Ways to Trick Yourself Into Saving Money


Bronze Wordsmith
May 17, 2018
I think discipline is overrated. I say that because discipline implies having to work against what your desires are telling you to do. Staying disciplined is always an uphill climb. And like an uphill climb, you will eventually get tired. And when you get tired, you slip and revert back to old habits. And this applies to saving money. I’ve found that the best way to save money isn’t by exerting a superhuman amount will. By doing that, you’re only setting yourself up for failure. The best way to do it is to “trick” your mind into saving money.

This post will list my favorite money saving tips and tricks. If you’ve ever wondered how to trick yourself into saving money, this post is for you! Read on to find out about the best ways to ways to trick yourself into saving money!

Use Credit Cards for Emergencies Only

Using credit cards is one of the easiest ways to get buried in debt. And that’s because charging your purchases to your card doesn’t feel like you spending real money. You swipe your card, and then, boom, you get instant gratification. At least, until the day your credit card bill comes. And then you need to face the consequences of your financial decisions.

And that’s why I tend to carry cash – my credit cards are at home stashed away in a filing cabinet. Unless it’s an emergency, I only use cash. When I use cash, it’s easier to be disciplined, since I’m using “real” money. It lets me keep better track of the money I’m spending. When I see those dollar bills leaving my wallet, it triggers this gut-reaction in me. I hate seeing all that money leave my wallet, which encourages me to save my money.

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Pre-Plan You Shopping Expeditions

Most shops are designed to encourage impulse purchases. Ever notice why cheap items are placed near the cashier? That’s to encourage you to spend the change the cashier gives you. The moment you step into a store, you’re being bombarded with the temptation to spend. And for a good reason – that’s what the store owners want you to do. But that’s not a very good idea if you’re aiming to save your money.

I recommend coming up with a detailed shopping list before you enter a store. That way, you’ll have a physical reminder of the things you should (and shouldn’t spend money on). Whenever you feel tempted to spend, simply employ this simple mental algorithm: is the item you want to buy on your list? If yes, buy it. If no, move along.

My wife and I have even gone so far as to plan our route within the mall. That way we avoid any of the shops that we can’t avoid entering (health food shop for her, hobby shop for me).

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Open an Auto Savings Account

No, an auto savings account doesn’t have anything to do with automobiles. An auto savings account is a type of bank account that automatically deducts a pre-set amount from your monthly salary and places it in a savings account. This is a great option for me, since I tend to spend my money between the time I withdraw the money I intend to save, and the time I actually get to the bank to save it.

An auto savings account is a powerful tool since it takes personal discipline out of the equation. It doesn’t matter whether you want to save or not, or whether you have the willpower to save; that money is going into your savings account! And don’t worry, most banks will let you set the amount you intend to save each month. So it’s not like someone else is controlling your money.

If you have difficulty just setting aside your money for savings, this is the option for you!

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Set Aside Petty Cash

Not all savings methods were created equal. I have my bank savings account (aka my “main” savings), which I only touch for big emergencies or major house or car repairs. For smaller things, I have a petty cash fund. I don’t even have a bank account for this – I have a small safe under my bed that I keep around $500 in (heck, the safe cost more money than the money kept in it!). I use this money for smaller emergencies. And the acceptable uses for this are also wider. If my daughter needs a new pair of shoes for soccer practice, I can dip into my petty cash fund. I always replenish this fund the following month.

The reason this works is that it keeps my main savings “insulated” from my spending habits. If I dipped into my main savings to get those soccer shoes, there’s a big chance I would withdraw more than I needed. So a petty cash fund serves as a buffer for my main savings. And it gives me a bit of added peace of mind, since I know I have ready money for small emergencies.

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Reward Yourself

Rewarding yourself might sound counter-productive to the point of this article. Isn’t the point of this article to save money, not spend it? But hear me out. Saving money can be a total slog at times. I think it’s safe to assume most of us don’t actually “enjoy” saving money. We only do it because we have to.

The temptation to spend that money can be pretty hard to resist. And to address that, I recommend occasionally rewarding yourself when you hit certain milestones. Think of it as a game. When you’ve saved X amount, you can reward yourself with something. Then when you’ve saved Y amount, you can get another reward. The key here is to keep your spending relatively small. Don’t go raiding your savings account to buy a new car or anything like that.

When you reward yourself, no matter how small, it serves as a reminder that saving money has some sort of payoff in the end.

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