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How do you save money? Getting $ to save and where to put those $$?

 
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Hi all.  The only way that I have been able to save any amount of money in the past has been to keep cash until I have a wad, put into a glass jar, dig a deep hole, place jar in with rocks around it and above it, and then place a big rock over it (in a ring of rocks around garden bed).  We haven't done that for a long time, but when we did, just knowing that we had cash available for emergencies or saving for a particular item, just made saving so much easier.  We also tried saving into savings accounts and once even a CD.  The interest just wasn't worth it and then also having to pay taxes on that little bitty interest just bugged the heck out of me.  

Long story short, we need to get back into saving up for things that we need, such as a used truck, emergency savings, medical, and other assortments.  

So, how do you save your dollars and where do you keep them.  Just curious for some ideas.  Even saving a dollar or two instead of spending it is what I am going to start with and then try to double every pay day what I saved from the previous payday.  

Thanks in advance for all of your valuable opinions, recommendations, and input.

MA Carey
 
gardener
Posts: 1885
Location: West Tennessee
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My wife puts a five dollar bill in a jar once a week, as one of her ways to save. Something I do that I guess could be passive saving, is I try to pay for as much as I can with cash, and the change goes in a jar at the end of the day. I have many coin jars, and after a few years when they're all full, I take them to my bank where they have a coin counting machine with no fee since I have a checking account with them. It's fun, cause the last time I took my jars to the bank, I had a little over $700 which was a nice bonus that I didn't "have" the day before.

Another way that I guess could be considered saving, is this year I've really been conscious of what I buy. Standing in the grocery store for example, I'll see something, think "man that sounds good. wait!! do I really need it? no." and I don't buy it. That, and also taking the time to shop for the lowest price. Since actively practicing this, I really notice how much I don't buy. That started with my attempt to be less of a consumer, and I've really come to like not buying stuff. It's almost a game now.
 
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I've been working on building up an emergency fund.  (First it was a "saving for my house" fund, but now I have the house, and need an emergency fund.)

What I chose to do was open a bank account in a separate bank, not get a debit card or checkbook.  I have an irregular income, so I try to be careful with the money for the month, then, at the end of the month, after I get paid, I empty out the amount that was leftover from the month, and put it into the second bank account.  At least that's been the goal this year.  

Reasons this work for me:
I get nervous without money for emergencies.  (There have been a few this year that scared me.)  So I'm motivated not to touch the money if I don't need it.  Having to drive to a different bank and take money out on purpose also keeps it from being transferred anywhere easily or on a whim.  It's helpful for me to know the money's there, and since it's a lot of trouble to get it out (as well as embarrassing; not sure why, but I get embarrassed at banks, maybe because everyone's so well-dressed), I tend to leave it there without a really good reason for taking it out.

I have, however, been thinking about saving cash for emergencies.  I'm wondering if it would be wise not to have everything in a bank.  (But I'm not sure easy access to cash is a great idea, either, when it comes to saving money.)

In general, the rule of thumb is probably that saving something is better than saving nothing, if you can make it a fun challenge for yourself or your family, rather than an overwhelming chore, you'll probably have better success.  (One thing I've heard from various budgeting people on YouTube is that you shouldn't feel bad about needing your emergency fund.  That's what it's there for: so you don't go into debt.  After the emergency is over, just work on building it back up again, basically.)

It probably helps to know what would work for you as a saver, too.  Is easy access a problem?  If so, how can you make it hard to access without making it impossible to access?  

(I must admit I kind of like the idea of burying money...but I think I'd worry about someone digging it up!!  My property's not all that private...)
 
pollinator
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M. A. Carey wrote: Long story short, we need to get back into saving up for things that we need, such as a used truck, emergency savings, medical, and other assortments.  



Reinvesting is always the best way to save, though it seems counter-intuitive to many people. As you noted, bank investments are a waste of time. I personally think stashing money is not helpfully, since that money is always fighting inflation whether it's in use or not. (not to mention I helped an old employer move houses a few years ago. I found $2,000 that had apparently been "stashed" in a closet for safe keeping and gave it to her. If it was someone else helping her move, it'd have been in a pocket and gone forsure.)

Grocery bills are usually the best place to start, though I don't want to turn this topic into that subject as there are 100's of sites on the web for it. But you know: the whole save up to buy in bulk = more saving to buy more bulk etc. Food is something you always need, so this is very low risk and worthwhile. As a tip, see how much water you are buying with your purchases when at the store. You can make 3-4x more tomato sauce from the same sized can of tomato paste - something I learned quickly out of highschool.

