This simple trick helped me save an extra $150 this month

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This simple trick helped me save an extra $150 this month
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All year long, Clark.com’s Michael Timmermann is sharing quick and easy ways to save money as part of our Michael Saves series. Check in every Monday as he puts new and familiar savings strategies to the test. Sign up for our newsletter to have these stories delivered to your inbox!

Money expert Clark Howard says the holiday shopping season is the time of the year when many Americans lose control of their spending without realizing it.

About a month ago, I shared with you a personal challenge to prevent end-of-year wasteful spending.

RELATED: 38-year-old millionaire shares 5 secrets to retiring early

Simple strategy to save extra money 

I set a goal to “save my savings” for November and December, which includes two of the biggest shopping days of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

What exactly does it mean to save your savings? Let me give you an example…

I recently spent $32.67 to buy two shirts at Nordstrom Rack that were on sale. Here’s a picture of the receipt that reflects a “savings” of $5.94.

Nordstrom Rack savings
Savings amount printed on receipt

What would you do with the $5.94 that you saved? Many people would naturally use it to spend money on something else, so the discount really doesn’t get them any closer to reaching their financial goals.

But with this challenge, I transferred $5.94 — the amount I “saved” — to an actual savings account.

For the past month, I’ve kept my receipts from Nordstrom Rack and other retailers tucked away in a box. I went through and added up the “savings” over the weekend.

Here are a few examples:

  • DSW – Saved $52 on running shoes
  • Kroger – Saved $13 on groceries
  • PetSmart – Saved $3 on dog food
  • Spin classes – Saved $84 on membership
Box of receipts

The grand total was $162.36. I then transferred that amount from my checking account to a savings account that I set up specifically for this challenge.

My plan is to put the money in a Roth IRA after I’ve finished this two-month experiment.

One month savings balance
$162.36 and counting…

Retailers highlight discounts on receipts for a reason. They want you to remember how much money you saved so that you’ll go back and spend more at their store.

I’ve found that reviewing the receipts from this challenge has helped me become a smarter shopper.

Since I know that I’m going to bank my savings anyway, I’m even more motivated to search for deals, coupons and promo codes for items that I truly need.

The more I save at retailers, the more my savings account balance grows. It’s a great feeling!

Have you ever tried to “save your savings”? There’s another month left in the challenge, so join in and let me know how it goes on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below.

Check out more from our Michael Saves series:

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Mike Timmermann About the author:
Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, Save on Almost Everything.
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