How to save money for real

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Step 1

First find a bank account that pays a higher interest rate than most banks. Citibank’s Ultimate Savings Account, HSBC Direct, FNBO Direct, and ING Direct are great banks for saving. Even credit unions can’t touch these rates of savings. Once you have opened the account, do NOT request an ATM card- you need to forget about the money you have saved there if you are going to effectively save that money.

Step 2

Do your research before buying anything. Check your grocery circulars for specials, compare prices for things you have to have at all competitors and clip coupons. BJs Wholesale actually takes manufacturers coupons on top of their Club coupons, which is nice to get double or sometimes triple the coupon savings. If you’re looking to save money on your utility bills, figure out how much money you have cut out of your spending budget.

Step 3

Here is the most important step, turn that money you did not spend into an asset. Add up the money you “saved” on coupons, your monthly bills, one grocery store special over another and total it out- it’s easier if you do this on a weekly basis. Then transfer funds from your spending account into that high interest rate savings account that you opened up in step one. Now you have actually saved that money that you did not spend.

One thing that will give you more spending money over time is do not open up credit accounts. If you don’t have the money to purchase the item you want, perhaps now is not the time to buy it. Having an HDTV or Plasma TV is nice, but it is in no way necessary. Save yourself hundreds, if not thousands, and just get what you need- people sell perfectly good TVs on Craigslist all the time because they have upgraded TVs and many TVs still have a warranty! If you want to take the saving plan further, transfer funds from your account into your savings account for items that you have not purchased.

My husband always said, “Well, it’s $100 off a $600 item, but that’s still $500 on.” I used to laugh it off but have figured out he had it right all along. I would much rather have that $500 in my pocket than in the retail stores’ pockets. I also might not have the $500 to transfer from the money saved, but will reward myself from saying no to the purchase by transferring what I can (even if it’s only $10). It’s amazing how good it feels to save money, but even more amazing to see how much money I actually saved and stashed away at the end of the year. Brings a whole new meaning to “saving money on groceries!”

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