There are some so-called tricks that I think are merely good ideas. Saving first, then spending what’s left over? Makes sense. Bank raises automatically? Perfectly reasonable. Saving change, I totally get. Change is jangly and heavy and creates bulges in pants pocket. Most people don’t spend a lot of change. (I spend a lot of change, thanks to the 25-cent coffee pool at work.) Toss the coins into a jar, and every few months/years, count them & roll them.
Putting a dollar a day into a piggy bank? Putting a quarter into a jar every time you do laundry? I don’t get it. These are things that are always recommended by blogs & even by people who get paid to write about money for a living. Why not transfer $30 to savings every month? Right when you get your paycheck, before you have a chance to think about it. When you visit the ATM, take an extra moment and transfer $10 from checking to savings.
Tricking yourself into saving money creates the problem that you never get into the habit of saving. You never make a conscious decision to look at your money and say, “I’m going to save some of this.” You don’t look at where you spend your money, you merely pull a few wadded-up ones from your wallet and stick them under your mattress. You’re not trying to cut back on spending. And really, how many singles (or fives) does one encounter in a day? What’s to stop you from grabbing biscotti with your $3 coffee, since you’ll have $15 left to spend either way?
Without addressing your spending and just tricking yourself into saving, you give yourself an opportunity to trick yourself right back.
Maybe I’m being a snob here. I don’t have problems finding ways to save. I earn enough that I can cover my bills and still have enough left over to save. I’m lucky to have the kind of personality where saving comes naturally.
So I pose the question to you dear readers: do you trick yourself into saving? How? Why? Do you not trick yourself, but see the value in it? I’m on the fence about even posting this, but I’m curious about what others think…