You know those annoying people who never seem to gain weight? They eat whatever they like and they stay thin, and when you ask them about it, they say, "Yeah, I guess I'm just lucky that way?"
Well, I'm kind of like that with saving money. When I read articles and message boards where people talk about how hard it is for them to resist overspending, I just can't relate to it. I guess I don't have the shopping gene, because I've never really felt the urge to go on a big spending spree...whether I could afford it or not.
So when I see articles with savings tips like, "Save all your change in a jar at the end of each day - it really adds up!" I just think, "How is that supposed to help? Things cost the same whether you pay for them with exact change or not. Why not just put the dollars into savings instead of the coins?" But the answer, of course, is that some people can't save the dollars; if they have them, they'll spend them. If there's money in their wallets—or in their checking accounts, where it's easy to reach—it burns a hole in their pockets.
For these folks, an automatic savings plan can be a real help. With these plans, you immediately set aside a portion of each paycheck in a separate savings account. You can still get the money if you really need it, but it's out of sight and out of mind, so you don't spend it unthinkingly. It's kind of like hiding the cookies on a high shelf, where they're harder to reach (a temptation I do understand).
My latest Money Crashers article is all about these automatic savings plans. I explain how they help you save and how to set one up. Then, as a bonus, I also discuss various money-saving apps that can help you keep a squeeze a little more savings out of each paycheck—like an electronic version of that big jar of coins on the dresser.
Here's the article: How to Use Automatic Savings Accounts & Apps to Build Wealth With Less Stress