Money sav­ing ideas for the year ahead

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - BUSINESS - Con­tact Ellen Phillips at con­sumer­watch@times­freep­ress.com

While it’s not yet Jan­uary, it’s close enough to the new year to be­gin in­cor­po­rat­ing money sav­ings strate­gies. Ac­cord­ing to AARP’s Bul­letin, folks can save quite a bit with­out even notic­ing any “new” money in your pocket.

Build your nick­els. On Day 1, start putting aside one nickel and in­crease each sub­se­quent day by the same amount.

For ex­am­ple, Day 2, put a dime in the piggy bank, Day 3 make it fif­teen cents and so on. The most you’ll ever put aside is $18.25 on Day 365, in which event you’ll have saved a sub­stan­tial $3,339.75.

Hang on to those Lin­colns. My sis­ter grabs every five-dol­lar bill she can get her hands on and stashes it. When she reaches $100 in fives, she de­posits the amount in a spe­cial se­niors ac­count. (I’ve tried this trick my­self but don’t al­ways have enough con­trol to hang on to Mr. Lin­coln with­out spend­ing him/them! Peo­ple tougher than I can re­ally make a mint by hoard­ing this pres­i­dent.) Con­tinue pay­offs. Once you’ve paid off a credit card, car pay­ment or the like, don’t stop pay­ing the amount. Just pay your­self in a sav­ings ac­count. It’s amaz­ing how much money we can save us­ing this meth-

with­out chang­ing our life­styles. The same holds true for any bonus or pay in­crease.

Ne­go­ti­ate deals. Cable TV, car in­sur­ance, gym mem­ber­ship, and so forth are all ne­go­tiable. Then take that sav­ings amount from each com­pany and de­posit the funds each month into your spe­cial sav­ings ac­count.

Di­rect de­posit works. Per­haps most read­ers al­ready use this prac­tice; how­ever, the tech­nique can take a step fur­ther. Take part of your pay­check – say $50 – and di­rect de­posit it to an­other bank or credit union, one you don’t nor­mally use nor have an ATM card. Since you’ve made it dif­fi­cult to with­draw th­ese as­sets, the sav­ings will quickly add up, es­pe­cially the more we can save monthly.

Take ad­van­tage of “Keep the Change.” If any of you read­ers are Bank of Amer­ica cus­tomers, join their great pro­gram. “Keep the Change” rounds up your debit card pur­chases to the near­est dol­lar and then trans­fers it into sav­ings. For ex­am­ple, if you buy a cup of McDon­ald’s cof­fee for (with added tax) $1.10, BOA with di­rect the dif­fer­ence to a sav­ings ac­count and you’ll save 90 cents.

Save dif­fer­ently with coupons. Not only do savvy shop­pers save money at the cash reg­is­ter, but if we also save that same amount to de­posit in our sav­ings, it’ll be money we don’t miss but can add up pretty quickly. For ex­am­ple, this week I saved $3.55 in coupons; that same $3.55 should join other dough in my spe­cial ac­count.

Go back to col­lege. For one week every three months, spend like you did in col­lege. If you couldn’t af­ford that $10 lip­stick or $125 con­cert ticket back then, put that money aside now. (Forego credit cards, too.) Find free en­ter­tain­ment, scour su­per­mar­ket ads and eat cheaply. You’ll be amazed how much of a stash you’ll sal­vage.

Ellen Phillips

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