Saving comes naturally for some, and not so much for others. Some people automatically save every spare penny, looking tirelessly for deals to help them save even more. These people have hefty savings accounts, and they never have to worry about needing extra cash for an emergency or unexpected opportunity.
Then there is the rest of the world. Those of us who struggle to save even a penny. It can be a real struggle to save when you feel like you don’t have enough to cover the things you actually have to pay for as it is.
How can you build a savings account if you don’t have anything to save?
These tricks to save are designed to help the non-saver find those small amounts to save and stop spending every spare penny on the small stuff. It might not seem like much, but even just a few cents here and there can add up.
Put it on Autopilot
The number one tip for starting and building a savings account is to put it on autopilot. If you have your check direct deposited, there are usually a couple of ways to do this.
First, check with your human resources department to see if you can automatically have part of your check sent to your savings account instead of your checking.
This could be as little as $5 or $10 per paycheck. If you never see it in your checking account, you will never miss it. Set it with HR and forget about it.
Consider this. If you have $10 per paycheck put into your savings account instead of your checking account, at the end of the year you will have $240 saved with no effort on your part other than settling the paperwork with HR.
If you do not have the option to have part of your check automatically put into savings, you will have to be a little more disciplined. If you can transfer an amount to savings through online banking, that is the easiest way.
Some online banking platforms even allow you to set up automatic transfers on certain dates, which is the next best option to having HR do it for you.
Make Good Use of Deals
How often do you buy something on sale, or use a coupon, and pat yourself on the back for saving money, except you never actually do anything with what you saved. Even a 50 cent coupon here and there can add up.
Try this. Pay attention to your deals, and actually put the amount saved into your savings account. Did you take advantage of a buy one get one free meal or free queso at a restaurant? Put the amount that you would have spent in savings. Use a coupon to order pizza? Do the same.
Related: 10 Money Saving Tips for Everyday Expenses
Check the Receipt
An even easier version of this is to check your receipts. Many stores will show you at the bottom how much you saved based on sales and coupons. Put the amount your receipt says you saved into your savings account.
There are a variety of mobile apps on the market that offer savings. Ibotta gives you coupons for watching short videos or taking quick polls on products. Then, when you buy groceries or other retail items, you scan your receipt to show you purchased the products for which you have a coupon.
Here is the glorious part. The money for the “coupon” is deposited into your Ibotta account. You can’t get it out until you reach $10. Do this over and over during the course of a year and you could have a nice chunk of change sitting in your Ibotta account at the end of the year if you don’t withdraw anything before then.
Withdraw it, put it in savings, and start over. This is a super easy trick to save a few bucks.
There are other apps that work similarly. Find them, download them, and use them all. You can earn money on the same product multiple times!
Related: The 4 Best Cash Back Apps for Online Shopping
Many warehouse stores offer gift cards to stores and restaurants at reduced prices. You may get $100 gift card for $79.99. If you do this, put that $20 that you saved in to you savings account, immediately.
If you have gift cards laying around that you do not intend to use, sell them. You can sell them on Facebook, Craigslist, or on a platform such as Rasie.com or Cardpool. A $20 gift card will easily sell for $15, which is $15 you didn’t have before. Put that in savings.
Related: Finding the Best Discounted Gift Cards
Go Old School
It may seem obvious, but throwing your pocket change in a jar each night is actually a brilliant savings tactic. Go through your car and purse or wallet every week as well and throw extra change from those places into the jar.
The key is to remember to take the jar to the bank at least twice a year, even if it isn’t full, and deposit the money into savings.
Find a Better Account
Find an account that offers incentives for not withdrawing money. Some pay as much as $5 per quarter or even more if you make no withdrawals.
Also, make sure you have the best interest rate possible. That is free money, and the more you save the more it will be.
When you are paid incentives or interest by your account, leave it alone.
If you have a budget, which you should, round up on how much you budget for each line item. If your car payment is $348.25, round up to $350. When you pay your car note, put the difference between it and what you budgeted into savings.
Of course, if you can, doing this on a larger scale will trick you into building your savings even faster.
When grandma sends you a check just because, or mom and dad give you money for your birthday, put half in savings. Keep half for fun, but make it a rule that half goes into savings every time.
Once you have a savings plan rolling, it will be tempting to just buy what you want when you want, because you have a savings account that has plenty of money in it. The wiser thing to do is to save that account for an unforeseen emergency.
There is one exception to this. If you have a wealth building opportunity come your way, it is great to have the cash in savings so that you can take advantage of it. You may have a chance to start your own business, partner with someone else, or invest in some way.
Emergencies and investment opportunities are the main things for which savings should be used. If you want to save up for bigger ticket items such as vacations, you can use these same tricks.