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Three painless ways to save money

Updated on October 21, 2015
Three painless ways to save money
Three painless ways to save money | Source

Easy ways to save money

I have to admit that I do tend to envy people who have savings accounts at the bank and who are able to add money to them regularly. I also have to admit that it's a luxury I can't afford! I guess many people are like me in that respect these days. But I have three methods I use to save small amounts of cash. Even on the most minuscule budget, there are still ways to save and they all work.

On some days, I can only afford to do one of these at a time. Other weeks, I can manage all three.

I was brought up to 'look after the pennies, the pounds will take care of themselves'. Well, today, it's dollars and cents and even tiny amounts can build up into a healthy cash bonus. If you're a millionaire or have just won the lottery - read no further. But if you're on a small budget and would like to know my ideas about saving, read on!

A dollar a day

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I have a goal of saving just one dollar every day. Some days I can manage this easily and at other times I just can't, but every single day, I put at least a few cents aside. On good days - and really great days - I put more than a dollar into my secret cash stash. Sometimes, I'm lucky. The other day I found a dollar bill on the street (always watch where you walk!) and as I use a communal laundry room, I sometimes find quarters or other coins that people who are richer than me have left in their pockets when doing the weekly wash. Sometimes, odd coins are in the dryer too. The laundry room always yields at least a quarter.

I have a daily routine - every morning, after I've made the bed, I look through the house for coins. And it's surprising how many loose coins turn up thanks to my very careless family :)

I find that by having this daily routine, I'm usually able to end the year with about $500 that I wouldn't have had without that minute-a-day, simple savings plan.

A meaningful change jar

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We probably all have change jars in our homes to collect pocket change but I like to make sure that mine has a purpose. I like to give my change jar a specific goal. I determine a time period for achieving that goal. For example, recently I wanted to buy a specific book that cost $19.99. I decided to allow myself three weeks to save so made sure that I put exactly 96 cents a day into my special targeted change jar.

Sometimes, my 'dollar-a-day' stash has to suffer! But it's great knowing that I'm saving just a few cents a day towards a specific purpose. In fact, it made the purchase all the more enjoyable knowing that I'd painlessly saved specifically for it. I suppose it was a minor sense of achievement but the point is that I would have never allowed myself to spend $19.99 on a book without this method. It's my way of giving myself small luxuries that I wouldn't normally buy. I've also used this method to save for household equipment and other goods too. If a savings goal is broken down into bite-sized chunks, it's so much easier.

Live free for a week

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I saved my favorite until last. Decide that a week has eight days.

Let's say that I spend $200 in cash every week - at the grocery store and for other weekly cash purchases such as gas and so on. I simply start the week with $200 cash in my purse that has to last me seven days. I know I can afford that and that it's my weekly budget. But then, I decide that my week is actually going to be eight days. Here's how it works.

Week one. Withdraw $200 from the bank on Monday

Week two. Withdraw $200 from the bank on Tuesday.

Week three. Withdraw $200 from the bank on Wednesday ... and so on. By the time Monday comes along again, I have a 'free' $200 still in the bank!

If you receive a weekly paycheck, try to cash it one day later every week - making each paycheck last for eight days instead of seven. One day, I'll manage to extend this idea to a five-week month!

Further reading

There's a lot of help available these days for those of us who want to save money. Sometimes the simplest tips can change your life, financially.

Get help and advice from experts with this helpful book.

Tip!

Although I wouldn't go and rifle in someone's closet or chest of drawers looking for money they had left in their pockets, I feel differently about 'certain people' who have simply left their jeans on the bedroom floor. I mean, if I just happen to be clearing up and moving them, then just happen to turn them upside down in the process and then some coins or even a dollar bill just happen to fall out ... I think that's fair, don't you? :)

Tip!

Keep your eyes open. I recently found $12 in the road!

Tip!

When choosing containers for your cash stash, don't pick a piggy bank or a similar item that gives the game away. Disguise your savings!

