Jean Chatzky: Save money by hiding it from yourself

April 20, 2011 at 6:25 PM ET

TODAY financial editor Jean Chatzky joined us for a live Web chat Wednesday morning after the show's Money 911 segment.

Here are two of her answers and a complete archive.

Question from Cindi:

I have not saved for college for my 15-year-old kid who is in 9th grade. Is there anything I can start now to help? I also have a child who is 10 years old.

Jean's answer:

Hi Cindi -- Don't stress too much. The more important thing is to just get in there and start.

I'd look at opening 529 college savings accounts for both kids and putting as much as you can in there each month, automatically. You'll want to make sure the investments for the 15-year-old are more conservative whereas for the 10 they can be more moderate. can give you info on the best 529 for you


I am a divorced mother of 2 making a decent salary but cannot bring myself to budget and save. Any tools you can recommend that can help?

Jean's answer:

There are a lot of tools that can help you. Try the budgeting tool from or the budgeting in her online program, "The Debt Diet." (I know you're not in debt, but it also helps you save for the future).

As for saving, the best and for many people the ONLY way to do it is automatically. Today, I want you to call your bank or brokerage firm and arrange to open another savings account (DO NOT GET AN ATM CARD FOR THIS ACCOUNT). Then have $100 or $200 or whatever you can afford automatically transferred out of your checking account every time you get paid into this new account.

What I've found, and what tons of research has confirmed, is that IF YOU DON'T SEE IT, YOU WON'T SPEND IT.

Complete archive:

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