Do you trick yourself into saving money?

People on the internet seem to be very fond of tricking themselves into saving money. I don’t get it.

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…

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11 Responses

  1. No, and no. Those tricks seem sort of silly to me. But I do see the value in it for certain personality types. I guess. Maybe.

    They really don’t seem applicable if you have a budget and track you spending though.

    I don’t think it is really a problem, but your never going to get that far ahead with tricks if you don’t supplement them with disciplined savings.

  2. Hmmmm, I see a minimum of two typos/mistakes in my comment. Sorry. (That isn’t including starting a sentence with a conjunction, which I find acceptable, particularly if you are on a blog.)

  3. I don’t use tricks, only because I think I’m one of the few who are pretty disciplined with money. I guess I’m scared of running out, so I always make sure to have a buffer. That being said, I never thought about it the way you put it. I think you’re right…if you have to trick yourself you’ll never get into the habit of consciously saving. Its like dieting….if you don’t learn to control your portions you’ll always overeat. (I’ve got way more problems controlling my eating than my spending, lol.)

  4. I don’t trick myself into saving money. I decide on a number before the month starts and transfer it on the 1st day of the month. It works out great for me!

  5. it’s (imo) similar to setting the alarm clock 10 minutes in advanced but ignoring it since you know you still have 10 more minutes to spend in bed! what i do is set up a weekly allowance, withdraw the amount every start of the week, and forget the atm in between.

  6. I used to trick myself.

    Now I’m just used to it and I WANT to see my net worth grow and my savings account be fat and happy.

    *shrug*

    No tricks if you change your mindset.

  7. No tricks here – its all about direct deposit. I never see the money that goes into my 401k, I hardly consider it part of my income.

    I have a few savings accounts with automatic transfers and this works really well for me.

    I guess its great if you can trick yourself into saving some extra cash – but seems a little risky as your only method of savings.

  8. At first, I thought, no, of course not! But maybe I do, sort of. It’s my cash thing. I can’t keep cash in my wallet without it finding its way into someone else’s wallet, so I just don’t carry it most times. I think that kind of counts as a trick.

    Otherwise, heavens no. I love saving and I love watching my savings grow.

  9. I agree, I prefer to put money aside as soon as I get my paycheque, then that money is gone from sight and I don’t think about it anymore. I tend not to use ‘real’ money for much at all though, so never have coins or bills to put into jars or anything like that.

  10. […] Do you trick yourself into saving money? at Paranoid Asteroid […]

  11. I love this post – it’s so true! If we focus on being deliberate with our money we don’t have to create a savings account from money we’ve “forgotten” or played a game to get from ourselves.

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