Money & Career

5 ways to trick yourself into saving money

©iStockphoto.com/Yuri Arcurs Image by: ©iStockphoto.com/Yuri Arcurs Author: Canadian Living

Money & Career

5 ways to trick yourself into saving money

I remember telling my parents that I was good at saving money. My mother looked surprised (thanks, Mom!) and said, "It's nice to hear that." Mom had a point.

When I was younger, I wasn't actually good at saving money. If it was in my purse, it was spent. So as I got older and earned more, I realized I had to trick myself into saving money.


Whether you're saving for retirement or a big trip, here are five tricks for saving money -- you may not even realize you're saving!


1. Direct deposit
Direct deposit is a wonderful thing. You don't see the money, you don't miss the money and you don't spend the money. That's because the bank or your employer takes the money and deposits it before it even reaches your bank account. 


It's up to you to decide where that money goes. If you're saving for retirement, you might want to put it straight into an RRSP. Maybe you have a TFSA or just a regular savings account.

Regardless where it goes, the action of setting that money aside is done by someone else, leaving you to enjoy watching your savings without having to do a thing.

Liv Uhrig is a mature student who has gone back to school to study geography at Wilfrid Laurier and works part-time to supplement her schooling. She says, "I put an automatic transfer of $15 into my savings account every two weeks. It's not much and can be adjusted depending on income but I saved a lot of money that way." 


2. 'Bank the Rest'
Scotiabank's Bank the Rest program is one of the easiest ways to save a little bit of cash. Granted, you have to spend money to save some but if you're spending within your budget, then it's not a bad idea to bank the rest and create a little nest egg. 


It's simple. First, you must sign up for the program. Then, every time you pay by debit card, your purchase is rounded up to the nearest $1 or $5. The difference is placed in a Money Master savings account. So when you pay $10.95 for an item, it's rounded up to $11 and the five cents is saved for you. You're saving and you don't even realize it! 


Page 1 of 2 -- Discover three more great ways to trick yourself into saving money on page 2
3. Set short-term goals
Saving for retirement is crucial but for some people, retirement seems too far away to actually visualize. So instead of setting a goal of saving for retirement, why not set a series of short-term goals?

Try saving $200 a month for three months. Then take that $600 and put it in an account. Once you've accomplished that, set a new goal -- maybe $200 a month for four months. Keep challenging yourself by setting new goals and soon you'll have a nice lump sum. 


4. The old-fashioned coin jar
Sinead Dennehy, a Toronto-based law clerk says, "I throw my change into a coconut monkey I got from Florida ages ago. Because of the shape, I can't see how much is in there but I'm sure it's significant."

Another friend of mine also told me of a man who put all his change into a jar. She says, "I used to give him his change in loonies and toonies. He used the money to take his wife to Paris." 


5. Write it down
Gail Vaz-Oxlade has demonstrated this trick on her television show Til Debt Do Us Part. She had her clients create a budget, then divide the money into envelopes. They were only allowed to spend what was in the envelope on that specific item whether it was food, hydro or entertainment.

And according to Rosemary Rainha, an administrative assistant from Hamilton, ON, this approach really works. "I put money in envelopes for the specific item I'm buying, seal it and write what it is for, rather than leave the cash in my purse, so I am less likely to spend it on other things,” she says. 


These tips may help make saving for retirement easier. You may save enough for a special trip, renovations, a mortgage down payment or paying down debt. It doesn't matter you do with it but saving money is always a good habit and one that will benefit you for your whole life.

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