How we behave with our money affects almost every aspect of our lives. Some people are naturally great at saving money, others not so. What makes us tick in terms of how we spend our money?
Well that’s a one word answer.
How we feel about money, what we perceive as meaning to us, what we believe it can do for us is the driver behind a lot of spending/saving behaviours.
For a saver, the emotional pain of losing money outweighs the reward of buying a product, often even if the item is necessary and the purchase cannot be avoided. Ever heard a thrifty person grumble about how much they had to spend on something they had to buy?
For a spender, the exact opposite is the case. The emotional thrill, or reward, of acquiring a new object/product/service outweighs the pain of handing over their cash, even if they might realise it leaves them short for other, more necessary things. Yet the thrill can be short lived and some people find themselves purchasing more and more to fill an emotional void.
Which is a very bad place to be.
How can you change from being a spender to a saver?
Like any change in behaviour it is a simple thing, but might be a very difficult thing to achieve but here are some ideas which will help.
INCREASE YOUR FINANCIAL LITERACY:
Yes it should be taught in schools but it isn’t. Educate yourself by whatever means (the internet is a great place to start) about how money actually works. Money does not grow on trees and must be made to work for you. Separate money from emotional reward thinking and concentrate on long term goals rather than short terms spending thrills.
Download a spending/budgeting app that lets you know if you’ve exceeded your set daily/weekly/monthly limit.
This can work a treat if money ‘slips through your fingers’ and you don’t know where it all goes. Simple things such as the daily coffee on the way to work can add up to a substantial sum over a year…Make yourself aware of how little spends add up and change those small behaviours. Rather than spending $1000 per year on take away coffees (yep, that’s right $1000) think about how that might add up with takeaway meals, a music download here or there and other such spends.
You can easily save up to $100 per week by increasing your awareness of where the money is going. The old saying ‘Look after the pennies and the Pounds look after themselves’ is so true! Be aware of how much you really spend and what you really need to get by, map out a budget so that you know where it all goes and then automate it via an app so that you don’t have to keep thinking about it.
Try and find something to do that gives you a ‘reward’ feeling that is not connected to spending money and try and do that everyday.
Think on the things in your life that give you true joy and have meaning to you that are not connected to money, such as family, a sport or activity (other than shopping). Plan to spend some time on those things that put a smile on your face and you will find your emotional well starts to fill.
Find something that is very important to you, whether that is a project, career goal, study or hobby and spend time concentrating on that rather than spending money.
Distract yourself away from spending your cash…concentrate on something else and not on having the latest clothes, gadgets, whatever. Separate emotions from money and seek emotional rewards from other things.
Realise that if you don’t control your money, your negative behaviours around money will control your life.
Save yourself from yourself. We all have a choice and don’t blame anyone else for your bad ones. Take responsibility for your actions and decide to make a change. We see people on the brink of retirement with not a penny to rub together, loads of consumer debt and no plan for their future.
Ask yourself if that is where you would like to be?
Decide on making a change, put some steps in place to achieve the change and set deadlines for your goals. Make it achievable and celebrate your successes in more meaningful ways rather that treating yourself on the latest doo-dad. Research ways other people have made the same changes.