15 Ways to Trick Yourself into Saving Money

By Donna Try these tips that make squirreling away cash painless and even fun.Freedman

All the personal finance gurus (and your mother) have told you to save for future emergencies. But making it a reality-given that you're overdue for a haircut and food prices are rising fast-is easier said than done. Besides, many people have a mental block against putting away money, even when they have a few extra bucks. Click through to find ways you can fool yourself into saving without feeling the day-to-day pinch. Photo by Getty Images.

1. Groupon the necessities.

Whenever you see something you truly need (such as new glasses or teeth cleaning) on Groupon or Living Social, grab the deal. Then figure out what you would have spent full price, and bank the difference.


Related: Discover these 9 buys that are cheaper online.

2. Recruit online cheerleaders.

Rally your friends on Facebook or Pinterest to support your money-saving progress, then return the favor. Either start a group on Facebook to cheer one another on, or snap a pic of your stuffed cash jar and post it to Pinterest. The positive responses and encouragements will keep you focused on your goals.

3. Pick a magic word.

Saving for "the future" feels vague, so remind yourself of specific goals every time you shop online. Changing your passwords to something that reflects a dream (such as "CaSh4newCar" or "cOlleGe2020," the year your child will be applying) can make you think twice about impulse spending.

4. Make virtue pay
.
Tempted by those cute dangly earrings you don't need? Type the price into the ImpulseSave.com app-which links to your bank accounts-and poof! That amount is transferred from checking into savings.

5. Use the power of 4.

Every night, find all the bills in your wallet with serial numbers that end in 4 and put them in a jar. By the end of the week, you'll have a nice little roll of "extra" greenbacks. Deposit the money once a week to keep your mitts off it.

6. Set it and forget it.
Automate a transfer into savings on the day your paycheck is deposited. You will quickly learn to live on what's left. Start with something easy, such as one hour of salary per week (or per month, if times are tight).

7. Send yourself a bill.

Use a free site like Adaptu.com to set up a monthly "bill" from your savings account to yourself-even $10 a month. You're likely to pay yourself if you treat it as an invoice.

8. Complicate your life.

Make it inconvenient to get to your money. Choose a bank or credit union across town, and don't get a debit card. The extra hassle will make sure you only withdraw when it's worth the effort.

9. Play the numbers game.

Pick a number that represents an event, such as 10 for your 10-year class reunion next fall. Bank $10 a week until then, and apply the cash toward reunion expenses. This works for any event-$50 for your parents' 50th anniversary, for example.

10. Believe in real change.

Bank of America's "Keep the Change" program rounds up what you spend to the next dollar and transfers the difference into savings. Hint: When using your BofA card to pay for gas, pump an odd amount, like $37.02-that means 98¢ will go into savings.

11. Name your dollars.

Some banks, such as Ally and INGDirect, let you set up subaccounts and designate them by name, such as New Computer or Cash-Only Shopping Spree. A name that reminds you what you're saving for will deter you from dipping in.

12. Make bad habits pay.

A curse jar is a win-win: In fining yourself for your salty talk, your savings account gets an influx and you are motivated to start watching your language. If you're not a potty mouth, start a nail-biting jar, or an "I let myself get sucked into YouTube cat videos again" jar. Best-case scenario: You work toward triumphing over all your small sins while your savings account grows fatter.

Related: Learn about 9 bad habits that are actually good for you.

13. Make good deeds pay.

If you'd rather focus on the positive, create a "go-you!" jar. Each time you stick to a positive resolution, deposit at least a quarter. Examples: exercising, nixing a cigarette, getting creative about leftovers instead of breaking down and ordering pizza.

Related: Check out these 20 easy ways to burn more fat.

14. Picture your future.

Want to go to the Bahamas next year? Cut the palm-tree photo out of the brochure and rubber-band it to your credit card. If you're tempted to spend, you'll see the tree and think, "Spouse. Me. Sun. Drinks with parasols." No shoes are that cute.

15. Be a card shark.
Pick up discounted gift cards to places where you already shop, such as PetSmart or Regal Cinemas, use them like cash, then feed the piggy the 3% to 30% you saved. Cards for thousands of retailers are available, so search at GiftCardGranny.com.

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