11:01 am , by
Have you heard this one before? “I can save money if I go to the mall during the 4th of July sale.” If you can save money in the mall, you’ve got to explain to me how you do that. Savings, in my book, is putting money away – and the mall is very good at taking your money from you, not holding it for you. While I see a bunch of ATMs in the mall, I don’t think that there are many savings banks. I am sure the ATMs accept deposits, but I have the feeling that this is not the primary activity going on there. Okay, I’m being sarcastic, but it’s obvious that you don’t actually save money if you buy something at the mall. You are spending money there even if you get an enormous discount – so the best you can say is that you spend less, not save. There’s no way you add to your wealth when you spend money.
Or can you?
Well, you can get bargains. If you buy essentials like household items, food, gas, etc, and spend less than you expected or budgeted, surely that’s a good thing! (Just don’t call it “savings”!) Perhaps you can use the difference for personal pleasure – a pedicure, or take-out dinner. But if you actually used the difference to put into your savings account, then it’s savings! Say you need toilet paper and find your favorite brand for $2 less. Take the $2 in savings and add them to your savings jar or transfer them to your savings account. If you do this often enough, these little savings will add up before you know it. (Okay – two things here. First, yes, I’m being a stickler on the vocabulary: it’s not “savings” unless some money actually gets put away somewhere! And second, c’mon, you know we all have toilet paper preferences!)
I’m going to let this post be my incentive to set up such a special savings account to track your savings! This is how I am going to do it. I encourage you to follow suit!
1. I will create a new savings account at ING Direct, where I have some of my savings already.
2. One of the supermarkets where I shop tells me on my receipt how much I save on coupons and on my supermarket card. I will add these savings to my savings account.
3. To keep things simple, I will only use the receipts from this one supermarket that already tells me my savings and where my wife and I shop most of the time for grocery and household goods anyway. I may expand the program to other stores later.
4. I will ask my wife to also save her receipts from this supermarket so that I can include her discounts on her spending in our savings account.
5. I will keep you, the readers of this blog, up to date on the progress of this new savings account regularly.
It may not give you the jollies, but let me tell you that I get excited about trying a strategy like this. I am really looking forward to seeing my savings grow just like I enjoy my pennies pile up in my penny jar. It is not much, but over time even these little savings do add up. Maybe I do something spectacular with the duckets once they’re substantial enough.
Will you join me?
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