Saving money–especially when you don’t have a lot–is always difficult. Most of my bankruptcy clients think that there’s no way they can save any money. But there are a number of ways to do it that are pretty painless and can pile up the cash quickly.
1. Start a “Loose Change Savings Account”.
Thar’s gold in them thar…seat cushions? Pockets? Washing machine?
It’s amazing how much change we get. Buy a cup of coffee, or a sandwich, or anything that we pay cash for, and we’re likely to get back change. While individually of small value, those pennies (and nickels and dimes and quarters) can add up. What do you do with it now? You may keep change to use the next day, or it may end up just “disappearing”. Instead of letting your change go to waste, keep a jar or container wherever you empty your pockets when you get home from work, and toss the change in it. When the jar is full, count it out, roll it, and deposit it into a no-fee savings account at your bank. (Do not use CoinStar or other machines that charge a fee for counting it.) You’ll be surprised how much money you can save–the total is anything but spare change.
2. Get a Reward for Cleaning.
Don’t think that you have anything, but your house is still a mess? Remember the old adage: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Go through your “stuff” and look at what you haven’t used for a while and don’t really need any more. The suit or dress you no longer fit into or haven’t worn for years? The bread maker that you used to love but haven’t baked anything in since 2000? Tools, ladders, clothing, homewares, all can make you money. Set up a yard sale, post an ad to Craigslist, or start a bidding war on eBay. Not only will you be putting money in the bank, your garage and home will be far less cluttered.
3. Track Your Money to the Penny.
I had a client several years ago whose budget showed that she had “excess income,” that is, income over expenses, of $185.00 per month. We went over the numbers again and again, and she couldn’t figure out where the “missing” money was. So I asked her to get a small spiral pad to put in her purse in which she would write down every penny she spent. Literally. Every single penny.
Three days later, I got a call from her. “I found it! I found it!”
Every morning, 7 days a week, she stopped at Starbucks to buy a latte and a scone for breakfast. With tax, it was $6.10 a day, $42.70 a week and $185.00 a month. As with collecting loose change, individually, a coffee and a scone don’t cost a lot. But when you total the amounts that you spend over time, it adds up quickly.
Track your money–you may be surprised at how much you spend on little things that collectively over time turn into a big thing.
4. Watch Your “Splurges.”
Finding unnecessary spending in your life can really save big dollars. In the case of the “Starbucks lady,” it amounted to $2,220 a year, just for coffee and scones. Put that money to a better use. Stop your daily Starbuck’s visits, don’t pay for the smart phone apps — and whenever you’re tempted, put those few bucks into your savings jar instead. You might be stuck with Candy Crush Saga a bit longer, but it’s a small price to pay for the savings and the peace of mind.
Bankruptcy Law Network, LLC, 6502 S. 6th Street, Klamath Falls, OR 97603, USA