Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Make a Game of Saving Money

Saving money can feel like a drag sometimes.  It's boring, requires time, and also requires the ever-dreaded budget.  But what if you could turn saving money into something fun?  What if you could turn it into a game?

Try these three methods and see if your savings rate doesn't go up dramatically.

1. The Competition

Have a major savings goal for your family?  Turn it into a competition.  Divide your savings goal into an appropriate target number for each person's income.  If you have children, set the number appropriate to their allowance or whatever income they have.  If you are competing only with your spouse, you can either divide the goal in half or set it according to the percentage of income that each partner brings in.

If your family is anything like mine, the glory of being able to say, "First!" will be all the motivation you need.

Another twist to The Competition is to compete with a friend.  If you're single, and don't have anyone you're contributing to common goals with, find a friend that also has something they're saving for.  Set your goals, and then race to see who can get to 25% first, 50% first, and so forth.  This will work best if the amount of money you're both individually saving is relatively similar.

2.  Treasure Hunt

Another game you can use to save money is to watch the cash that flows through your hands.  Save bills and coins that meet certain, common criteria.  For example, you could save all coins that were minted in the 1990's, or save paper money that has a specific letter or number within the serial code.  Just don't make your criteria too obscure.  If you're only saving coins from the 1930s, odds are you won't ever reach your savings goal. This method turns savings into a treasure hunt, and if done right, can add up quickly!

3.  The Thermometer

We've all seen fundraisers and organizations  use thermometers to measure their progress towards a certain goal.  Use this method in your own house!  You could even incentivize it by having a family reward once you've reached your goal.  The reward could be something smaller like dinner at your favorite restaurant, or something big like a vacation.  If you do decide to incentivize, make sure that you add the cost of the reward to the total savings goal. That way, there's no worries about the money being there.

Saving can be fun and motivating.  Often the hardest part is getting started.  By turning it into something fun like a game, we can take that first step with a lot more enthusiasm.

Have you ever turned your savings efforts into a game?  I'd love to hear the methods you've used in the comments!

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