Money saving hacks and habits
In a world that values consumerism, saving money can seem like a daunting task. However, by changing the way we think about money and adopting a few simple habits, we can learn to love saving and achieve financial security. Here are nine tips for how to override your programming and fall in love with saving money, including hacks for tricking your brain into enjoying the process, methods for staying focused on your goals, and ideas for automating your savings to make it a habit.
Override your programming and fall in love with saving money.¶
Saving money is not always easy, as it goes against our natural instinct to spend and consume. However, by changing the way we think about money, we can override our programming and learn to love saving. Instead of thinking of saving as a chore or sacrifice, think of it as a way to achieve financial freedom and security.
- Create a savings goal and visualize how achieving it will improve your life, such as being able to afford a down payment on a house or taking a dream vacation.
- Challenge yourself to save a certain amount of money each month and reward yourself when you achieve it.
- Use a budgeting app or tool to track your spending and see where you can cut back and save more.
Hack your brain by attaching an emotional response to saving.¶
Emotions play a big role in our decision-making, including our financial decisions. By attaching positive emotions to saving, we can trick our brains into making it a habit and enjoying the process.
- Create a vision board or playlist that represents the things you will be able to afford once you start saving, such as a new car, a vacation, or a down payment on a house.
- Set up automatic savings transfers and celebrate each time money is moved into your savings account.
- Share your savings goals with friends or family and ask for their support and encouragement.
Write down 50 to 100 reasons why not saving would be detrimental, to create a painful instance.¶
Sometimes, the best way to motivate ourselves to save is to think about the consequences of not doing so. By creating a list of all the negative outcomes of not saving, we can create a painful instance that makes it clear why saving is important.
- Not having enough money to cover unexpected expenses, such as car repairs or medical bills.
- Living paycheck to paycheck and constantly worrying about money.
- Being unable to retire or having to work well into old age.
- Being unable to support your family or loved ones in times of need.
Switch the tables around and write 50 to 100 reasons why it is amazing to save money.¶
On the other hand, it's also important to focus on the positive outcomes of saving. By creating a list of all the amazing things that come with saving, we can motivate ourselves to make it a priority.
- Having the financial freedom to pursue your passions and interests.
- Being able to take vacations and travel without worrying about money.
- Having a safety net in case of emergencies or unexpected expenses.
- Being able to retire comfortably and enjoy your golden years.
Associate becoming financially successful with tangible benefits such as freedom, health, working on your own terms, travel, and supporting your family.¶
Becoming financially successful is about more than just having a lot of money. It's about achieving a level of freedom and security that allows you to live the life you want. By associating financial success with tangible benefits, we can motivate ourselves to make saving and financial planning a priority.
- With financial freedom, you can choose to work on your own terms and pursue your passions.
- Financial stability can reduce stress and improve your overall health and well-being.
- Having money saved allows you to travel and see the world without worrying about money.
- Financial security means you can support your family and loved ones and provide for their needs.
Focus on your goal to avoid swaying from it even when there are shiny objects put in front of you.¶
This refers to keeping your ultimate financial goals in mind and avoiding distractions that may lead you astray. By staying focused on your goals, you can resist temptation and make more informed financial decisions.
- Keeping a visual representation of your financial goals (e.g. a vision board, written reminder) in a prominent place to serve as a reminder.
- Tracking your progress towards your financial goals using tools like spreadsheets, apps, or financial software.
- Avoiding unnecessary expenses that do not align with your financial goals, even if they may be tempting in the moment.
Don't make reactionary purchases, sleep on it for at least 30 days before deciding to buy.¶
This means taking a step back and giving yourself time to think before making a significant purchase. By sleeping on it for at least 30 days, you can ensure that you are making a deliberate and informed decision rather than acting impulsively.
- Creating a "wishlist" of items you want to purchase and revisiting it after 30 days to see if you still want or need them.
- Asking a trusted friend or family member for their opinion before making a significant purchase.
- Researching the product thoroughly, reading reviews, and comparing prices before making a decision.
Focus on buying what you really want, rather than what's on sale.¶
This involves prioritizing your wants and needs over deals or discounts. By focusing on what you truly want and need, you can avoid impulse buys or purchases that may not align with your values or financial goals.
- Making a shopping list before going to the store and sticking to it, rather than being swayed by in-store promotions or discounts.
- Evaluating purchases based on their long-term value rather than just the initial cost.
- Being mindful of the environmental and social impact of the products you purchase, and choosing brands that align with your values.
Make saving a habit by putting a percentage of your income directly into savings.¶
This involves automating your savings by setting up regular transfers from your checking account to a dedicated savings account. By making saving a habit, you can build your savings and achieve your financial goals more quickly.
- Setting up automatic transfers from your paycheck to your savings account.
- Using a budgeting app or software that allows you to set savings goals and track your progress towards them.
- Starting small and gradually increasing the percentage of your income that you save over time.
Have multiple bank accounts to split up your money for different goals (e.g. emergency fund, investment, education, travel, and everyday spending).¶
This involves creating separate bank accounts for different financial goals to help you stay organized and focused. By having a clear picture of your finances and separating your money into different accounts, you can avoid overspending or dipping into your emergency fund for non-emergency expenses.
- Creating a separate emergency fund account with at least 3-6 months' worth of living expenses.
- Setting up a travel savings account to save for future vacations or trips.
- Creating a dedicated investment account to invest in stocks, mutual funds, or other financial instruments.
Live within your means¶
Living within your means means spending only what you can afford and being mindful of your expenses. Some examples of living within your means include:
- Creating a budget and sticking to it
- Finding ways to reduce your monthly bills, such as renegotiating your cable or phone bill
- Avoiding debt by paying off credit card balances in full each month
Spend on what brings you joy¶
Prioritizing your spending on things that bring you joy and add value to your life can help you avoid overspending on material possessions you don't need. Examples include:
- Investing in experiences, such as travel or concerts
- Spending on hobbies that bring you joy, such as painting or playing music
- Investing in quality items that will last, such as a comfortable mattress or a well-made coat
Save money on everyday expenses¶
Finding ways to save money on everyday expenses can help you stretch your budget further. Examples include:
- Cooking at home instead of dining out
- Using coupons or shopping for deals
- Using public transportation or carpooling to save on gas and transportation costs
Buy used or refurbished items¶
Buying used or refurbished items can be a great way to save money while still getting the items you need. Examples include:
- Shopping at thrift stores or consignment shops for clothing or furniture
- Buying refurbished electronics or appliances instead of new ones
- Borrowing or renting items you only need temporarily
Plan ahead for big expenses¶
Planning ahead for big expenses can help you avoid impulse buys and save money in the long run. Examples include:
- Saving up for a vacation or a down payment on a house
- Waiting for sales or promotions before making a big purchase
- Researching options and comparing prices before making a major purchase
Create a budget and track your spending¶
Creating a budget and tracking your spending can help you stay on top of your finances and avoid overspending. Examples include:
- Using a budgeting app or spreadsheet to track expenses
- Setting financial goals and tracking progress towards them
- Revising your budget regularly to ensure it reflects your current income and expenses