ICBA Blog

4 Sneaky Ways to Save $$

Build a vacation or splurge fund without having to scrimp by

You can squirrel money away for a vacation, home improvement project, or big purchase just by incorporating a few stealthy personal finance hacks. Maybe you already have a strict budget that involves savings, but you still want to set aside cash for a splurge, or maybe the word “budget” makes you cringe, and you just need to get on a better path to savings. Either way, we’ve got ideas for building a stash.

Try a micro-savings/investment app
Save money you won’t miss by using a micro-savings app on your smartphone. An app like Acorns takes the old piggy-bank method of saving your spare change and makes it digital. Plus, it invests your cash with a hassle-free process. Acorns connects to the bank accounts of your choosing and rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar to deposit the difference in your Acorns account. All those cappuccinos you sip might just transport you to Italy after all. Other investment apps include Stash and Betterment.

Set up automatic transfers
An automatic transfer from checking to savings may seem like a no-brainer, but just because you set one up doesn’t mean you’ll leave the money in savings to accumulate or that you’ll have it in your checking to begin with. The trick to making your savings stick is to do several small transfers throughout the month, rather than one big transfer. If you’re saving $100 per month, for example, transfer $25 each Friday instead of the whole amount at the beginning of the month when your rent, mortgage, car payment, or other bills are due. That’s when your account can get low and a large auto transfer might get rejected. With weekly transfers, you’ll see that money regularly debited from your checking account balance and know it’s no longer available for mindless spending.

Take advantage of rewards points
Only take advantage of credit or charge card reward points if you’re smart with card usage and pay your balances in full every month so that you don’t accrue interest. Reward program points can often be redeemed for travel, lodging, furniture or electronic purchases, gift cards, and more. If you need to save for a new sofa, for example, you can pay your bills and other daily purchases using a card with a great rewards program and then use accumulated points for your big buy.

Find the funder
If you do a little brainstorming, you’ll likely find a source in your life that will fund a yearly vacation without leaving you broke. This could be as simple as cutting the cable and using cheaper streaming services instead. Or, as an independent contractor, you might have one annoying, small project you work on monthly that you’ve been thinking about ditching because the miniscule amount of cash it brings in isn’t worth keeping it on your schedule. Don’t drop that project. Instead, take that money and put it into a vacation account. When you’re sitting on a beach in the dull days of February, you’ll thank yourself.