Saving money is not about having to deny yourself something you want or feeling guilty about spending it. By doing this you only suppress your desires and make yourself feel unsatisfied and inferior by not being able to afford the stuff you want. Trying to force a “frugal” lifestyle onto yourself is like trying to stop the flood from a broken drainage pipe with your hand. It helps to temporary stop the flood, but does not fix the real problem!
I am a true believer that saving money should be painless and even an enjoyable activity!
Here are 7 Counter-Intuitive tips that will help you save more money for a rainy day than any “money-saving plan” could ever do:
1. Redefine your definition of “wealthy”. Most of us define wealth as having LOTS of money and LOTS of things. How do you define when you are rich and decide that it is enough? When I was a student, I dreamed of having my own car. After 7 months of hard work and many sacrifices I finally bought my first car. It was a sky blue 12 year-old Toyota Celica, with a scratch on the left front door. I loved it! And for a time I felt really cool! After a year and a half I bought a new car, but it did not feel as great, because there was an even cooler car at a dealership that I could not afford. No matter how much you have there will always be more.
Now I sit in my rented apartment in Miami, looking at a picture of my family and my closest friends on the desktop and I feel like a millionaire! Being rich to me means having enough money to pay my bills, puting some money away for “rainy days” and being able to give some money away to those who need it. What is your definition of wealth?
2. Redefine “fun”. Have you ever noticed that children have an amazing ability to make a game out of everything? They can easily turn a piece of wood into a racing car or play with a ball that they have found in the street and completely ignore all the “cool” toys that are lying around the house. For some reason as we grow older we come to believe money is essential for having a good time. Get a little creative! You can find ways to have fun together with your family without going to the mall or eating out.
3. Get out of the “quick fix” mentality. In today’s society money is used as a substitute for “hard work”. Why change your eating habits and exercising, when you can take a diet pill or put on a ‘magic’ belt that does the exercises for you? Unfortunately, there are three main reasons why quick fix solutions are a waste of your hard earned money.
First of all, if something works “instantly” and without any effort on your part there are always side-effects and/or far-reaching implications attached to it.
Second, quick fixes bring results that pass just as quickly. There is a difference between losing weight and keeping it off for good.
Third, there is something quick fix ads never tell you – any quick fix still requires “hard work”. Take, for example, weight loss surgery. In order to stay thin and have great looking skin you WILL have to change your eating habits and start working out! You CAN NOT solve long-term problems such as health, finances, and aging with fad diets, “get-rich-quick-schemes” and anti-wrinkle creams.
4. Stop competing with your next door neighbor. For many of us it has become a question of honor to demonstrate to everyone how wonderful and successful we are by having the biggest TV, driving the coolest car, wearing name brand clothing and having the best looking lawn in the neighborhood.
There is no doubt that receiving envious looks from your neighbors rubs our ego the right way. But, let’s face it, it does not make us feel any happier inside. Nor does it make us a better person. So who cares about brands?! Strive to have a better family and happier relationships, and a more gratifying life instead of competing for who has the most “stuff”.
5. Stop sounding like your mother. If you have trouble manifesting material wealth into your life – try a simple exercise. Think about your parents. What kind of money beliefs do they have? Very often, your negative beliefs about money and rich people have been ingrained into our subconscious mind since your childhood. It might well be that your parents when they discussed their money problems talked about how one has to work hard for money or that wealthy people are cunning, greedy and evil. These were the same beliefs that were passed to your parents from your grandparents, just as your parents have unknowingly passed them onto you.
Such negative beliefs create friction and block the flow of abundance. If part of you believes that money is dirty, then your subconscious mind will do everything in its power to prevent you from having more of it.
6. Avoid impulse buying. The easiest way known to reward yourself is to buy something new. In 99% of the times anything we buy impulsively is not something that we truly need. Otherwise, it would not be called an “impulsive” but rather a “rational” purchase.
It is always exciting to open a box containing a new pair of shoes or come home with a new cell phone. However, when the excitement wears off a little, nasty feelings like regret and guilt creep into our heart. One of the easiest ways to save yourself a lot of money is to give yourself two-three days wait before buying something that you really want. That way you will not feel guilty afterwards.
7. Limit your advertisement intake. Advertisement helps companies to sell their products, just as it helps consumers to learn more about various offers and sales. However, more and more research demonstrates the downsides of excessive advertisement intake. One such negative effect is known as the “tyranny of choice” provoked by the endless need to decide between numerous brands competing for our attention. The claims of advertisements often crowd in on people, raising expectations about a product and leading to inevitable disappointment after it is bought.
But the biggest indirect and less obvious danger of advertisement is that it is engineered with two purposes: to create a strong desire and need to buy something, and to make us feel incomplete or inferior if we do not have it (be it a slim waist, white teeth or a new laptop).
P.S. If you have other great money-saving tips, please, share them below with the rest of the world!