7 Sneaky Simple Ways To Trick Yourself Into Saving Money

The savings rate in America is dismal, and it’s heading in the wrong direction. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the personal savings rate in America is 4.5%, down from 5.6% the previous year.

But do you know what’s the greatest hindrance to you increasing your savings? You. Your brain is the biggest thing holding you back from saving more, and one of the best ways to combat this is to trick yourself into saving money every day. You have to make savings a game. Here are five sneaky ways to do so.

Saving money isn’t easy. Sometimes you have to trick yourself into saving money if you want to get it done at all. You have to take your brain out of the equation to get it done.

Here are several great ways to trick yourself into saving money without even realizing what you are doing. These are some of the best ways to save for your financial goals and boost your investing without feeling the pinch in your wallet.

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7 Simple Ways to Trick Yourself into Saving Money

Spend dollars, save the change

One of the best ways to trick yourself into saving money is to save without even realizing that you are doing it, make it subconscious saving. You have to almost trick yourself into saving. One of the best ways that I do this is by saving all of my pocket change.

Throughout the course of your day, only buy things with paper money, dollar bills. Collect all of the coins that you receive at the end of the day. I usually take all the coins out of my pockets and put them into a cup or jar that sits on top of the dresser in my bedroom.

You would be surprised by just how much you can save this way. After a few months, you’ll have a few hundred dollars in coins to roll and take to the bank for deposit.

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Not only do my wife and I balance our family’s monthly budget with a credit card, but we also do not spend coins. Instead, we make as many cash purchases as we can by using only bills.

At the end of each day, we take all of the change that we’ve accumulated and put it in a coin jar. My coin jar sits on top of my dresser, where it reminds me to put my change in it. You’d be surprised how much money you can save that way. My wife routinely saves more than $500 a year in change.

Matching your grocery savings on your receipt

Have you ever noticed or paid attention to the savings that are listed at the bottom of your receipt from the grocery store? If you use one of the chain’s loyalty cards, you typically save a few dollars every visit. Most grocery store chains list your savings at the bottom of your receipt as a way to highlight how much you save by shopping with them.

My mother-in-law has taken to matching those savings like a company on a one for one basis. Whatever the savings balance is on the bottom of the receipt, she puts that money in an envelope on her dresser that is earmarked for such great things as a new vacation, trips to the spa, etc. It’s another great way to trick yourself into saving money when you don’t even realize it.

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Every time I buy something at the grocery store, the cashier hands me my receipt and tells me how much I saved during my trip. The savings, of course, come from using my loyalty card.

It’s money that you would’ve spent anyway if you had been shopping without your loyalty card. And it is a fast way to build up your savings without even realizing that you’re doing so.

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Make your savings automatic

We have all heard about how we should make our savings automatic. If you want to trick yourself into saving money, then you need to take the “you” out of the equation. We are the ones who continually screw up our own saving and investing plans. So, by making things automatic without having to do anything will help you keep the habit of saving money.

Set up an automatic withdrawal from your checking account for your Roth IRA contributions. Make your deposit into your emergency fund automatically come out of your paycheck without needing your input every month. This is one of the easiest ways to trick yourself into saving money over the long-term.

Skip your raise you just got

Believe it or not, but people are still earning pay raises at their jobs. One of the best ways to trick yourself into saving money is to continue living on your current salary while putting your new pay raise into the bank, pay down debts, or save for retirement. It is like found money any way that you didn’t really have to start with.

Even if you only take half of your pay raise and save it, you will be tricking yourself into saving money. Spend half of your pay raise on yourself and increase your lifestyle, but put the rest of your new pay raise to work for you in the bank or investing. It is a way to trick yourself into saving money without feeling the hit one bit since it is new money that you did not have previously.

Keep paying for your paid for car

I recently paid off the loan on my car. It was a great feeling having the title in my hand. There have been very few of those in my life.

So, now that my car loan is paid off, there is an influx of money that is in my account that would normally have gone to the car payment. What should I do with those several hundred extra dollars every month? The best thing to do is to “keep paying your loan payment”.

Now, I’m not saying that you should send the bank another check of course. You should set up an automatic deposit into another bank account and save the money that you were paying for your car loan.

Continue paying your monthly car loan payment, but pay yourself instead of the bank. I’m building up my account either for a classic Ford Mustang or maybe the down payment for my next new car. Who knows, maybe I could save enough to pay for my next car with cash. It would be really cool to have several car titles.

Write on your ATM sleeves

I love using ATM  or credit card sleeves to help remind me why I’m saving money in the first place. These credit card sleeves help keep me from spending money. I write directly on them what I’m saving for. It’s very hard to spend frivolously or at least it makes me think twice when I see something like “family vacation” staring back at me when I go to pull out my ATM or credit card to use.

