11 Money Saving Life Hacks You Have to Try This Year

Saving money isn’t an impossible task. Sometimes it just takes the right strategy. These are our favorite money saving life hacks that anyone can use. Even if you already use a budget (if you don’t – we highly recommend it), these are additional psychological tricks you can play on yourself to save more and spend less.

1. Automate your savings.

Saving is easiest when you don’t have to think about it. Set up automatic transfers from your paychecks and checking accounts. These transfers could go directly to a company 401K, or just your emergency savings fund. Either way – you won’t have to think about it any longer.

2. Try the 30-day rule on purchases.

It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of buying a new item. One way to combat this mental high is to place a 30-day hold on the purchase. If you see an item you really want, make note. Then revisit that item in 30 days to see if you still want it – or you’ve realized you can live without it. This will help you establish healthier spending habits and decrease impulse buying.

3. Start a cash diet.

Some people find that they spend less money when they only use cash. Once you use cash, you can use specific savings tricks as well. For example, if you ever receive a $5 bill back in change after a purchase, save that $5. Putting every $5 bill away where you can’t spend it will trick you into saving more money.

4. Name your savings accounts.

You’ll be less likely to raid your savings account if it’s named ‘Bahamas Vacation December 2018’ than ‘Account #2943873.’ When you nickname your savings, you will think twice about how much you want to spend that money now versus later. The Bahamas will probably end up winning over the concert tickets you thought were worth it.

5. Never grocery shop while hungry.

It’s the cardinal sin of grocery shopping. You know you will buy more than you need if everything looks especially appetizing. Only go shopping at the store when your stomach is full. If you ever find yourself in this precarious situation anyway, try chewing gum. The action and taste of the gum will distract you from how hungry you are.

6. Limit the bags you can use while grocery shopping.

Step one, buy reusable grocery bags. Step two, limit the number of bags you carry with you to the store. You can even set more specific criteria, like only using one bag for fresh and frozen produce. This will keep your costs lower because you’ll think about every item you place in your cart.

7. Practice the gamification of saving.

Game developers know how to make playing their game addictive. Making saving a game will make it exciting and fun. Try out a popular game like the 52 Week Savings Challenge. Change your perspective and trick your brain into having fun while saving.

8. Visualize your retirement and older self.

In this study, participants who viewed drawings of their older selves contributed more than twice as much to their retirement accounts as participants who were not shown the drawing. Your brain may have a hard time connecting with events 50 years from now. Seeing and visualizing what you may look like at retirement helps establish a connection. Being connected will motivate you to save more for that possible future.

9. Make your savings account difficult to reach.

Easy access means easy spending. If it’s annoying to make transfers in and out of your savings, you’re less likely to do it. You can accomplish this at a minimum by separating your savings and checking funds. Another idea is to keep a savings account at an entirely separate financial institution.

10. Don’t cache your card information on the internet.

If you’re online shopping, do you really feel like getting up to find your purse, take out your wallet, and enter in all of your card information? The internet has all but eliminated this ‘problem’ if you allow your card information to be stored in your browser or saved accounts. Don’t take advantage of this convenience! You’re far more likely to spend unnecessary funds if checking out is as easy as clicking a button. Don’t cache your card information.

11. Calculate how many hours you would have to work to pay for an item.

Every time you want to buy an item you don’t need, convert the price to the hours worked. This helps put the cost in perspective. You’re less likely to buy something flippantly. For example, say you make $13/hr. You really want to buy a pair of Lululemon yoga pants – but they are $98. You would have to work over 7.5 hours to afford them. Understanding how much you have to work for them will help you decide if they really are worth the money.

What are your favorite psychological savings hacks? How do you trick yourself into saving more and spending less? Let us know in the comments!

Bonus tip: Use a specialized savings account.

AmeriChoice offers Save the Change Checking, which rounds up every debit card purchase to the nearest dollar and automatically deposits that change into your savings account. Research your financial institution to see if they offer this type of account. Or open a Save the Change Checking account at AmeriChoice today!