Savings

How Do I Save Money?

How Do I Save Money?What a question right?  This isn’t a post about all the ways that you can save money, because there are just too many to mention.  Each person can save money in different ways, so it would be very difficult for me to put them all here.  Instead, I wanted to share with you the answer to “How Do I Save Money?“.  I will then ask you for your feedback and provide a very simple yet effective tip for saving money.  So, here we go.

How Do I Save Money?

Well, it was very difficult for me to save money when I was in debt.  The mind is a powerful thing and it was hard for me to deviate from my debt payoff mindset.  I had a goal and I wanted to slaughter my debt.  There was no other option in my mind.  At least, that was what I thought before I started reading personal finance blogs.  This opened my eyes to a new world and view into personal finance.

Simple Tip: Save money even when paying off debt.  It doesn’t matter if you save that money in an investment account or a savings account, but just save some money.

There were many blogs out there that indicated that I should be saving along side my debt payoff.  Wait, what?  How am I going to save money when I need to pay off my credit cards?  This just didn’t make sense to me.  I needed to rid myself from debt and that was what I was going to do.  At least until……

What about when I am done with debt?

I was sitting there thinking about my debt payoff schedule as I did on a very regular basis.  My mind was wondering with ideas on how to speed up my payoff.  Then it hit me, right upside my head.  What was I doing?  I was so enamored with paying off my debt that I wasn’t saving anything.  I wasn’t saving for retirement, I wasn’t pushing up a little emergency fund, I just wasn’t saving.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.

This is when my mindset changed.  I needed to save alongside my debt repayment.  I needed to sock away a little money each month in order to start building wealth.  Yes, some of you might talk about the interest rates on a credit card, but that doesn’t matter.  You need to give yourself something to work with once you are done paying down your debt.  If you pay off everything, but never saved anything, then you will be starting at zero.

So, how do I save money?

Treat my savings like a monthly billOk, I have rambled long enough.  Now, I am going to let you in on my little secret.  In order to save money, I treat my savings accounts like a monthly bill.  Yep, that is right.  It is not about the automation (which is also great), but is more about the mentality.  When you pay bills, you hate to do it, but you still do it.  Paying your bills is a priority.  Saving money is not.  If you flip your mentality and start saving money like it is a bill, then you will be more likely to do it.

I started out small with just $5 here and then moved up to bigger amounts.  If you don’t think you can save any money, then try at least $5.  It is small, yes, but it can add up over time.  You will be amazed on how it makes you feel to be saving.  It is that simple.  Start small, but just start.

My Simple Savings Tip

I have a very simple tip for you about saving.  Just do it (thanks Nike)!  You can’t save money if you don’t try to save money.  It doesn’t matter if you invest it or put it in a high-interest savings account.  Now matter what you do, you just have to start saving.  It doesn’t have to be much, but when you start and stick with it, your mentality will change.  Hopefully you will be bitten by the savings bug.  As stated by my blogging friend Johnny Moneyseed, “It isn’t how much you make, it’s how much you keep.”  He is so right.  You can’t keep any money if you don’t save it.  So, start now!

Alright readers, I want to know, How do you save money?

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Grayson Bell

Grayson Bell

I'm a business owner, blogger, father, and husband. I used credit cards too much and found myself in over $50,000 in debt. I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I now talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a blog management company, along with another blog. It is Empowered Shopper, which helps people get information about products they want to buy. You can also check out Eyes on the Dollar, which is a great blog that I co-own.

50 Comments

  1. May 10, 2013 at 6:35 am — Reply

    Saving first and consistently is key to having a long track record of piling up cash in your savings/retirement accounts. One way I save is by making my tithe the first payment that is made, even before paying myself. I can’t explain exactly how this helps save, but it certainly has worked for me!

    • Grayson
      May 10, 2013 at 12:25 pm — Reply

      I like your style. If you don’t see it go, then you should be good. It is when you wait until whatever is left that people tend not to save.

  2. May 10, 2013 at 7:17 am — Reply

    I like the idea of treating savings as a monthly bill. While I currently don’t do this, I would like to put a certain x number of dollars in a savings account each month. Probably the easiest way to build an emergency fund and 10 years down the road it may be a pretty large amount.

    • Grayson
      May 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm — Reply

      It is the best way to do it. People hate bills, yet pay them each and every month. Do the same thing with your savings.

  3. May 10, 2013 at 7:39 am — Reply

    I am right there with you Grayson. I was the same way when I was paying off my debt. It finally took a very wise person to tell me that I needed to save something – anything to get started. So, I worked to get $500 saved up and it helped develop that habit for me. We view our savings as a bill as well and have several automated amounts going right into savings each month.

