As parents, we sometimes trick our kids into eating their veggies and even going to bed early. Why? Becuase it works. Why then, aren’t you using simple tricks to help save money? After all, it gets the job done.
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).
Whether you’re planning for retirement or saving for a down payment on a home; of if you are just trying to ensure you have enough money 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 alternatively 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 more significant portion of your check.
EASY WAYS TO TRICK YOURSELF INTO BUILDING YOUR SAVINGS
1. Increase your Mortgage or Rent
Not literally. When you make your mortgage or rent payment, have a set amount transfer into another account. Look at it as an increase in your mortgage payment or rent.
2. Automatically Escalate Your 401(k) Contributions
Many employers now allow you to set up automatic increases to your 401(k) contributions. You can do so 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. Round up your spending
Most banks have a roundup feature when using your debit card. If you spend $16.72, the bank will automatically transfer $0.28 to your savings account. It is a simple way to save money without even thinking about it.
If you use cash, this same principle can be applied there as well. Drop any change (not bills) into a jar and start saving. It’s easy to do, and you won’t miss a penny.
Read More: Yearly Kids & Adults Savings Challenge
4. Save Your Extra Paychecks
If you get paid bi-weekly, you have a built-in savings opportunity you should seize. There are 52 weeks in a year. That means two months of every year results in three paychecks instead of two.
Create your budget on the income of just two monthly checks. When the third one arrives, add the full amount to your savings account.
Read more: How to Use the Half Payment Method
5. Spring Clean Your Finances
At least once a year, go through your budget and accounts. Look for expenses that continue to recur, but you may not remember. Those easily overlooked include subscriptions or membership dues.
Read more: How to Spring Clean Your Budget
6. Keep Two Checking Accounts
Designate one checking account for your monthly bill payments 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.”
Read More: Why Your Family Needs Six Accounts
7. Use a Credit Card
Yes, you’re reading that right. Of course, it 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 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.