Why saving can be more fun than spending
Let’s be honest — saving money can be the pits. Sometimes it’s hard to put that $75 toward savings rather than that awesome pair of high-rise jeans. It’s about instant gratification versus long-term wellness.
I’m here to argue that delayed gratification can be even more satisfying than an impulse purchase if you do it right.
I have developed a couple of strategies over the years for enjoying saving money and it has helped me to avoid many an impulse purchase.
I save automatically
Make your saving a reflex. I have written down on a note on my desk exactly how much goes toward student loans and my savings account with each of my paychecks. The first thing I do on payday? Transfer that money.
Or, better yet, set up an automatic transfer on your bank account so you don’t even see the money to begin with. Although, if you have the willpower, making the transfers yourself makes you feel in control and, honestly, pretty badass.
I keep track, but not too closely
Don’t check your account after each transfer. By waiting a month or two to check my savings account, I’m often surprised by how much I have in there. A former colleague said she used to wait a couple of months between checking her retirement account and was met with a pleasant surprise.
You’ll get the same rush from knowing you have enough money saved up than you do from buying a pair of fantastic jeans. In fact, the rush is even better.
I let myself spend (after saving)
I have no interest in living a Medieval existence if I don’t have to. I’m going to buy stuff, and I’m going to feel really good about it. Because when do I let myself spend my money? After all my savings goals are accounted for that month.
Then I can go crazy. OK, that’s not true. In fact, I feel more in control of my general finances after keeping on top of savings. I no longer have as much of a desire to throw away all my money. But if I want that $50 BB Cream? I’m going to get it.
I have saved for a lot of bigger purchases in my life even on a pretty low salary. For example, I had to figure out a way to budget for my husband’s wedding band in the middle of paying for the rest of our wedding. How did I manage? I started early.
I knew that expense was coming up, and I figured it would be at least $500. By calculating how much I would have to set aside for the ring each month, I came up with a plan. I was in control. And I stuck to it. Then, when the time came to buy the ring, my husband and I were sitting on the couch, and I told him to get whatever ring he wanted.
The one he picked out was around the price I had expected, and he looked a little guilty. He asked me if I had the money. It felt so good to smile and say, “Yes, I have monies. I have been saving.” To be able to get him the ring he wanted without stress was so satisfying.
That’s why saving money is fun. Those moments right there. To be able to get exactly what you or your loved ones want with zero guilt or stress. It just takes patience.
Well, that’s an age-old question that I can’t answer today. What I suggest is trying to be patient for one purchase. Think of something on the horizon, like that $500 wedding band, and save for it. It can be something you want or something you want to give away.
Stash a small amount each month.
When the time comes to purchase the item, I think you’ll realize that waiting wasn’t so bad. And that the lack of stress and guilt makes the purchase so much more vibrant and enjoyable.
One baby step today could turn into a leap tomorrow.