    • Grayson
      May 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm — Reply

      You just have to get started and develop that habit. Yes, you are taking away from the debt payment, but you are doing something that will hopefully change your mindset.

  4. May 10, 2013 at 8:24 am — Reply

    This is such a perfect mentality. Just do it! Like you say, it really doesn’t matter where you’re putting it, just that you’re doing it at all. Like John, we now have several automated savings transactions each month to different accounts. But that’s built up from a single monthly transaction that I think was $25 straight to a low-interest savings account. Starting is the key.

  5. May 10, 2013 at 8:33 am — Reply

    Such a great post, Grayson. We were like you; super focused on paying off debt, and are just now starting to realize that we’ve got to be saving as well. It’s hard, though, when I’m so goal-oriented like you are. But we did make the giant (for us, mentally) step of starting contributions to Rick’s 401k this week. We kept the amt small (2%) so as not to mess up our psyche too much, though. So I guess our one tip would be to save what you’re comfortable with, even if it’s only $1, $2, or $5 at a time. Just save something.

    • Grayson
      May 10, 2013 at 12:53 pm — Reply

      Thanks Laurie. I was super focused, but I needed to have multiple goals. Some say that you should save when you are paying off debt, but I don’t agree. It is all about creating a saving mentality and you will need it when the debt is gone. You will have temptations all over again, but if you instill that saving mentality, then you will be much better off.

  6. May 10, 2013 at 9:09 am — Reply

    I agree — just do it… let the initial momentum carry you forward.

    And make it automatic. Make it come out of your paycheck before you even see it. If it’s so far out of mind that you don’t think about it, then you’re more likely to just make the small adjustments to your lifestyle to stretch what you’ve got left.

    • Grayson
      May 10, 2013 at 12:52 pm — Reply

      That is the only way. You just have to do it once and then if you automate it, the money will be out of sight and out of mind.

  7. May 10, 2013 at 9:55 am — Reply

    Just do it, along with just automate it is the key. The places I’ve saved the most money are where I’ve done it automatically – my weekly automatic transfer to my vanguard account, and my monthly transfer to a 529 college savings account. I agree that you should save a bit while you’re paying off debt, so when that unexpected car repair bill comes up you can continue with your debt repayment plan and not have to take on more debt.

    • Grayson
      May 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm — Reply

      I am with you there Liran. Automatic transfers are great.

  8. Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide
    May 10, 2013 at 11:26 am — Reply

    You should definitely have an emergency fund, but I think the “building wealth” mentality while you still have high-interest loans is counterproductive. You’re not building wealth until you’re out of the red, and as long as you have high-interest loans, you’re in the red for longer, and you hit “zero” later than you would if you paid off those high interest loans first. No matter what, you’re going to go through zero at some point! Sooner is better than later.

    You should start saving for retirement AFTER you’ve knocked out all loans with interest rates above 7%–maybe even 5% or 6% in today’s low-interest economy. (And that doesn’t count temporary 0% loans, which need to be paid off before the real interest rate kicks in.) So most people should save alongside mortgages and student loans but not credit card debt.

    • Grayson
      May 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm — Reply

      I appreciate your opinion, but this is more about creating a mentality to save. Many people don’t have the mentality when they are paying down debt. You can’t bring back lost compound interest, especially when you are dealing with good returns in the stock market now.

      I don’t see this as counter productive. You should have multiple goals when you are dealing with debt. I saved money while paying down debt and based on the math, I won out easily. Only if you saved $5, you are at least giving yourself a jumping off point when you are done with the debt. I had a better mindset when I saw that my money was growing when I paid off my last credit card.

      • Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide
        May 10, 2013 at 1:32 pm — Reply

        Compound interest works both ways. Your debt is being compounded, too. If you are putting money away for retirement at 7% and you have CC at 12%, you’re losing.

        But I also strongly disagree with choosing the smallest loan balance to pay off first regardless of interest rate, too.

        • Grayson
          May 10, 2013 at 4:09 pm — Reply

          I do disagree with choosing the smallest loan balance as well. That didn’t work for me and I went with the avalanche method. I do understand that compounding works both ways.

          That being said, I understand the premise behind the snowball method. Most money purchases are emotional and that is how debt is created. We need to change the emotional mindset and create a saving mindset. The only way to do that is to work a two-pronged approach. You can save money and pay off debt at the same time. Many people need that piece of mind in order to keep going with their goal.

          There was no better feeling than paying off that last credit card, but still having money stashed away. Starting at a true $0 would have killed me mentally. I would recommend my method to anyone, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Even if you save $5 a month, you are still starting yourself down the right path. This is all about creating a new mindset, not doing math problems.

