Speed Up Saving While Slowing Down Spending Do you find that money pours out of your checking account and only trickles into your savings account? If stemming cash outflow each week is difficult, consider strategies to help you decrease spending and increase your savings. Install a Spending Dam Before you can figure out how to save money, you have to know where you are spending your money. Keep track of your spending for a month, or take a look at your checkbook to find out where your money is going. It may be simple for you to save by cutting back on eating out in restaurants, getting rid of some cable channels, or increasing your insurance deductibles. Another way to reduce your monthly spending is to reduce your mortgage payment by refinancing at a lower interest rate. If you do refinance, be sure to save that extra money each month, or at least pay off your credit card debt, instead of frittering it away. Flooding Your Savings Account Once you start spending less, commit to saving more. If this is a struggle, consider signing up for an automatic investment plan. If money is deducted from your bank account each month and invested directly in a mutual fund, you won’t be tempted to spend it. Also consider increasing the percentage you save in your employer’s retirement plan. Once again, automatic withdrawals make saving easy. Another way to save more is to increase your retirement plan contribution every time you receive a pay raise. You won’t miss money you didn’t have before. This logic also applies to any financial windfalls — bonuses, tax refunds, etc. — you may receive. Deposit them in your savings account, and someday your savings account may be overflowing.