Have you ever wondered what the best ways to save cash are? When we say cash, we don’t mean just saving money in general – we mean cold hard cash (think bank notes and coins).
For many people, they barely ever touch cash anymore. They use their credit cards (or if they are a well behaved reader of Savings Guide, a debit card) to access their money and very rarely physically come into contact with cash.
Think about it, people barely use cash anymore! Next time you are doing the groceries, stand back for a second and have a look at how many people pay using cash versus using a card of some sort. It would be rare to see someone handover cash for the weekly shop these days.
Saving cash presents you with a new (but old) opportunity
So with this changing dynamic for managing money, all of a sudden the actual prospect of holding cash (physical money) becomes quite exciting.
I see the prospect of saving notes and coins as a good way to encourage good old fashioned saving, reinvigorating the idea of saving money again as it brings us closer to our money and in turn removes the disconnect that many of us have with what I like to call ‘invisible money’.
Quick tip: I think the concept of ‘invisible money’ is a real curse. It means we buy things without thinking about the true intrinsic value of the item. Think about it, it’s much harder to part with 10x $50 notes than it is to press ACCEPT on a $500 card transaction.
For those wanting to save cash
I would encourage you to view saving cash as simply another strategy you need to put in place. For me it’s a real motivator, it seems to get my engine running to see notes and cash build up. Call me strange, but I really love the idea of a wad of notes or a bucket of gold coins.
A list of the best ways to save cash
So with this in mind, I want to share with you some strategies for saving cold hard cash – while keeping cash outside of bank isn’t the safest way to save money, it may just provide you with the daily motivation you need to break free of the ‘invisible money’ curse.
The $5 note experiment
Set yourself a goal to never spend a $5 note again (or at minimum, perhaps a 30 day trial). Every time you see a $5 appear in your hand, place it in a separate section of your wallet and empty your wallet each night into a jar or secret hiding place.
The goal here is to see how many $5 notes you can. We often make purchases with big notes that come from an ATM machine, only to have a number of $5 notes and coins given back to us (along with bigger denominations).
So make it a game with yourself, see how many notes you can collect. Keep them bound with a rubber band and aim to recreate a Hollywood movie by filling a suitcase full of cash.
Important note: physical cash in your house or elsewhere may be motivating, but it also isn’t as safe as in a bank. Remember this before implementing any cash saving strategies. For instance, if the house burns down or you are robbed – cash is rarely covered by any insurance policy or similar.
The glass or ceramic money box tactic
What do glass and ceramics have in common? They are both fragile and once broken, cannot be put back together. This is a great psychical barrier to remove the temptation to spend your coins and notes.
You can empty your wallet, purse and pockets each night into your money box and know that unless you smash it, you can’t reach it.
I even go one further and when I have a few big notes in my wallet, quickly chuck one in before I can think it through. All of a sudden, the money is gone and I just have to deal with it.
Tip to save more cash: Go to one of those beautiful home ware shops and buy a ceramic money box that is cute and fashionable, like an actual piggy bank or porcelain animal. The money box will end up becoming part of your décor, in turn making it harder for you to be tempted to smash it.
The family money tin
Similar to the above, another great way to save cash is by purchasing one of those big oversized money tins with a cash note on the outside. Just about every $2 store sells those big ugly $20 or $50 note money tins.
Buy one of them, install it in your kitchen (or other very visible area) and make the whole family contribute to it daily. Set a motivating goal to save towards and ensure that everyone makes at least one daily contribution.
I call this ‘blind saving’ and it’s a great way to slowly but surely save money. As the tin is quite large, the amount you can save is also.
Save your coins and notes until you physically cannot add any more. Only then should you open the money tin and begin the counting process (fun!).
The doomsday prepper
This technique is a little bit more extreme. A doomsday prepper is someone who prepares for the worst (if you have Foxtel there is a great show called ‘Doomsday Preppers’ on National Geographic that shows just how crazy some people are in preparing for the end of the world) and they look to prepare themselves for just about any scenario.
Borrowing their techniques, the ‘doomsday prepper method’ of saving money means adding a whole heap of $50 notes (or other denominations) to an old cigar tin or similar, followed by burying it outside in case of emergency.
This cash saving technique is often called ‘getaway money’ for those who may need to quickly vacate. A strange method and one that scares me (largely because I would forget where I buried the tin) – so use sparingly and wisely.
The mattress technique
Some people distrust banks and in turn like to save their own money. I have heard of pensioners keeping a suitcase full of money or even using the old cliché or storing money under the mattress.
While this technique may indeed help you save cash at home, it isn’t recommended. Too much cash at home isn’t a good thing and can be a real problem (as mentioned before) should you be robbed or have your house burn down.
If coins and notes aren’t your thing, consider buying gold or silver. This can take the form of jewelry (often more expensive as the price includes craftsmanship) or simply buy gold and silver bars from a mint.
The main mint in Australia for those wishing to buy gold bars is Perth Mint. They can even store the bars for you in their secure lock up.
While this tip may sound odd, some people like knowing that instead of cash saved they have a product such as gold or silver that has the ability to go up and down based on the economy.
The golden fish tank
Or as I like to call it – pirates gold. This strategy involves buying a fish tank (with or without fish) and putting your $2 coins into the tank. Not silver coins or other gold coins, only $2 coins.
The goal here is to make a treasure chest of $2 coins. I saw this in person once and have to say – it was the most impressive thing I’d seen in a long while. I felt like Scrooge McDuck in my room full of golden coins.
Tell us your best ways to save cash
What are your tips, tricks and strategies for piling up the coins and bundling up the notes?