13 (Clever) Ways to Save More Money!

gold dollar coins stackedI think it’s really funny/cool how we all do things that forces us to save money sometimes. Like we can’t do it without tricking ourselves or something ;)

This new blog I started reading – Master the Art of Saving – talks about stashing $1 coins in her house (the gold ones, which she refers to as “pirates gold” haha….) and how storing them in a box high up in her closet keeps her from spending them! Plus the fact she just really LOVES the way they look, haha… They’re pretty dope.

I find myself doing stuff like that too. I have wads of cash both in my safe, and my currency album (naturally), but also outside in my car’s console. It just makes me feel safe! And when I start saving up cold hard cash like that, it gets even harder for me to unload it later. Like, once I hit X amount in “real” money, the odds of it going anywhere gets cut down dramatically. If I were a smart man, it would probably serve me well switching over to a 100% cash system, haha… it’s just I really don’t have the patience for it ;)

Something else I realized I was doing was ONLY investing money in my retirement accounts – never outside of them. At first it was mainly for the tax benefits, but then it actually forced me to leave that money alone! There’s no dipping into it or cashing out cuz I know I’d be taxed up the wazoo even if I dared. So when it’s invested, it’s invested all the way. And the beauty is I can still sell crap stocks and anything else I want to do too! The money just remains in the respective accounts instead of in my pockets. Pretty much like a normal brokerage account, except I don’t get taxed on it (yet) and I can’t take the money out and spend it on anything. It keeps me in check.

Do you guys do anything like that? Find ways to force yourself to save better? I thought it would be cool to see what other people were doing online, so I asked around on Twitter and Facebook, and got quite a few tips in return :) Maybe you’ve tried some?

  1. @Talar13Whenever I intentionally save money, I move it out of my checking acct. Ex: if I save $15 using coupons, I then transfer $15 into my savings acct!
  2. @1bets1 – Every payday I make a deposit, but record $100 less. It adds up.
  3. @JessOtwell – After a non-essential purchase, I always put 50% of that cost into savings. Can’t afford to? Then I don’t buy it!
  4. @JBird_1205 – I buy a roll of quarters every paycheck & put them in the change jar.
  5. @MoneyTalksCoachIf I get paid in cash, I stash it away & don’t count it as ever being received.
  6. @BoomerandEcho – I make a forecast of income + expenses for a whole year, then funnel any unspent money from any category into savings.
  7. @jopinion– I have a bank account that I have no debit cards or checks for- I call it the fun fund.
  8. @inexpensively – I use an online savings account specifically so I don’t have easy access to the funds
  9. Jen – I set up auto-transfers every weekday of $1 & $2 through ING.
  10. Phil Villarreal – I’d say the best way is to use personal finance software to make yourself arduously catalog and break down every purchase. For instance, an $80 trip to Target would mean a mandatory 10-minute endeavor in which you have to break down every item into its specific category, making you think twice before tossing random products into your basket on the next trip.
  11. Adam Piplica – Hide money in a non-online bank that you have to actually walk too – that way you can’t easily transfer it back into your checking account!

At the end though, it really doesn’t matter *how* you end up saving money, just that you DO. If you find a way that works like crazy, run with it! And if not, keep on trying new things until something sticks. Sometimes you just gotta find that rhythm.

Have some of your own tricks to share with us? Drop ’em below so we can all learn from ya!

(Image courtesy of Jen)

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  1. Demitri May 17, 2011 at 7:04 AM

    J, I do the same thing with my investing accounts. I think its just easier to consider that stuff untouchable, with one extra layer in between and the threat of taxes which we all hate! Love the idea of stashing money around the house…i’m pretty sure I’d lose it though. :)

  2. Allison May 17, 2011 at 8:49 AM

    Automatic transfers to ING are the big thing. I have trained myself to accept that that money comes out of my account two times each month and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. (I know you actually can stop it, but I don’t allow myself to know that.)

    But a small thing I do that adds up pretty quickly is whenever I get a $5 bill, I stash it in a different part of my wallet. I have a bowl of fives that had grown into a few hundred dollars in a couple of months. I rarely notice the $5 when it goes and they add up fast.

  3. Katie May 17, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    I have a savings account in my hometown (17 hours away) that I send money to each month. I am sure I have the account number and routing number and stuff somewhere (probably where all the other *important* paperwork is filed) but its such a pain in the butt to get any of the money out of that account, it just stays there.

    To be honest, I couldn’t even tell you how much is in there right now. The statements go to my mom’s house, and she sends them all to me like once a year or two. LOL.

    She checks the statements to make sure everything is on the up and up so it stays out of sight, out of mind for me.

