Are you a fan of little "money mind tricks" to help you save some extra money? These are the actions that don't actually create more money, but give the illusion that they do because you are rearranging how you spend.
If you DO like these little tricks, then this post is for you! I'm going to show you how to save back a little extra money each month, just by paying your bills a different way.
Pick Your Savings Number
Since I don't know how much you pay on any bill, I am going to use my last water bill as an example.
Water bill fee: $22.97
The whole trick is to round up that total to any number you can manage comfortably.
Like, say: $25
Now, I COULD pay that extra amount on my bill, and my service will put it on account for me to be deducted from next month's bill.
That is totally cool, but I'm not going to do that here.
Instead, I am going to allow for $25 to come out of our bill fund, just like that was the actual fee. (I always budget $40 for the water bill in case it fluctuates.)
And then I am going to put the extra bit into the fund for paying off a debt.
Amount added to debt fund: $2.03
What Good is $2?
How helpful can a lousy $2 be? As I've said before on So Not Niche, any money is good money. So don't ridicule a lowly two dollars.
But still, I get it. $2 when facing a huge debt makes you feel even more helpless, right?
Okay. Now do this for each bill you owe this month. INCLUDING any debt payments.
For my bills, that came out to $45. I could have taken it up to $50, or even $60.
$45 extra dollars a month towards any debt payment can actually make a healthy dent.
By adding $45 dollars a month to one of our medical bills, we can move payoff from 9 months to 4 months. Essentially saving us 5 months of payments, or a total of:
$650 dollars. (Which can then be used towards other debts or placed in savings.)
Make it Personal
Depending on how flexible your budget is for the month, you can choose how much you want to add. Maybe you can only do $1 per bill. Maybe you can do $5 (lucky dawg!)
Pros and Cons of this Money Saving Method
Like all methods for saving money, this might not work for everyone. If you have a really tight budget, then you may not have that extra bit of change.
That is pretty much were we stand sometimes too, so I understand. You can check out this article on 18 ways we save money to see how we add some breathing room to our monthly budget.
It can also take a little extra time each month, especially if you pay the majority or all of your bills automatically online. You do have to remember to go on and transfer your "saved" amount to another fund or cash it out.
The pros of this system are awesome though. For one thing, it isn't scary or restrictive. You can be flexible with how much you add every month, which is great if you live with an unstable income.
Best of all, you can't feel this method. Unlike taking a lump sum out of your account at the end of the month (ouch, and we are sometimes scared to let go of that cushion, huh?) you are only losing a tiny $2 or $3 dollars here and there.
For fluctuating bills, it will feel just like a month when the tab was a bit higher.
Sure, it adds up to the same amount no matter which method you use. But wouldn't you rather go pain-free?
Other Posts You May Like:
- 11 Steps to Debt Freedom
- 9 Pieces of Financial Advice Poor People Are SOOO Sick of Hearing
- Budgeting With the Envelope System (and Why It Sucked)
Update, September 2016:
When I started this blog, we decided to buckle down and knock out a lot of debt that kept creeping up on us. Our debt was for loans (mortgage and auto) and medical bills.
Using this technique, plus some of those outlined in other posts, we've managed to eliminate everything but the mortgage and one medical bill in less than one year.
Most of this journey was done while our sole income was unemployment funds (which is low income). Proof that mind tricks may be silly, but they can help you save and pay off debts!