The human brain is a funny thing. Often we know what it is we need to do in order to save money (spend less, buy cheap and save more) yet we don’t do it. So why is it that we still don’t save money? Perhaps we give in to temptation too quick or simply lack the discipline to maintain our strategies beyond a couple of weeks.
Either way, a great way around this is to find ways to trick ourselves into doing the right thing without even realising it. The more tricks we can use, the more we will save without really feeling the pinch.
So with this said, here are some saving money tricks that you can use to get motivated and accomplish more with your money.
Freeze your credit card, literally
This money trick has been around for yonks. If you don’t want to destroy your credit card, but want to avoid impulse purchases, you can freeze your credit card in a glass of water.
This means that next time you want to use your card, you will need to first melt the ice cube to retrieve it. In reality, freezing your credit card is probably not very good for the magnetic strip. This savings trick probably does one better for you and wrecks the card altogether. Never the less, the card is now out of reach and stuck in a frozen block of ice.
Write a list of things you want to buy
To trick yourself into not spending money, try writing down a purchase you were ‘about’ to make and sit on it for 30 days (or until the end of the month). Odds are that after a month of waiting, you are either craving the item because you can’t live without it – or more likely, you didn’t actually need it after all.
Another option here is to make an Amazon.com wishlist that lists all of the items you ‘want’. If after 30 days you still want a particular item, only then can you buy it (from cash, not credit of course).
This works particularly well for non essential items like TVs, gadgets or small purchases that are deemed ‘treats’ or ‘once offs’.
Out of sight, out of mind strategy
Don’t opt to have your savings visible on a daily basis through internet banking or linking to your everyday accounts. You want to trick yourself into forgetting you have the money there. Save the money in a separate savings account that is completely disconnected from your everyday banking.
ING DIRECT Savings Maximiser is an example of this; most people bank with a big bank and then save with a provider like this to make it hard to see the balance.
Out of sight, really is out of mind in this instance. With any luck you will forget that you have a savings account and awake one day to find a cheeky couple hundred grand (you wish).
Opt to never use coins, save them instead
Spend only polymer notes and always save your coins. Most people tend to do this without actually realising; they split a note and then put the coins in their little jeans coin pocket thingy or inside their wallet/purse.
When you get home, empty your person of all coins into a jar or piggy bank. If you want to shake things up a little, get a ‘sheepy’ bank like we did and call him Alfred. He rocks.
Put a note on your credit card (or picture)
Visualisation is an underrated tool for saving money. Visualise what you want to achieve with your savings (or debt reduction strategy) and use the visualisation as motivation.
A great trick is to put a picture of what you want to achieve on your credit card. You may want to buy your first home, however your credit card debt is getting in the way of this; so put a picture of a home you like on your card to guilt yourself into not using it.
Unsubscribe from marketing emails
Not a fancy savings trick but one that stops you from spending money. Unsubscribe from marketing emails from brands you like. It removes temptation and helps trick you into not thinking about spending money.
Once you pay off a debt, keep making payments to your savings
An oldy but a goody. Say you have a monthly repayment on a car loan. Once you repay the car, continue making the same repayment amount you have budgeted for but into your savings account instead.
This has an incredible impact on your savings as often the repayment amount is significant; this means your savings grow at a far faster rate than had you of simply tried adding a few dollars here and there.
Leave your wallet at home
A rather simple savings trick; simply leave your wallet at home (or sources of funds, e.g. cards). If you don’t have your wallet, you can’t spend. This is great for those high risk, tempting times, such as going for ‘one drink’ with friends. Odds are you will have a few drinks and decide to stay longer if you have access to money.
If you leave your wallet at home, it’s incredible how hard it is to pay for a drink with nothing more than lint from your pocket.
Get your parents (or trusted family member) to manage your savings
A great trick to saving money is making your savings inaccessible. This means finding ways to hide your money, save it out of sight and remove the temptations to withdraw it.
An idea you might consider is having a parent or family member mind the money for you. This method requires implicit trust with your family member as effectively the money is held in their accounts, under their names. You can see the risk this might pose to family members who you don’t trust.
In saying that however, if you do pursue this trick; it means you can make regular deposits and automatic savings plans directly into their separate account. Remember to ensure they open an account that is solely for your deposits to avoid confusion.
A great way to save money for first home buyers, people living at home or people simply needing some help to get moving with their savings.
Cut your credit card up
Scared you will spend on your credit card yet can’t afford to repay it in full? The trick is to simply cut it up. The best way to save money is to simply stop spending and for most, the temptation of a credit card is too much.
You will save money on interest and with regular repayments, you will soon have a credit card balance that is dwindling downwards.
Create a rule to delay purchases over $200 by 10 days
Similar to the wish list concept of waiting 30 days before making a small purchase, do the same with a big purchase. Anything over $200 needs to wait 10 days. A great trick if you are wanting to rethink your purchase and potentially evaluate the best way to pay for something (savings, cash, credit, etc).
Gamify your savings and round out items
We have spoken about this a million times before here at Savings Guide, but a great saving money trick is to gamify your savings and always make it a game to round down your bank balances into your savings account while rounding up purchases and saving the extra.
We call this ‘gamifying your savings’ as it turns saving money into a game.
Bank the savings you make on a purchase
Have you ever been close to making a purchase and then found the exact item slightly cheaper elsewhere? Bank the difference in price; you were going to spend this money anyways so you may as well use this trick to boost your savings.
Do automatic payments to your credit card + savings account
Stop manually transferring money to your savings account or credit card debt. Set automatic payments to occur weekly, fortnightly or monthly; depending on your pay cycle.
Using the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ savings trick means you are regularly making substantial repayments to your debt, or powerful deposits to your savings.
Have your credit card balance sticky taped to your card
If you have a big credit card debt, or simply a debt you don’t like; sticky tape the balance owing to the front of your card. This means you will be reminded of your outstanding debt prior to using the card.
It also helps you shame yourself into not using the card as the service consultant will also see your credit card balance.
Rename your online banking accounts to tangible goal names
In internet banking, most providers will allow you to change your account name and account icon. Change them to meaningful goals that you are wanting to achieve. It will trick you into maintaining stronger motivation.
Some account names might include:
- Savings for my kids education
- Savings for my holiday to Bali
- My war chest of savings
- My pay off the mortgage account
- My credit card that I hate account
Create an auto-reminder and send yourself a ‘savings invoice’ to pay
Send yourself an invoice to pay each month from a site like Google Calendar. Set a recurring invoices to occur so that on the 15th of each month you are reminded to save money.
Making an invoice to send yourself means you are more likely to pay; this is because our brain sees a bill as a roadblock that must be removed.
On top of this, a reminder to save money is perfect as quite simply we often just forget to save.
What other money saving tricks do you use?
We would like to hear your own personal money saving tricks, tips and hacks. Simply drop us a note in the comments below and we will add them to our list of saving money tricks above.