  4. No Debt MBA May 17, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    I definitely max out my retirement accounts – the numbers are just so much bigger without having to pay taxes on it! We also have a coin jar for change and put any “found” money like yard sale proceeds in it too.

  5. Echo May 17, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    Some awesome tips and tricks here, it’s amazing how we come up with these creative ways just to get us to do something so simple.

    Thanks for including my tip!

  6. Viviana May 17, 2011 at 9:18 AM

    I love Jen’s idea of transferring very small amounts into an ING account. Squirrelling away tiny amounts would be almost painless. In the past, I used to do a monthly deposit to my ING account but since I am freelance and get paid irregularly, I would find myself short so I cancelled it. Time to reinstate, weekly tiny deposits.

  7. Jay May 17, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    It really seems to me that almost every one of these ideas requires that one trick one’s self into saving money. I don’t go that route at all. Either I save it knowingly, or I don’t consider is saved. Tricking myself to save is silly.

  8. Brian May 17, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    We direct deposit money right off the top, into savings. We then online xfer any money not used in the monthly budget (at the end of the month) into savings.

    Anytime I get cash from a non-main-income source, I wallet it, and then it sits there in case I run into a cash-only emergency.

  9. J. Money May 17, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    @Demitri – That’s cuz we know what’s best, yo! Glad to see another one workin’ it out like that :)
    @Allison – Now that’s an idea. I don’t think I’d miss them either, I like that :)
    @Katie – Hahaha, now THAT is funny. It’s like you get a nice surprise every 6 months! :) I read a book once where the guy in it did that too – only the bank was like 30 blocks away. If I recall correctly, after like 5 years straight he had THOUSANDS saved up and used it for a down payment on his first place. It’s prett amazing how some of this stuff really adds up. Just gotta keep making it a habit!
    @No Debt MBA – For sure – if all you do is max out your retirement accounts ever year, you will be SOOOOOO well off down the road!! I know a few people that do just that, and nothing else. They make a bit more than what I’m used to, but that $20k+ on top of last year’s $20k+ and the previous year’s $20k+ add up to a lot of pluses! Haha… Keep workin’ it, yo.
    @Echo – Haha, right? Cuz we’re sneaky like that ;) We’re too smart for ourselves!
    @Jay – Haha… you probably have more willpower than most of us ;) To be honest, I don’t care how someone ends up saving as long as they DO save! That’s key for sure.
    @Brian – That works! Especially since you have a good budget in place – that always helps keep you on track ;)

  10. Cassie May 17, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    I wish I was as clever with my savings as some of the suggestions on here! Mine are decidedly low brow. My emergency savings is in a different bank than my day to day banking account, so it’s more difficult to take money from savings for spending.

    Currently my coin jar is a 4L plastic milk jug with a slot cut in the lid. At the end of the year I’m going to dump it out, roll it all, and make a lump sum payment on my mortgage with it. (Take THAT debt! MUAHAHAHAHA!)

  11. JBird_1205 May 17, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    Gah! I can’t believe I made the list! Thanks for putting me on the list J$.

    I started the coin jar because many, many moons ago when my mom got laid off after having my youngest sister, it was the 5 water cooler jugs of coins and $1 bills that kept our family afloat until she found a new gig. That always stuck with me.

  12. Jen May 17, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    It’s not rolls of quarters, but I do take out 2 rolls of dimes every paycheck and feed them to my piggy; He gets so hungry. Thanks J. Money :-)

  13. Jenna May 17, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    So funny how we sometimes have to trick ourselves into saving! I didn’t realize so many people had coin jars in this age of credit cards…

    I keep it simple – I make sure my spending budget totals less than my actual income each month, so assuming I’m not WAY off base, I automatically have extra I can put into savings. And if I come in under budget and can put in extra – even better!

    Plus, having specific savings goals is a great motivator – I’m much more aware of what I’m buying when I can think of something specific I’ll have to give up by making a non-necessary purchase. Right now I’m focusing on paying off student loans, so the thought of having to make an extra loan payment beyond my goal really motivates me not to spend!

  14. Evan May 17, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    We use cash envelopes (we are big Dave Ramsey fans) for everything so any coin change we have left over it goes immediately in the piggy bank. We also have a wine bottle that we randomly stick $1 and $5 bills into. When the bottle is crammed full of bills we break it open and get big bills from the bank and use it for vacations, eating out, etc. Sometimes there can be $150 in the bottle and $80 in the piggy bank!

  15. SonyaAnn May 17, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    I just wanted to stop over and say thank you so much for the $25 amazon gift card that I won at Donna Freedman’s site.
    Now I’m off to read a few of your articles!

