Think you’ve run out of ways to save? Think again. While it might not seem possible to squeeze any more savings out of your budget, you can find new ways to save by changing some of your money habits. But as we all know, old habits die hard. So to instead of struggling to change your spending patterns cold turkey, here are four easy ways to trick yourself into saving more money.
1. Ignore Windfalls, Pay Raises & Bonuses
Whether it’s a $5 scratch-off or a big tax refund, whenever you come into contact with some unexpected dough, ignore it and put it away. It’s best to get into the mindset that unexpected money is best spent by planning for your future or paying off money owed. Before you know it, you’ll have that credit card bill or emergency fund finally taken care of!
2. Try Cash-Only
Sometimes it can be a little too tempting to go over budget when using a debit or credit card. Keeping yourself to a strictly cash-only lifestyle for a couple weeks is a great way to make sure you stay on budget. Just put your cards in a drawer or, if you don’t trust yourself to leave the cards in a drawer, freeze them in ice (yes, I am serious) so it will take a lot of work to use them. You should also look to remove your credit cards from any online accounts as well to keep yourself from splurging! This is especially important if you’re carrying a balance — which you are hopefully paying down. For extra motivation, you can see how your debt is affecting your credit scores by checking them, and keeping an eye on them as you pay off your balances. (You can get two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com, updated every 30 days.)
3. Take Five
The next time you’re about to make a big purchase, wait five days. Taking time to contemplate your purchases can help you avoid unnecessary spending on lavish items, or maybe even find a better deal online or at another store. Delaying your purchases can also give you time to really investigate the impact the purchase might have on your budget and whether or not it could keep you from reaching your financial goals. You may discover that your long-term financial security means more to you than having a nice TV for a couple of years.
4. Put It On Auto-Pilot
Instead of heading to the ATM or a bank branch to transfer money from checking to savings, why not bring your finances into the 21st century and have your bank or employer do it for you? Automating your savings, whether for retirement, an emergency fund, or any other long-term goal, can make it very easy to stay on track and ensure your goal will be reached! Plus, seeing a little less in your checking account each week will keep you honest and help you cut back on your overspending habits.
You don’t have to make more money to save more money. Saving efficiently really boils down to how you spend and manage your money. So the next time you find yourself falling a little short of your savings goals, look at the way you’re making your purchases and how transferring your money into a savings account. Just taking a closer look at your money habits can do wonders for your financial well-being.
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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.
Leslie Tayne, Esq., is a consumer and business debt-related attorney and advisor. She founded Tayne Law Group, P.C., concentrating solely in debt resolution and alternatives to filing bankruptcy for consumers, small business owners and professionals. In addition, Tayne Law regularly consults and advises on debt management related issues. Her book, Life & Debt, shows how learning to embrace your debt can help you not only like it, but love it. More by Leslie Tayne