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Here are 8 ways to turn the task of saving money into a game—one that you can win!
1. Have a “no spend” month.
First of all, we don’t mean that you stop paying your rent or electricity bill. Then you’d be out of a home, in the dark, and have much bigger fish to fry than playing our little saving game. Don’t do that. Remember to take care of the Four Walls (food, clothing, shelter and utilities, and transportation).
Instead, fill in the blank here: This month, we aren’t going to spend any money on _________. That could be entertainment, restaurants, or anything you want. Then, take the budgeted money you saved and drop it in your savings!
2. Put a sticky note in your wallet.
In big, bold letters write “Do I really need this?” on a sticky note, scrap of paper, or index card, and keep it in your wallet. You can even try wrapping it around your debit card. Just make sure you stick it somewhere visible. The idea here is to get you to see it before you make a purchase. We all need that still, small voice in our head (or wallet) to keep us in line.
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3. Save all your loose change or dollar bills in a big jar.
Is it flashy? Nope. Is it an ode to the water jug of coins your dad saved in the den back in the 1980s? Maybe. But it doesn’t really matter as long as you’re saving money.
Every time you have to break a dollar or find loose change in your pockets, dump those extra coins into your jar. You can even start a competition between your family or friends to see who can save up $20 first!
4. Increase your savings by $1 each week.
This is a really good one to start at the beginning of the year. You can start out slow with $1 on the first week of the year, $2 on the second week of the year, and so on. If you keep that up all year long, by December 31, you’ll have saved $1,378! Happy New Year to you, indeed!
5. Get competitive.
Who can resist a good challenge? Face-off against your spouse, sibling or friend and see who can save up $200 first. Or, set a date as a finish line and see how much money you’ve each saved by that point. May the best saver win!
6. Get the kids in on saving money too!
Are your kids begging you for a new toy every time you go to the store? Of course they are. Instead of being quick to buy it for them, encourage them to save up for that big-ticket item they want.
This means finding small ways for them to do things around the house and giving them a commission for completing the work. Say you’ll pay them 50 cents for every room they vacuum. Then sit back, relax and watch them save up while you enjoy the fruit of their labor (hello, mess-free carpets).
You can make it a full-on sibling competition too! Let the kids save up for a while and offer a small prize at the end of the game for whoever saved the most! Be sure the kids can actually see their savings as it adds up. Our Smart Saver Bank or a clear jar is much better than a cute piggy bank that doesn’t show how much money they’ve saved.
7. How far can you stretch a dollar?
Can you and your spouse go out to eat for under $5? Can you each spend only $10 on your upcoming anniversary? How long can you make that full gas tank last? Make it a challenge to see how far you can stretch your dollar. You might be surprised at how creative you can get!
8. Do a pantry challenge.
Ready, set, don’t buy any more groceries! See how long you can make the food in your pantry last and think outside the box with the meals you make!
Ready, Set, Start Saving Money!
A word to the wise: don’t get too carried away with the fun and games of saving money that you forget to be intentional with the money you save. And don’t let the money hang out in your bank account and tempt you to spend it! Put the hard-earned money you saved in a separate savings account, sinking fund, or toward your next goal in the Baby Steps! Now get to work saving!
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