  16. Amy Saves May 17, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    I auto transfer $25 a month to my savings account. However, I should be doing that to ING since my savings account at B of A earns next to nothing on interest.

  17. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager May 17, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    I still pay my parent’s “rent”. I don’t live at home anymore, but they put my “rent” money into a high yield savings account for my future home. It’s money I can tap into later when I need it.

  18. Allison May 17, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    Every time I receive a $5 bill, I stash it away. It adds up very quickly.

  19. LB May 17, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    I do the same as Allison, but with $1 bills and any change I find. It used to add up quicker when I used cash more.

    I also randomly transfer extra money to savings, especially if I didn’t go out to eat, or didn’t spend a lot on something or just feeling like transferring $5. It’s the equivalent of impulse spending, but with savings and makes you fell better ;)

  20. South County Girl May 17, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    For starters, I dump all my change into a piggy bank when I get home so I’m not tempted by the vending machines the next day at work. When money gets tight, i’ll roll the coins and deposit them at the bank. Sometimes it helps cover an unexpected bill.

    I also get cash rewards on my credit card… Sometimes i’ll let the money sit there until I can get a check for $50… and i’ll take that $50 out in cash… in a $50 bill… It’s a LOT harder to spend because I don’t want to break it.

    Lately we have been trying to use CASH for fun purchases because its a lot harder to part with than swiping a credit card.

  21. Barb Friedberg May 17, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    We don’t consider side hustle money or investment income to spend (at least not too much). Most of it gets reinvested and/or saved.

  22. Yana May 17, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    We use multiple checking accounts, and switch which one(s) get spent out of now and then. Each has a purpose, like one is called “The Car Fund”. It receives a Direct Deposit, but doesn’t get spent out of unless it is for the car. There is a point where a regular checking account might seem to be too “full” (LOL – makes it sound like we have big bucks ;) ) – at that point, money is transferred either for everyday needs or major saving.

    I find it fun to play money games, but only if I am making the rules :P

  23. J. Money May 17, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    @Cassie – Hahahahhaah that is all kinds of awesome. You put it to ’em!!
    @JBird_1205 – Awwww, that makes your tip even better :) Thanks for sending it over to us!
    @Jen – Haha, whatever whets your wistle?
    @Jenna – That works :) It reminds me of my friend who used to measure “time” with “cigarettes!” haha… whenever he’d come to meet me somewhere, he’d go “Cool, see ya in 3 cigs” which meant like 15 mins or something. However long it took to smoke 1 cig would = that amount of time ;)
    @Evan – Or do you break it open and then spend it on MORE wine bottles? Hehe…
    @SonyaAnn – Hey, cool! Welcome aboard my friend! :)
    @Amy Saves – Also, B of A = Bleh! haha… my opinion, of course ;)
    @Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – Oooooh I like that! I hope I’m that smart when I get some kids running around later.
    @Allison – Yup! I like that one.
    @LB – Haha… at first I thought you said you “randomly xfer money” into your account, like you just pick a number and go with it! haha… actually sounded pretty exciting!!
    @South County Girl – Oh man, vending machines are the worst. They def. suck down your coins!! But also, they’re kinda my favorites too ;)
    @Barb Friedberg – I bet you save a TON that way, too!
    @Yana – Haha, amen to that. When YOU’RE the boss it makes everything better ;) Have a great week, my friend.

  24. bleu May 18, 2011 at 12:38 AM

    I like 1bets1 idea of not recording $100 of deposits and Jen’s idea of saving $1 per day. Good post.

  25. Kelly May 18, 2011 at 6:49 AM

    Love this post! I even added Master the Art of Saving to my favorites, along with Budgets are Sexy, of course! :)

  26. CityFlips May 18, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    I have a change jar, but since I use debit/credit most of the time it doesn’t get very full very fast. Otherwise, I’m pretty traditional. Just put a chunk of change in the savings account every month to build an emergency fund. I have a second savings account because I’m saving up for getting my wisdom teeth out. How fun is that? Not.

  27. Andrea Travillian May 18, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    I love how piles of coins add up, I just last week took our coin box into the bank. It ended up being $115 added to our savings. I also put as much of our savings into retirement accounts also. Plus, right before I complete an online purchase I search for discount code and the name of the company to see what I can find – amazing how much you can save!

