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4 Mental Shifts to Save Money


Our teenage guest writer, Arden Gehl,  has some excellent tips on saving money. Check out her other blogs about budgeting and saving. 

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Saving money is hard to do.

You do all the hard work of actually earning money, and then once you receive it, the last you thing you want to do is put it away for one of your savings goals.

It seems more gratifying to spend it on an impulse buy because it’s instant.  But if you put that money away, when you have enough to purchase what you’ve been saving for, you’ll feel far more fulfilled than your short lived impulse buy.”

I hear that all the time. My mom is a financial advisor! It’s her job to tell me that by saving my money, I’ll be happier in the end. But if you hear the same thing over and over again it gets repetitive and you stop believing it.

As a teenager, I babysit and do a lot of simple jobs that I get paid in cash and handed directly. It’s extremely hard not to stick that $40 in my wallet and head out to the mall. To combat impulsive spending, I’ve come up with a couple money saving mind tricks that will work for all ages, no matter how much you are trying to save.

NUMBER ONE: Split your saving goal into parts. If you’re trying to save $6,000, split it into 3 parts of $2,000. This way you’re only saving to $2,000, 3 different times. In the end you’re saving for the same amount of money, but in your mind you’ll get quicker satisfaction and more often than you would if you were saving for a larger amount. Basically, you are reaching your saving goal 3 times rather than one. It’s more fun!

NUMBER TWO: Instead of keeping track of how much money you have, keep track of how much more you have to go. If you are trying to save $4,000 and you have $1,300. Think, “I only have $2,700 to go!” This way every time you put money away to save, the number you have to go will continually shrink. This technique pleases your mind because you get to watch the money you need to save shrink away to zero when you reach your goal. It especially helps if you have a little countdown going on somewhere, like on your phone or on a whiteboard somewhere in your house.

NUMBER THREE: If you have a monthly expense that you pay regularly, such as a loan or a certain bill, continue paying after the loan is paid off or after you cancel that service. Instead of paying for the loan or bill, send the money to your savings account. You have already accounted for that money in your monthly budget, so it won’t be money you miss. Like magic, your savings account will grow without you having to put away more money.

NUMBER FOUR: This trick is possibly my favorite and a great tactic to not make impulse buys. Tape a picture of what you are saving for to your debit/credit card. Every time you pull out the card to make a purchase you will see a picture of what you are saving for. It easily discourages an unnecessary pair of shoes or that extra cup of $5 Starbucks coffee.

You can choose to implement one of these techniques, or if feeling ambitious, use them all. They are easy to use and simple to follow through. By using these strategies, you are tricking your mind into making saving money easier, which is helpful to those of us who find ourselves running off to the store with that glorious paycheck filling up our wallet.

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If you’d like more educational resources, check out Junior Achievement and Young Americans Center for Financial Education. Let us know what you think!

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Comment   |  4 years ago from Denver, CO