Too many of us are thinking about money all wrong, and it's keeping us from building wealth

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

How to Save an Extra $100 This Week

It's nice to have a cushion.

Even when you aren't living paycheck to paycheck, there's comfort in knowing you could cover a surprise $1,000 bill (many Americans can't) or buy a last-minute concert ticket when your favorite act comes to town.

You could ... but hopefully you won't have to. Instead, you'll just bask in the warm glow of having that cash at your beck and call. You'll have money. You'll be rich.

And there's where too many of us go wrong.

Kristin Wong of personal finance blog The Wild Wong has an interesting post about the gap in understanding between pursuing money and pursuing a goal. In the first, you're amassing wealth for the sake of wealth. In the second, you're amassing wealth to serve a larger goal: a trip or a house or tuition or a family. You're using money as a tool.

Remembering a time in life when she was struggling to make ends meet and her goal was simply to afford her apartment, Wong writes:

Most of us treat money itself as the goal. We work to get out of debt or save for retirement because that just seems like the responsible, grown-up thing to do. And it is, but here's what happens when you make money the goal:

  • You ditch the goal, because it doesn't support what truly matters to you.
  • You give up on money entirely, because you don't see the point. Your finances are a wreck.
  • You stick to the goal, but you're cheap. You make life more difficult just to keep your money.
  • You start hoarding money instead of using it.
  • You stay at a job you hate because it pays well.

From my own experience, when you make money the goal, you allow it to continue controlling your life.

She traces this realization in part back to financial planner Carl Richards, who asked in the New York Times in February 2015, "What if we start treating money like a tool? Tools are meant to be used. They're not meant to sit on a shelf and collect dust."

It's a similar perspective to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Charles Duhigg, who has said that money is a resource. Having money doesn't simply mean having a collection of dollars — it means having the resources to accomplish something.

In other words, a tool.

When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Financial planners regularly recommend setting financial goals, complete with price tags, to get the most out of the money we have. But in our daily lives, many of us aren't following this reasoning. When we drip money behind us down the street, buying sunglasses and coffees and cocktails and ATM fees we don't really care about, we're doing it at the expense of the things we want most. If money is a tool, spending indiscriminately certainly isn't using it right.

Bearing this in mind, the most effective question to ask yourself isn't "How much money can I save?" It's "What am I saving for?"

NOW WATCH: There's a 'danger triangle' on your face that could kill you if you're not careful

Now, check out these 18 ways to save $100:

19 PHOTOS
18 ways to save $100
See Gallery
18 ways to save $100

1. Keep the change

Retain the change from each of your transactions for an entire week and store it in a Mason jar, Ziploc bag or piggy bank. At the end of the week, count the coins to see how you did. Depending on how much you spend, you may reach your goal by following this one simple tactic.

Via MoneyTalksNews

Photo: Getty

2. Reduce transportation costs

Download the GasBuddy or GasPriceWatch.com application onto your smartphone to locate the best deals in the local area on gasoline. You can also try carpooling with others from your job, or using public transportation for a week.

Via MoneyTalksNews

Photo: Getty

3. Avoid restaurants, coffee shops for 1 week

Brew your own coffee to start the day and use the leftovers from the prior night’s meal for lunch. Also, decline invitations from colleagues to eat at restaurants at lunch this week. Pack your lunch instead, and invite them to join you in the park or plaza.

Via MoneyTalksNews

Photo: Getty

4. Skip costly entertainment

Don’t plan on going to a play or the movies. An alternative is to find free entertainment at local community events. There’s also the library, which is jam-packed with books and DVDs that you can borrow for free.

Be sure to check out: “More Fun, Less Money: How to Save on Entertainment Costs.”

Via MoneyTalksNews

Photo: Getty

5. Find free workouts

Try finding fitness programs on television or the internet, or at the library. I prefer SparkPeople because it’s a fitness hub with a variety of workout plans, many of which can be customized. It also offers meal plans for those looking to get fit.

