“Money looks better in the bank than on your feet.” -Sophia Amoruso
Some people are just natural savers; others not so much. The way we treat money has a lot to do with our backgrounds, perspectives, and life circumstances. However, for many of us, the way our parents handle (or not handle) money plays a huge role in our financial habits. For example, my mom is a spender and my dad is a saver. My mom loves shopping every weekend while my dad prefers to do crafts and attend free events. My dad enjoys recreating items found at yard sales and by the trash (hey, another man’s trash is another man’s treasure), while my mom prefers to buy everything new. As a product of both of my parent’s financial habits, I fall somewhere in between both.
If I’m being completely honest, though, I lean more towards being a spender than a saver. I love a good DIY, and I’m not really into shopping for clothes, but I’m a sucker for coffee, stationary, and office supplies (nerd alert).
Because I’m more inclined to spend than to save, I’ve had to figure out a way to make saving a no brainer. There are three things that satisfy my need to save, but still allow me to splurge on $5 coffee, a good planner, and unnecessary adult coloring books. If you’re a spender struggling to save money, try doing these things.
1. Put your savings an auto-pilot
As a spender, choosing to save or to buy something new is like choosing between eating a salad or eating your favorite dessert. You know which one is healthier for you, but you’re willing to hold off on it “just this one time.” Instead of having to make that decision, automate your savings transfers. Review your budget to see how much you can realistically save, and have that amount auto transferred to an account NOT linked to your main checking.
2. Set an exact dollar amount to save each month
It’s recommended to save at least 10% of your income, but if saving is not your thing, that number seems a little far fetched. It’s much easier to focus on and build a habit around a specific dollar amount. For example, saving $100 per month is much easier to transition to than $650.
3. Match your extras
Anything over and above your regular expenses can be treated like an at home “401K plan.” For things like coffee runs, mani/pedi, new games, etc., match the expense dollar for dollar. For example, if you spend $25 a week buying coffee, have $25 transferred to savings. This requires more work, but will result in more awareness of how much you’re actually spending. A good rule of thumb is if you can’t afford to match, you probably can’t afford what you’re buying.
Not sure how much you’re spending on extras? Try tracking your expenses for success.
Understand that there’s nothing wrong with spending and splurging, but don’t let it be at the expense of your peace of mind and overall financial health!