I’ve started a new experiment. Like a mad scientist, pouring ghost-green liquid over periwinkle cubes, creating tangerine foam, maniacal laughter ringing throughout my secret layer, I’m always trying to find ways to stash a little extra cash.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve got retirement savings, and regular savings, but sometimes, you want to save up for something super sweet, like a new piece of lab equipment or a funky piece of art or a new computer, and while you’d love to just go out and buy it, that’s not so fiscally responsible, and, well, eating is also a necessity. And you think, oh, I’ll just not spend this little bit over here, and I’ll keep adding to it, and then in a few months I’ll be able to get that thing I want, and the world will be grand and wonderful and rosy colored.

And then your friends want to go out, and then a new book comes out, and then you go to a movie, and all of a sudden, you’re like, huh, that $50 I put away that was going to grow is still $50, and I could use it for this other thing, and so that dream of owning the best Bunsen burner on the market just fades away.

I got sick of that. So, I started doing a few things, and they seem to be working swimmingly. I’m well on my way to a new Bunsen burner AND a stash of new pipettes and test tubes.

Here’s Part 1: Everyone gets dollar bills throughout a day or a week. What do you do with them? Most people spend them, use them throughout the day, get a coffee. Well, I started, at the end of the day, putting them into my sock drawer (I know! an entire drawer just for socks!). It doesn’t seem like much. $1 here. $3 there. Sometimes no dollars for a week. Sometimes, dollars every day. I don’t think about it in the sense that I hoard them throughout the day. I just look in my wallet (or my pockets, which often seem to accumulate bills despite my best efforts to keep them all nice and tidy), and if there are dollar bills, I stick ‘em in my sock drawer. And, the thing is, they add up. I’ve been doing it for a few months now, and I’ve got $73 in my sock drawer. Hot diggity dog! I probably would have spent those dollars, because I only had a couple at a time, on something ridiculous, like playing cards or ring pops. Now I’ve got 73 dollar bills and I can do a whole lot more, and I didn’t have to do anything but just collect them. Bunsen Burner, here I come!

Part 2 is similar, but takes a bit more planning and concentration. And will-power. Isn’t it always about the will-power? I have this problem where, if the money is in my checking account, I kind of want to spend it. I don’t always do it, but that doesn’t mean the itch isn’t there. I talk to a lot of people who have the same desire. Who doesn’t? There are so many awesome things out there to experience and see and do, why wouldn’t you want to spend some funds on it, especially after you work all week. Well, that attitude can get one into lots of trouble. So, here’s the skinny on Part 2. I take $5 per week and I put it in a different account other than my checking account. I have a savings account and I just set up an automatic transfer in my online banking and it pulls $5 and sets it aside. That’s one coffee a week I don’t buy, and I put it in my savings account. After 52 weeks, I’ll have a cool $260. Not too shabby, and enough to get something super sweet, like some new speakers, or most of a new TV, or that awesome 10 Season DVD set of Stargate SG-1, or fill in my geode collection. SO MANY OPTIONS! And the nice thing, I don’t even notice the $5. The first few weeks, I was antsy, checking every week, making sure it stayed there. Making sure it worked, looking at a budget, seeing if I was cutting corners other places. Turns out, after the first few weeks, I didn’t even notice it. Forgot about it. It’s just one more tiny charge that comes out of my account. Like it never even happens. Except, by golly, there’s that savings account, growing growing growing. Gotta like that.

In the end, though, it’s more about being able to save, and to see that I can do it, that I can be disciplined, over the course of a month or three or twelve. Because, now that I’ve started these things, I’m trying to figure out other ways to trick myself out of money (in a good way, I hope) so that I can use it for saving and for trips and for other things, like a house down the road (with my dollar bills, that’ll be a long road, but it’ll be paved in my dollars). It’s always hardest to start something than it is to make it habitual and be able to ride that wave into covering myself with money. Setting aside even $1 per week, or $2 per week, is better than doing nothing, and it gives you the discipline to do more, to really look at your accounts and see that $1 isn’t that big of a deal, that you don’t even miss it, because you can shave it off somewhere else, like getting an Americano instead of a latte, or buying bulk TP instead of four-packs. And, who doesn’t want to be flush with TP, really.

Okay, I’m off to look at different burners and pipettes.  Saving! Huzzah!

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