To say that saving money has never come easy to me since I took over my own bank accounts and financial responsibilities would be a significant understatement. It started approximately two years ago, when I was at a job I loathed, that had me in a constant state of elevated anxiety. I realized pretty quickly that retail therapy brought me instant satisfaction and relief from my feelings of anxiety, so I shopped online at work over lunch, A LOT. It was one of the only things to get me through the day without having a complete and total breakdown. For 30 minutes, my mind was completely occupied by pretty clothes, shoes, books, etc. and I was fully distracted from my anxiety. By the time I realized how unrealistic and harmful this behaviour was to my dream of a financially independent future, I was already addicted to online shopping. I was a literal shopaholic. Any time I felt anxious, even long after I left that job, I would buy something online and it would make me feel better instantly. Even though when the product eventually arrived at my door, I couldn’t have cared less about it. This has been an ongoing battle for me and at the age of 24, I feel like it’s about time I get my shit together. I want to travel, buy a house, buy (1 or 12) horses. I want to rest easy knowing that I’ll be able to retire comfortably someday. SO, with that in mind, I’ve done some research and am going to share some of the tips I’ve stumbled across with you, and then I’m going to put them into practice and hopefully do a follow-up to let you know what worked best for me, if I was able to stick with it, what the challenges were, etc. Enjoy!
The ‘$5 Rule’ is actually a pretty simple (and brilliant) concept. Every time you find yourself with a $5 bill, you put it in a jar. Simple as that. Five dollars adds up pretty fast!
Save What You Almost Spent
This was an exercise that acted like a bit of therapy for me and my online shopping ‘addiction’. Any time I was feeling anxious, I would follow my same steps of going online, perusing, adding things to my shopping cart, and then, at the time of checkout, I would write down the total amount including taxes and shipping, close the browser (OMG I KNOW!), log in to my bank account, and move the amount I would’ve spent on that purchase, to my Savings account. Therapeutic AND cost-effective.
My mom has been trying to convert me to cash for a long time. The problem with using Visa or Debit is it’s incredibly easy to lose track of where you’re making purchases and how much you’re spending. With cash, you always know how much you have to spend. Try taking out an allotted amount each pay that is your ‘play money’ – that excludes your bills, gas for your car, etc. Once you run out, you’re done playing until next pay!
I’m so excited to give these tips a try and I’ll be sure to let you know how I do. What tips for saving work best for you? Share them in a comment below!