Bill yourself pay yourself

I recently had the opportunity to participate in live chat on about living the life of your dreams on a budget.  During the chat, Kelly Whalen, author of The Centsible Life, asked participants to give their best tip for starting an emergency savings fund.  Following are some of the responses:
  • We trick ourselves into savings - money is deducted into a separate account that we can't touch easily. (Kelly Whalen)
  • Sock away every little "extra" bit of money - they call it snowflaking. If you get a raise of $20/week, don't start spending it, just save it. You get a rebate in the mail, pay it to your savings acct. (Gina)
  • I don't know if it is Emergency fund, but I have several Jars of Change I have not cashed in for about 4 years. So if I ever need cash, I know I can cash it in for some money! (my bank will do it for free) (Shannon)
  • If at all possible, make it an automatic deduction from the paycheck - then you won't have a chance to spend it. (Jenn Fowler)
  • Put any "found" money straight into savings. Could be from a gift, tax refund, inheritance, or side job. You can't miss what you've never had. (Kim at MMI)

These are all really great ideas, but my favorite is perhaps the most simple:

  • Write yourself a bill if you have to.  (Deborah)

I'm a huge fan of putting things in writing because I believe that writing something down can help you solidify your ideas and serves as a visual reminder (for example, check out this free customizable goal certificate). 

I encourage you to take this concept to the next level by writing yourself a savings fund bill each month that includes: the savings amount due, the due date, and an updated balance. It doesn't matter if you create something on the computer or just scribble the bill on a piece of scrap paper.  The important thing is that you get into the habit of paying yourself.

You might also enjoy reading:

Smart Sale Strategy: Save your savings

Sneaky savings tips

Baby steps to rebuild savings

You've already spent a ton of money today


Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.