The Five Best Jedi Mind-Tricks For Saving Money

by Scott on September 23, 2010

If we have learned anything these past few years it is that there is never a bad time to start saving a few extra bucks. It doesn’t matter how much money a person makes, saving money come from having good systems and the right psychology (a Jedi psychology?). I have come across many people that make a ton of money, yet barely save anything because they don’t have the right mindset . So whether you make a lot of money or a little, I’m going to pass along five Jedi Mind-Tricks that might help you train your brain to put some extra cushion in your savings account. Remember, a Jedi can trick you into doing things you might not want to do but are good for you… so don’t resist the Force…..

1.)  Track your expenses by creating a money journal. Smart phones make this really easy now, but I’m an old fashion pen and paper guy. Start writing down every nickel that is spent for thirty days and you might be surprised where your money really goes. I had a client once who realized she was spending close to $150 a month at Starbucks. Not only did she instantly cut that number in half, she probably added a few extra years to her life!  See where you are spending money on things you really don’t need and start scaling it back.

2.) Keep the change. Damn that Bank of America! They started a program a few years ago called Keep the Change, that if enrolled it would sweep the change on any debit transaction into your savings account (ex. if an item cost $1.50 then the charge would look like $2.00 in your account and $.50 was sent to your savings). I had actually been using this system in my checkbook for nearly twenty years, passed along from an old friend of mine who was a teacher on a tight budget. Yeah, it burns me that I didn’t sell this idea to them first, but it is a cool little trick that can leave you with some decent money at the end of each month depending on how you implement it. If your bank has a similar program then sign up for it. If your putting debit and check entries into a spreadsheet or checkbook try rounding up to the nearest dollar, or for larger purchase round to the nearest five dollar. You might be surprised how much that could add up to in a month.

3.) Pay yourself first. It’s an old adage, but so true. Treating my savings account like I was paying a bill has been the most effective way for me save money. I usually set it up for the beginning of the month and have it automatically withdrawn from my checking account. Most important is that I recommend you send it to a savings account not connected with your current bank. Essentially you want to make it a pain in the ass to transfer money out. Online banks are easy to find, are easy to work with, and can offer really good rates. Check out http://www.bankrate.com and search under checking&savings to find the best rates offered on money markets and savings accounts.

4.) Pay with cash. It is easy to get carried away with spending when your just swiping a piece of plastic. Give yourself a set amount of cash each week for groceries, gas, eating out, etc and stick to that limit. When the cash runs out you are done spending for the week. I guarantee you that you will think twice about what you spend your money on!

5.) Go over your recurring bills like cable, phone bills, and insurances and see if you can trim down those costs. Sometimes companies will lure us in with great promotional offers, but then jack the prices up six months down the road. They know people will seldom change their plans once something is in place. See if you really need all the services you are paying for. Also don’t be afraid to quote out your insurance policies come renewal time. It is a competitive market out there, so use that to your advantage.

I hope you found some or all these tips useful and I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject, especially if you have come up a few Jedi tricks yourself. Don’t be bashful either, if you think someone would get some value from this post then let them know!

Now move along, these are not the droids you’re looking for…..

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