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Pinch Pennies Without Feeling the Squeeze

By Staff Writers

You can save your pennies without (really) sacrificing.

Save. Save. Save.

Every financial expert worth his or her salt will tell you that if you ever want to build wealth you have to be a smart saver. But, how do you fit savings into your budget when you’re already trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents?

The key is to trick yourself into putting money away that you won’t miss. That way you can build your savings without feeling like you’ve made a huge sacrifice. Here are three ways you can save up without feeling the hurt.

1. Bank Your $5 Bills
Every time you come across a $5 bill, hold onto it until you can deposit it into your savings account. Think about it: How many times do you see a $5 bill? When you take money out of the bank you usually get it in $10 or $20 bills. The only time you usually handle a $5 bill is when you get one as change. So, every time you get a $5 bill as change, put it in a special “do not touch” part of your wallet until you can get to the bank. In order for this to work, however, you have to use cash often. So put away the plastic and go on a cash-only diet.

2. New Rule: Found Money Is Saved Money
Make a commitment that any money that doesn’t come to you from your paycheck goes directly into savings. That means money you get as a gift, a refund, rebate money and even money you find under seat cushions, on the street, or in the pocket of your favorite spring jacket, all becomes a part of your nest egg. If you didn’t expect to have it, you won’t miss it when you don't spend it.

3. Spend to Save
Some banks, including Wachovia and Bank of America (Stock Quote: BAC), offer programs that automatically transfer money from checking into savings accounts when debit card purchase is made. Wachovia’s Way2Save program transfers $1 of each debit card transaction and some online transactions. Bank of America’s “Keep the Change” program rounds up each purchase to the nearest dollar and transfers the difference into savings. It may not seem like a lot at first, but a few pennies here and a few dollars there can add up over time.

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