by Kaitlyn Ranze
Until Nav.it, I was in the Bermuda Triangle of money management – caught between the islands of “YOLO” and “I need to save more.”
The funny thing about “you only live once” is that you still have to be able to afford it. To treat myself, travel more, and live my best life, I had to come to terms with saving more.
Here are my best tips for retraining the way your brain thinks, so you can manage money better, save more, and stress a little less.
First, understand your relationship with money
What does it mean to have a relationship with money?
It means understanding your personal money story and how it has influenced your views about money. It also means being honest about your money habits and working to change those that aren’t serving you. Finally, it means consciously choosing how you want to relate to money in your life.
A healthy relationship with money starts with a foundation of self-awareness and ends with making choices, like buying a home.
Answering your “why”
Your “why” is your motivation – the reason you started saving in the first place. It impacts your persistence and intensity while you’re stacking paper, and it’s the necessary reminder to recover if (and when) $hit happens.
Whether it’s a future, more prosperous you, or a short-term savings goal like a vacation, defining your “why” keeps you motivated. Figure it out.
Practice money mindfulness
Money mindfulness is a term used to describe the practice of being mindful or attentive about how we save and spend. Most of the following tips are ways of practicing money mindfulness.
Write it down
According to Forbes, “People who vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals than people who don’t.”
This might feel woo-woo, but you’re doing more than manifesting a positive financial outcome. You’re setting a savings goal with intention.
Track what you’re spending (and not saving)
According to a poll from Gallup, two-thirds of Americans don’t track their monthly spending.
Pulling off the band-aid: How are you going to save anything if you don’t know what you’re spending?
Tracking your spending gives insights into your spending habits, directly impacting your saving.
That sense of satisfaction you get from a color-coded closet? Don’t limit it to your wardrobe. As one theory by Professor Richard Thaler reveals, you’ll reap emotional and financial rewards from categorizing your spending.
These categories help you increase your mental accounting of money and reduce the spend-ability of your income.
Track your money better
Some people use cash envelopes and spend only the money allocated to each category. Others track their spending with budgeting apps.
It’s true; budgeting has a polarizing reputation. It’s either the source of your wealth or the bane of your money woes. A proper budget stops you from buying the latest PS4 or is the source of guilt and resentment if you cave and buy it.
Instead of focusing on the sacrifices in your budget, like how hurtful it is you can’t get the latest Urban Decay palette, reframe it.
Reframing is a technique used to help create a different way of looking at a situation, person, or relationship by changing its meaning.Verywellmind.com
Because you’re not buying the latest trend, you’ll pay off your student loans faster or get to Fiji sooner. Reframing is all about shifting the way you think about your spending and saving.
Buddy up with an accountability partner
From your personal trainer to organizations like Weight Watchers and Alcoholics Anonymous, accountability and community empower behavior change.
Fast fact: Having an accountability partner increases your odds of achieving your goal to 95%.
So if you’re trying to save more, consider finding an accountability partner, hiring a coach, or joining a community. The power of community will keep you motivated and improve your sense of well-being. In addition, it can improve your financial wellness and your savings rate.
Want to lean on someone with a little more expertise? Send a message to a money coach in the Nav.it money app.
Out of sight, out of mind
Put your savings in a separate bank account.
Why put it aside? Putting the funds in a separate account from your daily spending serves as a mental nudge to not use them. It ensures you’re actively working toward your savings goals and prevents overspending. Best of all, you’ll know exactly how much you have saved at a glance.
Break a big goal down
Big challenges can easily become overwhelming. Break down your savings goal into smaller, more tolerable steps.
Maxing out a 401k ($19,500!) annually is huge. You’re looking at $750 every two weeks by breaking it down into bi-weekly paychecks.
Still an enormous sum to swallow? Yeah, I get it.
Think of it this way:
$5 a week = $260 a year
$10 a week = $520 a year
$50 a week = $2,600 a year
$100 a week = $5,200 a year
Squirreling away smaller amounts at shorter and regular intervals is much easier than randomly stashing cash. Consistency is key to growing your savings.
Make saving part of your routine
Speaking of your paycheck, consider transferring money to your savings account every time you get paid. It doesn’t matter if it is $5 or $750—simply making this routine will ensure you save more.
Evidence from multiple studies suggests you will save more over the long term by automating your savings. Automation is like autopilot for saving, reducing the risk posed by willpower fatigue.
Willpower fatigue – There is a finite store of mental energy for exerting self-control. When people fend off the temptation to scarf down M&M’s or freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies, they’re less able to resist other temptations.The New York Times
Want to level up your savings game? Automate it.
Pro Tip: Create an Auto-Save inside the Nav.it app. Your savings is available for withdrawal anytime, and you can save for as many goals as you want!
Pause before purchasing
While shopping, we go through a quick cycle of need recognition, research, and swiping. Instead of rushing to check out, give yourself three days to think about a specific purchase decision.
During the 72 hours, ask yourself if you truly need the item. Is it worth the number of hours it will take for you to earn it? By waiting, you improve your objectivity about the purchase and reduce spending temptations. I’m looking at you, sales emails!
List it out.
The mother of all productivity hacks is making lists. Lists organize needs, increase focus, and force us to reflect on our purchases in advance. Ultimately, they help us reduce spending. It might just cure buyer’s remorse and produce gone bad.
Lists can also serve as a reminder of why you’re saving.
The number of ways to train your brain to spend less and save more is probably as countless as the neurons firing reading this. Improve your money habits with these quick tips to start saving more
How to Use a Budget to Save More Money
How Accountability Buddies Pay Off
How Willpower Fatigue Impacts Financial Decisions