Do you want to save for retirement, or even just put a little extra away for a special vacation, but have trouble sticking to your budget? Or, maybe your income isn’t all that big right now, and finances are just plain tight. One idea to make sure you have enough money at the end of the month is to never spend a dollar – that is, to never spend a dollar bill.
The concept is simple (although not easy if you’ve become dependent on the convenience of using a card for spending). First, use only cash to make offline purchases. Second, never use a dollar bill. Third, put the dollar bills you get back in change in a large jar or shoebox. Fourth, on the last day of every month, take the dollar bills out of the container and rubber-band or paper clip them together.
As soon as possible, take this wad of money to your local financial institution and have it counted and deposited into one of two places. If you’re going to invest the money, deposit it into your checking account. Then when you get home, promptly write a check for the amount’ and send it to the company or firm handling your retirement portfolio so that you can add it to your retirement fund (alternatively, you can add the money to your funds online with a debit card).
If you’re saving up for a splurge, have the money deposited into a savings account that is specially earmarked as a “fun fund”. Do not cheat, and keep a chart on the wall that shows the progress toward your goal.
Modify this system however you like. You may save change as well, or, instead of never spending a dollar bill, never spend a five dollar bill – although it may turn out the same as not spending the dollars.
Saving for retirement – or for a rainy day – can be fun with this game. If you struggle with your financial goals, it’s an idea you may want to try.