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!
What started as a personal challenge to avoid wasteful spending over the holidays has become my new favorite way to save money any time of the year!
For the past three months and counting, I’ve set a goal to “save my savings.”
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Simple strategy to save extra money
What exactly does that mean? Here’s an example: I recently spent $32.67 to buy two shirts at Nordstrom Rack that were on sale. This picture of my receipt reflects a “savings” of $5.94.
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.
I kept my receipts from Nordstrom Rack and other retailers tucked away in a box until the end of the month when I added up the total “savings.”
Here are a few examples from the first month of the challenge:
- DSW ‘ Saved $52 on running shoes
- Kroger ‘ Saved $13 on groceries
- PetSmart ‘ Saved $3 on dog food
- Spin classes ‘ Saved $84 on membership
The grand total was $162.36 for my first month. I then transferred that amount from my checking account to a savings account that I set up specifically for this challenge.
By the end of the third month, I saved more than $600 total and plan to keep on going!
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!
Check out more from our Michael Saves series:
- How I paid off my $86,000 mortgage in 2 years
- This new tool negotiates with your cable and internet provider to lower your bill
- How I lowered my cell phone bill to $12 per month