One Simple Secret to Saving More Money

One Simple Secret to Saving More Money

We all would like a bit more money in our savings account, right?  Money to pay off our mortgage more quickly.  To get out of debt.  To take a vacation.  To pay for the kids’ college.  To be able to retire without living solely on rice and beans for ten years.

 

What’s the secret to saving more money?

 

Simple:  Have a specific goal in mind.

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I know, it’s too easy, right?  But trust me, goal-setting is powerful.  Right now, is the money in your savings account designated for a particular expense?  Why not?

 

We have found that earmarking money for something specific helps motivate us to save more.  Let me give you an example.

 

Each summer our family’s income drops dramatically.  My husband is a graduate student, and his funding stops during the summer months.  While I am still earning money from my teaching job, it is simply not enough to pay all of our bills and living expenses.

 

In the past, we have used credit cards to help us through the summer.  This year, however, we had committed to paying off our debt, and we refused to add any more to our credit card bill.

 

Back last October, we sat down together and examined our finances.  We decided that we would need $700 for each summer month (June, July, and August) to be able to pay all bills and live comfortably.  That is $2100!  That number seemed almost unreachable, but we committed to trying.

 

Imagine our excitement when we had saved that much by the end of March!

 

Here’s how we did it:

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Saved all “Bonus” Money

We decided to view any “bonus” money as money earmarked for our summer fund.  This included:        –                         -$500 check I receive each December from my employer for having an advanced degree

-$200 gift at Christmas from family

-$500 from our tax refund

 

It was tempting to view this money as fun spending money.  However, since we were committed to our financial goal, we immediately put it in our summer account.

 

Picked Up Extra Work

I am a full-time teacher, and my school asks for staff to tutor in the afterschool program.  This program pays $25 an hour, so I decided to work two hours a week.  From this relatively small time commitment, I earned $700!  There were many days when I was exhausted by the end of the school day, but I knew our goal of a debt-free summer was worth the effort.

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Saved Money Left Over from our Budget

Our family has a written weekly budget that we keep a close eye on.  We have decided how much we will spend each week on groceries, household items, gas, fun, etc.  We actually have a chart on our refrigerator where we record everything that we spend in those categories each day.  Therefore, it is easy to know if we are over or under our budget at the end of the week.

 

My husband and I decided to take any money left over from our budget and transfer it to our summer fund.  For example, we budget $70 per week on groceries for our family of five.  If I spent $65 one week, we moved $5 into our summer account.  To help save even more money on our groceries, I did as much research as I could–learning a ton from Crystal Paine’s Grocery University Course–to drastically reduce our grocery bill.

 

I wasn’t sure if it was worth it to save a few dollars here and there, but I decided to give it a try.  I’m glad I listened to my husband, because we saved over $200 this way!

 

It was an amazing feeling when we realized that we had reached our goal.  It made us realize that by simply focusing on one specific goal, we could save more money than we could have imagined!

 

What could this mean for you?  What would you like to save for in the short-term?  Pick a concrete item:  a new washing machine, your Christmas budget, an anniversary getaway weekend, paying off a credit card balance.  Then, focus your efforts on throwing any money you can toward that goal.  Every little bit helps!  Tuck the money away into an envelope, a savings account, or somewhere else that you can access it easily.  Finally, celebrate when you reach your goal.  You did it!

 

Use the momentum from this victory to propel you to an even bigger goal:  paying cash for a car, paying for your family vacation, paying off your student debt.  By designating that money toward your savings goal, you’ll find yourself saving more than you thought possible!

 

Have you ever saved up for a specific goal?  What was it?  How did you do it?  I’d love to hear about it!

 

(This post contains affiliate links.  Please see my disclosure policy for more information.)

(Linked to Thrifty Thursday, Small Victories Sunday, Share the Wealth, Tips and Tricks, Frugal Fridays.)

 

 

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11 thoughts on “One Simple Secret to Saving More Money

  1. Wowzers! I’m super impressed with your discipline! I would say “saving” is an area we are still working on… btw, how on Earth do you keep to such a tight grocery budget?? I’m thinking food has to be cheaper where you live, because I feel like we spend at least $200/week for just us 3! Well, and the 3 dogs and 4 cats.. 😉
    Ciara recently posted…Weekly Goals October 26My Profile

    • I would definitely check out Crystal’s course, Ciara. It’s great! I may have to do a couple of “peek into our lives” posts where I share our real grocery list, meal plan, and budget. Hmmm…..thanks for the idea.

    • I hope you do–good stuff. It’s actually part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle that is having its flash sale on Monday and Tuesday. Not sure if you’re part of that affiliate group or not, but you could get the course plus dozens of other e-books and e-courses for a good price on those days.

      • Did you like the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle? I’ve been wanting to check it out…. Their bundles are so tempting, but I’m trying my hardest to keep my expenses low for the rest of the year.

        I love having specific savings goals. I set up multiple goals and “partition” my savings account in my budget. For example, I have one account for short-term goals like vacations and taxes. Each month I just put a set amount in our short-term savings account (a money market so that the funds are liquid in case we need them quickly). In our budget, it looks like the money is in separate accounts, but I found that it was easier for us to keep track of our money without actually having multiple bank accounts. I do all the budgeting, and I know that my husband would never be able to keep track of multiple accounts (I love the idea of putting your spreadsheet on the fridge so that everyone’s on the same page).
        Alison @ Tickling the Wheat recently posted…Is Reaching Financial Security Like Soaring to the Stars?My Profile

        • I do like the Bundles. If you feel it suits your niche, I would consider applying to become an affiliate. You get a free bundle once you’ve referred 5 people. Great tips on automating your savings and using a money market. Thanks for sharing!

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