Who wouldn’t want some extra cash on hand? We all do – but the tricky part of that proposition is the extra effort.
Here are some tips and hacks that will save you real money, with minimal effort.
Automate your savings
What if I told you that 5 minutes of effort could help you hit your savings goal for 2014? It sounds like a scam, but it’s totally simple. Online banking makes it ridiculously easy to automatically contribute to your savings account. Set a dollar amount, click ‘monthly’, and you’re done.
Bonus tip: I like to have my automated deductions go through as soon as I get paid, but others schedule theirs for mid-month (so it never interferes with rent payments).
The $5 bill jar strategy**
My wife saw this on Pinterest, and it’s actually a really cool/simple idea. Anytime you wind up with a $5 bill, do not spend it – just put it in the jar. From there, you decide what you’re saving up for. It could be Christmas presents at the end of the year, a monthly restaurant fund, or even a chunk you eventually deposit into your savings account.
You will get a weird attachment to $5 bills, and enjoy it when you receive one in change. Develop that emotional barrier to spending, and you’ll build your savings one blue bill at a time.
Find a subscription you don’t use, and cut it
This works if you are currently sitting on something like a big cable TV package you don’t watch, a gym you don’t go to, or a jelly-of-the-month-club that gathers dust in your pantry. The subscription trap is dangerous – it feels like you’re saving money, but you’re stuck paying whether you use it or not. Little expenses totally add up – check out the following example:
I cut $25/month from my cable bill by chopping 2 movie channels (I was totally over-paying without realizing it) and cancelled my $32/month gym membership (realizing it’s cheaper to run outside or pay the $5 drop in fee when I want to go). That’s an $684/year without changing my lifestyle at all!
Skip the cart, use a basket
Hack your grocery shopping strategy, and put a size limit on what you can carry (and eventually buy). If I have to pack it around the store, I think twice about buying it. This works especially well with ‘impulse buys’, and will cut down on the amount of food that goes bad in your fridge.
Quick math – if you can cut $10/week from your grocery routine, that’s an extra $520/year. Who doesn’t want that?
Slap a sticker on your credit card
When you open a new Mogo Prepaid Visa Card, you get an awesome free tool: the “Emergency Use Only” sticker for your existing credit card. It’s an easy reminder that will make you think twice before you just charge it. When you limit your charging, your bill will go down. It’s simple, and can be a fun reminder instead of a negative slap on the wrist.
Prepaid cards are powerful (and crazy easy). Get the benefits of a credit card and precisely set a spending limit with a Mogo Prepaid Visa Card. (No sticker reminder needed!)