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The “Unexpected” Savings Plan – How to Keep Your Savings Account Stocked!

What you should really do with unexpected savings

Imagine this for a moment. You walk into a store expecting to spend $100 on a product you’ve been researching. You’ve budgeted for this purchase and you’re OK spending the money. It doesn’t matter what the product is, but you really want it.

Now, let’s assume you’ve done your research online, like I do. Before I buy anything, I take some time to look around at other places and check prices. I want to make sure I’m getting the best deal possible. Who doesn’t?

After I’ve exhausted my research and narrow down the store, I’m off to go purchase. Remember, I’ve already budgeted for this purchase. It doesn’t matter if you buy online or in a store.

I’ve been surprised a number of times when I go to a store and find the product is less than I had originally budgeted. It’s always a nice surprise and I won’t complain at all. I love getting an unexpected discount. Now the question becomes, what do you do with the extra savings?

The “Unexpected” Savings Plan

Years ago, I would have smiled at the extra savings and just went on my way. That money would have been spent at some other location or I probably would have spent it at the store. I considered it extra money. I’ve changed a lot since then. I’m no longer in debt, I’m self-employed, and my wealth is growing, not shrinking.

Now, since I’ve already budgeted for the $100, I put all that money to use. I actually put that money in savings.

Yep, that’s correct. I take the difference and technically pay myself by padding my savings or investment account. It all depends on what I want that money to do and how much it was.

This is one of my best savings plans I’ve come across so far. Why?

As I’ve focused on saving more money, I shop smarter and look for better deals. While I’m ready in the budget for $100, if I can find a comparable product or find a deal on the same product, I will put away all the savings into my savings. I don’t just let it sit there.

If I pay via credit card, which I do often to earn points (with this card), then I will pull  money out of my checking account and put it into my savings.

Let’s run down the scenario above with the $100 purchase. If I get to the store and there is a sale/coupon which I couldn’t find or even the price marked down, then I’m going to be happy. If said price reduction is $10, then I will pay for the product and when I get home, transfer money into my savings account for the difference. The $100 is already budgeted out of my wallet, so why not do something with it? Why not save it?

As many of you know, I have many savings accounts. I have a bucket system in my Capital One 360 account, but I also invest with Betterment (highly recommended). These two systems get the brunt of my savings.
cupcake pricing

Why This Works

You might be thinking I’m a little crazy and that’s probably true. Once you come from paying off a lot of credit card debt, then you have to look at the way you handle your money. I went from an out-of-control spender to someone who gets a kick out of saving. I log into my Personal Capital account regularly just to see my savings increase. It’s a nice little reward system for me.

Beyond treating my monthly savings like a bill, using the automated Digit app, and transferring money here and there, I wanted a way to reward me for doing better with the money I was spending. My price difference savings plan (or unexpected savings) does just that for me. I gives me a reason to make sure I’m getting the best deal on each and every purchase. Heck, I deposit all of my Ebates cash back into my saving or investment accounts. That money was already “spent” according to my budget, so welcome the little savings surprise, but don’t go out and spend it on stuff you don’t need. Remember, it’s wants versus needs here.

Most people I speak with don’t save nearly enough. When they buy something at the store or online, they just want to get a good deal. Luckily, so many places discount items or have sales. The key to shopping it two-fold, finding a product you like and finding that product at a good price. If we can handle both of those things, then we’re happy. What happens to the money we “save” when a deal is presented to us?

That’s why I have this plan. I want to budget for $100, get a deal at $90 and put the $10 in savings either for an emergency or a savings goal. I might even invest it depending on those goals.  What I won’t do anymore is spend it on stuff I don’t need just because it’s there. We have to stop thinking that we’ve earned $10 when in fact you just saved it. It’s not extra money, but money you already had. Focusing the savings on your goals is financially smart. This is a good way to get people to save more money beyond just putting it in their account when they feel like it.

I focus a lot of my time and energy to get more people to save money. I have an entire category dedicated to it. I think we should work harder to save more of our hard-earned money. I believe saving and making more money are they keys to financial success. Sometimes we focus too much on one or the either, but barely focus on both at the same time. I can tell you that once I learned to do both, my network grew from $-75,000 to now over $200,000.

My price difference/unexpected savings plan won’t work for everyone, but you can still try to adapt it to your style and goals. I think it’s a good method of using all the money you budgeted for purchases. If you haven’t budgeted yet, then work on that first. Here are a few services which can help you.

You could find a thousand ways to save money, but it’s what you do with those savings which matters most!

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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 $75,000 in debt ($50,000 in just credit cards). 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 WordPress maintenance and support 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.

5 Comments

  1. January 18, 2016 at 11:58 am — Reply

    I’ve always considered this a good idea, but never took the initiative to implement it. I’m going to start this year because it’s just the smart thing to do.

  2. January 18, 2016 at 2:58 pm — Reply

    Great idea Grayson! We typically auto-deduct into our savings which almost makes it a mindless process. I like the fact that your idea of saving the savings could almost turn into a game!

  3. January 18, 2016 at 7:52 pm — Reply

    I use Digit to capture these “savings” on a day to day basis. If we use a coupon, I make sure I capture the savings. If you don’t save the money you save, then you aren’t really “saving” when you get a deal.

  4. January 19, 2016 at 7:54 am — Reply

    “You could find a thousand ways to save money, but it’s what you do with those savings which matters most!” – This sums this whole article up nicely.
    This article came at the perfect time, I have spent so much time trying to save money and I have cut so many costs and the money seems to disappear into nothingness what I have to do is IMMEDIATELY move it into the savings account to make sure it’s actually saved and not spent elsewhere.

  5. January 19, 2016 at 7:18 pm — Reply

    I became a fan of Digit the first time I used it. This app totally rocks because it doesn’t only help me with paying bills but also it assist me with almost everything. I no longer have to worry all those bills whether it’s paid or not. Such a convenience it is.

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