At first, the game is essentially about eliminating single item purchases. I know roughly how many flat tires I'll get in 2 years, and so I've previously used my bulk saving from groceries to buy 2 new sets of tires online that would cost the same as 1 set of tires bought locally. If you get savvy with e-commerce or connections, you can further this and offer your services to others - I've saved local farmers $1,000's on their truck tires. Tires are also something that tend to not lose value, at least compared to other items, so you can always resell them if you need quick cash.

---

The above is not to say you need to reinvest 100% of what you save, but it's to bring to light that increasing revenue streams increases your savings potential. The faster you can save up for a used truck, the faster you can use that truck to make $ for your emergency funds. A few friends I know in the city use their trucks to haul garbage away for people part-time on weekends at $50-100 a full load.

I used the above tactics to live similar life-styles to people who make double the salary I do, and most times because of my pepper/tomato plants on the window in February-April, they think I'm a drug dealer lol. I just use money more efficiently than they do and it's stuff anyone can understand and put into practice, and gives better returns than stocks.

---

Maybe to build on what James mentioned about awareness while purchasing, think about the product you are buying and the factors tied into it.  

-How much use will you get out of it?
-Is it a potential asset(makes money) or a liability(loses money)?
-Do you really need that expensive brand?
-Do you really need the item at all?
-Are there any alternatives that would cost less in the long-run?
 
Posts: 38
Location: California Sierra Foothils, 2,500 ft. Elevation zone 8b-9a
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Only use cash for your local purchases. Using cash makes (me anyway) more cognizant of what I'm buying. Ask for a cash discount at smaller stores, the merchants pay anywhere from 2 to 4% to credit card companies and you may be helping smaller businesses to survive by using cash.

Buy used stuff at garage sales or thrift stores.

When I frequented stores I never dig into my pockets for the correct change instead emptied my pockets into a jar on the bureau when I get home.

If you have a mortgage especially a new one, pay more than the minimum each month. It will take months if not years off the payoff period and save you thousands of dollars. Even $10 more a month will make big difference over the long haul. The banks hate this. It must be good....right? Just make sure you don't have a prepayment penalty.

Sell that stuff in the garage, closet or attic that you haven't used in 2 years on Craigslist, I find this puts extra cash in my wallet for my needed items. If you see something on Craigslist that is ridiculously cheap, buy it and resell it. This is a good source of funds also, especially if it just needs to be cleaned up.

Do you really need to buy Starbucks coffee or bottled water? Both of which cost more per gallon than gasoline. I had a buddy at work that bought a Starbucks coffee everyday for about $3. Multiply that times 300 days=$900 a year! Yet he complained that he could just not save enough for a down payment on a house.

Brown bag your lunches.

I think it is the small items that keep many from saving and usually not even aware of it.

 Saving money is about spending money on things you really don't NEED! Unless of course it an asset or staple.

 
M. A. Carey
Posts: 61
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James Freyr wrote:My wife puts a five dollar bill in a jar once a week, as one of her ways to save. Something I do that I guess could be passive saving, is I try to pay for as much as I can with cash, and the change goes in a jar at the end of the day. I have many coin jars, and after a few years when they're all full, I take them to my bank where they have a coin counting machine with no fee since I have a checking account with them. It's fun, cause the last time I took my jars to the bank, I had a little over $700 which was a nice bonus that I didn't "have" the day before.

Another way that I guess could be considered saving, is this year I've really been conscious of what I buy. Standing in the grocery store for example, I'll see something, think "man that sounds good. wait!! do I really need it? no." and I don't buy it. That, and also taking the time to shop for the lowest price. Since actively practicing this, I really notice how much I don't buy. That started with my attempt to be less of a consumer, and I've really come to like not buying stuff. It's almost a game now.




++++++++++++++++++++++

I have saved coins by denomination in used RX bottles.  I have to save all of our quarters for purchasing water that we haul, but have saved dimes and nickels in different bottles, pennies are saved too.  Unfortunately, I have never saved long enough to go to the bank to cash in at coin machine, because we have run short of money between paydays and I've never been too proud to go into a store and pay with a bunch of nickels or dimes when I've had to.  Of course, these have been only dire necessities of a few dollars worth of coins at a time.  

