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Trick yourself into saving

By Kemberley Washington · Bankrate.com
Friday, May 3, 2013
Posted: 4 pm ET

I used to find it difficult to save money. Whether it was a clothing sale or a night out with my friends, keeping money in my savings account always felt like a struggle.

Realizing the struggle was real, I decided to trick myself into saving.

Can't touch this!

Some types of savings and investment vehicles do not allow you to access your money easily. It can be easier to save and hold on to your money if you use such vehicles, including savings bonds, certificates of deposit with stiff penalties, and 401(k) plans.

This approach worked for me. Knowing that I lacked self-discipline, I sought after any account where withdrawing money would literally take an act of Congress.

Remember, before locking up all your money, it is wise to establish a fund -- such as a money market account -- that is easily accessible in case of an emergency.

Once you have enough cash to cover emergencies, seek accounts where access is limited. More importantly, as you continue to save, make certain to live within your means to avoid diminishing the amount you already have set aside.

Kill the impulse

In the past, impulsive shopping was a mighty weapon of defeat in my battle to save more. From dresses to handbags, I had to have it all. But while my wardrobe continued to grow, my savings accounts began to vanish.

Frustrated by my constant defeats, I began to ask myself questions before making impulse purchases, such as:

  • Do I really need another pair of black shoes?
  • Can I afford this purchase?
  • Have I paid my bills and met my savings goals for the month?

If you are using credit cards to pay for impulsive purchases, you are not only reducing savings, but also driving yourself into more debt.

It is still important to me to maintain a healthy amount of savings. I have made it a priority to meet my savings goals while paying bills, and before satisfying my wants.

Whenever I get a paycheck or windfall, I make it a habit to put something away, no matter how big or small that amount might be. You can, too.

Remember: your choice, your future!

Kemberley Washington is a certified public accountant and business professor. She writes a personal finance blog at Kemberley.com. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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