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You know how to save. Spend less than you earn and put the difference in a safe place.
So, why isn’t it always that simple?
Well, sometimes it can be. Here are simple tricks that help you fool yourself into saving more. Use them to divert money into savings before you even notice that it’s gone from your wallet.
1. Save your ’round-ups’
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Use a bank that “rounds up” purchases and moves the difference to your savings. You likely won’t miss these tiny amounts, but over time, they can add up.
A couple of examples:
- Bank of America’s “Keep the Change Savings Program” rounds up each of your purchases to the next dollar when you use a participating debit card. The bank automatically transfers the change from your checking account to savings.
- Ally Bank rounds up purchases from a debit card, electronic payments, and checks written from a qualifying checking account. It automatically harvests the money when “roundups” reach at least $5, transferring it to your savings.
As always, check a bank’s rules and confirm that no fees are involved.
Tip: Apps — Acorns, Qapital and Digit are a few — can do this, too. There may be fees involved with apps, though, so take that into account when deciding if an app is worth it.
2. Set it and forget it
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You’ve probably heard this advice: “Pay yourself first each month.” In other words, treat your savings account like another bill, and pay it before you pay any other.
Good advice, but it works even better when you can forget about making the payment. Do that by setting up a recurring, automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account every month. Out of sight, out of mind.
Check your bank’s website or call to learn how to automate transfers between accounts. This may require signing up for the bank’s online or mobile service. Depending on the bank, you can schedule transfers between accounts within a bank, or even between banks.
Tip: If your bank doesn’t offer the option, it may be time to shop for a new bank.
3. Use a cash-back rewards card
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Using a credit card that pays rewards for certain types of purchases lets you recoup a bit of your spending.
I’ve earned about $118 so far this year on a cash-back card linked to my Amazon spending. It’s not a huge amount, …….