This post gets me excited – I get to talk about how to trick yourself into saving money. That’s what I do and I will teach you as well.
You have certain money goals, right?
You want to save more money, so you’re budgeting, trying to track everything you spend, and saving as much as possible.
You want to make more money, you’re doing your very best at work, and try to let that side hustle grow to its fullest potential.
You want to make money investing, where you are trying different investing techniques to make money asap.
You’re constantly looking for the next best thing, to become rich quickly and to stop working altogether.
BUT if you’re continuing the phase you are reaching your financial goals now, how long will it take until you reach it? Will you be satisfied when you will?
By using the below tricks to save money, you can get yourself out of your financial rat race and start working towards the fast track of your financial situation (I learned that from Rich Dad Poor Dad).
Naturally, I don’t care too much about saving money, so I tend to get creative and make sure that I optimize my savings rate every month. Now that I have these systems in place, I save between 60-80% of my monthly income!
11 Tips To Trick Yourself Into Saving Money
1. Pay Yourself First
I’ve written an entire article before about paying yourself first, which is my favorite and #1 method. It’s the first thing you should think about doing if you want to trick yourself into saving money.
It’s quite straightforward: every time you receive a paycheck, a certain amount goes directly to your savings. This can be a fixed amount of $ or a certain % of your income.
In this way, putting money aside will be treated as the first bill of the month instead of just saving what is left over, which tends to be less. When you do this, you will be rich in no time!
This tip is very practical, so start doing it today! Set up an automatic transfer on payday from your spending account to your savings account. That way, you’ll not spend it towards the end of the month.
Let’s be clear here, once you put your money there, you’re never going to put it back in your spending account!
I love this money hack, it enables me to put aside 50% of my after-tax income immediately. I make sure that I make the month with this amount, as it’s certainly feasible for me. Because it’s done automatically, you don’t even have to think about it!
2. Wait, Wait A Little Longer, Wait
Wait before you buy something.
Impulse buying decisions are generally not helping us save more money, and that way we will never get rich!
If you’re thinking about what product you want to buy, and a few days later you still want it, go for it. Most of the time, you’ll find that you forgot about a product already. What a way to save money!
If you’re having trouble delaying gratification, you can simply leave your wallet at home when you go shopping. This forces you to think before you buy.
This can also be done with big things, like buying a new car or buying that furniture you need. If you wait to make a purchase (until it’s on sale for example), a lot of unneeded spending is likely eliminated.
I use this trick every time that I want to buy something that I didn’t mean to buy.
Whenever want to get something, I tell myself that I can get it later. Usually, I don’t go and buy the item. This might be due to the fact that I’m lazy and don’t want to go to the store again, but it works!
3. A No-Spend Challenge
I’ve done a no-spend month last year and it was a-mazing, I totally loved it!
The thing with a no-spend challenge is that you will learn exactly how much you spend and on what. You’re old money habits get replaced with new ones, where you learn not to buy everything in sight.
Personally, a no-spend month has taught me so much. I’ve written down for you the lessons I learned from a no-spend month, to let you know that a challenge like this is worth trying!
Side note: yes, you do spend money in a no-spend month. You will make your own rules and the challenge is to stick to it.
If you’re wanting to do your own challenge, read this manual that lists everything you need to know for a successful no-spend challenge.
After my no-spend month, I had identified where my biggest expenses were and where I would spend money without even noticing it.
A huge bonus with a no-spend challenge is that you’re automatically saving a lot of money, by spending less and trying to cut on items you spend every month already.
4. Hoard Your Change
If you’re anything like me, you’re not using cash all that often.
When you do use cash, keep your change when you can. If you’re receiving cash after buying something, put it into a jar and it’s like giving yourself a gift when you eventually cash it out.
There are also banks (Bank of America’s Keep the Change program) or apps (Digit) that let you round up your purchases and automatically put them towards your savings. Check out this automatic savings apps list if you want to search for other micro-savings apps you can use and compare their features and fees to see which works best for you.
5. Bank Your Raises
When you’re getting a raise, you’re all happy and looking forward to the extra money.
That makes sense BUT beware of lifestyle inflation. If you’re not banking your raises, instead you’re spending more, this will not make you rich.
If you want to be rich, be smart about it!
If you’re getting a raise, you don’t need to spend any of that. Before you had that raise you could survive without that money, so why would you all of a sudden spend it now?
If you’re adding it to your automated transaction at the beginning of the month, you won’t even miss it.
6. Don’t Make It Too Easy
If you want to trick yourself into saving money, don’t make it too easy.
When you’ve transferred your money at the beginning of the month to your savings account, it might be tempting to book it back to your checking account and use it anyways.
Let’s see how we can make that harder.
If you’re deleting your banking app from your phone, it will become a little harder and you will be less likely to touch it every month.
When you can’t live without your banking app (like me), try transferring your money to a savings account at another bank.
I have savings accounts at other banks where I keep my savings. When I want to transfer that money to my checking account, it takes 1-2 business days.
That is just the hurdle that I need NOT to give in and transfer money from my savings account to my checking account.
7. Stick To Cash
Cash enables many people to save more money. It’s tangible, you see how much money you spend, and how much money you have left.
You have to ‘give up’ your money when you spend it, which is very different from swiping your debit or credit card. Plus, many people find it stressful to have the possibility that their debit card declines.
I see a lot of people sticking to an all-cash budgeting method, with envelopes for certain types of spending. This means that you take out a certain amount of cash for food, gas, etc monthly. You put this money in your cash enveloped, and you can only spend that amount or less for that category
This enables you to have a better overview of how much money you have left so that you will think carefully before you purchase.
As with anything, see what kind of budget works for you and what budget you can stick with!
8. Baby Steps
No, I’m not talking about the method of Dave Ramsey called baby steps, I’m talking about taking small steps every day to save money if it’s a challenge for you.
You may want to divide the money you want to save into smaller amounts so that it is easier for you to do. For example, you’re saving $5 every day.
It doesn’t seem like much, but when you do this consistently every day you are saving over $1800 this year.
9. Give Yourself An Allowance
Every month I put aside an allowance, for money that I can spend on whatever I want that month. Some months I spend it, some months I don’t.
In that way, you don’t feel bad when you’re spending money on things you enjoy. Also, you will stay within your budget every month, so no need to worry!
In this way, it’s easier for you to stick to everything mentioned above, as you also have some money you can spend on yourself so you can keep going!
10. Make More Money
Making more money is one great way to become rich, BUT you have to trick yourself into saving money once again.
As mentioned above each time you make more money, you want to save all of it. Build up your savings account or pay of debt, instead of increasing your spendings.
11. Treat Yo’self
Keep going! Tricking yourself into saving more money can be tough at times.
You will want to go back to your old ways, but you won’t. Why?
Mostly because you’re awesome and you got this, but also because occasionally you can reward yourself for achieving your goals!
Treat yourself! You may go to your favorite local coffee shop after you’ve reached your saving or investing goal.
You can take a day off of everything, do whatever you feel like. You can buy a book, cook yourself a nice meal, whatever it is that you get the energy from!
Do you trick yourself into saving money? What are your favorite ways to do this?
This article was published and syndicated by Radical FIRE.
Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist
- Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
- Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
- Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.
Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.