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How to trick yourself into saving money

The hardest part about penny pinching is finding the discipline to do it. It's not that most people are irresponsible with their money. Instead, it's more that people slowly let their habits drain the piggy bank over time. Trips to restaurants and morning cups of coffee add up quick. Unfortunately, the greater effects of those small transactions are often lost in the ether of your other more necessary spending habits.

You pay for groceries, utilities, cable, your car and more - it's easy to lose track of the other expenses that  come and go at the same time. Before you know it, the money you earned taking paid surveys is gone. That's why a few simple tricks can help you hold on to that cash for later, and it all takes just a slight change of perspective. Here are a few tips you can start with.

Give yourself an allowance
The easiest way to tailor your spending is to set a maximum amount you can use every month. That's easier said than done when all of your money is in one place. Instead, use the classic envelope system. Every month, set aside an envelope with cash inside specifically for discretionary spending. This is all the money you can use for fun for the month. Once it's used up, your budget is maxed out, and you can't go to your bank account for more.

Transfer funds automatically
Next, you'll want to take that money you're saving in the checking account and do something with it. Pouring it into a savings account is a great idea, but people often get cold feet before "donating" to future investments. Some even forget to put a little aside on a monthly basis, and those forward-thinking finance tips quickly fall to the wayside.

In these circumstances, an automated system can be a lifesaver. If you use direct deposit to move your paycheck into your bank account, you can tailor the system to transfer a certain portion of that money into your savings account. Try depositing 10 percent of your paycheck to your savings account automatically to start. It's far easier to save when you're doing it without thinking about it.

Put the money you save on deals to good use
Saving cash on buy-one-get-one-free deals only works if you actually put the money you saved aside. Otherwise, you risk spending what you save elsewhere, and then you wouldn't really be saving money at all. Instead of pocketing the savings, act as though you spent the full price for those bargain buys and put the difference into your savings account. 

Moreover, simply keeping track of how much you're saving couponing and taking advantage of sales can be a tremendous motivator. Any time you save a little cash on a deal, write down the amount and add it up at the end of the month. This will encourage you to track down more savings opportunities while you shop.


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