Money-Saving Games and Strategies
Date: June 19, 2016
Try to explain the importance of saving money to some people and you might just hear snores in the middle of your well-intended lesson. Instead, introduce games and strategies into your talk and show them how saving money can be fun. Some low-tech strategies have been around for decades; others are perfectly tailored for a generation that grew up with a passion for computer games and social media.
There's something comforting about hearing the clink of change landing in a savings jar. Sure, it's low-tech, but if you commit to spending just your bills and tossing any leftover change into your "piggy bank" at the end of every day, you'll be saving money almost effortlessly. At the end of the month, roll up the change you've collected and deposit it into your savings account.
If you tend to use a debit card instead of cash, head to the ATM and take out enough spending cash to last a week. You'll be able to do the save-your-change strategy, plus you're likely to cut down on spending overall. Pulling cash out of your wallet instead of swiping a card may make you think twice about that purchase too.
The 52-Week Savings Challenge
This money strategy is all about commitment. Every week for an entire year you deposit money into your savings account. Start with a dollar the first week, $2 dollars the next week, then $3 the week after. Keep adding a dollar to the previous week's amount until, by the last week of the challenge, the amount of your weekly deposit is $52. It may not seem like a lot, but at the end of the year you'll have added $1,378 to your savings account.
Unless you are really disciplined, it helps to share this challenge with friends. It's easier to stay on track when your best buds remind you to drop the cash into your account every week. Sending your group a quick message on Facebook or in a tweet works wonders.
The Invisible Raise
If your current salary easily covers your mortgage, monthly bills and living expenses, with some left over for entertainment or the occasional splurge, and before you know it, you've earned a raise. Instead of spending that raise, put it directly into your savings account. Direct deposit is best, because if you don't actually see the money, you'll likely never miss it. Think about that nice vacation you'd like to take: swaying palms, warm sands and turquoise waters are worth the immediate sacrifice.
SaveUp – The Computer Saving Game
Modern society is decidedly computer game-crazy, so it's not surprising that some enterprising folks came up with a game that makes savings fun and offers prizes at the same time. SaveUp is a free game that lets you earn reward points every time you make a savings deposit or pay down a linked debt, such as a student loan or make a credit card payment. SaveUp also hosts lotteries and instant-win games, sometimes giving away cars or vacations. It almost seems like gambling, but you're actually reducing your debt load and saving money instead of throwing away hard-earned cash.