis for starting a Money Club!

  • Carpool. Call co-workers who live near you to coordinate a carpool schedule for next week. You can save lots of money on gas and maintenance, while gaining time for reading or socializing.

  • If you have used CDs lying around the house, call some friends who might want to exchange CDs with you instead of buying new ones.

  • Join a credit union. Many will allow you to set up an account by phone with a very small deposit from your debit or credit card. You will then have access to a host of services that may include low-cost auto and home loans and lower insurance rates.

  • If you keep money in Certificates of Deposit, shop the Internet for higher yields. Try for CD rates around the country. The site features mortgage, credit card, and other bank rates as well.

  • Here’s a fun one: Check out or to see if any extra money is waiting for you. Each year, millions of dollars in bank accounts, insurance policies, utility deposits, and government checks go unclaimed.

Use these saving tricks

  • Use the Zen concept of the raise that is no-raise. If you get a raise, don’t spend it. Pretend you didn’t get a raise and put the money into savings. Live on the same amount as before, and watch your savings grow.

  • Save your change. Every time you buy something with cash, use paper money. Break those bills! Save all of the change you get each day in a jar. At the end of the month, you will have $50 - $70 to use for savings or to pay off debt.
  • Learn about home improvements. Many local stores offer courses in tile setting, woodworking, spa maintenance, and other home improvement subjects. Even if you don’t plan to do the work yourself, knowing about the process will ensure that you don’t get ripped off by contractors or maintenance people.

  • Dress down more often. You’ll save money by choosing clothes from your closet that are comfortable and attractive, rather than new ones that are uncomfortable, though fashionable.

  • Indulge yourself this weekend. Turn off the radio, television, and phone. Leave the magazines and newspapers on the shelf. Read books for pleasure, eat and sleep as you please. Have a “spa” weekend at home.

Resolve to save more

  • Resolve to cut out one expense that brings you neither joy nor prosperity. Write your resolution on a piece of paper and post it prominently, so you won’t forget. Put the money that you would have spent into an envelope or a separate account, for savings.
  • Decide one thing you can do to master your money. For example, when you take cash from the ATM, vow to keep track of your expenditures. Or limit yourself to taking money only once a week at a specific time. As you gain mastery through your initial small step, decide on an additional action you can take. Step by step, your financial life will improve.

  • To save time, consider a gift card. The recipient can use the card to buy what they want, where they want, when they want. Cards issued by financial services companies, such as VISA, can be used anywhere, whereas cards issued by specific stores can only be used for purchases at those stores.

  • Spend 15 minutes thinking of ways you could cut down on stuff and have an easier and more fulfilling life. What could you do to make your life simpler and less expensive?
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