5 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Saving Money: A Money Expert Weighs In

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We’re fans of goal setting here at Hoboken Girl, whether they’re emotionally, physically, or lifestyle-related — we love setting goals. Some of  them, however, might be financially related. Goals like saving money might sound familiar, are not uncommon. Luckily, Ashley Feinstein of the Fiscal Femme is here to help shed some light on great ways to save money this year. Keep reading to discover five ways to trick yourself into saving money.

talk money with honey

Getting Into It

In theory, saving money sounds really simple. “Spend less money than you earn,” they say. “Pay yourself first,” they say. Yeah, thanks. If it were actually that simple, more than half of Americans would be able to cover a $400 emergency — but they can’t. The average American has less than $400 saved, at any age. 

Still, we feel like we’re the only ones who don’t have it together because money isn’t something we talk about. We see Instagram feeds full of luxurious vacations, fancy dinners out, and trendy outfits. We think, “they must have their finances together.” Newsflash, they don’t.

Our concept of how to save money is all wrong. Here’s how most of us think about saving money: Money comes in and then we pay our bills, live our lives, and even buy things for other people. Many people might even use a spreadsheet for budgeting, hoping that there will be money left over to save. We wait and see what our bank accounts look like at the end of the month, but usually, there’s nothing left to save. 

We think we’re not earning enough money, or that when we earn more, we’ll finally start saving. You work for the raise at work but nothing changes, and at the end of the month, it feels like there is still no money left to save. 

This will continue to happen unless we do something about it. We actually need to trick ourselves into saving money or we’ll continue to make decisions that will lever up our lifestyle to the exact degree that we’re earning {or often even more}.  

See More: How To Talk Money With Your Honey {Hoboken’s Fiscal Femme Weighs In}

How to Save Money

Here are five easy strategies to trick yourself into saving money

Get the Money Out of Your Account

Out of sight, out of mind. Online savings accounts a great for a bunch of reasons {including much higher interest rates}, but most importantly, they get money out of our accounts where we can’t see it and spend it. Very few people can save money in the savings account attached to their checking, it’s just too available. 

Now, this money is yours when you need or want it, it’s just not something that you’ll be checking in on regularly and it takes more work to get it, so it has a much higher likelihood of staying in savings. 

Ashley recommends setting up an automatic transfer so it happens without any work and thought on your part. If you’re skeptical about whether or not you can do this, start with as little as $5 and make a point to check in after a few transfers. 

Smooth Out Larger Infrequent Expenses with a Sinking Fund

One of the most common things that derail our savings is a big expense we didn’t plan for. You might have to book a flight for a bachelorette party, do an annual holiday shopping, or forget to plan for the dog’s annual vet visit. And what do we do? We transfer the money to cover the expense over from savings or we put it on a credit card, only to have to figure out later. This can make trying to save feel very frustrating. Every time you start to see progress, you end up taking a couple of steps back {or going all the way back to zero}.

If you plan ahead for these less frequent larger expenses, using sinking funds, you won’t have to worry about paying for them all in one paycheck. And the further in advance, you can plan, the less pain you’ll feel from planning each paycheck. 

Here’s how: Open up another account in your high-interest savings account and name it after whatever expense your planning for. Then have money transfer over to this vacation or holiday fund each paycheck so the money is there for you, ready and waiting, when it’s time to incur the expense. 

Get an App that Steals From You

If the first two strategies sound like too big of a step, that’s okay. Small steps lead to big results. There are a variety of apps that will “steal” money from you based on your spending patterns or will round up on each purchase you make. They “steal” this money from your checking and set it aside in a savings account for you. 

These apps are a great way to get started because they really open our eyes and show us that we do have room to save money. It’s a complete mindset shift to see that we can already be savers. And it takes very little work.

Remove the Temptation

Sometimes, {or many times} we make our lives much harder than they need to be. We say we’re trying to save money, but we allow sales emails from our favorite store to come into our inbox and tell us about the latest and greatest sales. We window shop stores for fun and end up “needing” something that we didn’t even know existed five minutes ago. And, we have one-click shopping set up on our phones. 

Our lives can be much easier by removing these triggers from our every day. It requires so much less willpower to pass on a sale you don’t know about.

Unsubscribe from store emails. If you’re not ready to unsubscribe, you can send store emails to a special folder that you only look at when you need to purchase something. Do less window shopping and delete shopping apps from your phone.  

Read More: Why Women Need to Be Wealthy {A Money Expert Weighs In}

Make it a Game

One of the best ways to become a saver is to make it more fun to save money. When this shift happens, it’s a complete game-changer for our financial lives. One of the ways we can do that is by turning it into a game. Here’s how to play the money game

Decide on an amount you want to spend each week on variable things like food, transit, and shopping. Then each week,  tally your spending — ideally as it’s happening so you’re very clear on how the money game is going. Then, if you come in under your money game amount, you win. The difference gets to go to a top priority goal, something fun, or a combination of the two. 

For example, let’s say you decide your money game number will be $250 and you tally up your total spending for the week and it’s $200. You win! And you can put $50 towards your rainy-day fund, your vacation fund, or your top priority piece of debt. That makes it really fun to save because you’re reaping the benefits of your choices immediately. 

Saving money how we’ve been doing it our whole lives just doesn’t always work. But the good news is that we can trick ourselves into saving money in ways that are actually pretty easy and don’t need much willpower. Try one or all of the above strategies and let us know how they go.

 Are there any other strategies that have helped you save money? Let us know in the comments!

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