5 Ways to Start Saving When You Don't Know Where to Start

You really don’t need me to tell you that you should be saving a portion of every dollar that you earn. You already know this! But you might still feel like you don’t have enough money to save. You will need to shift your mindset from “How will I ever get to save money?” to “This is how I am saving my money!” Here are 5 ways to start saving when you don’t know where to start.

Sign Up For Financial Apps That Save For You

Just like how technology has made it easier to spend money, technology is here to help you save effortlessly. There are a series of apps that you can download on your smartphone to help you get to saving right now!


Digit  helps you “save money, without thinking about it.” When you sign up for Digit and link this app to your checking account, Digit monitors your account to check your spending habits and moves money, that you can afford, from your checking account into your Digit savings. Digit does this for you every week, so your savings will truly be on autopilot and this will still allow you to get all your bills paid. (Update: Digit now charges a monthly fee)


Consider signing up to bank with ChimeBank which is a “bank account that helps you save money automatically”. When you sign up with Chime, you get a savings account, a spending account, and a Visa Debit Card that can all be managed from your smartphone. You have the option of turning on automatic savings, where every purchase made on your Chime card is rounded up to the next dollar and is deposited into your savings account. I have not personally signed up for Chime, but my little brother uses it and likes it so far.

Tip Yourself

Tip Yourself allows you to transfer money from your checking account to your very own “Tip Jar.” The concept behind the app is to”Tip Yourself” as a reward for a job well done. Maybe you have set a goal to walk to work five days a week, and you have successfully reached that goal. What better way to reward yourself than adding money to your own Tip Jar that you can then commit to savings. Tip Yourself makes it easy for you to keep yourself motivated and save.

Automate Your Savings Using Direct Deposit

Savings apps are great, but you will still have to become intentional with saving your money, if you are serious about improving your financial health. To practice the habit of saving, set up a savings account that is not connected to your checking account. You can use a website like to find one. This separate savings can be used to make automatic deposits from your paycheck and house all your unexpected cash savings.

It will be important to set a goal for your savings too. Are you trying to build an emergency fund of $1,000 in 3 months. Or maybe you’re saving for an epic international vacation. Set your goal and keep working towards it by making automatic deposits.

Tip: You can make intentional deposits into your separate savings account to stash extra cash too!

Join A Money Challenge

Money Challenges allow you to join a group people, who are all working towards specific financial goals over a specific period of time. The challenge can be an online challenge one with specific tasks that you are a prompted to complete to help you reach your money goals. Online money challenges can also include group support with online forums,  where participants can come together to support each other throughout the challenge.

Here’s one Money Challenges you should consider joining:

Cash & Curls Financial Freedom Challenge

CurlBox, The Finance Bar, and Frizz Free Curls have joined forces to present a challenge to help you increase your spending savvy and strengthen your money muscles. Learn more about joining the challenge here: http://www.thefinancebar.com/curlbox.

Commit To Saving Unexpected Cash

I am sure you can that think of at least one occasion where you received money that you were not expecting. Making a plan for saving a portion of any extra money that comes your way is an easy way to jumpstart your savings.

You can plan to save a least 30% to 50%of any unexpected cash. If you get a refund that you weren’t expected, save a percentage of it. When you receive a spot bonus, you will already know how much of it to save. Pick your own rule of thumb and apply it to any extra cash that comes your way.

Join A Partner Hand

A partner hand, (also called osusu, tanda, partner, and susu) is a group savings model that is based on community trust. This group savings plan is usually headed by a “collector” who manages the group’s savings. Once a group of people join the partner hand, each “partner” commits to contributing the same amount of money, to the collector, on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis, over a specific period of time. Each month, one partner will receive a “hand” which is the total sum of all the partners’ contributions for that installment. Each partner will still continue to make their own contributions until the end of the partner hand period, even if they reach their “hand” before the savings period is over.

12 Partners x 12 month Period x $500/Month

For example,12 partners sign up for a $500 contribution per month, partner hand, with a 12- month saving period. During that 12 month savings period, each participant will get a $6,000 hand.

In this example here is how the group savings works for each partner, who will provide $500 to the collector every month for 12 months.

Receiving Partner
Hand Disbursed
Month 1

Month 2

Month 3

Month 4

Month 5

Month 6

Month 7

Month 8

Month 9

Month 10

Month 11

Month 12

Partner 1

Partner 2

Partner 3

Partner 4

Partner 5

Partner 6

Partner 7

Partner 8

Partner 9

Partner 10

Partner 11

Partner 12













Note that even though Partner 1 received a $6,000 hand at month 1, that partner will still have to contribute $500 per month until the end of the savings period, in month 12. This model is all based on trust and community. There are no credit checks. If you are joining a partner hand for the time, a vetted partner may have to vouch for you and will be responsible for your contributions if you drop out, kinda like a co-signer. This partner hand savings method has been used for generation throughout the African continent, the Caribbean and Latin America to successfully save together.

Ask your immigrant friend how to join one, there will soon be partner hand like, savings group apps on the horizon, too, so be on the look out!

BONUS: Get A Side Hustle & Direct Earnings To Savings

Although you can always cut back on your budget to save, getting a side hustle can help you grow your earnings so that you have money to save. A side hustle can be a second job, but it doesn’t have to be. Tap into your talents and hire them out for cash. If whipping up sweet treats comes naturally for you, consider offering your services for your friends and family’s celebratory events.

There’s no shame in picking up a second job, or sharing economy gig too, if it means boosting your savings.

What do you think about these tips? Have you used any of these savings strategies before? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Savings!

~Melisa Boutin

[sa_captivate type=”savingsmmarates”]

3 Comments on 5 Ways to Start Saving When You Don’t Know Where to Start

  1. Odd Cents
    August 29, 2016 at 6:08 AM (5 years ago)

    I like the money challenge idea. I’ve never done one before but it sounds like something I could do and be successful.

    • Melisa Boutin
      September 14, 2016 at 9:28 PM (5 years ago)

      You should participate in a challenge. Let me know if you do! Thanks for reading and chiming in!


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