How to make saving money a game that is fun
Saving money can sometimes be a daunting endeavour – the idea of becoming frugal and forcing yourself to reduce your spending is not always a fun task. Take me for example, I recently purchased my first house and the idea of having to reduce just about every aspect of my life really started to sink in.
What I soon realised is that saving money can become a game, a game which is fun to play and has an exciting outcome. My goal was to change my thought process from seeing frugality with a negative outlook to that of something that was helping me and in honesty, helping me prioritise my spending towards the things that I actually need.
I call this gamifying your savings. It’s about becoming competitive, against yourself, and seeing the so called task of saving money as nothing but a game you can beat.
Here is how to turn saving money into a game that will motivate you to achieve great things. This is the central nervous system to an successful money saving strategy that lasts.
Benchmark your situation; try and beat your savings every time
To stay motivated, you need to monitor your progress. You need to set benchmark figures on just about everything you spend on to see if you can ‘beat’ the previous cost.
Things like utility bills, shopping bills, the cost of lunch, how much you pay for particular items – you name it, you should be trying to constantly beat it by finding a better price that will save you money.
The goal here is always be going down in price or achieving better value for your money.
An example: I do this with my electricity bill and also my weekly grocery shop. I will use my summer electricity bill (often the largest) and aim to beat it every quarter from then on – the game is to never go over the largest bill and look to reduce it.
I do the same with the weekly grocery shop. I attempt to eat as healthily as possible, while reducing the amount I spend. This means that sometimes I am visiting numerous shops to achieve the best value for my money but all in all I am saving money constantly.
Call me strange, but the satisfaction of gamifying my weekly grocery shop and in turn paying less each week is rather addictive. I know that every dollar I don’t spend will be used to grow my savings instead.
Challenge your friends and family to increase motivation
Engaging others will form a sense of ‘group mentality’ which is proven to help motivate and achieve goals. Making saving money a game with your friends and family will keep you honest and accountable as others are aware of what you are trying to do.
You might have a competition on who can save $500 the fastest, spend the least in a working week or perhaps sell the most stuff in a garage sale; the goal is to motivate yourself by working with others in a competitive but fun way.
It also helps to simply state your saving money goals to them. Tell them how much you need to save and how you will do it; see if they want to do the same and then check in with one another to monitor progress.
If someone says it’s impossible, prove it otherwise
This is a great one. If someone tells me I won’t succeed, I get a sick thrill in proving them wrong and saying ‘Aha! I told you I could!’.
Use other people’s negative attitudes to your advantage. If you tell someone you want to save $50,000 and they laugh at you – prove them wrong and tell them once you achieve your goal. This is the biggest game of all as your goal is no longer just about you, it’s about someone else and showing them you weren’t kidding.
This happened to me when I was rejected for a credit card. It made me so angry that it forced me into doing something about my existing debts and I ended up paying off $1000’s of dollars in anger. The best thing I ever did.
Round down your bank balance and save the difference
Make it a game so that whenever you login to internet banking, never allow your accounts to display uneven numbers. Round down the balance to the nearest whole number and transfer the difference directly into your savings or onto your debt.
For instance; I do this each day when I check my bank balance. If my primary account has $123.56 in it – I will transfer $3.56 into my savings account or onto my mortgage. This leaves me with $120 exactly – a nice whole number while my savings or mortgage receives the benefit of the extra deposit.
It’s like obsessive compulsive behaviour for my savings or debt.
See how long you can go without spending money
A great way to gamify your savings is to see how long you can go without something. For instance, if something you own breaks, do you really need to re-buy it straight away? Why not see how long you can last without repurchasing, if at all?
I personally do this each time I get paid. Say my pay cheque hits my account on the 1st of the month; the saving money game I play is to see how long I can go before I spend any of it on non-fixed expenses. This means not withdrawing money or buying anything for as long as possible.
The longer I take to spend, the more money I have to use on a per day basis between now and my next pay day. You could achieve this through discipline or simply not taking your wallet to work each day, it’s up to you.
How do you make savings a game?
Tell us your strategies to gamify your savings and make the art of saving money a game that is fun and productive in the comments below.