5 Simple Ways To Trick Yourself into Spending Less
While not often met with a positive response, trickery can be a useful tool. Granted, the deception discussed in this article is not that of the con job or criminal nature. Instead, the tricks referred to here are more in line with discipline and habit.
Did you know it can take 21 days to form a new habit? Trying to curb unhealthy spending might take longer, depending on how free you are with your pocketbook. The five “tricks” covered today can help you alter spending patterns and limit the amount of cash you have on hand.
1. Automate Investments and Savings
Many retirees have a difficult time managing their capital. They get their retirement, pension, or social security, and before they can see the balance in their bank account, the money’s gone.
Instead of living in a constant state of spontaneity, consider automating investments and savings. You can open multiple accounts and have funds direct deposited into those accounts. If you separate savings from spending accounts, you create hesitation in rogue purchases, allowing you to take back control of your finances.
2. Find a Commitment Device
What is something you cannot stand doing: cleaning the garage, cooking dinner, washing the car? If you want to start saving more and spending less, you need to create a commitment device to ensure you stay focused on your goal. If you fail in your objective, the thing you despise doing becomes your punishment. However, this only works if you involve someone else because they keep you accountable.
An alternative to the punishment approach is the reward method. If you stick to your financial goal for the month, you reward yourself with a small purchase. For example, going out to dinner or buying a book.
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3. Put Purchases Into Perspective
Too many people fall behind in rent or mortgage payments because they fall victim to repetitive small purchases. For example, maybe you enjoy a $4.00 cup of coffee every day. The investment seems harmless until you start adding it up. A four dollar daily purchase comes to $28 per week or more than $1,400 per year. What could you do with an extra thousand dollars a year? Thinking about the grand scheme often helps people discover what their real necessities are.
4. Alter Purchasing Patterns
You do not have to eliminate every little luxury. You’re retired; you deserve it. However, altering your patterns can help. For example, limiting that coffee purchase to once a week or even every other day can have a tremendous effect on your bank account. You could save $700 or more annually by making that one little change. What are some of your patterns? Is there anything you buy repetitively through the month that you could change? How much would limiting such purchases save you annually?
5. Wait 24 Hours
Many retirees do have a tight grasp of their finances, but then they make a spontaneous and often large purchase or investment. It would be best if you never gave into temptation, especially when an item is over a hundred dollars. Always give yourself at least 24 hours to weigh the pros and cons. This break will often result in the realization that the product is unnecessary and impractical. However, even if you still want the purchase after the waiting period, at least you did not give in to spontaneity and allowed yourself time to review your finances.
Will you use any of these tips, or want to share others? Leave a comment below, and keep reading Wise Ol’ Crow for more finance and retirement insight.