  28. J. Money May 18, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    @bleu – Those are some pretty good ones :)
    @Kelly – Good! I think you’ll really like her site, I’m hoping many go over and check it out :)
    @CityFlips – Haha… it’ll be fun for about 2 hours when you’re all medicated up! ;) Just don’t keep any video cameras around our you’re liable to land on YouTube.
    @Andrea Travillian – YES!!! I do that too, and it REALLY does save money :) Usually around $5 for 2 mins of searching around online. Good one.

  29. Marie at familymoneyvalues May 18, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    We do seperate checking accounts too, one for daily living expenses, one for emergency fund, one for investing funds, etc.

    Once, long ago, I used to wait to pay the bills until right before they were due, but I would subtract the amount due out of the checkbook register to make sure we didn’t spend the money before paying the bill!!

    We spend cash (because for us it is harder to part with) on things like meals out and entertainment.

  30. Yana May 18, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    Marie, that deducting you do is exactly what we do. Always did that too, in the days that we used credit cards – we deducted the charge from the check register right after the purchase. Now, as an example, we have a gas cardlock membership where you get billed monthly for gas purchases. I deduct the charge the day I get the gas, and with online bill pay, I deduct the day that I set up the particular bill. Also, I chronically pay utilities late, on purpose. I often wait for a shut-off notice, since they send two of those before it would actually happen. I don’t pay the bill often, but I always pay it in the end.

  31. J. Money May 18, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    @Marie at familymoneyvalues – Oh man, I used to do that too but then I’d forget or something would come up and I’d miss my due dates! Now I usually pay the same day I get notice that something’s due. I don’t hold onto my money as long, but I can rest assured it’s all paid up and I can forget about it and wipe it from my brain. Whatever works though! :)

    @Yana – You would give me a heart attack! Haha…

  32. Save-a-Lot May 19, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    My father taught me this trick – whenever he got a raise/bonus he would invest that money either in his retirement account or some other a/c that would be taxed heavily if he withdrew too early. That meant that he only used the cost-of-living increase and put the rest away as though he had never received it. I do the same, just divert the extra money to an IRA every month. My dad built his home after retirement and finished paying for it in just 10 years! Someday I hope to do the same.

  33. J. Money May 19, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    YES! Brilliant. My dad taught us the same :) Only back then we didn’t listen! haha… I think that’s a very very smart thing to do, esp if you get in the habit of it early on.

  34. Kevin Matthews May 21, 2011 at 11:01 PM

    Automatic saving I feel is the best way to save hands down. At one point I used to collect $5 bills and that was a powerful saving technique as well. You’d be surprised how that would add up.

  35. Prosklitiria May 22, 2011 at 9:52 AM

    One little trick that work for me. I hope to inspire some of the readers:
    This trick actually work if you have a small business or if you are a freelancer but for me works fine and to be honest this trick was the second most important thing in my financial success until now.
    So every time i make an expanse in my business buying for example material or products to resell, i keep track what i pay for every provider. Then when i resell and get the money immediately split the money for every provider. If for example i resell something for 20$ and this product take (more or less) 3$ for one provider and 4.5$ for another i immediately add this amount to “virtual accounts” inside my main bank account.
    At the end of the month i just send money to providers using those “virtual accounts”.

  36. J. Money May 23, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    @Kevin Matthews – For sure, if it’s anything like saving $1 bills like I used to, then I can only imagine!
    @Prosklitiria – Hmmm… kinda confused. You pay the providors twice? One up front, and one after each sale? or is that second one pre-paying for more materials/products? Either way, if the system is working nicely for ya, keep it up!! :)

  37. Tracey June 1, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    I know I’m repeating some folks but (1) never spend a $5 bill…they go into the change jar (a huge water jug that I have paper around so we can’t see inside). $10’s are too big and $1’s are too small. (2) Never give exact change…use bills and change nightly also goes into water jug. These 2 tips really add up. We also transfer $50 every 2 weeks from ING chking to ING savings, and have one “fun money” account for impulse purchases, so we don’t feel deprived. If not enough in that account…no fun!

  38. J. Money June 1, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    Love that “fun money” fund! That’s an important one :) Also covering your money jar so you can’t see what’s in there! haha… that would def. keep me from raiding it – I’m too curious ;)

  39. Dani December 25, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    One great tip I use to save money is the dime trick. Since dimes are small in size, a jar filled with dimes actually amounts to more money than a jar of quarters. This in mind, I save up all dimes I get in a big piggy bank. I have enough money to go on a little vacation every year from this simple trick. =)

  40. J. Money December 27, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    Nice! I like that :) I’ve always loved the good ol’ dime, but you’re totally right they fill up a jar much better! Thanks for sharing, my friend :) Have a blessed new year!

