It's the money rule that helps you follow all the other money rules: Save, save, save. Unfortunately, when you have bills to pay, house repairs to make, and lingering credit card debt to eradicate, saving becomes secondary. You can trick yourself into banking extra dollars, though. Seriously. Here are five ways to save more in five minutes or less.
Send part of your paycheck straight to a savings account, ideally via direct deposit into an online banking account. Why? Online banks offer higher interest rates. Plus, withdrawals take longer, so it's harder to tap funds for non-emergencies. If you're worried about tying up your money, direct-deposit some into a savings account with your traditional bank instead. Or set up an auto-transfer from checking to savings. Even $25 a month adds up over time.
2. Add 'saving' to your budget
Also referred to as "pay yourself first," you can build up a rainy-day fund by adding "savings" as a line item in your budget. Bonus: We've got a simple budgeting spreadsheet that can help with that.
3. Download a savings app
There are so, so many apps that help turbo-charge your savings. To name a few: Chime Bank rounds every purchase you make with your debit card up to the nearest dollar and adds it to your savings account. Qapital lets you round up and add customized automatic savings rules ("Save whenever I tweet!"). Tip Yourself utilizes a similar concept and Digit analyzes your cash flow to 'find' money you can save each week or day, though it charges $2.99 for the service.
4. Enlist technology to do your dirty work
I'm not a fan of robots. Because Terminator. But I can't hate too hard on tech that'll lower your cable bill and cancel unused subscriptions. Clarity Money offers in-app bill cancellation and negotiation for a one-time fee equal to 33% of the annual savings you get from the latter service. Chatbot Trim offers the same services for 25% of the cut - with an emphasis on negotiating Comcast bills. Meanwhile, Prosper Daily notifies you when a recurring bill increases. We've got more on these apps for lowering your monthly expenses here.
5. Shut off one-click ordering
We're all for making life easy, but if you're struggling to spend less, you have to make buying stuff hard. So flip off the one-click ordering switch ... and delete stored credit card accounts for your retail logins.
Saving is just one part of a solid financial plan. These days, if you want to, say, become a millionaire, you've got to invest. Fortunately, we've got some ways to boost your investments in five minutes or less here.