Extreme saving: hide your money from yourself

Stone walletI will confess, I lied to you when I said I would pass on that ING promotion. I couldn’t resist a good deal and applied. Guess what, my application was turned down because I am ineligible. When I called the support I was told that I already have an account with ING. This came to me as a surprise since I don’t recall ever opening it. It appears not only I have an account at ING, I actually have a few hundred dollars stashed in it.

This discovery made my day today and I immediately thought of this new money saving technique that will work best for compulsive and disorganized yet motivated to do something people like myself.

Extreme money saving for compulsive and disorganized

  1. Find good bank savings or CD promotion
  2. Apply for it using your usual credentials
  3. Stash your money away and do your best to forget about it
  4. Repeat the procedure from step 1.

This is somewhat similar to what squirrels do when they hide food for winter in random places. The step 2 is actually somewhat important since it will make it easier for you to recover your money later when you need it. Not that you cant get it w/o the credentials but it will save you some time.

I see several advantages to this “squirrel style” saving. First, you are not tempted to spend the money since you don’t keep thinking about (having) it. Second, you don’t feel accomplished since you never exactly know how much you have and hence you keep saving. Third, well, if you ever discover your own money like I did today, you will have so much fun!

Now, I wouldn’t probably do this for my primary savings (retirement) but I think it is a very good way to build an emergency fund of some sort. In fact, I would have none if I wasn’t forgetting about accounts and missing CD maturity dates. The temptation to spend is just too strong!

Are you nuts? How do I find my money when I need it?!

I knew you would ask it. In practice however you will have more problems hiding than not finding it. Bank statements, emails, 1099-DIV forms, and credit reports, everything will remind you of it. Here are a few tips that will help you hide your money more effectively:

  1. Hide small amounts. They are easier to forget about
  2. Use smaller banks, they tend to send less ads
  3. Sign up for paperless statements
  4. Use an email address you rarely check

And the last, but not the least. If you ever find your money by accident, resist the temptation to celebrate by spending it on that trip to Las Vegas. Instead re-hide it in a better place and keep the game going. ;-)

Update: I gave my wife to read this post. According to her, the best way to hide your money is in the pocket of your winter coat when you are about to change for spring weather. :-)

Disclosure: I am not a financial adviser and this is not a financial advice. Hide your money at your own risk!

Photo courtesy of TruShu @ Flickr

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6 Responses to “Extreme saving: hide your money from yourself”

  1. 1 Alex Sep 28th, 2007 at 8:58 am

    One of the local banks was offering a $100 sign up bonus with direct deposit to their checking account. Guess what? I signed up and “forgot” about it. A year later I realized that I have about $1500 accumulated in this account. I knew about this direct deposit, it was showing on my paycheck but thanks to my procrastination skills I had enough money to pay for lumber for my deck. Would that be another example of extreme savings? ;)

  2. 2 Yan Sep 28th, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    That is exactly what I mean. It is much easier to build savings when you “forget” about the money. I don’t have this problem with my retirement fund since I am penalized by the government for taking money out, but it is a whole lot different story with regular savings.

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