5 ingenious life hacks to help you boost your savings

Tips and know-how to make saving fit how you do you.

We humans are funny creatures. We can rationalize a lot of things. It usually sounds like this:

“I need this (desirable but really unnecessary purchase), because (rational-sounding reason that is really isn’t all that rational).”

We end up talking ourselves into a lot of stuff. Unfortunately, saving money isn’t usually among that stuff.

What does it take?

Sometimes it seems like certain people are just better at saving their money. Like they are immune to the rationalizing. Or, they were born with a gene that makes them “savers” or gives them some sort of superpower that allows them to resist that ‘Buy Now’ button.

It’s not true. They’re just like us. It’s just that they know a few things that allow them to overcome the urges, and sidestep all the little things that trip you up when it comes to saving. It’s time you knew what they know. So here are 5 ingenious life hacks that can help you overcome your worst enemy (yourself) when it comes to saving money.

1. Pay yourself first

Too often we tell ourselves that we’ll save what we have left at the end of the month after paying all the bills and simply living life. But, there never seems to be anything left.

Let’s flip this on its head.

Pay yourself first. Before you pay bills or pay for anything else, put the money you want to save each month aside. To make it even easier, automate it (see life hack 2). You’ll be surprised how effective this simple hack is.

2. Make saving a no-brainer

We save more when we don’t have to think about it. Consider setting up an automatic transfer from your checking account to a savings account each month. When it happens automatically, it eliminates the chance of forgetting to put that money away or giving yourself any number of excuses why you should just skip this month.

3. Do the bill pay off switcheroo

There is nothing like that feeling of making that last payment. It could be paying off a car loan. Or maybe a credit card. What people often miss is that this is an incredible opportunity to grow savings quickly – without really feeling like you’re doing anything different.

Here is the hack. Right after making that last payment, open a savings account and set up a monthly automatic transfer from your checking account for the amount you were paying each month on that loan or credit card. It’s painless (that money was already coming out of your account each month anyway). Pull this switcheroo and you will be surprised how quickly the savings pile up.

4. Take a 72-hour pause

Today, more than ever, it’s easy to overspend. A world of shopping is at our fingertips. And technology puts ‘Buy Now’ buttons in our face constantly. It’s easy to say, “Well, just resist it.” But that’s hard. This hack is easier. Before you hit that ‘Buy Now’ button, wait 72 hours. You’d be surprised how 72 hours can turn an I-have-to-have-that into an I-think-I’ll-wait-until-it’s-on-sale or even an I’ll-pass-this-time.

The great thing about this hack is that you’re not telling yourself no. You’re simply taking a pause to make extra sure that purchase is absolutely right.

5. Give yourself a little instant gratification

Sometimes unexpected money comes our way. It could be a tax refund, a bonus at work, and more. It’s a great feeling. And in celebration, it’s really easy to give ourselves permission just to blow it all (after all, it wasn’t planned for so it doesn’t affect our budget, right?) But afterward, there’s that bit of remorse that maybe you should have saved it. On the other hand, hearing that you should put it all into savings just kind of takes all the fun out of that unexpected money. And often, it ends up making it less likely that you’ll put that money away anyway.

Here’s the thing – it doesn’t have to be an either/or decision. When unexpected money comes your way, put 80% of it in a separate savings account. Don’t just dump it into your checking account where it will get spent. Every time you look at the balance of that savings account you will be reminded of the smart thing you did. Now, take the other 20% and do whatever you want. Go nuts. Guilt-free.

Here’s why this hack is great. Most times, there is delayed gratification that comes with saving – it doesn’t feel exciting to save now, but you know it will feel good in the future. This hack creates instant gratification (“I can spend 20% right now!’). If we can experience instant gratification every time we put money away, we’re more likely to do it again. And again.

Future you wants you to read this

Future you is pretty smart. So check out the tips and lifehacks future you thinks will make you look smart right now - and in the future. Download the free ebook.

Graphic: Red arrow pointed left
Excited smiling woman making two fists
Excited smiling woman making two fists

There is one thing to remember to be successful at saving – don’t try to change your life to fit into somebody else’s idea of how to do it. Just learn the little hacks that make saving fit into how you do you. You will surprise yourself. And before you know it, you’ll have a nice size vacation fund, emergency fund, or nest egg saved up.

If you have other life hacks that have helped you save, share them with us on Facebook.

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