Many Americans aren’t good at saving money.
This information isn’t new.
Let me give you a refresher: 33% of Americans have nothing tucked into their savings accounts, according to a 2016 GoBankingRates survey. And 35% of Americans have less than $1,000 saved.
So we’re taking notes from this 19-year-old NewRetirement.com recently wrote about. Robyn Bri has saved more than $85,000 to date.
Granted, Bri has lived at home, but she’s also hustled hard since she was 8 years old.
“The first time I bought something with my own money, it immediately had more value to me because it was something I had to work to get, so I took better care of it,” she told me in a recent email exchange. “I think that’s what motivated me to start getting jobs and saving my money for certain things.”
Here’s how to save money like Bri.
1. Open a Separate Bank Account
Bri says she keeps her money in a savings account and tries to stash money in it as frequently as possible.
I asked about her strategy for determining how much goes away and when. She says she plans to automate the process one day, but for now she just does it by hand.
“I usually will tell myself, ‘Okay, you just made this much money. You have to put at least this much in savings, then budget the rest into checking and into my spending budget,’” she says.
She keeps her money for everyday expenses in a checking account.
Here’s how you can save: Open an online savings account and deposit $10. Heck, roll your quarters if you have to.
There are a bunch of great online banking accounts, but one of our favorites is Aspiration because they offer an interest rate around 100x what a normal bank offers — plus there are no monthly fees.
Plus, by separating the money from your checking account, you’ll be much less likely to make a withdraw.
The goal is to make your money work for you, which Bri has already learned by 19
2. Put $1 Into the Stock Market
Bri says she has two self-investing accounts with Merrill Edge.
One is a Roth IRA, and the other is a self-guided account. She also invested in Apple stock when she was 16.
However, she admits she’s always been a little hesitant about the process. “…It’s a risky business, and the more you put in the more you can lose, but at the same time the more you can gain,” she says.
She advises people to research. She also suggests taking online quizzes to see how much risk is worth taking.
“I always make sure that I never invest all my money,” she concludes on the matter.
Here’s how you can save: If you want to start investing, but feel slightly intimidated like Bri, try using Stash. This company can help you buy a piece of Amazon, Google or any other company for $1.
The best part? When these companies profit, so can you. Some companies even send you a check every quarter for your share of the profits, called dividends.
It takes two minutes to sign up, plus Stash will give you a $5 sign-up bonus once you deposit at least $5 into your investment account.
3. Earn an Extra $225/Month
At age 8, Bri started doing odd jobs for her neighbors.
Since then, she’s worked as a pet sitter, babysitter, housesitter and waitress. Bri estimates she works 28 to 32 hours a week and earns something between $3,000 and $4,000 each month, according to SFGATE.
I asked her how she manages to stay on top of her priorities. (In addition to her side gigs, she was also a successful student and volunteered.)
She says, “For me, I really had to stay organized and on top of my phone calls, emails, texts, etc. Writing everything down and using a calendar to stay organized was definitely crucial. With so many different things going on, if I don’t write one thing down I could screw up a whole day.”
Here’s how you can save: If we told you that you could get paid to watch videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh.
It’s too good to be true, right?
But we’re serious. A website called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch someone bake brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.
All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward.
No, InboxDollars won’t replace your full-time job, but it’s something easy you can do while you’re already on the couch tonight wasting time on your phone.
Unlike other sites, InboxDollars pays you in cash — no points or gift cards. It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately get a $5 bonus to get you started.
4. Cancel Your Car Insurance
NewRetirement also reports that Bri doesn’t blow her money on clothes or entertainment expenses.
“Mostly I just tell myself, ‘I don’t need that; it’s not a necessity — you can live without it,’” she says. “But I do allow myself to have a small budget once a month for things like transportation, going to the city for a day, etc.”
She’s sure to calculate necessities into her budget, too, like her phone bill and gas.
Here’s how you can save: We already know that skipping our daily latte could save a fortune, but did you know that you could save a ton by changing how your car insurance works?
If you look through a digital marketplace called SmartFinancial, you could be getting rates as low as $22 a month — and saving yourself more than $700 a year.
It takes one minute to get quotes from multiple insurers, so you can see all the best rates side-by-side. Yep — in just one minute you could save yourself $715 this year. That’s some major cash back in your pocket.
So if you haven’t checked car insurance rates in a while, see how much you can save with a new policy.
5. Consume Tons of Personal Finance Advice
How did Bri know about all of these smart money moves? She said she read a ton of advice in books and on blogs (like The Penny Hoarder, right?).
But actually she says her all-time favorite book is “Rich Bitch.” “It’s an easy read, and the best part is it’s interactive, so as you read you are advised to write stuff down, start planning/getting your finances on track.”
Here’s how you can save: You can never know everything.
Cheers to Bri, who’s headed off to George Washington University this fall on a full-ride scholarship. She has an on-campus job lined up and plans to find another gig along the way.