Super Savers Reveal Strategies to Keep More Money

Super savers use strategies that are simple, effective and livable. What can we learn from them?

Ever wonder how some people pay off their house before they turn 40 or buy a new car with cash? It turns out, many of these super savers use similar strategies.

Super savers stick to simple formulas – for example, spend 40 percent, save 60 percent – and are deliberate about spending and saving. It adds up to knowing yourself and keeping your overall goal in mind. We recently asked some of PNC’s super savers to share their best tips. Here’s what they said.

Rachael Kemly, Jacksonville, Fla.

Kemly says, “I’m (good-heartedly) teased by my friends about having to check my budget before committing to any activities. I have paid down my debt and actually bought a house,” by sticking to her plan. Best tips:

  • When paying debt, pay slightly over the minimum requirement. Paying that way helps chip away at the principal faster, reducing the amount you pay in interest over the life of the loan. “I paid off my truck a year ahead of schedule doing this.”

  • Use the snowball method. Start paying the smallest bill and when it is paid off, apply the amount you were paying to the next smallest bill.

  • Use coupons and pay with cash. “I take out the cash that I will need and keep the plastic at home,” she says.

Becky Wing, Strongsville, Ohio

Wing says: “Lifestyle choices are important. We bought houses that met our needs, but were below our means at the time. My last three cars were bought used. We still enjoy life; we just don’t go crazy.” Best tips:

  • Put more than you think you can into your 401(k) and increase it every time you receive a pay raise. “After a few paychecks, I had adjusted my spending and didn’t miss the money.”

  • Open an emergency savings account that isn’t linked to a debit card. “When I get some unexpected money, instead of buying something, I put it into that account.”

  • Open a college fund when your kids are young and have the money automatically deducted. “If you’re consistent about doing it, it will grow and add up.” 

Person chopping vegetables in kitchen

Other Simple Strategies

Douglas Doud, Saginaw, Mich., is an avid exerciser who noticed cans and bottles strewn along his running routes. Michigan has a bottle deposit law. By picking up cans and bottles along the way, he’s netted $3,200 since 2005, enough to make extra payments on a truck loan, put money into a savings account and reduce the interest owed on a loan.

Steven Obranovich, Pittsburgh, Pa., says cooking meals at home is a big cost saver. He buys specific food items such as eggs, chicken, steak and ground turkey in bulk and prepares meals for the week.

Jackie Cappucci, Pittsburgh, Pa., uses an app that automatically rounds up and saves the change from every purchase. For a $1.25 purchase, for example, the app withdraws 75 cents from a linked bank account and puts it in a separate account. She says she hasn’t missed the money and she has built up almost $400 so far this year.

Sandra Churchin, Pittsburgh, Pa., says she’s nearing her financial goals of living off of interest from savings and financing a comfortable retirement. How? She buys only essential non-trendy clothes, is careful to avoid food waste, buys furniture and carpeting she can clean herself and has figured out a way to pay for only the TV programming she watches. “The savings program has been an aggressive 10 years, but it’s nice to not have to worry,” she says.

 

Learn more ways to save and get useful tips on how to manage your money »

Rachael Kemly, Jacksonville, Fla.

Kemly says, “I’m (good-heartedly) teased by my friends about having to check my budget before committing to any activities. I have paid down my debt and actually bought a house,” by sticking to her plan. Best tips:

  • When paying debt, pay slightly over the minimum requirement. Paying that way helps chip away at the principal faster, reducing the amount you pay in interest over the life of the loan. “I paid off my truck a year ahead of schedule doing this.”

  • Use the snowball method. Start paying the smallest bill and when it is paid off, apply the amount you were paying to the next smallest bill.

  • Use coupons and pay with cash. “I take out the cash that I will need and keep the plastic at home,” she says.

Becky Wing, Strongsville, Ohio

Wing says: “Lifestyle choices are important. We bought houses that met our needs, but were below our means at the time. My last three cars were bought used. We still enjoy life; we just don’t go crazy.” Best tips:

  • Put more than you think you can into your 401(k) and increase it every time you receive a pay raise. “After a few paychecks, I had adjusted my spending and didn’t miss the money.”

  • Open an emergency savings account that isn’t linked to a debit card. “When I get some unexpected money, instead of buying something, I put it into that account.”

  • Open a college fund when your kids are young and have the money automatically deducted. “If you’re consistent about doing it, it will grow and add up.”

Americans aren’t good at saving for retirement.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office [1] says about 50 percent of the households age 55 and older have no retirement savings. Social Security provides most of the income for about half of those age 65 and older.

[1].