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11 GIFs That Perfectly Illustrate the Joy of a Small Money Win

Anytime you save more, spend less—or hit any money milestone—science says you should do a little happy dance. Seriously. Research shows that recognizing small wins is the key to staying motivated while trying to achieve bigger goals. Like ...

1. When you spend two quarters on a banana instead of $8 for a smoothie

Okay, it’s not as cool as a blended fruit beverage. But buying an actual piece of fruit will still fill you up (fiber!) and it’ll cost you so much less. (You can basically eat a banana a day for two weeks for the price of one large smoothie.)

2. When you get a check from your insurance company

That’s right. Some insurers have cash-back incentive programs that reward you for everything from filling out a health survey to joining a gym or getting a flu shot. Check your plan’s details and reap the physical and financial benefits of staying healthy.

3. When you pack your lunch for a week instead of springing for sad salads

Let's be real, leftovers from the dinner you made last night are going to taste way better than a $12 Caesar salad from the deli. Bonus points when you actually remember to take that lunch you packed out of the fridge and bring it to work.

4. When you deposit your bonus into your 401(k)

It takes a lot of restraint not to blow a bonus check. But your future self will thank you for investing that money instead when you’re off enjoying your luxe post-work life .

5. When you make it out of Target without spending half your paycheck

Avoiding impulse buys is tough, especially when prices are low and enticing items are plentiful (and conveniently placed between you and the check-out register). Give yourself a high five for making a list—and sticking to it.

6. When you find $20 in a coat pocket

You've saved money without even trying! No matter the dollar amount, discovering forgotten cash is always a win—and proof that, yes, you can actually save money without missing it. (Bonus points if you put it in the bank or invest it before you’re tempted to spend it.)

7. When you really do get a lower rate on your car insurance

We hear it all the time in commercials, but good driver behavior, shopping the competition and even getting older (over 25, in particular) really can drive down the cost of your premiums. Ask for it.

8. When you shop at the grocery store with your head, not your stomach

Shopping while starving is a sure-fire way to end up with a lot of questionable items in your cart. (Really? Swedish fish-flavored Oreos ?) Having a snack before heading inside can keep your hunger from overriding your will power.

9. When you use an old gift card to purchase a new gift for someone

An estimated $1 billion in gift cards go unused every year. Don’t let that happen to your cards. Anytime you have to buy a gift for a wedding, birthday or other event, why pay money? Dust off those old cards instead and put them to use.

10. When you finally pull the cable plug

Wasting fewer hours in front of the TV and spending less on a monthly bill? That's a win-win.

11. When you ask for a lower interest rate—and get it

Sometimes, all it takes is a call to a creditor to make your debt burden a little lighter. Hey, what’s the worst they can say? (Enrolling in an autopay program can also give you a discount if you have student loan debt.)

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