C.RE.A.M. Part Two: A Passive Yet Powerful Savings Strategy


One of the most frequent things that I hear from Coaching clients when discussing the topic of Personal Finance is “I can’t save money”, or “I don’t make enough money to save money”. The above images were sent to me by clients who said those words to me at one point or another. As you can see, they’ve seemingly been able to overcome their former financial shortcomings.

In the first installment of this series, I told you that it was time to get back to carrying and using cash for your day to day transactions. This post will focus on the “cash back rewards” plan that I have my clients establish, and which has proven to be very effective for even those in the worst financial climate, with the worst financial habits at the onset.

The image on the right is from a client of mine who previously had little success in terms of saving money. As you’ll note, the currency is Canadian, so the denominations included in his application of this method vary slightly from his American counterparts. Nonetheless, what you see is a sum of around $2,000 that he was able to amass in a period of a few short months.

The image on the left is from another client who also had previously lived “paycheck to paycheck”, was in a tremendous amount of personal debt at the onset of our work together, and who was also, predictably “unable” to save money or invest. That image shows a sum of just over $900 which he was able to effortlessly accumulate over a very short period of time without perceiving any negative change in his quality of life.

So here’s the method:


At the end of the day, after you’ve used cash for your basic transactions, you will no doubt have accumulated some change. What I want you to do is deposit your $1 bills (and all of your coins) into a receptacle designed for their collection. Some use a desk drawer, some a coffee can, some a shoe box, it doesn’t matter, so long as it is dedicated to that specific task.

In short order you will have accumulated your first $100 in $1 bills. At that time, I want you to band those bills up; you can get bands for free at any bank. Keep your banded $1’s in the same location as your new, growing stack and repeat this process.

Many that have never applied this method scoff at it, either because it seems so passive in nature, and doesn’t seem “worthwhile” with the figures involved, but those who build a habit out of this (by doing it consistently for three weeks.. See Blueprint to Beast for more on habit creation) find it both effective, and FUN. It is beyond common for me to hear from clients that they become excited to deposit their $1’s and their loose change in their collection area each night, and that they quickly develop a sense of pride in themselves for successfully doing something positive to affect their personal economy.

Still, many tell me (usually those who receive “free” advice, who seek me out personally but do not pay) that they can’t give up those precious bills, that their quality of life would be dramatically effected because of their lack of sufficient income, etc. My promise to you is that YOU WILL NOT MISS THOSE BILLS. Those are the bills that would get spent on a drink at the store, a pack of gum, etc. You will not miss the few dollars per day that you will be taking out of circulation.

The next step, once you’ve mastered the one’s, is to do the same thing with your $5 bills. This adds another layer of excitement to the daily ritual, and also ramps up the power of the method in terms of accumulating a substantial sum of money more rapidly. You’ll note that both photos above feature $5 notes.

I personally use this method, and have for quite some time. I like to keep at least $1,000 in cash available this way, and invest the rest as it comes in. This type of strategy is something that I discuss in detail with my clients, each of whom have different approaches to managing their passive cash savings. The idea is to create the plan that is best suited for the individual, and that most effectively makes impact on their personal economy.

I recently decided on a whim to purchase a pistol as a gift for a very special person. Seeing as how I was a bit short on cash in my pocket, and did not want to use a credit card or hit an ATM for the purchase, I decided to take a few hundred dollars in ones to the gun store with me to pay for the pistol. The store owner joked with me a bit about my method of payment, but was off course more than happy to accept them, I even got a discount for using cash.

Additionally, when I recently went on a week long trip, I opted to “cash in” some of my passive savings cash to use as my spending and travel money. I was easily able to hit the road with just shy of $1,000 that I certainly had not missed during its accumulation in my desk drawer.

As I said, this method is very effective, fun, simple, and it has a very positive effect on your perception of your financial situation. It is difficult to feel poor when you can see and hold stacks of cash, regardless of the denominations of the bills.

I highly encourage you to begin this method and be like my client Sam who was able to make a down payment on her first new car (as well as make more than half of the monthly payment each month) using her ones and fives (I’ll add that just a few months prior she was a financial disaster).

Or you could be like Jason, who holds $500 in “emergency” passive savings cash, and invests the overflow into precious metals (He’s racked up an impressive stash in the last year).

Or you could be like Tim who applies this method, and then “past, present, and future rules” the cash once every three months, hitting his debts hard, having some fun with a chunk of guilt-free cash, and investing the rest into a different strategy that we have in place to allow this guy who less than a year ago was a broke, paycheck to paycheck guy in a lot of debt make his first real estate purchase.

The options are endless. What will you do with all of your effortlessly saved cash?

I write this at an important time; this Friday at midnight my discounts on Personal Coaching sessions and session packages will expire. The rates will return to the normal rates, and the opportunity for saving on working with me to design your own strategies for success will be gone.

I highly encourage you to head over to the store and lock in your heavily discounted rate today. There is no need for a coupon code or anything, the prices have all been adjusted in the store. Come Friday night though, this chance for savings will be a thing of the past, and the rates will return to normal.

I look forward to hearing from you.



One Response

  1. Dollar, dollar bill y’all!!!

    September 9, 2014 at 10:32 am

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