Let’s get one thing straight: saving money isn’t much fun when it feels like you’re reducing the quality of your life by sacrificing a lot of things. Indeed, if you had to choose between a new iPhone and saving money, chances are you’d go for the gadget because that’s what you really want.
Does that also mean that saving money isn’t something you want? Well, maybe, but your desire may be constantly destroyed by calls to spend because they’re everywhere we go. Unfortunately, most of us, especially young people, cannot combat the urge to spend, so we end up with a zero or an insignificant amount in savings.
A recent Bank of America survey, for example, revealed that only 16 percent of Millennials (people between the ages of 23 and 37) have $100,000 saved for retirement,1 which is a very low percentage compared with other generations.
In this article, we’re going to learn how to resist the urge to spend money by using mental tricks. No more impulse purchases and overspending!
1. Pocket Your Fives
Saving every five dollar bill you get is an easy way to save money without significantly affecting your ability to buy. Most people see such small bills as perfect cash for spending, but what they miss is the fact that saving them is just as simple and painless.
This trick has already proved to be effective to accumulate some impressive sums. For example, a former Boston Globe journalist Marie Campagna Franklin has been saving every $5 bill she got since 2005, and by 2018, she had $40,000.2
Franklin made this decision after she received several five dollar bills in change. “I took the money, I tucked it away, I put it inside a part of my wallet, and just left it there,” Franklin told NBC. “And a couple of days later, the same thing happened.”
Once the fives became hundreds, she put them into a savings account to avoid spending. You could do the same, and this method likely won’t have an appreciable effect on your budget.
2. Wait a Day Before Making a Purchase
Have you ever been in one of these situations? You saw a product you liked, you bought it immediately, but in a week or so after that, you realized that you should’ve spent that money on something more practical or important. In some cases, the purchase is simply useless, so you shouldn’t even have spent that money at all.
If you feel like that’s something that could happen to you, how about creating a mandatory waiting period for all your new purchases, say, above $50? For example, if you see something you like, don’t just go and buy it, but wait for at least a day and think about it. Do you really need that product? Do its benefits outweigh the cost for you in the long-term?
As a result, you may be able to avoid a lot of impulse buys.
3. Unsubscribe from Marketing Emails
According to this CoSchedule analysis of twenty email marketing studies, an average digital marketer sends around two promotional emails to their subscribers per week.3 This means that if you’ve subscribed to receive emails from just 5 brands, you may be getting 10 emails with sales and discounts per week!
Clearly, that’s a lot of temptation, and you can avoid it by unsubscribing from these emails, especially from the stores you spend the most money at. Just look for an unsubscribe link in the email (it’s usually located at the bottom), and let the brands know that you’re no longer wishing to receive offers from them.
4. Have a “No Spend” Day
How about making one day a week dedicated to studying, spending quality time with the family, watching a movie, cooking, or just resting—but not going out and buying things? This could be your “No Spend” day, and it can help you to save a lot of money by focusing on other things that matter.
5. Pretend that You Make Less
Yes, this is a legitimate technique that could be huge for you. For example, you can set up an automatic transfer of money from your checking account into your savings account and pretend that no transfers are made.
This means that you’ll be blinding yourself to your true income, but it may just work by setting the upper limit of spending and making some part of your money unavailable for purchases.
Changing the way you think about spending money could be a powerful strategy that’ll help you to save a lot. Feel free to use the above tips to avoid overspending and increase your savings, and you’ll see results in just a week! After that, you’ll realize that you can easily combat the temptation to spend, and become a much more effective money saver than you ever thought you could be.
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