Saving money doesn’t come naturally to me; I have to work hard at it. According to the US Department of Commerce the national personal savings rate is about 6% which is an improvement considering it dipped below 0% in 2001. However, I think most people would agree with me when I say Americans need some strategies to bump their savings rate up because we can do better than 6%! Since I know saving money isn’t easy, I’ve concocted some mind bending tricks to make me save more of my money.

Pocket those Percentages.

One way I’ve been able to stash some extra cash is to set aside a percentage of my income. Using percents makes it easier for me to feel like I’m accomplishing my savings goal, especially since I live on a fluctuating income. I set aside 10%Β  percent from every source of income I receive and apply it towards savings. I auto debit the amount from my pay check making it easy for me to not count it as “income.” For all other sources of income, I automatically move 10% of the total check to my savings account.

If I had a set amount, I’m not sure I’d be able to meet it every month and I’d become discouraged. Percentages work no matter what my income might be in any given month.

Don’t Spend the Lincoln’s (or Benjamin’s, or Jeffersons, etc.)

I came across this tip on another website (of course I don’t remember which one!) that used a mind trick to save some extra cash; select a bill of choice and make a commitment to NOT spend it. I rarely have cash on hand, however, my goal is to save every Lincoln I come across. Five bucks here and there will eventually add up. After three to six months, my goal is to deposit the total into my savings account. This might motivate me to use cash more often. Of course the objective here is to increase your savings account, so place the cash where you can forget about it for a while!

Save those Gifts

Birthday’s, anniversaries, and even holidays are great ways to boost your savings. Deposit cash gifts into your savings account and turn gift cards into cash by cashing them out, or selling them. If the gift card is from a place you normally shop, save them for future use and stash the cash value in your savings account. If you don’t feel comfortable turning a gift into cash, tell family and friends that you’re working hard to ramp up your savings and would prefer gifts that help accomplish that goal.

Find Motivation

Another great way to get motivated to save more money is by using an online company that offer rewards for saving such as SaveUp. SaveUp wants to make saving money fun and offers daily give-aways to help motivate their members. Setting up an account earns you points that you use to “play” a game for a prize. Prizes include cash, bills paid, cars, shopping sprees, and many other options. Just a warning: SaveUp is a little addicting.

Do you use mind tricks to save more money?