MoneyRates.com encourages all households to try to improve their savings rates, and there are many ways to do that. People who save money have different goals and come in several common varieties. Here are some examples:
- The paper-clip saver. These are people who build their savings rates by never throwing anything out that they might possibly need again. If you see someone saving gift wrap to re-use, don't look down your nose at them -- they may have healthier savings accounts than the average American.
- The master negotiator. The master negotiator loves to bargain, and saves money one haggle at a time. People who are good at this tend to do it second nature, for big and small purchases alike. When it comes to those big purchases, haggling is a skill that can really make a significant difference. If negotiating doesn't come naturally to you, try not to look at it as an embarrassment. Instead, look at it the way the master negotiator does -- almost as a game.
- The singles hitter. This is a person who has committed to the slow-and-steady approach to saving. They put a little aside every paycheck, and succeed at saving because they follow a consistent course over a long period of time.
- The home-run hitter. The home-run hitter may not be so good at the slow-and-steady approach to saving, but they look for opportunities to add to savings in big chunks. For example, people who like to save the bulk of their bonuses or tax refunds are examples of home-run hitters, building savings through large, if sporadic, moves.
- The no-frills person. This person views living frugally as a virtue, but the people who are most successful saving money this way don't have a sense of martyrdom about their lifestyles. They honestly prefer to keep living expenses low, and that's why they can keep it up over the long haul.
- The go-getter. The go-getter is very different from the no-frills person; the go-getter wants the finer things in life. Ambitious and goal-oriented, the go-getters can be successful at accumulating money because they tend to have successful careers, and view savings as a means to an end.
- The safety-first money manager. This is a person who believes that the surest way to accumulate money is to never lose any. Some may scoff at their concentration of assets in CDs, savings, or money market accounts, but the safety-first money manager will point out that even meager savings account rates are much higher than negative returns.
- The gambler. The gambler takes more of a no-guts-no-glory approach to managing money. They know that high returns can greatly enhance their savings, so they are always pushing the envelope. They may have had a rough decade or so, but they'll be quick to tell you that means this is now a buying opportunity.
None of the above stands out as the one true way toward higher savings rates and a bigger retirement nest egg. There is something to be said for each of these types of savers, and it may be possible to incorporate more than one style of saving into your approach. The most important thing is to find an approach that fits your personality and circumstances, and commit to that approach as thoroughly as you can.