          That being said, I do love debating with you Jenny. You can debate well, but you don’t resort to dirty lines or name calling like some that I have debated with before.

          • May 12, 2013 at 8:45 am

            I started with the smallest debts. I had some medical bills, well DH did. It was nice to get them out of the way to concentrate on bills I wanted to get paid off.

            If I went with the smallest debt, my next debt would be one of Tim’s student loans, but I want to pay off my truck since I have a little of 3k (my truck payment isn’t your average truck payment it’s much lower. It’s actually less than half of the national average car payment, but I’ve been making it an average payment to get it paid off.) to pay on it and it will be paid off and then I’ll be able to work on a couple student loans, then go to Tim’s car, then back to the bigger student loans.

            So, we’re kind of doing every method. It’s just about finding out what works for you….and just doing it (Love Nike)!

          • Grayson
            May 12, 2013 at 10:20 am

            I like how you are jumping around. There doesn’t have to be a set plan as long as you continue paying down debt and doing what is best for you. Nice work CJB.

  9. Girl Meets Debt
    May 10, 2013 at 1:03 pm — Reply

    You already know from my latest post that I don’t have an emergency fund but I did start a retirement savings account back in January where every month a certain amount is automatically deducted from my bank account. Maybe I’m not such a bad PF blogger afterall 😉 Have a great weekend Grayson!

    • Grayson
      May 10, 2013 at 4:03 pm — Reply

      You are not a bad PF blogger. Everyone has a different way of handling finances and that is ok. At least you are working on retirement.

  10. May 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm — Reply

    Treating your savings as another bill is the right way to do it. It all comes back to paying yourself first, which many people advise.
    In the last year, as we have been paying off debt, we also have been putting money into our savings account. We are only up to $3K, but it is better than nothing at all.

    • Grayson
      May 10, 2013 at 4:03 pm — Reply

      That is a good thing to do. It might not be a lot, but $3k is plenty for the peace of mind.

  11. May 10, 2013 at 1:35 pm — Reply

    Great post, Grayson! Once people decide to eliminate debt, sometimes that is all they can think about. But you are absolutely right – they can and should save while they are paying off their debt. I’ve seen a lot of people get off track when something broke and they had no emergency fund, so they had no choice but to pay with their credit cards. It was hard for them to do and they felt like they failed. They lost momentum and the desire to keep moving forward, leading some to even quit. And you absolutely nailed it – “You will be amazed on how it makes you feel to be saving.” Those positive feelings can keep propelling you forward. I hope you and the little guy are going to treat Mom extra special on her very first Mother’s Day. :)

    • Grayson
      May 10, 2013 at 4:11 pm — Reply

      Thanks Shannon. This is all about creating the right mindset and having the feelings as you indicated. Math is great in finance (obviously), but there is a reason why the debt snowball approach is so popular. Most people use money behind their emotions.

      We have some good things planned. I hope you have a great Mother’s Day!

  12. May 10, 2013 at 3:29 pm — Reply

    I set up a payroll deduction for my savings and have for 40+ years.

    • Grayson
      May 10, 2013 at 4:12 pm — Reply

      Now that is the way to do it. Out of sight and out of mind!

  13. May 10, 2013 at 4:23 pm — Reply

    I agree with you about paying into savings like a monthly bill – for me, I wanted to get in the habit of saving a certain amount (and investing), so that it becomes second nature once I’m able to clear my debt and apply bigger amounts to it. While I don’t think I would go crazy with the spending once my debt is gone since I’ve learned my lesson, it helps that I have “systems” in place so that it becomes routine.

    • Grayson
      May 10, 2013 at 7:25 pm — Reply

      Thanks for the comment Anna. I really appreciate it and I agree with you. I didn’t go crazy with spending, but I was glad to have the saving “mentality” setup when I was done. Now, I love saving my money and feel good when my balance grows.

  14. May 10, 2013 at 4:41 pm — Reply

    Great Post Grayson. A simple way to save money is to save your change from daily purchases. Shopping online is another great option, it not only saves on gas and car wear and tear, it also gives you many options to find the product you need for a fair price.

    • Grayson
      May 10, 2013 at 7:27 pm — Reply

      Thanks. I agree with you there. I used to have an account that would round up my purchases even on my debit card and would put it in a savings account. I don’t have it anymore, but I try to do it at the end of the week. It brings in a little bit per month which is nice.

  15. May 10, 2013 at 6:23 pm — Reply

    We have a certain amount taken out of my husband’s paycheck, every pay period, that goes directly into savings. Slowly but surely, we are building it up!

    • Grayson
      May 10, 2013 at 7:27 pm — Reply

      I have that done the same way, but then I put more in if I have more at the end of the month.

