Given the current state of the economy, the unemployment picture, and consumer deleveraging, I have become a fanatical saver. One of the tools I have been using to save up an emergency fund and for a family trip to Disneyland is an ING Savings account. I have a set amount taken out of my checking account with the increasingly annoying and aggresively incompetent Chase and have it deposited into ING Savings accounts. It's quick, painless, and easy to set up...and since my company no longer does 401k matching I've upped the amount sent to ING every pay period (I'm still contributing to my 401k, but lowered the amount of the deduction from my pre-tax paychecks).
I've also got the girls in on saving as well on a small scale - they get all the nickels and pennies from any change I acquire during the day to put into their piggy banks (I save the dimes and quarters - the dimes I've amassed over the last year will pay for Christmas presents and the quarters eventually go to my savings account...). The loose change concept is a popular one, but I've actually taken it a step further by refusing to spend $1 bills I receive in change. This, in essence, makes everything I purchase with cash cost at least $5.00 because the change has to be saved, not spent. While this makes for some interesting times in checkout lines as I fish for a $5.00 bill to pay for a $1.99 gallon of milk when I have a wad of $1 bills in my pocket, it is effective. Last month I deposited $250 into savings in the form of $1 bills, much to the chagrin of the teller processing my transaction (the auto-bill counter was offline).
These are interesting times we are living in, and I honestly believe things are going to get worse before they come close to getting better....so prepare yourself for the mother of all economic double-dips down next year and save a few bucks here and there....
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