Disguise your cash stash

I'm not going to tell you where I keep my cash stash - of course. But I bet that if you came to my house and searched for it, you wouldn't find it!

The funniest money saving tip I have ever heard!

Someone suggested this, truly.

He said that he had trained his bowels (sorry!) so that when he needed to 'go' he did so at work.

This meant that he was using his employer's time, his employer's water supply AND his employer's toilet paper!

Thanks for calling in - say hi!

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    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 2 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Hannah Writes - that's such a good idea. I like to look for things that are on sale. Our favourite Indian sauces are really good value to the moment so we're stocking up. They are in jars so keep well and then I've got the glass jars to use for other purposes too :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 2 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @peachpurple - it's pretty painless and a lovely bonus at the end of the year.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 2 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Arachnea - good idea for saving change. It's amazing how it adds up. The most I have found is $12 but that was a great day! It helps when you have careless family around too :)

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 2 years ago from Texas USA

      I commented on this previously, but wanted to share a recent thing. It's my habit for any coins found in the street or anywhere outside, to throw them on the floorboard of my car in the driver's seat. I recently reclaimed all of those coins and found I'd accumulated almost $3.00. Not a gold mine, but a soda or ice cream or spot of gasoline.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 2 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Arachnea - thanks so much. Let me know how it goes!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Iam going to start keeping a dollar a day

    • profile image

      Hannah Writes 2 years ago

      One way I save money is skip going to the grocery store one week. I have tons of food bought on sale with coupons, so on very busy weeks, I just buy fresh fruit and vegetables and we eat from the freezer and pantry. I save over $100 because I have not gone to the store!

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 2 years ago from Texas USA

      I had to come back and reread this. BION, I once found $20 blowing around on the ground. I do something similar with found change. I throw it into the front driver's floorboard. Typically, I wait until car wash time then throw it all in a cup of sudsy water and then let them dry. I usually recoup aver 1.50. I like the idea of a secret money storage space.

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 2 years ago from Texas USA

      This is an interesting hub. I'll have to try some of the suggestions.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Barbara Kay - it works for me :)

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 3 years ago from USA

      They say part of saving money is just the habit of saving on a regular basis, even if it is small amounts like your suggest. Great hub!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @leilasi: It really works well!

    • leilasi profile image

      Leila 3 years ago from Belgium

      I like so much the eight week idea. I think we can handle that!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @jolou: I like that last one too :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @SteveKaye: Excellent idea!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Great tips here! $1 a day is a great idea - like the disguise your cash too lol !

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 3 years ago

      Ha Ha That last tip is a funny one. I particularly like the "eight day week" strategy.

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      SteveKaye 3 years ago

      Here's a tip. One quart of gas costs about a dollar. For many cars that's five miles. So, drive five miles less each day to save a dollar per day.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @marsha32: That's a great idea - thank you!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Merrci: They work :)

    • profile image

      marsha32 3 years ago

      I'm saving my change....sometimes it's hard to even do that, but I do it and I don't touch it.I am saving it for reasons. Right now it's to pay for a quilt retreat in June. Once I tried saving 1 cent for each day of the month....1 cent on the 1st, 2 cents on the 2nd etc.I was surprised when Christmas came how much I did have in there. Not tons of money, but enough to more than buy stocking stuffers for all family members.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Great suggestions! I'm going to try some of them.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @notsuperstitious1: What an excellent idea! We have a communal laundry room and I often score coins there :)

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      Colin323 4 years ago

      As a Yorkshire man I heartily approve of this lens! Most of my clothes these days come from charity shops in the posher towns in Britain, as well as car boot sales - real bargains to be had there, with great savings on quality and cool clothing, e.g. from M&S, to be found in these shops.

