Even though it’s been two years since I’ve gone back to work after a year-long unemployment, our finances are just now slowly beginning to recover from that storm. Our savings account.. well, let’s just say it’s no pot of gold. It’s not even a pot of the kind of “gold” that turns your skin green if you sweat while you wear it (without painting it with clear nail polish first. Free hoodtip. You’re welcome.)
This year, our plan is to aggressively attack some of the still-fledgling areas of our finances, and start building our savings back up. Even though we still aren’t at the place where we’ll be able to deposit large amounts, we plan to start small until we can go larger. Whether you’re looking to start building up your emergency fund or trying to save for something fun like a vacation, these easy, creative and fun ways will help you start to get there.
1. Kassondra’s 52-Week Money Challenge
I personally think this idea is brilliant. Deposit a dollar for every week that we are into the year. These relatively small amounts will add up to nearly 1400 by the end of the year. I’m making the challenge simpler by scheduling all of my deposits to come out of my checking account automatically each week so that I don’t have time to think about it and then decide to do something else with the money. Tip from a Facebook fan: If you’re worried about having the larger deposit amounts due during the holidays, flip the challenge so that you start from week 52 and work your way down.
2. The “Metal Box” Challenge
Once upon a time, a young couple had a unique way to save for their 50th anniversary Hawaiian vacation. Deposit $1 into a metal box each time they made love. I don’t know how much their trip cost, so I don’t know how many sessions it translated into. But the two were flying high come year 50. (Check out the whole story if you get a chance. So sweet. )
If 50 years seems too lofty of a goal (if you got married at 40 you might not want to wait until 90 to dip into the pot!) save your money for shorter amounts of time. Maybe decide on something fun you want to purchase by the end of the year, and make it your goal to get busy until you get there.
3. Save Every $5 Bill
This is an interesting one. This plan is to simply save each $5 bill that comes into your possession. So if you use a $10 bill to buy your $3 coffee in the morning, keep $2 and save the $5 bill. This might not work as well for you if you’re someone like me, i.e. a person who never carries cash, but if you’re a cash spender, this sounds like one where the funds can quickly and painlessly add up.
4. Empty your pockets
This one might not be a new concept, but it’s a tried and true one. I learned the value of collecting those coins when my grandma gave me a little coffee can full of change as spending money for my daughter’s trip. Lo-and-behold that little can was holding nearly 200 bucks. Get into the habit of emptying the change from your pockets or purse at the end of the day and watch those pennies, nickels and dimes turn into dollars.
5. Save your Reward Savings
If you ever grocery shop ( or clothing shop etc. ) with a rewards card, you’ll see a “you saved such and such amount on this visit” at the bottom of your receipt. Instead of just looking at the number and saying “Woohoo!” transfer that amount into your savings account. Depending on your budget and spending, you may want to save all your savings, or just focus on savings from one particular store or one type of purchase, like groceries, to start building your stash.
Are you taking any savings challenges this year? Share your creative ways to save in the comments section!