Sense & Centsibility Blog

How to Trick Yourself into Saving Money

In a recent post I talked about reasons people give for not saving. While it truly is about making a conscious effort to save, there are ways to make saving money easier simply by not having to think about it.

Keep Paying Yourself After Paying Off a Debt

If you could afford a car or medical bill payment, pretend it's still a bill and keep "paying" it. But instead of sending out that money, transfer or set up automatic withdrawals into a separate savings account. These payments to yourself will add up very quickly!

Match Another Bill/Expense

Choose one bill or expenses (depending on what's affordable) and put that into savings. For instance, if you use coupons or buy something on sale, determine the amount of money you saved on the purchase. Then, act like you actually paid full price by putting the remainder of what you would have paid into savings. This is another sneaky way to trick your mind into saving.

Save Your Change

Change jarWhenever you spend whole dollars, take the leftover change and put it into a jar. When it builds up, deposit that money into savings or use it to pay for something without using credit. This is a super easy way to save money without really trying. I've saved up probably thousands of dollars this way, so I know you can do it, too.

If you aren't a cash person, think about changing that. First, figure out how much you have leftover for spending money each pay period. Then, take out that amount of cash for your non-necessity spending. This method will allow you to save your change with the bonus of ensuring you don't spend more than you should. Because once that cash is gone, you're done spending until next payday.

Set Up Automatic Deposits Into Savings

I've talked about this one so much in the past, but it's always worth repeating because it's so easy! Set up an automatic deposit/transfer into savings every pay period. You won't miss that money because in your mind you didn't have it to begin with.

"Ignore" Raises, Bonuses, and Other Cash Windfalls

This sounds strange, but is another great way to save money. Many people simply hear about getting a raise, bonus, or tax refund and have already spent the money in their head. Instead, pretend that you're not even getting a raise and continue to live off of what you were earning previously. Set up automatic deposits/transfers for that "non-existent" money right away. That way it will be like it never happened; meanwhile, you'll be building up savings without exerting any energy.

The same goes for getting a lump sum of money, i.e. from a bonus or tax refund. Use all or a majority of it and put that into savings. If you're feeling okay with emergency savings and already have automatic deposits and other ways to save set up, then think about starting or contributing to a retirement account.

Saving money doesn't have to be hard, especially when you use these tricky tactics. You can also make it competitive and fun by setting a savings goal and then celebrate when you achieve it!

Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.