How Readers Save for a Rainy Day
Clever ways to chip away at the costs of living―and stash away the savings for little surprises.
The small change I made was to save my small change. I always use bills when I buy things, then save the coins. At the end of the month, I roll them in wrappers and deposit them in a rainy-day bank account that earns interest.
Every week I take a set amount of money out of the ATM for lunches, groceries, etc., and place whatever’s left at the end of the week in a jar. I empty my wallet of change at night and put that into the jar as well. Last year my savings from all this “small change” added up to more than $750.
I have $100 from every paycheck moved automatically from my checking account to an ING Direct savings account. When the ING account hits $1,000, I transfer $500 into a two-year CD so I can’t access it easily. Having the ING account is good because it’s not in our usual bank―out of sight, out of mind. There are no ATMs, so the money’s harder to get at. Plus, it takes three days for ING to transfer money to my checking, which delays or forestalls impulse buys.
I have my bank automatically transfer $50 from my checking account to a special savings account on the first of every month. That savings account is off-limits except for emergencies. I pretend it’s not even there.
Oak Park, Michigan
I’m a teacher, so my salary increases slightly each year. However, I “pay” myself only what I was making my first year and put the rest in a separate savings account.
Allen Park, Michigan
After five years of paying off my car, I now deposit the amount of that monthly payment directly into my savings account. Having gotten used to living without those dollars each month, I don’t feel deprived now, and my savings are growing rapidly.
I don’t carry cash. When I have it in my pocket, I am more likely to stop while passing a soda machine, a coffee shop, a fast-food restaurant, or an ice cream parlor. Everything I really need to buy can be paid for with a credit card, which I pay off each month.
I’ve had the same two best friends since we were five. When we turned 45, we came up with the idea of celebrating our 50th birthdays with a special vacation, and we each immediately started saving $5 a week toward the trip. In 2006 we’ll celebrate our 50ths with most of the expenses paid, thanks to our five-year plan.
One of the most important things I’ve done for myself is to get money-management software. Inputting my income and expense data, then seeing it all in chart and graph form, has given me a wonderful visual of how much I am getting, investing, and spending. I can now see that I spend too much in certain areas and too little in others.
Jackson Heights, New York