5 Ways to Make Saving Fun



Saving money – whether it’s for the long term (retirement, education, a down payment on a home) or the short (a rainy day fund) – is as important as breathing and eating. But that’s easier said than done, especially if you live on a tight budget.

Luckily, there are ways to turn savings into a game, and before you know it, the dollars and cents will add up. Give those five penny-hoarding pointers a try — and let us know how it goes, or add your tried-and-true strategies in the comments.

1. Pay for Your Sins

What’s your vice? Smoking? Chocolate? Cursing up a storm? Whenever you’re not on your best behavior, stash some cash into a sin jar. You can even get creative by placing values on certain behaviors: say, watching “Jersey Shore” will cost you $150. (Or should that be $5,000?). Who says it doesn’t pay to be bad?

2. Keep the Change

Whatever money you allot yourself for the week, or for a night out, challenge yourself to always have something left over, even if it’s only a few dollars. Then take those leftovers and add them to your savings. As a reward, for every $100 you save, treat yourself to something small (clearly, it needs to cost less than $100 — otherwise what’s the point of the exercise?).

3. Quitting the Lattes? Not So Fast

Everyone will tell you to stop buying water and lattes if you want to watch your savings increase. But you don’t have to give up every indulgence. Start with one thing, and really stick to putting that sum of money aside each day. Some ideas: carpool or bike to work a couple of times a week to save on gas, tolls, and parking; host a movie night at your house instead of going to the movies; pack lunch instead of ordering or paying high cafeteria prices.

4. Look for Rewards

And deals. And promotions. There’s no excuse for not finding a free shipping code or percentage off every time you shop online, for instance. And see what your credit card has to offer in terms of rewards. You might be able to get gift cards to save on purchases or use as gifts for birthdays and holidays. Keep a tally of what you saved, and transfer that amount into your savings account right away. You’ll be the envy of your bargain-hunting friends.

5. Don’t Think About It

Set up an automatic savings deduction from your bank account on pay day. Even if it’s $50 every two weeks, it will add up. As far as the fun factor, think about how fun it is to not think about your finances.
Give one or all of these tactics a try, and see how fun being a little less money-stressed can be.

Got any penny-pinching tips of your own you’d like to share?

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Published August 19, 2011 Updated: December 28, 2012
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