Saturday, 21 October 2006

6 Ways to NOT Scam yourself into Saving

I just read the Fugal Duchess' "6 Ways I Scam Myself into Saving" and although it's an entertaining post I have to disagree with each one of her 6 ideas - I'll explain why.

1. Hide-don't-Seek: I do this occasional by accident, and any "found" money goes into the kids money box as extra pocket money (My eldest son saves 100% of his pocketmoney anyhow, so it's a good deal). I would NOT do this scam intentionally as a) you risk losing notes if you just stuff bills into your pockets!, and b) how are you going to learn GOOD spending behaviour if you just avoid the effort?

2. Break the Bill: I do the exact opposite - I try to never take out cash (I use my day-to-day credit card for grocery shopping at the supermarket, doctors visits, bill payments etc. so I earn points - an extra 1% or so saving). When I have to take out cash (to make a payment that doesn't take credit cards, or charges a surcharge for payment by CC) I will then keep all the bills unbroken for as long as possible. I've trained myself hate having to hand over a nice whole bill and get a measly handful of "shrapnel" back. Also, having a random mix of small notes and many coins makes it hard to track exactly what you have spent each day and I find the money will magically disappear over a week if I don't keep an eagle-eye on it!

3. The Break-the-Bank trick: I've nothing against using banks or credit unions that have few ATMs or branches so that it is hard to take out funds (although these days you can use electronic payments to pay bills, transfer to savings accounts etc. so this doesn't really impact me as I don't use much cash) but I think selecting a bank where "the rates may be lousy" is just plain stupid - I'm sure you can find an inconvient bank with lousy service and GOOD rates! ;)

4. Duck-the-Flyer: It's almost impossible to avoid getting bombarded with junk mail, so I've trained myself to look through them but never buy anything that I hadn't been already planning on (of course this means that you need to think about your needs and wants in a quiet corner - not when window shopping or reading through catalogues!). If you avoid advertising flyers completely you'll miss out on specials/discounts on the stuff you DID intend to buy - never buy at full price.

5. Cart-the-Check Around or Keep the Check in the Mail: Cash it and transfer the money immediately into your high-yield online savings account. You have to cash it eventually anyway (or lose the money entirely), so what's the point in missing out on interest in the meantime?

And as for her favorite trick:

Eat gourmet ice cream.

If you can only avoid over-spending when you feel "over-indulged" you need both overeaters anonymous and spenders anonymous!.


Frugal Duchess: Sharon Harvey Rosenberg said...

Hi Thanks for the mention.

Great Post!
Take care.

By the way, I'm a skinny size two. My point about the ice cream: When we operate from a sense of wealth, we spend less.

Anonymous said...

i agree with your points. why scam yourself into saving?

but on the flip side, if you don't have saving as an inherent trait, i guess making a game of it might work