Saving money is important.
Everyone knows this, but few make it a habit. We all know that we need to save money, and sometimes we even set goals, but when it comes down to actually taking action on putting those hard-earned dollars away, we find it hard to pull the trigger.
There are a thousand and one excuses, daily stresses and temptations to keep you from saving money. Whether it’s a tough day at work resulting in a lack of energy to cook at home, or some electronics company announces presales of another iDevice, there is no lack of ways to NOT save your money.
So, what can we do about it?
I’ve found that sometimes you need to remove the option of spending that money that is earmarked for saving. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’, as they say. So here are a few ways that can help ensure you ALWAYS save money….by tricking yourself into spending less!
Here Are 5 Ways You Can Trick Yourself Into Spending Less
Set up Automatic Transfers to your savings account. This one’s a no-brainer! Whatever bank you choose should have the option of setting up recurring automatic transfers to a savings account. You can set up a sum of money (say, $100) to transfer out of your checking account on payday into a savings account. I recommend having it go to a money market account, that way the funds are un-touchable for at least a few days if you decide to pull any money out. With the money out of your checking account, it’s like it never even existed! That means all your spending decisions are now based on a smaller amount of income, causing you to be more conservative with your purchasing decisions. (BONUS: Set up automatic transfers to your Roth IRA or 401k work plan. Not only will the money be locked away, but you get the tax advantage of the investment account, the money grows quicker AND you could even get a company match with the 401k plan! BOOM!)
Consider using the ‘one week’ rule. Impulse buys. We’ve all had them. All stores encourage them, and heck, have an entire marketing plan around getting you to buy something you weren’t planning on getting. But, you can outsmart them (and yourself!) buy implementing the ‘one week’ rule. The rule says you can buy something outside your budget, but you must wait ONE WEEK before actually making the purchase. The idea here is that the items that you just ‘HAVE TO HAVE RIGHT NOW’ are not actual needs, but merely just wants that are conveniently placed. If you say ‘I can get this in a week,’ you’ll most likely forget about the purchase, or find that it is not worth the time to go back and get it. You effectively trick yourself into passing on the purchase, and pad your wallet in the meantime. WOOP!
Eat and drink before you go to an event. If your life is anything like mine, you’ll find that your weekends get booked up with events pretty quickly. Whether it’s a baby shower, a birthday or a sporting event, there is always something on your schedule that has the potential to empty your wallet. I recommend implementing this strategy the next time you are going to a restaurant, bar or event that has food and/or drinks involved. Make a quick homemade meal or snack and grab your favorite beverage to enjoy at home before you leave. Once you get to the event, you will find that you aren’t tempted to ORDER THE ENTIRE MENU and might just split something or grab an inexpensive appetizer instead. You’ve tricked yourself into spending less money out and eating healthier at the same time. #winning
Unsubscribe!!! I put several exclamation points on that word for a reason. IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT! We used to subscribe to every coupon deal website under the sun because we were so excited to SAVE MONEY ON EVERYTHING! But what we found is that we kept having conversations about these really awesome deals on stuff that we wouldn’t have ever considered doing (I mean, really, hot air balloon ride? I’M AFRAID OF GETTING ON A LADDER!). So we decided to cut the cord and UNSUBSCRIBE from all the deal websites. No matter how much money we can ‘save’ with those coupons, we can save even more NOT using them at all. Now we just search for coupons on the fly AFTER we have decided to do something, not before. We’ve hidden all the temptation and don’t give ourselves the option to purchase every good deal that’s out there. I recommend you get into your email account, open each deal account email and hit the magic ‘UNSUBSCRIBE‘ button, and experience freedom!
Budget in Spending Cash. As the budget guy, of course I’d bring it back to this 😉 But truly, I believe this is one of the BEST ways you can trick yourself into keeping your spending in check. It’s really easy, just give yourself a set amount of cash to SPEND ON WHATEVER YOU WANT. You can do this weekly or monthly, but the key is that you can ONLY spend that money, and can’t whip out the credit or debit card when it’s gone. Having a specific limit on your discretionary spending helps you make better spending decisions. When you are limited to the amount of cash in your wallet, you won’t blow it on just any old thing. You’ll maximize its value and ensure it gives you the biggest return. For example, I could have bought 34 packs of bubble gum with my $50 this month, but instead I bought cheap seats to an epic baseball game with two future hall-of-fame pitchers going head to head. The leftover $20 is for concessions. I get to witness history instead of making my jaw sore and teeth rot. Spending cash is the ultimate way to reduce spending and increase enjoyment!
There are dozens of other ways to trick yourself into spending less and saving more. How do YOU keep your spending in check?