Even with the best of intentions, many of us find ourselves swiping our debit
card or clicking “buy now,” then wishing we had that money back later. When you’re
trying to increase your savings, some of the biggest obstacles to progress can be
found within yourself. Fortunately, a few simple mind hacks can turn the tables
on unhelpful financial habits.
Make It Harder to Spend
Every day, we encounter many opportunities — and lots of encouragement —
to spend money. Advertisements urge us to purchase, online shopping makes it instant
and delivery services make it convenient. One of the keys to saving, for many, is
removing temptation, which means knowing your triggers. If you thirst for thrift,
stay out of your usual bargain-hunting grounds and avoid the discount aisle at all
costs. Also steer clear websites with deal countdowns and other pressures to “buy
now.” Shop with a list, and stick to it.
You also may need to explore your feelings around spending. Studies show
that we often spend more when we’re stressed. So if you engage in too much retail
therapy, set yourself up for success by choosing a relaxing, free activity like
reading a book, meditating or taking a walk instead. Shopping with cash rather than
credit can also help put the brakes on instant gratification — plus, you’re forced
to stop when your wallet is empty. And even waiting 24 hours after first spotting
something temping can help you figure out if you really want or need it —
or if it was merely the urge to splurge.
Make It Easier to Save
Simplifying your savings routine and minimizing obstacles can also be helpful.
A lot of the time, the way we save money is through an active process — we go over
our accounts and set aside a certain amount each cycle. Try making saving automatic
instead. Start by setting up auto-deposits into your savings account and have contributions
automatically deducted from your paycheck and deposited into your employer-sponsored
Make Saving More Rewarding Than
If you’re the competitive type, sometimes a little challenge can be just
what you need to get into a money-saving mindset. Setting savings goals and visualizing
them with a vision board, spreadsheet or chart can help keep you motivated. Or turn
savings into a game. One study by the financial assistance nonprofit Commonwealth
showed that people who used a gamified savings app that lets them complete challenges
and earn badges saved 25% more than others.
Hack Your Habits
Saving money is a gradual and lifelong process — and it takes commitment
and consistency. No matter what strategies and hacks you choose to help you save,
the best thing you can do to increase your savings is whatever you’ll stick to.
Find the methods that work for you, and over time you’ll be able to hack your mindset,
build good financial habits and reboot your savings.