Savings may be slipping through your fingers, even if you are living paycheck to paycheck. Perhaps not in the denominations that you were hoping for (wouldn’t it be nice to sock away a few thousand dollars every month into an account you own?), but if you’re like me, you’ll take any extra savings you can get.

Saving money—actually depositing money into a bank account that won’t be touched in the short-term—happens when both the physical and mental elements are right. What do I mean by this? A healthy savings account does not just manifest by itself. If a person makes a decent income but sees no benefit in saving any of it, then savings will not automatically accumulate. Conversely, if a person is a natural-born saver but is struggling to make ends meet, then it will be difficult to accumulate money as well.

Squeeze Extra Savings Out of Your Current Paycheck-- Feeling like you don't earn enough to save? This could inspire you. Learn from it. |

This post may contain affiliate links - it's how we keep the lights on around here. Here's our policy.

You need both an income as well as a savings mentality in order to build up your money.

Saving money happens when both the physical and mental elements are right. Click To Tweet

Fortunately, both of these areas can be improved upon, potentially even without securing a second or third job and even without sacrificing many of your wants today. Below are a few tricks that you can use to overcome both barriers—mental and physical—and get more of your hard-earned paycheck into your bank account.

Give Your Savings Account a Pet Name

Do you know what your savings means to you? Yes, it means more money. But what else? Some possibilities include financial security, financial independence, seed money for a different kind of life, travel, retirement freedom, etc. Online banks generally allow you to give each of your accounts a nickname, so take the opportunity to give it a pet name that invokes some emotions in you. Say, “Freedom Fund”, “Seed Money”, “Declaration of Independence”, or really anything that makes you want to stash money in it more than the generic “Account: X123456789” will.

Challenge Yourself Past What You Thought You Could Save

Running does not come natural to me. It never has, though after six months of consistently doing it 2-3 times per week I find myself wanting to do it more. Because it’s not natural for me, I play a mental trick on myself that has stretched me much farther than I would normally run. When I run, as I get to the end of where I typically stop running, I start egging myself on just a little bit further. I might tell myself “when I get to that next tree, I’ll stop”. After I reach that tree, I mentally declare, “when I get to the next light pole I’ll be finished”, then, “I’ve made it this far, might as well go to the end of that bench.” Adding a little onto the end when I am in the zone already stretches me past where I thought I could go.

Once you have figured out how much you can save each month, challenge yourself to do a little more. If you have earmarked $100 for savings, why not do $110, or $120? Then as this amount becomes your new norm, stretch yourself again. Make it to $140, or $150. Once you figure out you still survived without the extra money to spend, saving the higher amount will become a regular habit.

Save All of Your Change

Paul and I love to travel. Typically we do not purchase lots of souvenirs (we’d rather spend the money on more travel). However, on our honeymoon to Austria in 2010, I fell in love with a cow piggybank. We spent the $20 and traveled all the way from Salzburg back to Houston with it—ceramic ears and tail intact. Ever since then we’ve put all of our “silver” change into its belly. A little under three years later we cashed it in for the first time for $93.01 of money we had never missed. Cha-ching!

Set Aside Every Dollar Bill that Crosses Your Path

Just like you can save all of your change in a jar, you could also save each $1 bill (or coin) that crosses your path. These may not fit well into a piggybank, so instead you could take a shoe box and stuff them in there. Once every six months count it up and take it to the bank (or sooner if you happen to have a lot of dollar bills).

Skim a Little off Work Reimbursements

If your company is as slow as my husband’s in reimbursing you, then chances are you have already found a way to cover the amount spent before the money comes in. While you may need some of the reimbursement check to put back into savings or cover your bills, try to skim some off the top to put straight into savings. This works even better if you use your own vehicle and get reimbursed by the mile, as you will make a small profit. The extra is meant to reimburse you for future car repairs, so it’s a good idea to save this money anyway.

Bank Referral Credits by Leveraging Your Social Network

Many of us have a social network online or in person. If there is a service you enjoy using, be sure to tell your family and friends about it. You can look in your account and see if there is a way for you to get credit for referring someone to the service. Include a link when you post on Facebook, email, or any other form (and tell them upfront that you receive a benefit for them signing up under you). Many referral links also give the opportunity for the person signing up to get something special as well. For example, ING Direct (now Capital One 360) used to give $25 to the person signing up for a new savings account, and $10 to the referrer. It’s a win-win!

Take your extra referral credits and put them into your savings account. You may need to offset the cost to do this. As an example, if you receive a credit on your bill for the referral bonus, then put that same amount of money from checking into your savings account.

What are some ways that you have found to stash away extra money? Please share to benefit everyone!

14 replies
  1. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    We are working on saving our change. It’s a little disappointing because the other day we realized that someone took all of the change out of our jar!

  2. Bryce @ Save and Conquer
    Bryce @ Save and Conquer says:

    I am a habitual saver. Any time our checking account (which is where our paychecks are deposited) gets above $6k I transfer the excess into our brokerage account. I sometimes do the transfer a few days before our paychecks arrive, so that we won’t even see the money before it has been squirreled away.

    • FruGal
      FruGal says:

      Sounds like a good season. I’m not sure how long it takes you to get to $6K, but you might want to look into checking accounts that pay interest since you are keeping a sizable chunk of money in one.

  3. Jon @ MoneySmartGuides
    Jon @ MoneySmartGuides says:

    I use Capital One 360 and renamed all 10 of my savings accounts to the goal name so I can easily see how much I have saved for each goal. When small amounts of money come my way, I save it because as crazy as it sounds, the little amounts add up over time. I regularly save $3 here and there and in a year, I save over $1,000. Seeing my balances grow motivates me to save even more.

  4. Jake
    Jake says:

    My company uses a self-serve payroll system that allows employees to split up your paychecks into as many accounts as you like. Ever since I put away money before it hit my checking account (always pay yourself first!), saving has been a breeze. I periodically will increase the savings amount to stretch myself and every pay raise will increase my savings contributions with the difference.

  5. Richard Buse
    Richard Buse says:

    Great post. What helps me save is equating the amount saved with something enjoyable that costs the same amount. For example, I treat myself to a medium dip-topped cone from Dairy Queen several times a month. One of those cones costs around $2.25. If I save $2.25 somewhere, that’s a dipped-top cone I get to enjoy sometime.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Squeeze Extra Savings from your current paycheck, by Frugal […]

  2. Squeeze Extra Savings Out of Your Current Paycheck says:

    […] Click here to continue reading… […]

Comments are closed.