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How to Make Saving a Habit

How to Achieve Financial Security

Sometimes we all could use a little kick in the behind to change our less than perfect habits, and over the weekend the Wall Street Journal published "Ways to Make Saving a Habit" to give us that nudge many of us need. We're responding to steadily rising prices by revising the way we spend, but are we actually spending less overall? The WSJ suggests twelve practices to help us make saving a way of life and eventually achieve financial security.

  1. Spend less time feeling poor: Do things that offer a sense of well-being, like spending time with friends or exploring your neighborhood, rather than flipping through catalogs or going to the mall.
  2. Retrain your brain: "When you start to feel that "I'm deserving so I'm buying" feeling, visualize a smaller credit-card bill or higher savings-account balance."
  3. Look around you: "Are you happy with what your hard-earned dollars bought? If not, shift your spending to those things that bring greater long-term satisfaction, including retirement savings."
  4. Choose your extravagances: Consider what you can and can not do without.
  5. Assess weaknesses: "Identify what you want to change; then shoot for specific targets, such as a six-month hold on buying new tech gadgets."
  6. Make trade-offs: "Substitute small, free pleasures for those that cost."

There are six more ways to make saving a habit so just

  1. Set goals: "Think of the guilt-free trip you can take after saving the necessary cash. Good memories last longer, when not trammeled by large credit-card bills.
  2. Resist your children: Offer options by explaining their choices here and now, but don't give in to their push for more consumer goods.
  3. Enlist other people: "Hold a contest with friends to see who can save the most in a month, or agree with your spouse to talk before spending more than $100."
  4. Post it: Put post-its in your wallet reminding yourself of your goals, whether it's a vacation or paying off debt.
  5. Automate it: Transfer money from checking to savings and budget based on what's left in your checking account.
  6. Rethink rewards: "We've been conditioned to think that spending the money on clothes, at a restaurant, is going to be the reward. But what is the ultimate reward that we want from working hard, in the end?"


Join The Conversation
Geisha-Runner Geisha-Runner 9 years
Automated savings is the best! One other way I get money saved up is whenever I work overtime. All that extra money goes straight into savings!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
RosaDilia RosaDilia 9 years
I actually do the post-it in the wallet!! When I go out I write in the post it "If you don't need it, don't buy it"
kwikwit kwikwit 9 years
Great tips, definitely. I agree that the "stop feeling poor" is the best one. Spending more time with family is definitely a great tip but I also find that doing things that I did when I WAS poor (ie high school, college, post-college) makes me realize that I don't need to spend a ton of cash to enjoy life. For example, I've been going to the movies more and staying in with friends versus expensive dinners and shopping trips.
fortunate-fool fortunate-fool 9 years
I'm terrible with spending money. I need to stop looking at and browsing online stores! Good tips though.. I might try the post it one.
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
Great tips. I need to start doing this. I need to discipline myself.
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 9 years
i guess to paraphrase, the less time i spend thinking about what i can't have, the better i feel about what i DO have.
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 9 years
i think "spend less time feeling poor" is a great one. i lost my job a couple of months ago, and my budget for frivolous things shrank dramatically. but i feel less poor than i did when i had more money--i just focus less on buying things (browsing online stores doesn't happen very much anymore!), and when i can afford something, it's a real treat. so i think a shift in perspective on your situation can be a boon. it's definitely something i plan to keep in mind.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Thanks for the tips. I need all I can get.
MindayH MindayH 9 years
all good points. think I may try the post it in the wallet one
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