Woman counting money
@shanti/Twenty20

At the start of last year, my savings account was upsettingly low.

I was on the verge of entering a new decade of my life and with that, I was eager to start things off with a savings account that I could be proud of — one that reflected years of hard work and money earned, but often was spent faster than I wished it was spent.

After eyeballing where a lot of my money went the year before (mostly on food, travel, and a lot of items I didn’t really need) I decided to jumpstart a game plan that would successfully have me doubling my savings account by the end of 2018.

Here’s how I did it:

I switched to a better savings account

One of the biggest mistakes I was making when it came to my savings account was keeping my money at a bank that was only dishing out a 0.03 percent APY.

I had always assumed that type of APY was normal until I let my boyfriend take a look at my finances. A quick conversation and a little bit of research showed me that there are plenty of FDIC insured banks offering interest upwards of 2.2 percent.

The tiny amount I was getting in interest at my original bank was pennies compared to what I started earning when I moved all of my money over to a bank with 2.2 percent APY.

I cut out quick buys 

The saying that small steps lead to big actions was incredibly true when it came to making the conscious decision to not buy little things that I truly didn’t need.

Putting an end to buying daily coffee, eating out three meals a day and picking up impulse items at the drugstore immediately increased the amount of dollars in my savings account. In fact, cutting out the small purchases allowed me to save over $2,500 in 2018.  

I deleted autosave on my credit card info

Another simple thing that allowed me to save a couple of thousands of dollars throughout the year was removing autosaved credit card information from websites where I regularly shopped.

It became far too easy to see and buy something when buying it could be done with just one-click. Without my credit card information stored, I often had to get up, find my wallet and plug the information in. Going through those extra steps usually made me rethink my purchase and reminded me just how little I truly needed what I was about to buy.

I put away my credit cards  

Because I was the kind of person that often set budgets but didn’t keep them for more than a few days, I knew I needed a better system that would limit how much I spent every month and maximize how much I saved.

To do this, I labeled five envelopes that said: Rent, food, recurring bills, activities and small extras, and placed a set amount of cash inside the envelopes. To make sure this worked, I took all of the credit cards out of my wallet and put them in a drawer, ensuring that I’d only spend the money in the envelopes for the entire month. After a series of months playing the envelope budget game, I increased my monthly savings by 35 percent.

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