Do you want this year to be the year that you actually start saving some money instead of spending everything you make and then wondering where it all went? It’s a great idea (really a necessity, though not many of us do it) to have an emergency fund set aside for unexpected bills like car repairs, replacing broken glasses, buying shoes for that kiddo who won’t stop growing, or paying medical bills. Even if you don’t use it for an emergency fund, it’s still good to have extra money set aside for Christmas shopping, vacations, or whatever else you might like to have a little extra money on hand to do.
So why don’t most of us save money? One of the main reasons is that it’s simply not a habit. It’s a lot more fun to spend money (for most of us!) than it is to save money, so saving is not an easy habit to develop. But saving money can become a habit! In fact, we want to share with you some simple charts that can help you make this year the year that you learn to save!
So how does it work? It’s not hard! The main thing you need to remember is to set aside your savings money each day before you go anywhere or spend money on anything. Don’t wait until the end of the day or week or month. The money will be gone by then! You’re not being selfish by setting aside this money first! You’re creating a new habit that will help you and your entire family in the long run, so think of it in a positive way.
Take a look at the chart above to see how it works. A “penny plus” just means that you set aside the amount you did the day before–plus at least one more penny–. The first day, you set aside one single penny. The second day, you set aside a single penny plus one additional penny, for a total of at least 2 pennies. The third day, you’ll set aside two pennies–just like you did the day before–plus at least one more penny–for a total of 3 pennies. Since the amounts are already calculated for you on the chart, though, all you have to do each day is save whatever amount of money you see on the chart for that day. Just be very sure to remember each day after you pay yourself to mark out that day’s box on your chart.
So that’s how it works. But, like they say in those infomercials on TV, “Wait! There’s more!” On any given day, instead of adding one penny to the previous day’s amount (as is already calculated for you on the chart), you may add any of the remaining amounts on the chart. By adding extra each day, or even now and then, you’ll have even more money saved by the end of the year!
By starting out saving just one penny the first day and moving up slowly, you’ll develop the habit of saving money without it feeling so overwhelming or impossible. And by thinking about saving money (paying yourself) every single day, it will quickly become a daily habit instead of something you only think about once in a while.
There are some important things to remember in order for this challenge to work for you.
- You must put your chart somewhere that you’ll be certain to see it every single day. In order for saving to become a habit, you have to remember it until it becomes a habit, right? It’s not something you’re used to doing yet. Putting your chart in a place where you can’t help but see it will ensure that you don’t forget it.
- You need to physically put your money in a jar (or box or wherever else you want to keep it) each morning before you go anywhere or spend any money. I have always wanted one of these narrow mouth 6 gallon bottles to save my loose change in… maybe this is the excuse to buy it!!
We’re including more charts for you to use, based on how much money you’d like to start setting aside each day. If you want a bigger challenge, use the chart for setting aside one dollar plus each day. By the end of the year, you will have saved over $66,000! But if your goal is to start small, create a new habit, and learn to save money in a less painful way, start with the penny plus instead. And this would be a perfect way to show your children how quickly savings can add up if you are diligent!
Save a penny plus per day:
Save two cents plus per day:
I’m probably going to do this one… three cents plus per day:
Saving a nickle plus per day is pretty impressive, don’t you think?
But a dime is fantastic!!
A quarter gets you into 5 digits saved!!! Can you believe that?
And I did fifty cents plus per day just to see!!
But a dollar day is INSANE!!
But no matter how much or how little you choose to save, the most important thing you can do is start! So go ahead. Make this the year that you save money, create a new (good!) habit, help create financial stability for your family, and set a good example for your children. Just download the chart(s) above, and go for it!