The way you think about money is a big part of the way you decide to spend it. So, if you’d like to save more but can’t seem to shake bad spending habits, changing your financial mindset is a good place to start. Follow these tips to make lasting changes, achieve your savings goals, and bring your future plans to life:
- Visualize Your “Why”
You probably aren’t interested in saving more money just for the sake of having more money. Savings are valuable not because of what they are, but because of what they can do to improve your life. They’re a tool you can use to plan a dream wedding, buy a new car, or feel secure in case of an emergency.
Rather than focusing on the dollar figure you’re trying to reach, focus on what that money can do for you. At a set time every day, or whenever you’re tempted to spend frivolously, close your eyes and imagine what you’re saving for. How will you feel when you reach your goal? What will you see, taste, hear, and smell? Visualizing your goal can help you say “no” to temptation and reach your goal sooner.
- Break Down Your Goal
Knowing why you’re saving is great motivation. But as exciting as a dream vacation or a new home is, it’s easy to get off track if your goal feels too big or too far off. To better motivate yourself, try thinking of your long-term goals as multiple short-term goals instead. For example, if you’re saving for a vacation, take note of how much those scuba lessons or dinner at that four-star restaurant will cost, and make those costs your short-term goals. When you’ve met those goals, congratulate yourself, then focus on the next short-term goals for that big-ticket purchase.
- Identify Your Values and Spend Accordingly
Cutting back on expenses is a big part of saving money. But cutting out things you really enjoy or that are an important part of who you are can leave you feeling unhappy. Make a list of your values: What is most important to you? How do you want to live your life? Then take a look at your spending.
You might decide that a daily coffee run that gives you the energy to do work you enjoy and lets you support a local business aligns with your values. Or you might decide that buying coffee has become a mindless habit that isn’t worth the expense.
Give yourself permission to spend money on things that help you live according to your values and to let go of expenses that don’t. Not only will this help you eliminate unnecessary expenses from your life and save more money, it can help you get more enjoyment out of the purchases that you do make because you’ll know you’ve consciously decided they’re important to you.
- Celebrate Non-Monetary Victories
Your savings account balance isn’t the only measure of savings success. Saving money can also bring important practical, mental, and emotional changes in your day-to-day life. Noticing and celebrating those changes when they happen can help motivate you to keep saving. A few examples of non-monetary victories are:
- Getting a compliment on clothing you bought second-hand
- Perfecting the recipe for an inexpensive home-cooked meal
- Really enjoying a free activity with friends
- Walking by your favorite store without going inside
- Having a friend come to you for financial advice
- Feeling more confident
- Feeling less stressed out
- Worrying less about money
- Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
It’s easy to get caught feeling like you have to keep up with the Joneses. But there will always be someone else out there who has something you don’t, whether that’s a new BMW, the latest gadget from Silicon Valley, or clothes straight off the runway. Those people aren’t better than you just because they have those things (and though it may seem hard to believe, those things aren’t necessarily making them happier either). Instead of comparing yourself to others, think about how to become the best version of yourself—the version that is saving money toward what’s most important to you, not spending it on something someone else thinks is important.
Think About a New Savings Account
You probably know that stuffing money under your mattress isn’t a great idea, but did you know that keeping your savings in your checking account isn’t the best way to go either? Not only will a dedicated savings account earn dividends, it will also create a barrier that makes it less likely you’ll derail your future plans by spending what you’ve saved. Plus, you can take thinking out of the equation entirely by setting up automatic transfers from your checking accounts to your savings account. Now that’s money-smart thinking.
Start earning higher dividends on your savings! Find the best savings account for you at USE Credit Union and apply online or at your nearest branch.*
*Must meet membership criteria.