Saving money isn’t always easy. This is evidenced by the one in three American families who reported having no savings at all (source: Pew Charitable Trust).
But whether you’re planning for retirement or saving for a down payment on a home, or simply trying to ensure you have enough money in your bank account to cover emergency car repairs, it pays, quite literally, to think long-term.
To ensure you’re putting away at least some money every month, many financial experts suggest setting up direct deposit into a savings account. You can alternately have the money put into an investment account that you never touch.
But if these automatic withdrawals aren’t cutting it, here are few ways to fool yourself into saving a bigger portion of your check.
1. ‘Raise’ Your Rent
“The best way to fool yourself into saving more is to transfer funds, a set amount on a set date, the same day you pay your mortgage or rent to an account that is not your checking account (an IRA or online savings),” Jorie Johnson, a CFP based in Brielle, N.J., said in an email. “Almost as if your mortgage or rent payment went up.”
2. Automatically Escalate Your 401K Contributions
Many employers now allow you to set up automatic increases to your 401K contributions. This can be done quarterly, semi-annually or annually at the rate the participant indicates.
“To save more for retirement I recommend that you contribute 1% more a year to your plan,” Daniel Lash, CFP with FLP Financial Advisors. “A participant rarely notices a 1% increase but if they do this over time they will significantly increase their savings for retirement.”
3. Spare Your Change
“Most of the banks have a roundup feature when using your debit card,” said Wade Chessman, president of Chessman Wealth Strategies. If you opt in, purchases are generally rounded up to the nearest dollar and that “spare change” is put into an account. There are also a few standalone apps that perform a similar service.
Read More: Yearly Kids & Adults Savings Challenge
4. Save Your Extra Paychecks
People who get paid bi-weekly (as opposed to set days of the month) have a built-in savings opportunity they may not be aware of.
“Since there are 52 weeks in a year and only 12 months, two months of every year you get three paychecks,” Kathryn Hauer, CFP, Wilson David Investments Advisors in Aiken, S.C. “If you set up your finances to count on two paychecks per month, those extra two paychecks each year can go right into savings.”
Read more: How to Use the Half Payment Method
5. Spring Clean & Reinvest Your Finances.
Comb through your checking account and credit card transactions for automatic monthly withdrawals, like subscriptions or membership clubs. According to Laura Barry, a CFP and director at Bronfman E.L. Rothschild, “Slash what you can and add up the savings.” “Create a new auto withdraw for the same amount right to your own savings/investment account each month.” Then repeat the process with some of your bigger expenses, like property insurance.
6. Keep Two Checking Accounts
Designate one checking account for your monthly bill pay and the other for your discretionary spending. According to Randy Bruns, Private Wealth Advisor with HighPoint Planning Partners, “In this strategy an individual estimates (conservatively) how much money will be left over each month after paying all the bills and socking away whatever amount is necessary towards future goals.”
Let’s say you make $3,000 a month after taxes. Your expenses total $2,000. You have decided you want to put $400 into your emergency fund. That means, the remaining $600 can be automatically deposited into your spending account. “Otherwise it all gets mixed up with the bills and no money gets saved.”
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7. Use a Credit Card.
Yes, you’re reading that right. This will work if you’re not prone to overspending and you can guarantee you’ll pay any balances off in full. In this case, rewards credit card can serve actually serve as a useful saving tool.
For example, “Use a cash-back credit card that gives you 1% or 2% back on all of your purchases,” said Melissa Sotudeh, a CFP and wealth advisor with Halpern Financial, Inc. “This automatically gives you a small discount on everything you buy with the card, which can be allocated toward savings.”
It’s important to reiterate that this strategy only works if you use a credit card responsibly. High credit card balances can hurt your wallet (in interest) and also affect your credit score.
This article originally appeared on Credit.com.