Buy yourself gift cards

One way that you can trick yourself into saving money is by using gift cards. J.D. Roth from Get Rich Slowly calls it using reverse credit. Reverse credit lets you build up a gift card balance. Then, you can use those gift cards to save up for and to pay for your future purchase.

For example, if you want to buy an Apple MacBook Air, you would accumulate Apple gift cards using reverse credit to save for the purchase. Need a Gift? Choose from Top Brands. Shop Giftcardmall.com Today!

Bonus Tip – Take The 52-Week Challenge And Increase Savings Weekly

The 52-week savings challenge helps you save more money without even realizing it. Starting with the first week of January, save $1 in a piggy bank or savings account of your choosing. For every week, you increase your savings based on the corresponding number of that week. For example, during the second week of January, you’ll save $2 for that week. The third week you will save $3 in your piggy bank. And, now you have $1, $2 and $3 for a total of $6 saved over the first three weeks.

By December, you’ll be saving $49, $50, $51 and $52. And at the end of one year, you will have saved $1,378. Even though the year has already started, it’s not too late to start the 52-week challenge. You won’t have to add much money to your piggy bank for the initial few weeks.

These are some of the best ways to save for your financial goals and boost your investing without feeling the pinch in your wallet. Saving money isn’t easy, and we all struggle with it from time to time. Sometimes you have to trick yourself into saving money if you want to get it done at all.

You have to stop thinking about it and interfering with yourself to get it done. There are many ways to trick yourself into saving money without even realizing what you are doing.

What about you? How are you tricking yourself into saving money? I’d love to hear your tips in the comment section below.

Sneaky Ways To Trick Yourself Into Saving Money

16 thoughts on “7 Sneaky Simple Ways To Trick Yourself Into Saving Money”

  1. These are good ways to save. I have done some of them, but I like the matching grocery savings one. I will have to try that one. I have been living without my raise for years, but with today being the first daycare day, I think that will change.

  2. Hank,
    I had planned to “skip my raise,” but the 2 percent increase in the payroll tax makes my saving contributions a tad lower than I’d like.

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

    • I know what you mean. I’ve just had to bite the bullet and increase my contributions this year to make up for the payroll tax hike and skipping my raise. While they both canceled each other out, I just had to suck it up and save a little more reducing my take home pay.

  3. Good article. I like the matching the grocery savings. We do save our change in a jar but use the coins for parking or things along those lines. We also have our direct deposit to automatically deposit some funds to our savings account. I will have to keep the other in mind.

    • Alan,

      Thanks for the comment. Have you ever thought about NOT using your coins for parking and things like that?

  4. Direct debit… it’s my secret. At the start of the month, just after payday, my account automatically transfers money out the account into a savings account. I don’t miss what I don’t have.

    Nice article – thought the gift cards was a great plan!

  5. Saving all my change was my go to move for years. It was never my primary source of savings, but it was always there and it helped. However, since I buy almost everything with a credit card now, that method has become a little bit dated. Instead I had to move to one of your other suggestions, the automatic savings. I just have it set up where every pay period I just take a set amount and move it from checking to savings. One of the benefits of online banking. Technology closed one door and opened another.

    • Have you seen the debit cards that automatically round up? That might be the “new” way to save you coins in today’s technology climate.

  6. Great suggestions. I haven’t heard of setting money aside based on what it says you ‘saved’ on your grocery receipt. That sounds like an interesting strategy to get you and your family on a plan to set aside some extra cash. It is an interesting psychology too when you look at what you ‘saved’ at the grocery store on those purchases!

    I think the best way to plan for savings is to have it automatically come from your paycheck or account – like you mentioned above. When we do that, it forces us to live and spend as if the money wasn’t in our regular account in the first place!

    • Saving the grocery “savings” from the bottom of your receipt has been a big hit with readers. I think that the problem really is that it isn’t real savings in my opinion. The loyalty cards aren’t really about coupons for the grocery chains. They are mostly intended as consumer research and tracking spending patterns for them. The savings at the bottom of the receipt are price fluctuations that we would have “seen” no matter what as stores try to stay competitive with each other.

  7. Those are all good tips. But for most people I think having a strategy will work better. Keep all your bills in a folder for one month. Then at the end of the month grab the folder & your checkbook or bank statement and look at all your expenses. Then look for as many ways as possible to either cut out or reduce expenses. Be honest, and you could save a few hundred dollars each month.

  8. These are great tips. It’s hard to consciously save if you don’t have a strong habit of doing so. I hope these tips help me out.

  9. Awesome suggestions to save. I admit that it’s sometimes hard to save but I just think that I’m treating myself big time in the future once I’ve reached y goals. Make savings a habit and you won’t worry about how you can save.

  10. We have toonies in Canada. ( $ 2 coins) At the end of the day… if I find one in my purse, off to the piggy bank it goes. At Christmas, the “loot” gets divided between my 4 grandkids for their education fund. They each get about $50. That ‘s $200 I don’t even miss!


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