  16. May 10, 2013 at 8:41 pm — Reply

    I know that if we didn’t try to balance paying off our debts with retirement funds and savings accounts then we may have ended with no debt but that’s about it. We budget our money and average a savings amount each month but whatever is left at the end aside from investing is what gets saved.

    • Grayson
      May 10, 2013 at 10:48 pm — Reply

      You hit my point on the head Mr. CBB! Yes, you can end up paying off your debt, but you will have nothing. You will have to start over from $0. It is just a wise decision to have a dual pronged approach.

  17. May 10, 2013 at 9:18 pm — Reply

    In Australia we have things called offset accounts which essentially means that any money in your savings account offsets the interest on your mortgage debt. This means you can be paying off your mortgage at the same times as having full access to the money you used to pay it off. Obviously once the loan is paid in full you are no able to redraw on it anymore.

    I really like it as I feel like I am getting the biggest bang for my buck.

    • Grayson
      May 10, 2013 at 10:48 pm — Reply

      That is an interesting concept and something that I have never heard of before. Thanks for sharing this Glen.

  18. May 11, 2013 at 7:19 am — Reply

    I find the easiest way to save money is if I never see it. That’s why my 401k is as close to max as I can afford. I like teh concept of treating savings like a bill, right now I treat debt elimination like a bill and it’s helping me pay off my debt in a controlled fashion. Once the debt is gone I can divert those funds to savings over and above the 401.

    • Grayson
      May 11, 2013 at 9:56 am — Reply

      You have it done Jose. You are saving and paying down debt. Keep it up Jose.

  19. May 11, 2013 at 10:52 am — Reply

    I kind of did the same thing. It became a priority, not an option, even if it was just a little at a time.

    • Grayson
      May 12, 2013 at 1:05 am — Reply

      I agree with you there. It definitely became a priority.

  20. May 11, 2013 at 11:25 am — Reply

    For me I designate a certain amount of money out each paycheck to save for a rainy day. I also feel this works best for me because I save what I need first and pay bills with the rest this way I know we are always saving money each month.

    • Grayson
      May 12, 2013 at 1:06 am — Reply

      I do that as well. I did it when I was in debt and continue it today.

  21. May 11, 2013 at 11:32 am — Reply

    One of my saving technique is using the ‘pay yourself method’. Without the luxury of sponsored education, I had to get a loan for my studies. Even in debt, I’ve to make sure I save at least 20% of my income. The other technique is nothing new but highly effective and that’s being frugal.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Grayson
      May 12, 2013 at 1:07 am — Reply

      You should always pay yourself first. It is hard to do for some, but it can really make a difference.

  22. May 12, 2013 at 8:34 am — Reply

    I have an emergency fund and a separate savings account. The separate account if for saving for replacement items or just things I forgot about. I use it the same way I used to use a credit card.

    To me it’s like a credit card payment but I don’t put the amount of what my credit card payments used to be in the account. $150 actually is scheduled to go in there each month but sometimes I have to pull some of that money out. There are many months we don’t touch it…but then there are some that I do.

    I also have a 401K at work that my boss matches, so I fund that up to his match. I’m enjoying seeing the numbers going up. I’ve only had it since January but wow! Compound interest is the bomb. No wonder the credit card companies and banks have these really fancy buildings downtown.

    • Grayson
      May 12, 2013 at 10:19 am — Reply

      That sounds like a really good method. Instead of paying the credit card company, you pay yourself. There is nothing wrong with that.

  23. May 12, 2013 at 5:31 pm — Reply

    Grayson, great tips. I like your tip on saving even though you are paying off the debt. Many gurus advocate paying the debt first and then start saving and investing, but I do not think it is a correct approach. You want to be creating reserves and savings in case you need it. So as you said, save as you are paying a bill. I do it the same way although I am paying off my mountain of debt. Then when I need cash, I tap into my savings rather than into a credit card. And when I tap into my saving, I treat it as a loan, which must be paid back, so I pay the loan with an interest on top of my regular contributions back to my savings. Similar to Infinite banking principle.

    • Grayson
      May 13, 2013 at 9:59 am — Reply

      Thanks Martin. Many gurus do advocate just paying down debt, but I disagree with that advice. It is fine that they offer it, but having gone through it, I recommend people do both. You need to set some good goals to shoot for and if you are off by a few months because you were saving your money, then that is a better situation. I like your method about using your savings as a loan to yourself. You are not incurring more debt, but treating it as such.

  24. Gilbert Sultemeier
    July 22, 2013 at 10:03 am — Reply

    I have not checked in here for a while since I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are great quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend :)

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