I Accidentally Saved $6,000 In One Year
Saving has always been my kryptonite. I’m 25 years old, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I have bills. Lots. We all know the world of paychecks and bills. Get paid, pay your bills. Pay your bills, put a percent in savings. Put a percent in savings, allow yourself some extra money to indulge. I’ve always gone a little heavy on the “indulge” side, and lighter on the “save” side.
I started looking for ways to save money unconsciously. My favorite method, is using the Acorns app, which can be downloaded here (you’ll get a free $5 just for signing up, which is completely free). It uses incremental investment strategy, buying parts of stocks/bonds instead of the entire thing. You can choose what kind of investment strategy you want to use, I have mine set to “aggressive”, investing in a mix of large/small stocks, real estate, international stocks, and emerging market stocks. What I love most about it, is using the “Round-Ups” feature. It allows you to link your account to your debit/credit card, and when you spend money, it will round up the remaining change and invest it. If I spend $10.99, it will round up 1 cent so my purchase total is $11, and invest that 1 cent in my Acorns account. In addition to that, I have it set to round up that 1 cent, and multiply it by 10. 1 cent just became 10 cents, 50 cents will become $5.
I was ecstatic to watch my account balance rise while feeling I haven’t had to make an effort to save the money that was accumulating in my Acorns account. I wanted more ways to save money. So, I applied for a Chase Sapphire credit card, and got a free $500 (you can too, here). With every $1 I spend, I get 1 point. 100 points is exchangeable for $1. All of my bills and expenses get charged to my Chase account, giving me points redeemable for cash, and Round-Up change going to my Acorns account.
The excitement of Acorns slowed down, I would stop checking it every day and it just became a part of my day-to-day life. I had $438 in my account after 1 month, $422. was money I invested, the remaining $16 was money I made from the investments. I set up an auto-payment of $10/week to be invested into my account, and then swore I wouldn’t check it all year.
11 months an a couple weeks go by, and I figured why not check my Acorns account. I had an idea of how much would be invested, but I was thrilled to see it blew my expectations away. I had $5,773. My Chase point balance was equivalent to over $450. This is money I didn’t even notice leaving my bank account. I didn’t actively choose to save this. $4,xxx of this was my own money, almost $1,000 of this was earned.
I admit $6,000 is not a significant amount of money to save over a year, but this is in addition to my savings account. This felt like a bonus check I gave myself. I ended up redeeming my Chase points for money, and deposited that to my Acorns account. Due to my strong love for compound interest, I will not be cashing in my Acorns money anytime soon. If you’d like to see how magical compound interest can be, try this calculator.
This is my technique to saving some extra money on the side with 0 willpower. If you need an easier way to save, want a simple investment platform, or just want an awesome rewards card, sign up to get your free bonuses and start saving.