Using a Modified Swear Jar System to Achieve Savings Goals

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Neal Maxwell quoteSaving for short or long-term savings goals doesn’t require that you completely change your lifestyle.

One way to steadily add to your savings is by using a modified swear jar system to add a certain amount to your savings every day.

What is the Modified Swear Jar System?

You may have heard of a “swear jar,” something used by parents to deter their children from saying curse words. Moms required their kids to pay a quarter (or more) if they were caught cursing and it was an effective deterrent to using profanity around the house.

As an adult, you could apply a modified swear jar system to build savings for yourself over time. Rather than dropping money into the jar each time you curse, you could contribute to the jar every time you mention (or think about) buying your dream house, boat, car, or some other savings goals.

If your savings goals are that important to you, you’re going to be talking about them quite a bit with others, and you’ll enjoy the game of focusing on your savings and contributing to them at the same time.

You might be able to get by using an average sized jar or cereal container, if your goal is less than $500, let’s say. For more sizeable savings goals, you might graduate up to using an empty 5-gallon water bottle or an oversized flowerpot to stash your savings.

Implementing the System

You’ll soon realize that simply dropping coins into a jar wouldn’t allow you to achieve your savings goals as quickly as you’d like, so you’ll probably want to up the ante and start placing some bills in there at least half the time.

A quick $5 or $10 bill might be a good initial investment, especially if you can afford to do this once a day or more. The end goal will keep you motivated, and you won’t feel a significant financial pinch with this approach.

If times are tough, even putting $1 into your jar each time you mention your goal could be enough to bring you closer to your savings goals.

Here are some additional techniques for growing your savings with the modified swear jar system:

1. Choose a denomination of money

Choose a reasonable amount between $1 and $100 to put in your jar each time, and stick to it.

  • You can put 10 $1 bills in there or a single $10 bill, but keep the standard contribution in mind each time you contribute. Staying disciplined will help you reach your savings goal more quickly.

2. Set a minimum daily deposit

The other approach is to set a minimum deposit for a single day, without worrying about how often you mention your goal. This approach works particularly well if your goal is something you don’t want people to hear about (such as a set of new French doors), as a surprise.

  • For example, if your standard denomination is $20, commit to putting at least that amount into your jar by the end of each day, regardless of whether or not you mention your goal. At the end of just the first month, you’ll have saved a minimum of $600 into your jar.

3. Don’t cheat

This is the hardest part of making this a successful venture. To reach that elusive savings goal, you’ll need to commit yourself to making a deposit in your jar each and every time you mention your goal. If you let yourself slide once, you’re more likely to do it a number of times thereafter.

  • This emphasizes the importance of setting the right denomination to put in each time. If a $5 or $10 donation is a bit steep, stick with a $1 denomination for each donation. This way, if you end up talking about your goal five times that day, you’ll still have invested $5 at the end of the day, $150 by the end of the month.

This system is effective because it’s risk free, flexible, and user friendly. Sure, you may end up putting a considerable amount of money into that jar, but it motivates you to talk about your goals as often as you like while you see your savings mounting.

Another benefit of using this system is it allows you to create a personal fund you might need to rely on if a financial emergency develops (such as a termination notice from your utility company). You’ll have the opportunity to dig into your modified swear jar for help, then continue your efforts towards a specific savings goal once you’re on more solid financial footing.


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