I am very good about only buying things that I really, really need, but my husband "needs Pepsi and he drinks A LOT, and he needs snacks out of bags."  I have tried to change that for 43 years.  He did quit cigarettes and he did quit beer, but maybe I can get him to at least cut down on the Pepsi and junk food.  Many times I go without a meal a day because we are short on grocery money between paydays.  I call it fasting.  haha

I had $27 left after paying cash for groceries today and have enough of everything (I hope) to get by until the next payday.  I will cut back as much as I can and sock that cash away in my hidey-hole.  My goal has been to save $100 out of my pay (once per month) and $200 out of his pay (once per month) and give him $100 to spend on whatever he needs, including snack stuff.  Maybe that will open his eyes that we have spent way too much on junk food for him.  He always needs to get something at Home Depot for his projects, which is just something for him to do.  However, 90% of his projects are things that we have been planning in the long-terms goals, but he wants to do it now because he gets bored if not constantly working.  So I finally said spend your $100 on whatever you want and/or need and stay out of our grocery cash, which he has just agreed to.  Maybe he will come around, maybe not,  but at least if I can save the $300 per months plus a few bucks here and there left from grocery cash, it will all add up.  First is the $1000 cash for emergencies, and then start on a CD ladder in $2500 increments for savings.

By the way, I have my junk food fix, but as far as I'm concerned, not considered junk food, and that is either pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.  I spend maybe $4 per month because it takes forever to eat them when from the shell, and I don't eat them but about 3 times per week or so.
 
M. A. Carey
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Jarret Hynd wrote:



Grocery bills are usually the best place to start, though I don't want to turn this topic into that subject as there are 100's of sites on the web for it. But you know: the whole save up to buy in bulk = more saving to buy more bulk etc. Food is something you always need, so this is very low risk and worthwhile. As a tip, see how much water you are buying with your purchases when at the store. You can make 3-4x more tomato sauce from the same sized can of tomato paste - something I learned quickly out of highschool.



++++++++++++

I use a calculator when shopping, grocery or otherwise, and shop the loss leaders at Safeway and Frys for the bargains and plan meals around what's on sale.  I cook from scratch 90% of the time.  I shop at $Tree, and [Heaven Forbid] Walmart when I have to.  I have always tried to watch spending on groceries, but I don't only buy for me and my husband likes sodas and snacks.  I drink water and spend maybe $4 on sunflower or pumpkin seeds.  We have grown pumpkin and sunflowers in the past, but we are in high desert now and it is very arid, only get monsoon season and sometimes that is pretty dry.  I pay cash for groceries and dry goods, and actually had $27 left over this time, so that goes into the savings start.
 
pollinator
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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I strongly recommend that, if at all possible, you make an automatic withdrawal from your paycheck (assuming of course you get one) and put it in a good, low-load mutual fund.  I have one going to Vanguard, it averages 13.9% a year.  If you never get the money and carry on like it doesn't exist, you will have a very happy surprise someday.  I find that expenditures usually rise to meet income, so take some out before you ever see it.  Compound interest is a very powerful thing.  If you don't get a regular "paycheck", make a deal with yourself that a certain percentage of any money you get goes into the fund and stick to it.  Most people find that they can put that percentage away without impacting their lifestyle, you just have to treat it as a bill that has to be paid.

I just checked my account so I was sure of the numbers.  This is the fund: VFIAX  Vanguard 500 Index Fund Admiral Shares    5 Year return = 15.71%  This year = 22%  Fee is .04%
 
M. A. Carey
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Todd Parr wrote:I strongly recommend that, if at all possible, you make an automatic withdrawal from your paycheck (assuming of course you get one) and put it in a good, low-load mutual fund.  I have one going to Vanguard, it averages 13.9% a year.  If you never get the money and carry on like it doesn't exist, you will have a very happy surprise someday.  I find that expenditures usually rise to meet income, so take some out before you ever see it.  Compound interest is a very powerful thing.  If you don't get a regular "paycheck", make a deal with yourself that a certain percentage of any money you get goes into the fund and stick to it.  Most people find that they can put that percentage away without impacting their lifestyle, you just have to treat it as a bill that has to be paid.

I just checked my account so I was sure of the numbers.  This is the fund: VFIAX  Vanguard 500 Index Fund Admiral Shares    5 Year return = 15.71%  This year = 22%  Fee is .04%



+++++++++++++++

I can set up auto withdrawal from my checking acct, but no paycheck.  I used to belong to an investment club, maybe I will start fund in January since right now only have $27 to start with.


