Think you can’t possibly save more money than you’re already saving? Think again! There are plenty of ways to increase your savings, even if you need to use some mind tricks to stick to them.
Our best tips on how to trick yourself to save more money:
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Tell yourself you earn less
This is a good twist on the old “automate your savings” idea – simply set up an automatic transfer on the day your paycheck hits your account. Pick a set amount or a percentage, depending on your bank’s capabilities.
Once the money is gone from your main account, you can pretend it never existed. It’s an instant “pay cut” with obvious benefits. You can even choose a savings account at a different bank so you don’t see the balance every time you log into your bank. It’s easier to pretend the money isn’t there if you aren’t constantly reminded of it.
Try a savings challenge to save more money
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys challenges, this might work for you. There are many ways to challenge yourself to save more money –and the best thing about them is that you’ll barely notice the money being put aside. The easiest one is to just get a large jar or piggy bank and every evening when you get home, empty all your change into it. If that’s a bit too much money to put aside every day, pick a coin denomination and save all your 50p or your £1 coins. No need to count, just drop all the coins in the jar – once it’s full, take it to your bank and put it into your savings account.
If you want a better idea of how much you’re putting away, you can try the penny challenge or the 52-week savings challenge. The penny challenge is simple: just put 1p in the jar the first day, 2p on day two and so on. By the end of the year, you’ll have almost £700 saved up with very little effort.
The 52-week saving challenge is a little more challenging, as it requires you to save £1 on week 1, £2 on week 2 – which can prove challenging later in the year, when you have several weeks in a row of £40s or £50s to save. To make it easier, print out a list with the numbers 1-52 and then cross them off out of order, picking whatever amount you can save that week.
Set a cooling-off period
Impulse buys cost British consumers a stunning £200 a month, according to a survey conducted by online lending company MYJAR. Among the top items that people buy on impulse? Sweets and coffee, lunch, clothes, and magazines. Just imagine how much you could save if you funneled even half of those £200 into your savings account every month.
If you have a problem with impulse buying, you could trick yourself into saving more money by delaying any unnecessary purchase by at least a few hours and any major purchase by at least 24 hours. Chances are, many of the things that seemed essential will not be so after you had some time to focus on something else. Every time that works, send the money you would have spent straight to your savings account!
Make your goals more real
Vision boards might sound a little “out there” at first, but turns out, there might be something to them. The goal of a vision board is simple: post pictures of what you’re saving for to help you focus. If you need £500 for that dream vacation or £2000 to redo your kitchen, posting photos that reflect that on your board and looking at them regularly might stop you from overspending on small everyday things that would slow down your progress.
Over time, the process of focusing on your long-term goals will hopefully create new habits that will lead to saving more money.
Keep the change
A number of banks offer round-up features, where every debit-card purchase you make is rounded up to the next pound. This money is saved “to the side” and you can then transfer it to your savings account once a week or once a month. The system is simple: spend £5.62 at the grocery store, and 38p will be sent to savings.
If your bank doesn’t offer this feature, there are round-up apps in the market, which you can connect to your account. The app will keep track of new transactions and round them up before transferring the extra pennies to your savings account. An easy “save without even thinking about it” trick.