Making Money Matter – Part 3

On Monday, I started a feature here on my blog called Making Money Matter where I encouraged you to open a savings account. Yesterday I discussed coupon clipping. And today I promised we’d talk about how to pay yourself!  Some of the tips today may seem a bit small or tedious, but when you step back and look at the bigger picture and apply these tips to your everyday life, you’ll see that they can really pay off.  And everyone likes payday, right?!

IT’S THE SMALL THINGS!

We’ve all read those stories about old folks who picked up coins off the sidewalk their whole life and ended up with a million dollars in pennies in their garage later in life, right?  Well, I’m not suggesting you go searching for pennies in a parking lot, but I do always pick up coins when I find them. Anytime I pay cash for something, I always end up with loose coins too.  I got accustomed to just tossing them in the ashtray or drink holder in my car and would reuse them for fast food and such, but I always seemed to end up with a bunch of old pennies.

tootsieI finally decided to clean out that cup holder and put my coins in a bank.  Not a branch kind of bank, but an actual piggy bank!  Yep, I’m telling you to buy a piggy bank to put your coins in.  I like to use a Tootsie Roll bank because it’s small and easy to tuck away out of sight.

These days you can pick up a bank almost anywhere and they are super cheap.  There are even some out there that will keep track of how much you are depositing into it and some that will even roll the coins for you if you have a lot. If possible, avoid using those coin machines at the grocery store because they charge a small fee.

You might think my Tootsie bank is too small to hold all your pennies, but this is not meant to be a permanent savings for a rainy day, unless that’s what you want it to be. The purpose of my little bank is to keep me out of the big bank.  Yep!  That’s right.  Once I’ve gotten my paycheck from my 9 to 5 and paid my bills and bought groceries, I like to play a little game where I try to stay out of the bank for as many days as I can.  I’ve gone for up to 5 days before!

To do this, I avoid using my debt card to pay for small purchases like stamps and bottled sodas from a vending machine.  This year I’ve spent almost $85 in postage.  Yes, I keep track of that too!  Like I said before, it’s good to keep track of how you are spending your money. But guess what?  I paid for almost all of that in coins and cash from my Tootsie bank!  I’d say about half of that total spent was just on stamps alone.  At 45 cents each this year, if I just needed one stamp I always paid cash for it.  And I almost always try to pay in exact change to use up coins.  It’s easier to grab a quarter and two dimes to pay for the stamp, but consider subbing ten pennies for a dime next time. The point here is to use the coins you’ve saved!

I also like an occasional soda while I’m at work, and I always prefer a bottled soda.  That’s $1.25.  Though our vending machines take credit/debit cards, I try to pay cash every time.  And you guessed it – I use coins from my Tootsie bank.

Sometimes when I pay cash for larger purchases, and I rarely have cash on me, I always end up with a bunch of coins for change.  Instead of throwing them in the car, I keep them in my pocket and bring them home and deposit them in my bank.    It’s a small paycheck, but I’m still paying myself!  And in return, I’m avoiding having to balance my checking account later for all those small purchases I’d normally make with my debt card.  Some banks still charge fees, so this is another good way to avoid those as well.

USE YOUR PIGGY BANK TO STAY OUT OF THE BIG BANK WHEN MAKING SMALL PURCHASES!

So, don’t be afraid to pick up coins when you see them.  And keep track of your loose change at home by putting it in a bank.  Most of all, put that money to good use by utilizing it to pay for small purchases that are under $1.00 at least. Or save up your coins for that rainy day and transfer them to your savings account at your bank branch.

Another idea for paying yourself is for every ten dollars you save next year in coupons, put $1 into your piggy bank.  That’s just 10% of your coupon savings for every $10. Most of us pay using our debt cards these days and if you are like me, that means you rarely have cash on you. For every time you use your debt card, consider getting the smallest amount of cash back and deposit that into your piggy bank.  Most of the time the smallest amount you can get back is $5 or $10, so if you use your debt card a lot this can really add up.  If you don’t want to do that, consider doing it at least once for each paycheck you receive, or maybe each time you spend at least $50 dollars or each time you buy groceries. The point here is that your coins aren’t bound to add up to much, so don’t be afraid to pay yourself out of your regular paycheck from time to time.

Right now I have roughly $50 and some change in my piggy bank, so let’s add that to yesterday’s total which was $903.78.  We’ll round up so that brings my total savings to $904.00 for the year!

Now let’s recap those 2013 Resolutions:

  1. Open a savings account!
  2. Clip coupons and keep track of your savings!
  3. Pay yourself and utilize a piggy bank while trying to stay out of the big bank!

Tomorrow I’m going to go over some last minute ways you can save money next year that you probably didn’t even think about!  We’ll also add one last resolution to the list and then you’ll be all set to save in 2013 when it comes to making money matter!

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