I like having money, but I don’t enjoy spending a lot of time dealing with it. Seriously, as easy as I can make it on myself to help make it easier to save money, the better off I am. If it’s a hands-free system I know it’ll be maintained no matter what else is going on in my life and that means my chances of success are much higher.

Using Hands-Free Systems to Improve Your FinancesTreating savings like a bill to be paid. When I setup all of my bills to be paid with my new bank account I
setup an automatic transfer to savings to be taken out of my checking. Not having to think about savings has been the biggest thing that helped me build savings and help us pay for things like new tires and have a cushion for emergencies.

Siphoning money to save for goals and splurges. I’m loving using Digit for money that’s ‘extra’ in my budget for things. This past year I got Ian a really nice Christmas/Hanukkah/birthday present that there is no way we would have been able to afford any other way because I just wasn’t thinking about spending $200+ on any gifts… we just don’t do that. We’re saving our Digit money the month for one big final Amazon order before Logan comes, but here are some of the other things we’re using it for:

  • Extra student loan payments
  • Emergency savings
  • Vacation fund
    (If I had it my way I wouldn’t plan on spending money on a vacation until we’re out of debt, but Ian’s family does a vacation every other year to Disney that they front the lodging for, and I don’t really have an option to say no… so we bite the bullet and front the money and everyone has a nice time.)

Investing in companies we support. I’m not really that big into making huge investments until we’re out of debt and have our savings built up to where we have 6 months of expenses in the bank, but we do want to get a little bit of a head start, so we started using Loyal3 fora couple of automatic $10 monthly investments into some of the companies we like and support. It’s easy and we don’t miss the $20 a month. Sometimes we stop our automatic payments when we’re working hard toward another goal like paying off the last of a little debt or something we need short term.

Automatic cash back.I got the idea from this post on the Queen of Free blog where she talks about paying down her debt $0.19 at a time to use my cash back to make little debt payments, which is actually oddly satisfying.I get my cash back from two different hands-free sources, PayPal and Ebates. My Paypal debit card gives me 1% cash back and Ebates varies based on what store I’m shopping with. I use my PayPal debit card for all of my expenses (I can’t remember the last time I used my actual bank debit card!) and since It pulls directly from my checking account, so it’s no work at all.  Even though it’s just a little bit and it doesn’t seem to make that much of a difference, I know that over time it really adds up and at least the money is going to good use! Although the 1% from PayPal isn’t a lot, my Ebates checks have been pretty substantial at times. Making an extra payment of $5.62 a month from Paypal may not make a huge difference, but a check for $86.29 like my last Ebates check was, that is an entire monthly payment, if I was just paying the minimums on my loans – which I’m not.

Great tips for saving money on meat