Thanks to all suggestions.  You are a great bunch of people!
 
pollinator
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The problem is that most people don't have enough money for savings. I would have a look at the bigger bills and what can be safed away. Some people still have cable TV, or the phone all these big bills is there anything you could safe on? Otherwise the tin.
 
pollinator
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Being self employed I have to save for taxes, now taxes are 48% after the tiny allowance, so I put 50% of all earnings to one side, when it comes time to pay tax I have a little more in the account than I need, so savings! We also have jars of change lying around.
 
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Todd Parr has correct idea of selecting a good mutual fund and a low cost fund too.

Create a spreadsheet.  
List every item that takes out money in a month.  
Then do the same for all your income.  

Hopefully your better off with most people live pay check to pay check, if you cut there income for two weeks they are toast.
 
steward
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Todd Parr wrote:I find that expenditures usually rise to meet income, so take some out before you ever see it.  



I agree wholeheartedly.  I always tell the new hires to immediately set up their 401k to take 10-15% of their pay out.  They will never notice if it starts at the beginning of their career and they get used to it.  

Advertisers, friends, frienemies, social media, kids, neighbors and many others conspire to get you to spend money on things you don't really need.  A silly thing like bringing lunch to work instead of hitting the fairly affordable cafeteria saves me $5 a day.  My coworkers snickered a bit but when I did the math for them, their $1200 a year lunch habit didn't look quite as smart.  Whether it's fancy coffee, subscriptions to services you don't really use or need, hitting the nightclub or buying pretty shoes, evaluating if you really need it or if you're doing it just to fit in or "keep up with the Jones's" can help you save a ton of cash.

My wife introduced me to budgeting.  It really helped.  We track every expense in Excel in a number of spending categories. Paychecks are distributed among them.  We know exactly how much money we have for hobbies, trips, taxes, fun or repairs at any given time.  Saving up for annual expenses (property taxes) or decadely expenses (cars) happens automatically in the spreadsheet.  It keeps us (me) from saying "Gee, we have $5000 saved up, let's go to Vegas".  When $500 of that is for taxes and $3000 is building up to buy a car in 5 years, the war chest looks more barren and I just treat myself to a new drill bit instead.

Tactical places to put the money for us is usually checking accounts and investment vehicles (401k, Roth IRAs, etc).  For those who think savings accounts and CDs are low interest and not worth it, be sure to shop around.  Our local bank offers 3% interest on checking accounts if you jump through a few hoops.  We have an online bank that pays 1.25% interest.  Granted that's not nearly as good as Todd's mutual fund but it's FDIC insured and a perfect place to "save" while you prepare to "invest".
 
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My wife and i had a plan to pay off our house in less than 5 years. I work in maintenance for 18/hr and she managed a kitchen for around 15/ hr. I work 40,  she 35ish. Our house is a fixer upper on an acre bought from an inheritter after a death. We have lived here for two years but i have worked like mad gutting many rooms and renovating not to mention the sheep hut and chicken coop. It was bought  for 130,000 usd. We had 10k downpayment, but have already payed off 40k more.

We are frugal. Most of our furniture has come from tenants that discard their stuff after moving. I have made a few very nice tables from scrap wood from work. I have even made lamps, and a medicine cabinet. I only use hand tools and buy them used. Usually all beat up from ebay or an antique store or flea market.

I get tons of free logs and woodchips from a local tree service.
We cook most all of our meals.
We dont eat meat every meal.
We dont have tv.
I only use a work flip phone i dont pay for.
She uses a very old smart phone. She doesnt use a lot of data ( no videos) and we share a plan.
We dont have the internet.
We use a cost sharing inurance plan.
We buy clothes from thrift stores.
We play music and games and craft for fun.
We bought our vehicles in cash second hand.
We have no credit card debt.
We have payed off school loans.

We just had our first baby a week ago, so im really trying to think how we can make money from home or being a personal contractor. Im college educated, but i cant stand being around most people that are. I work with highschool grads and illegal latinos every day. My spanish has dramatically improved.
 
Johnmark Hatfield
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Ps. When both working, we saved 2,500 or more a month

Thats with 250 in materials to fix up the house.

Our budget is

80 heat (more in winter months but spread through year)
80 electric
300 gas
300 food
25 phone
250 fix up house
250 car maintenance
850 mortgage
42 car insurance
240 health insurance
100 misc.

We have around 20,000 in the bank for emergencies.
 
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