MP Dunleavey gives her readers 19 ways to save when income is not quite as high as would be comfortable. The tips are practical and can be applied to just about anyone for whom saving more money is a goal, regardless of income. Here are some of her suggestions, submitted by readers:
* Stash a dollar in a jar every time you do the laundry. That’s a clever idea. Any suggestion in the pattern of “Stash a dollar in a jar every time you x” would do, where x is any action, whether it involves an expense or not. How about “Stash a dollar in a jar for every fifteen minutes you watch television” or “Stash a dollar in a jar every time you stash a dollar in a jar.” I like the last one — although as your savings in the jar approaches infinity, you might have problems with your phone bill… or all bills for that matter.
* Save all your $5 bills in a coffee can or save all your $20 bills in shoe box. This is another interesting idea in which bills of a certain type are hidden from use. Trips to the ATM would be rendered pointless if the second suggestion is followed.
* Cash in your spare change. I do this one every month or so (although my quarters are always kept aside for laundry). When I cash mine in, I put the money into an bank account that doesn’t get touched normally. Actually, this fund helped pay for the new mattress.
* Salt away all those little rebates, refunds and reimbursement checks. I admit I’m horrible when it comes to rebates, but I make sure I cash in my rewards dollars from CitiBank’s Platinum Dividend Rewards credit card (and no, I don’t carry a balance). While when I have work-related reimbursement coming to me, I make sure I get it right away. My boss still has items — several hundred dollars from each year since 2002 — outstanding. She hasn’t submitted reimbursement forms yet.
* Take free money. If someone asks you if you’re a god, you say yes. This was the advice given to Dr. Ray Stantz. The same rule applies to free money, as long as you read the fine print to make sure the offer has no hidden fees, etc.
* Even if you love to save, it can be hard to sock away that cash — unless you let Mother Technology do it for you. The saver’s best friends are Direct Deposit, automatic transfers, and automatic investment plans. If you never see it in your checking account, you’ll never know it’s missing.
Perhaps there will be more later.
Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published October 16, 2005.