When it comes to saving money, everyone knows what they should be doing. Make your own coffee instead of buying it. Pack a lunch to take to work. Wait for things to go on sale and use coupons wherever possible.
That’s all well and good, but you also have to consider living. Maybe that morning coffee just makes you happy. And going for that lunch break is actually the only way you get a break. That doesn’t mean you can’t still save money with some simple little tricks. And we promise — you won’t even know you’re doing it.
1. Pay yourself first
You’ve probably heard of this term, but it’s exactly what it sounds like. Figure out your budget, and how much you should hypothetically be putting into your savings account each pay cheque. Then, set up your bank account to automatically transfer that amount into your savings on the days you get paid. If you don’t have to think about it you won’t. And it will be like you never “had” that money to begin with. Start with 50 bucks and watch it grow from there. By the end of 2016 you’ll have $1300 in your savings. Just enough to go on an all-inclusive vacation.
2. Pay for everything with cash
If you’ve got $60 in your wallet at the beginning of each week and know that’s all you have to spend, odds are you’re going to keep track of how you’re spending that money a lot better than if you were paying with debit or credit. At the end of the week, not only will you feel as though you’ve managed your money better, but you can also take whatever you’ve got leftover and put it in a jar for things you want later on, like a manicure or a haircut. Or your kids’ college.
3. Dump your change
This is another obvious one, we know. But when you pay for everything in cash, you wind up with a lot of coin. Putting all of that into a jar instead of spending it actually adds up faster than you’d think. If you wound up throwing $3 of change into a jar every week, you’d have $156 bucks at the end of the year. Just enough to buy yourself a new holiday outfit or present without feeling the pinch.
4. Even out those accounts
Just as it feels good to store up loose change for a rainy day, it also feels good to even out those bank balances. What do we mean by that? Well, if you had 154.63 in your chequing account, transfer $4.63 of that in your savings account. It may seem like pocket change at first, but it eventually adds up to a pretty fat savings account indeed. Note: this only works if your bank offers free transfers between accounts.
5. Set up a high interest savings account
If you’re feeling ambitious, a financial planner can work wonders with your finances. If you prefer to keep everything within your own control, however, at least set up a high interest savings account where you’ll earn a little extra interest on the dollars you tuck away. PC Financial and Tangerine are two online banks that offer such options, but you can also book an appointment with your bank and see what they have to offer.
6. Round up your bills
This is another tiny, tiny habit to get into, but one with long-term benefits. As we all know, none of our bills come to us in nice, round numbers. So if your next cell phone bill comes to $81.45, why not round that up to $82 or $85, and put the remainder into your savings account? Hey, every extra little bit helps, and it’s definitely something you won’t notice — especially once you get into the habit of doing so. Again though, first ask your bank about fees you might not be aware of. Some banks actually charge for deposits. For real!
7. Skip the sales
Um, sorry — what? Yeah, you heard us. Skip those sales. Well, don’t skip them, per se. You should actually totally take advantage of them, but then act as though you aren’t. Rather than holding onto that extra few bucks you saved by buying something you needed anyhow, take the difference between the regular price and the sale price and pop it into your savings. Say you save five bucks an average on everyday items once per week. That’s $260 extra in your pocket at the end of the year. So basically, you won’t just feel awesome for having gotten something on sale, but you’ll have a double dose of feel-good happiness when your savings account balloons as a result.
Now that’s what we’re talking about.