  41. BMY April 15, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Whenever I need something discretionary. I pretend I I don’t have the money to buy it. It forces me to use creative solutions so solving a problem and if I do end up spending money, its significantly less than I expected.

  42. J. Money April 15, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    There you go, that works! And I bet you always find a way to scratch up some extra money for it too if you really want whatever it is ;)

  43. Anna April 18, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    I keep a $50 in my wallet and “forget” it’s there. Any time I get cash for something or a little small check, I cash it and stick in the back of my wallet. When it reaches $20, I change the smaller bills for a $20 bill. When it gets up to $50, I change it for a $50 bill. When it gets to $100, it goes into savings. So I always have some cash, but the bill is big enough that it hurts to break it.
    When we were paying off our cars, we would put every extra cent we could find on the principal. Once we paid one off, we applied the payment for the now paid off vehicle onto the principal of the one owing. Once we paid the cars off, we did the same thing to the mortgage on the house. We now have no debt and the amounts we were paying for the house and cars goes into savings and retirement accounts. The same technique can be used to get yourself out of debt and into savings, whatever your debt may be. It takes discipline and being willing to live below your means. The peace of mind of knowing you owe no one and have a good amount of money in the bank and for retirement is worth every bit of effort.

  44. J. Money April 19, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Heck yeah! A damn good way to live your financial life, way to go :) Very inspirational! I might even blog about this later, hehe… thanks for sharing!

  45. Trevor April 21, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    First 10% off regular gross pay goes into savings, all gross overtime and double time goes into savings.

  46. Lena April 22, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    Any time I come into a $10 or $20 bill in my wallet (like when I only spend $80 of a $100 grocery shopping budget or something like that), I take it and put it in my super secret hiding place so my husband can’t see it….and it’s eventually gonna fund his dream of building a Cobra kit car. ;) Luckily, he never reads blogs, so it’s not like he’s gonna see that I wrote this here! hahahahaha I’ve only been doing this for about 3 months and already have several hundreds in “lost” money stashed away for him.

  47. J. Money April 23, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    @Trevor – I love it! Great way to manage that money, way to go :)
    @Lena – Woahhh so cool!!! You’re the best wife ever! Haha…. rock on :)

  48. Lena April 24, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    @J.Money – Tell me about it. ;=)

  49. Aly July 29, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    I guess it’s like a “virtual coin jar.” Every time we write a check or do an online transaction, we round it up to the nearest $10 in the checkbook register. You could also round it up to the nearest dollar or $5 increment if you do lots of transactions or if you’re really strapped. So, for ex, if we go to the grocery and the bill is $86.45, we record it as spending $90. This is good for two reasons:
    1) it makes book keeping SO MUCH EASIER
    2) Whatever “overage” is actually in the acct at the end of the month beyond what we think we have based on the register, we transfer to savings. (So the $3.55 in the above example would become savings)

  50. J. Money July 30, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    YES! I LOVE IT!!! I can only imagine how much easier that makes it with accounting, haha… though, I must admit I don’t know many people who still use a checkbook ;) You’re rockin’ it old school style!

  51. Jenny January 4, 2014 at 10:44 PM

    I wanna add that u should always use price comparison engines online.
    Just recently I flew around the world for $1300 from kayak (NYC to Hawaii to Taiwan to Moscow to Spain and then back to NYC).
    And then I found auto insurance coverage for just $33/month from 4autoinsurancequote.

    So, I think shopping around for stuff online is a great way to save.

    1. J. Money January 6, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      Nice work! That’s one helluva adventure.

  52. Kinsmen1968 March 6, 2014 at 7:39 AM

    I transfer $100 every month in to an offshore bank account with a 2% interest rate, which compounds bi-annually.

    1. J. Money March 6, 2014 at 7:51 AM

      Nice! Do you report your earnings on taxes though?

  53. Adrienne April 29, 2016 at 1:38 PM

    I set up accounts for specific yearly spending. For instance, if I know I want to allot $240 for my daughters birthday in December, I create a savings account transfer $20 a month in that account which will total $240 by end of year

    1. J. Money May 2, 2016 at 5:20 PM

      Smart idea :)

  54. AngelC September 2, 2018 at 8:07 PM

    What I do to save is I have a $10 quarter roller with the bottom taped shut and whenever the extra money after bills in my wallet doesn’t end with a five or a zero like say I have $13 in my wallet I take that $3 to give myself a amount ending with either a 5 or a 0 in this case a zero and put that $3 in that roller until that roller is full then when it’s full instead of counting that money I put it in my savings and start again. It’s not very good but it works.

    1. J. Money September 3, 2018 at 7:06 AM

      Love it!! Whatever works! :)