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The personal savings rate may be rebounding, but there is little doubt most of our emergency funds could use a boost.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Americans socked away 5.5 percent in January. That’s a vast improvement from the 2 percent we saved in May 2005, but a far cry from the double-digit rates in the 1960s and ’70s.
So how do we save more? Yes, we all know we should cut cable and drop the morning mochas, but those suggestions seem like work, right?
Rather than make saving a chore, make it a game instead.
Here are five ways to play the savings game:
1. Take the 52-week savings challenge
If you have a Facebook account and more than 10 friends, you probably saw this one floating around the social media world in December and January.
The idea is simple: Save a dollar for every week of the year. So the first week, you put $1 aside, the second week it’s $2, and the last week of the year, you save $52. Make sense? By the end of the year, you should have $1,378 in the bank, maybe a little more if your savings account gives you a smidge of interest.
Of course, you can always customize this. Maybe you want to double the amount and do $2 for Week One, $4 for Week Two and so on. Or if you’re worried about running out of steam by the end of the year, you could start with $52 for the first week and then work your way backward.
2. Keep your own change
For those using a cash envelope system, limit yourself to only spending bills. Put your change in a jar and then roll it up at the end of the month and deposit it in your savings account.
If your finances allow, you can take this savings strategy one step further. Spend only bills that are $5 or larger and put the $1 bills in your savings change jar, too.