By Farnoosh Torabi, REDBOOK
Granted, some of these tricks are a tad out there. But what's really insane is the fact that 60 percent of Americans don't have emergency savings. So try what works for money experts and smarty-pants REDBOOK readers!
1. CHARGE IT TO DISNEY
There's just no avoiding it: Kids always ask for candy in the checkout line. "Instead of caving, say, 'How about you guys wait 15 minutes until we get home for a snack, and that $3 will go in our Disney savings jar?' Works every time," says Beth Engelman of mommyonashoestring.com.
2. PAY YOURSELF EVERY TIME YOU DO LAUNDRY
Pretend your laundry room is coin-operated: Keep a can by the washer and dryer and "charge" yourself $2 (a standard laundromat fee) every time you do a load. When the can fills up with singles, bank it. If an appliance breaks unexpectedly, use this stash to help shoulder the cost.
3. MASTER THE GROCERY CHECKOUT
"At the grocery store, I organize the food on the conveyor belt at the register by price, with the most expensive items at the back. That way, I can keep an eye on the total and easily pluck the pricier stuff off if I'm nearing my budget," says Charli Penn-Watkins, 28, of Bloomfield, NJ.
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4. GO BIG WHEN YOU GO GREEN
Research shows that we think twice about spending when we keep one 20- or 50-dollar bill in our wallet compared with, say, a bunch of fives and ones. So when you withdraw cash at the bank, ask for your money in large denominations. The bigger the bill, the less likely you are to break it.
5. SLEEP ON IT
Institute a 24-hour wait period before purchasing anything on your "want" list. "It's amazing what a day can do to your desire level!" says REDBOOK's money expert, Beth Kobliner. "This rule has saved me thousands in what would have been regretted splurges over the years."
6. TEXT YOURSELF SAVING REMINDERS
A Dartmouth College study found that when people received a text message reminding them to save-poof!-they moved more money to their savings account. See if your bank has a free text-message service (many do) that can ping you updates on your account balance, or set your own alerts using your phone's calendar.
7. USE PLASTIC NOW; CASH IN LATER
Whenever possible, front friends money for group outings like meals or concert tickets. "I always offer to charge the total cost if I'm splitting it with friends," says Cris Desposito, 28, of Queens, NY. "Then I ask them to pay me back in cash, and I hide the money in my underwear drawer. It's like a secret savings account."
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.