Do you need a little coaching on how to save money? I’ve discovered the easiest, most effective and painless way to save, ever, and I want to share it with you. This how to save money strategy is so easy that you will not even realize you are doing it!
So how to save money painlessly, without even realize you are doing it? Save your $5.00 bills. That’s right – how to save money is as easy as saving your $5.00 bills. Every.single.one.of.them!
I call my money saving strategy “Saving Mr. Lincoln” because Abraham Lincoln adorns the 5 dollar bill. For the last two years, I’ve saved every single $5.00 bill that I’ve received either as a gift or as change from a purchase. And, it couldn’t be easier!
Since today’s is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, I thought what better time than today to share this how to save money strategy with readers and bring you up-to-date in my progress. How much money have I saved since starting my Saving Mr. Lincoln savings plan?
617 five dollar bills!
It all started in February 2013, so 2 years ago. I read about this how to save money strategy in a magazine, a small snippet inside a box, like a space filler, and thought “what a great idea!” So, I decided to try it and see whether or not I could stick with it.
You see, I’ve never really had a savings account before. Well, that’s a slight exaggeration – I’ve had them, but closed them after shorts spurts because I wouldn’t put money in them. And, eventually, the bank would start charging me to keep them open, so I’d end up closing them because the bank fees were eating up my savings! Kinda defeats the purpose of a how to save money strategy, don’t you think?
For example, when our house burned to the ground in October 2007 (see this post: Any Way the Wind Blows), we didn’t have any reserve funds lying around. We had to use our credit cards and started accumulating expenses quickly. We lived in a hotel for a week, had to eat out almost every single meal, bought a few clothes to get us by, bought groceries (we tried to eat a few meals in our hotel room, for example, cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch), cat supplies for Coco, a cell phone (I’d left mine behind during the evacuation), a WiFi connection (I did remember my laptop), toiletries, etc.
Fortunately, within 10 days of the loss of our home, our insurance company issued us a nice size check that took the burden off of us and gave us needed financial relief.
Anyway, after reading that snippet in the magazine, it occurred to me that we should have an emergency fund (I know, I’m “late to the party”!). And, what better way than to save $5.00 bills? And, why not share my progress on my blog?
During the first year of saving my Mr. Lincoln’s, I wrote a monthly update. Not only was this motivational for me, but it was for Charlie, too, who joined me in Saving Mr. Lincoln after the first month. At first, I told readers that his $5.00 bills were “gifts” to me, because without fail, whenever he ends up with a $5.00 bill in his pocket, he gives it to me right away for the savings account. His “gift” to me.
But, in reality, we have been able to save $3,085.00 over the last 2 years, easily, effortlessly and painlessly, because there are two of us contributing to the fund AND because we have made the mental commitment to not spend $5.00 bills, no matter what!
Sometimes, that’s been a struggle. I’ll end up somewhere that requires cash and reach into my wallet to see what I have. I’ll only have a five and maybe a few ones. But, I need the five and not the ones (for example, a coffee drink at the world’s favorite coffee place). If the drink is $3.89 and I only have a five and two or three ones, I don’t buy it.
If a drink anywhere costs me $0.99, or $1.99, etc. and I only have a five in my wallet, I don’t buy it. Instead, I do without.
Not only has my Saving Mr. Lincoln strategy helped me to save money easily and painlessly, it has taught me to spend less on frivolous things. I’ve learned to keep a bottle of water handy and grab one as I head out the door.
If you divide $3,085.00 by 24 (the number of months we’ve saved our fives), that’s $128.54 a month. Divide that by 2 and we are saving around $64.27 each. Over a month’s time, $64.27 doesn’t seem budget-busting even if you consciously thought about saving that amount every month and transferred that amount from your checking account to your savings account. And, if you did that, too, you’d save $771.24 in a year’s time.
But, sometimes, when faced with the conscious effort of actually saving that money by putting a set amount into a savings account, we falter. We think, “well, that’s not very much money. If I buy that new dress, instead, I’ll make it up next month and put double in savings.”
Or, we think, “I’m not earning any interest to speak of anyway. What’s one less month of saving that money?”
And, other excuses.
But, here’s the “fun” thing about Saving Mr. Lincoln – it’s so motivating! We only deposit to our savings account once a month. When we receive a five dollar bill as change from a purchase, we fold it in half and put it in another part of our wallet. As soon as we get home, we immediately take it out of our wallet and put it in an envelope. As we add to our envelope, it is fun to see that stash of five dollar bills growing and growing! Our highest month, we had 46 five dollar bills before we made our deposit!
It’s been fun, too, to share our progress with others. For example, when we go to the bank and have a new teller at the teller window, they are always intrigued about our depositing a stack of $5.00 bills, especially if we are getting cash out, too (I know, that doesn’t make sense, but that’s what we do – get out $20.00 bills for our “run around money” at the same time we are depositing a stack of $5.00 bills!).
Inevitably, they ask the burning question and we share our strategy. They are intrigued, but what makes them really step back and think about it (their “ah-ha” moment), is that the tellers see that it works. They see that we’ve consistently made monthly deposits around the 12th of every month into our savings account, random amounts, and that we never withdraw from that savings account.
So, for anyone who will listen to me, I share my how to save money plan and I encourage them to try this. For example, if I’m out to lunch with friends and we are splitting the bill, let’s say my share of the bill is $15.00. I reach in my wallet and pull out a $20.00 and add it to the pile and get $5.00 as change. I get all giddy and excited and say “yea! Another five for my Saving Mr. Lincoln account!” And, of course, they ask me about it. If I’ve told them about it before, I update them with my progress and they are amazed.
This how to save money strategy truly is the easiest, most effective and painless way to save, ever, and I encourage you to give it a try!
Here are links to all my Saving Mr. Lincoln posts…
- Saving Mr. Lincoln
- Saving Mr. Lincoln – March 2013 Update
- Saving Mr. Lincoln – April 2013 Update
- Saving Mr. Lincoln – May 2013 Update
- Saving Mr. Lincoln – June 2013 Update
- Saving Mr. Lincoln – July 2013 Update
- Saving Mr. Lincoln – August 2013 Update
- Saving Mr. Lincoln – September 2013 Update
- Saving Mr. Lincoln – October 2013 Update
- Saving Mr. Lincoln – November 2013 Update
- Saving Mr. Lincoln – December 2013 Update
- Saving Mr. Lincoln – January 2014 Update
- Saving Mr. Lincoln’s Retirement
Take a moment to breeze through them and get motivated to try this money-saving strategy. Truly, this how to save money strategy is the easiest, most effective and painless way to save, ever. You’ll thank me later!