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Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Money-Saver: Change is Good

Today's money-saving tip is literally about saving money. Many banks have options for using your debit card that will put a portion of your money automatically into savings. Some will round up to the nearest dollar and put the difference in your savings account, and others will transfer $1 for every transaction into your savings. See if your bank has an option like this, and if they have one, use it. (You can always transfer the money back if you really need it.)
However, one of the simplest ways to save money is to use paper - paper money, that is. Less convenient, well, yes, but that's kind of part of it. Businesses have figured out many ways to make it more convenient, simple, and easy to spend your money because - brace yourself - they want your money. They call all of those items for sale by the cash registers "impulse buys" because they are designed to appeal to the reptilian part of your brain. (Ooooh shiny!)
Rose made from feathers? Want!
All I'm saying is that maybe you don't always have to make it so easy to access your money.
Here's the thing about using cash. You have to touch it to spend it, and, in touching it, you can more easily see and feel how much less of it you have after each purchase. It's a lot easier for your higher brain to reason with your reptilian brain. (No shinies. Not enough moolah, see?) It's also a little easier to track your spending. You started out this morning with $40 in your wallet. It's 3 p.m. and you're down to $4.67. Did you really plan on spending over $35 today? Hmmm.
One of the best things about spending paper is that you get coin back as change. If you make yourself a rule that you will only spend paper and then put the coins into a jar at the end of the day, you'll have a little extra at the end of the month to put in the bank or, yes, if you want, buy some shinies.

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