    • notsuperstitious1 profile image

      Edith Rose 3 years ago from Canada

      When I have to park at a meter, I always look on the ground around the meter I am parking at and the adjacent meters. I can usually park for free. Nice lens

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @oztoo lm: That's fantastic! I've never found as much as $50 but I'm pretty eagle-eyed :)

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 4 years ago

      My husband has hawk eyes for spotting money that people drop in the streets. One day when I was driving him to work he suddenly yelled at me to stop. He jumped out of the car and picked up a neatly folded $50 dollar bill that was lying in the gutter. don't know how he spotted that one! Anyway thanks for sharing these useful tips. I like the 8 day week.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Merrci: It works really well :)

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Clever ideas! I like the 8 day week especially. Thanks for sharing.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @judithmurphy: Thank you:)

    • judithmurphy profile image

      judithmurphy 4 years ago

      Wonderful tips and very inventive

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @RinchenChodron: That's such a good idea!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      Hi You have some unique ideas about saving. I just don't carry cash - that way I can't spend it.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Leiping: Excellent idea - thank you!

    • Leiping profile image

      Leiping 4 years ago

      Thanks for the tip on saving a dollar each day, I think I'll start today!Here's a little tip: I like to make things from stuff most people throw away. You can make a cash container out of old cardboard boxes or something like that and it won't cost you anything.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @iwrite100: That is a funny one, isn't it? But you're right, there's not much his boss can do about it!

    • iwrite100 profile image

      Maribel Forayo 4 years ago from Philippines

      hahahahaha (sorry, I just can't help laughing at your last tip). Add that it's a best way to get even with his boss specially if he is so mean. More importantly, he is not committing any crime (unlike when he picks and gets home office supplies like ballpen, etc)

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Wow! I loved your ideas especially the last one. I'm gonna do that! thank you!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @anonymous: Isn't that fantastic? I was brought up with the idea of 'look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves'. So true today!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I like the meaningful change jar. My wife used to spend all her loose change by giving exact change when she purchased something...until she counted the change in my change tin. Almost $50. She found out it adds up.

    • profile image

      laurenrich 4 years ago

      These are great tips and great ideas. Saving $1 a day is a wonderful idea. Thanks

    • rainykua profile image

      rainykua 4 years ago

      The last tip is so funny and weird LOL.

    • OrganicMom247 profile image

      OrganicMom247 4 years ago

      some very great ideas in this lens.

    • HeatherM2 profile image

      HeatherM2 4 years ago

      Very good ideas. It takes a lot of discipline to be able to stick to these, but I'm sure it's worth it when you see the rewards. I laughed out loud when I read of the bathroom trick!

    • profile image

      RuralFloridaLiving 4 years ago

      Wonderful tips. You have really good ideas.

    • profile image

      MarcellaCarlton 4 years ago

      Great tips! I love to learn and you have some very good ideas here.

    • jethrosas profile image

      Jethro 4 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks for sharing your tips in saving money. Keep it up! :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @GregoryMoore: It all adds up. Thanks for visiting!

    • GregoryMoore profile image

      Gregory Moore 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      I never spend change, so it piles up in a jar on a daily basis. I love cashing it in prior to going on vacation or when we make a big purchase.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Phillyfreeze: That's a great idea - thank you!

    • Phillyfreeze profile image

      Ronald Tucker 4 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      Excellent tips!...I have a used Folgers Coffee container( 11.3 oz.) filled to the brim with "pennies" and luckily my local Kroger Supermarket has a coin counting machine. I have saved $11 to $15 using this method. Pennies do make dollars! :-)My favorite method to save that I have used the past 3 years is to "diirect deposit" my income tax returns each year. Prior to doing this, I would think of "things" to spend my hard earned money on. No more, I now have a nice little "emergency fund" and it feels good!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @darciefrench lm: Thank you for visiting! The eight day week system really does work well.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 4 years ago

      Great ideas for saving, love your 8 day week plan for saving cash

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @anonymous: Thank you so much! Today, I was looking something up in a reference book and found a dollar bill that someone (my other half, probably) had used as a bookmark - also 27 cents in change lying around the house. Every little helps!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      What a great lens. Anyone can do a dollar a day, and by the way I love your lens title, nice job!