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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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."
- Choose your extravagances: Consider what you can and can not do without.
- Assess weaknesses: "Identify what you want to change; then shoot for specific targets, such as a six-month hold on buying new tech gadgets."
- Make trade-offs: "Substitute small, free pleasures for those that cost."
There are six more ways to make saving a habit so just
- 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.
- Resist your children: Offer options by explaining their choices here and now, but don't give in to their push for more consumer goods.
- 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."
- Post it: Put post-its in your wallet reminding yourself of your goals, whether it's a vacation or paying off debt.
- Automate it: Transfer money from checking to savings and budget based on what's left in your checking account.
- 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?"