10 Effective Strategies to Turn a Spender into a Saver
Let’s be honest. Spending money is fun, and for some, shopping is a sport. But when the packages from Amazon are coming every week, and you’re spending all of your discretionary income, you might want to consider changing the way you handle finances.
No one was born with the saving gene. Saving is a behavior we learn. Many of us have been on the saving path since childhood because our parents encouraged us to save. But if that is not the case, as an adult you can modify your spending patterns and experience the joys of saving.
An excellent starting point is to change how you think and feel about money. Don’t consider saving a sacrifice, but instead think of it as a means to a better future. Once you start practicing some of the savings strategies I’m going to share, you might be surprised to discover how good you are going to feel about having some money in the bank.
1. Reward Yourself
Saving money is like putting your spending on a diet. Anyone who has counted calories will tell you, if you eliminate every guilty eating pleasure, you are going to fall off the wagon at some point. Give yourself a monthly “allowance” that you can spend on whatever brings you joy. Having something to look forward to will inspire you to stick with the program.
2. Think of Saving As a Bill You Pay Yourself
Have the amount of money you have designated for savings automatically deposited into your account. Consider it a monthly bill like your cell phone or electric. Do this for each pay period, and soon, you will forget it was ever part of your disposable income. By automating your savings you will not have any excuses as I forgot or something came up that I had to have, and I spent it.
3. Bank the Cash Windfalls
Do not think of an increase in income as spendable. If you are managing well on your current salary, when your boss gives you a raise, bank it. If you get a year-round bonus or a tax refund, consider taking a SMALL amount as a reward. As for the remainder, if you have been doing well without it, save it and forget about it.
4. Give It a Name
If part of your savings is going towards a specific purpose like a down payment on a home or a vacation, give the account a name like “dream home” or “African Safari.” By defining your savings goal, you will be inspired to watch the amount grow as a measurement of how close you are to achieving your dream.
5. Embrace Minimalism
The Minimalist movement’s popularity continues to grow, and this word is popping up everywhere. You read about it on décor blogs, food blogs, fashion, and lifestyle blogs. It is about more being less. The philosophy promotes spending money on experiences rather than on things. Marie Kondo who wrote the book on organizing and decluttering talks about keeping only the possessions that bring you joy. Every “thing” that you choose not to buy means more Benjamins in your “dream home” account.
6. Attach a Real Value to a Potential Purchase
Think of everything you want to buy in terms of its “life cost.” For instance, think of those $300 boots that you want to buy in how many hours of your life you have to sacrifice to work to have them. Define it by take-home pay. So if your take-home pay is $30 an hour, are the boots worth 10 hours of your work life? I guarantee you that when you consider costs in these terms you will spend less and will appreciate and enjoy what you do buy more.
7. Avoid Impulse Buying
Have you ever bought something you thought you couldn’t live without only to discover a few days or weeks later that you not only don’t need it but you don’t even like it? Been there and then been there a few more times after the first time. Before you buy something, especially if it is a high-cost item, think about it for a time. Shop around and explore your options, and when you decide on what you want, think about it for a day or two longer. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself saying, no thanks!
8. Pay With Cash
For many of us, it can be difficult to track spending with a debit or credit card. When you set your budget for groceries and other monthly necessities and withdraw that amount in cash from your account, it is easy to see how you are tracking for staying on budget at any given day of the month. Paying with cash is my preference, and I found an exciting bonus to this plan. I find as I approach the end of the month I am more careful about my spending because I like to have a cash surplus on day 30 or 31, which I throw into my “mad money” account which I spend on something madly indulgent.
9. Utilize The Art of Visualization
If you are experiencing difficulty getting into the saving frame of mind, try visualizing your life after you reach your saving goal. Picture yourself in your dream home. Search homes for sale online. Imagine how you will decorate it. Start a Pinterest board and pin your heart out with features and furnishings you envision around you. Dream about the reward of an earlier and secure retirement planning where you will live and where you will travel. Research shows that visualization can assist the brain almost as if you were engaged in the activity you are imagining. Seeing yourself as a successful saver can inspire you actually to become one.
10. Don't Forget To Reward Yourself
Let’s complete the circle and refer back to the beginning. Reward yourself with a self-indulgent splurge regularly. Determine what your splurge will be and how much you will allow yourself to spend. Maybe it’s a spa day, a new pair of jeans, or a dinner out and a movie. You know, whatever brings you joy!