The savings rate in America is pretty abysmal. Fifty-seven percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts, according to a 2017 GOBanking Rates survey.
Without savings, people can be forced to take on debt when they lose their job, get sick or have major car repairs. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to trick yourself into saving money, whether for retirement, college, a new car, vacation or a rainy day. Here are five:
Automatic Transfers Having money automatically moved from your paycheck to a retirement account, or from your checking account to savings, can be a painless way to save money without realizing you’re doing it. It’s called “Pay yourself first” and it is meant to pay into your retirement or other savings accounts so that you pay your future self first. Otherwise, it’s money you’re likely to spend.
Hide It Automatic transfers are one way to hide your money and keep it out of your sight so you don’t spend it. There are other ways to hide your savings, though you don’t want to hide it so well that you forget it exists.
Set up savings accounts at another bank than where your checking account is. This will help you avoid seeing the balance when you log in to your checking account. It also makes the savings account a little more difficult to get to since it’s not at the same institution as your checking account.
Sign up for paperless statements where your savings accounts are, such as retirement accounts, so you don’t see the balance too often. Check in a few times a year and set up text or email alerts for withdrawals or unusual activity so you aren’t a victim of fraud.
Digital Savings Did you ever have a container at home to put your spare change into? Apps on your phone can do the same thing. Apps such as Digit and Acorns transfer spare money from your checking account to a savings account, or invests it. Some banks round up debit card purchases and transfer the change to your savings account.
Bank Any Extra Money If you save money by canceling a cable TV subscription or other service, move that monthly savings into a savings account each month with an automatic transfer. Otherwise, the money will stay in your checking account and will likely be spent elsewhere.
For one-time windfalls, such as a tax refund, deposit it into your savings account or buy a one-year certificate of deposit. If you try to take out the money early from a CD, you’ll be charged a small penalty.
Did you recently get a raise at work? Bank that extra money in your paycheck, as well.
Stuff $1 Bills Away. Along with saving your coins at the end of the day, put aside every $1 bill you have in your pocket. Put them in a change jar and, at the end of the week or the end of the month, gather them all and deposit them into your savings account.
If you really want to save big, save your $5 and $10 bills.