Saving Money Games
by Jeffrey Strain (SavingAdvice.com)
Simple Games That People Use To Save Money
How to save? That may seem like an off the wall question, but one which you have most likely never thought about. Saving for most people equates to taking whatever extra money they happen to have at the end of the month and putting it into some type of savings account. Since there often isn't a lot, if anything, left over, saving money for most people is a constant battle. Many of the people that are truly successful at saving money have changed tactics and created a variety of games that help them keep focused on saving. Here are some of the more popular games out there:
Never Seen, Never Missed Game: Have you ever considered why tax authorities
collect a person's estimated taxes from each month's paycheck
instead of waiting until the end of the year to collect all
the taxes? Tax authorities do this for a simple and specific
reason. They know that if they attempted to collect a year's
worth of taxes at the end of the year, most people wouldn't
have it. Governments know that people tend to spend the amount
of money they have available to them, so they take their share
The never seen, never missed game (commonly referred to as a "Pay yourself first" program) works in a similar way. Most people try to save money on their own by putting away the extra money they have left over at the end of the month. In theory, this seems practical, but in reality there rarely is any money left over at the end of each month. The never seen, never missed game is a system where you decide to take a percentage of each paycheck and place it into your savings before you pay any bills, go to any bars or restaurants or make any other payments.
The people who are most successful utilizing this saving game have their money immediately transferred to an investment such as a mutual fund where the money can't be accessed as easily as a savings account. They usually direct deposit their paycheck to their savings account and then have a certain percentage automatically transferred the same day to their other investment. Since they never see the money in their daily use account, they never miss it.
Money Jar Game: This is probably one of the oldest saving games around. In its simplest form, the person comes home and empties his or her pockets of all the change and puts it into some type of container. At the end of each week or month, the jar full of change is taken to the bank (avoid the convenience of using the coin changing machines at local stores. That convenience comes with a large fee. You can do the same deposit at your local bank at no charge) and the resulting amount is placed into long term savings. More ambitious practitioners of this method also place any $1.00 bills from their wallets into the jar at the end of each day.
More Saving Games
Continue Payment Game: This is a game played for those who have purchased large items on credit for a period of time such as a car or large appliance. When the final payment is made, instead of using the money which was going to the monthly payment to purchase something else, continue to make the monthly payment amount to your savings for 6 months to a year.
Get It Free Game: This is a game where instead of buying or renting something, you get it for free and put the money you would have spent into your savings. An obvious use of this game is going to your local library to borrow a book you want to read instead of buying it at a bookstore. Those who are on good terms with their neighbors and are able to borrow items that are expensive, but aren't regularly used, can also greatly increase their savings this way. Some who use this saving game use a modified version by placing 50% of the savings of the purchase or rental price into their long term savings instead of 100% and use the other 50% on themselves as a reward for a job well done.
Quit A Bad Habit Game: This game is often started at the New Year as a resolution and can produce a double benefit if continued. You make a resolution to quit a bad habit such as smoking or drinking. In this game, you take the money that you would have normally used for the habit and instead invest it into your savings. Not only will you increase your long term savings, you'll also find yourself a lot healthier. An added benefit is that quiting the bad habit will often entitle you to a discount on your life and medical insurance.
Coupon Game: This is a simple game often utilized by those who enjoy using coupons for their purchases. Simply take the savings realized by the use of all the coupons used during the week and invest that amount into your savings. With coupons no longer limited to grocery shopping, this little game can put hundreds of dollars each week into your savings account.
On Sale Game: Here's another game that takes the difference of what you would normally pay and what you actually pay and put it into savings. Anything that you would normally buy, but can get on sale qualifies. Clothes, appliances, groceries, etc. Again, people who fully utilize this game find they can put hundreds of dollars each week into their savings.
Shop Around Game: In this saving game, you take the time to shop around for the best price on every item you are going to purchase. There are several versions that people play. Some take the difference of the highest price and what was actually paid to put in savings while others use the difference of the average price from all the stores checked and the actual price paid. Still others use the price difference of the first price they saw and what they actually paid. No matter which version is used, this game will also increase your savings.
Still More Saving Games
Find Money Game: This is a simple game where any money that you get unexpectedly goes directly into your savings. It could be anything from a dime found on the street to an unexpected inheritance and anything in between.
Reduce Your Bills Game: In this savings game, you take a look at your bills each month and devise ways to reduce them. This can be anything such as stopping extra services you do not use, switching companies to get better rates or changing your habits to reduce the bills. Each month you compare the bill to the month before and if you were able to reduce it, the difference is placed into your savings.
Do It Yourself Game: Instead of paying someone to do it for you, do it yourself and pocket the money into your savings. Mow the lawn yourself instead of having someone do it for you. Iron your own shirts instead of taking them to the dry cleaners. Paint the children's room yourself instead of hiring someone to come and do it. Not only will this game increase your savings, it will teach you to be much more handy around the house.
Bargaining Game: We're a nation that usually pays the price marked on the sales tag. The only time most of us bargain is when buying a car or at the flea market. The truth is that bargaining is nothing more than asking for a better price. You'd be surprised how often you can get something for a discount by simply asking, especially when it comes to services. Take the discount you bargained for and place it into your savings.
Cash Or Credit Game: This is a very simple game where you simply ask if you pay for your purchase with cash instead of by credit card, will the seller be willing to give you a discount. Since it costs retailers 3% + when you pay by credit card rather than cash, they will often be willing to give you a discount. This is especially true with large and expensive items.
These are just a sampling of the different types of games people use to increase their long term savings and is in no way a comprehensive list. The key to all of them is actually taking the money gained and placing it into a long term savings investment and not spending it on other daily items. None of the games is mutually exclusive and most people use a combination of the games that best meet their needs. They are also adapted in countless ways to meet each individuals specific needs.
Another important factor that can't be overemphasized is that for the games to be successful, they should be fun. Many families begin the games simply as a friendly competition to see what results can be achieved. If you can't achieve any pleasure out of doing these games, then they will fail. With a little imagination, however, and the knowledge of which systems can motivate you the most, you should be able to develop a game that is enjoyable to you and you'll be on your way to increasing your long term savings faster than you ever imagined.
Article provided by SavingAdvice.com