Consider canceling your gym membership and instead embracing the great outdoors or group workouts. Check the local recreation or community center for free exercise classes.

Via MoneyTalksNews

Photo: Getty

6. Carry cash only

Force yourself to save by setting a cash-only budget for the week. Take out a set amount of cash from the ATM at the beginning of the week — then leave debit and credit cards at home — and stretch your cash throughout the week. It will keep you focused on spending for essentials only.

Via MoneyTalksNews

Photo: Getty

7. Sell some stuff

Head to a local consignment shop or a retailer, such as a Plato’s Closet, that will pay you on the spot for gently used goods. Can’t find one in your area? Try hosting a garage sale, or set up shop at the local flea market.

Via MoneyTalksNews

Photo: Getty

8. Get to work

Pick up a temporary side gig to quickly accumulate funds. Or, let your creative juices flow and sell your products and services to others.

Check out “20 Odd Ways to Make Extra Money.”

Via MoneyTalksNews

Photo: Getty

9. Clip coupons

No newspapers lying around? No problem. Head on over to a website like The Krazy Coupon Lady or Coupon Mom, where you will find printable coupons and corresponding instructions for putting the coupons to use. In some cases, a coupon can actually qualify you for cash back from the store.

Via MoneyTalksNews

Photo: Getty

10. Call your car insurance company

Inquire about any discounts that may be available. Also, raising the deductibles on your auto and homeowners insurance will drop your premiums. Just be sure you have money in savings to cover your increased out-of-pocket expense in case you have to file a claim.

Via MoneyTalksNews

Photo: Getty

11. Decrease your energy consumption

Reach out to your utility company to schedule a free energy audit of your home. Also, unplug any chargers or appliances that are not in use.

Set the thermostat a little higher to cut your air conditioning bill. Lower the temperature in winter and layer up on clothing. Also, consider hanging your clothes out on the clothesline to give the dryer a break.

Via MoneyTalksNews

Photo: Getty

12. Don’t use your credit card

A high interest rate can greatly increase the cost of things you buy with your credit card if you don’t pay off the balance in full each month. Hide the magic plastic, and don’t increase the amount you owe on the card.

Via MoneyTalksNews

Photo: Getty

13. Disconnect the cable

Freaked out by this suggestion? At least shave off the extras and try online television instead. Also, inquire about any discounts on bundles for which you may be eligible.

Via MoneyTalksNews

Photo: Getty

14. Skip the spa

It’s always great to pamper yourself, but it can also add up quickly. My last spa visit, which consisted of a manicure, pedicure and massage, cost well over $100.

Via MoneyTalksNews

Photo: Getty

15. Iron your own clothes

You can iron shirts and blouses, can’t you? No need to pay a professional unless an article of clothing truly requires professional handling by a dry cleaner.

Via MoneyTalksNews

Photo: Getty

16. Call your cellphone provider

If the provider isn’t willing to reduce your monthly bill, switch providers or get a prepaid plan. Also, check out the free or steeply reduced price options. They do the job just as well as the big boys. I know from experience.

Via MoneyTalksNews

Photo: Getty

17. Track your expenses

The simple act of paying attention to all of your daily expenses may be motivation enough to spend less. Join a free expense-tracking service like PowerWallet, then check in daily to see where your money’s going. PowerWallet will automatically send you money-saving coupons based on what you’re buying.
For some additional inspiration for getting expenses under control, check out: “How to Reach Your Goals Without Making a Budget.”

Via MoneyTalksNews

Photo: Getty

18. Pick up some free cash

Does your employer match retirement contributions? Add another $100 to your 401(k) contribution and get a free $100 from the boss.

Here’s some guidance on how much you should put into your 401 (k) or other retirement plan for the maximum benefit.

Via MoneyTalksNews

Photo: Getty

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Tony Robbins, Sallie Krawcheck, and 6 more successful people share their financial goals for 2016

Read Full Story
Credit Card Compare

Credit Card Compare

Whether you're looking for great travel rewards or low annual fees, find the card that's right for you.

Compare Now

From Our Partners