Money Saving Tips

10 Big and Shocking Truths About Saving Money!

10 Big and Shocking Truths About Saving Money!
Written by Oana Schneider

We all have our own methods to make ends meet and spend money more efficiently, so that at the end of the day (or of the month!) we can afford more things on our wish list. However, there are a few tips and tricks that may give you some extra help on that one; this is why we have prepared for you a checklist of 10 things you should keep in mind while making your financial choices.

Saving is enabling to take care of your future

This applies especially to retirement funds and to those putting money aside for less happier tomorrows, foreseen or not. Just as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once put it, “As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it”; thus you have to be prepared make the most out of whatever comes your way.  A savings cushion may allow you to take advantage of opportunities that others didn’t prepare for (think of fruitful investment, for example).

The years to come might be full of surprises, some of which could potentially alter your lifestyle. In these situations, relying on others to cover your personal expenses can become really frustrating, so it is better to prolong your financial independence for as much as you can.  It becomes a lot easier to save money when you understand that in fact it’s a favor you do to yourself.

There are just as many spending habits out there as personal wallets

Or bank accounts. Or credit cards. Since our needs differ, it is important to understand that our way of prioritizing them differs, too. Is buying a new wrist-watch more important than paying extra car insurance? One should spend more on clothes or on beauty products? Is it wiser to spend your Christmas bonus on a ski vacation in Switzerland or add it up to your economy fund for the house you plan to buy in two years?

There is no simple answer to that. It really depends on your needs, on your income, and on the pattern of financial education you have been raised with. One thing is clear, though: a vast majority among us can’t afford to reconcile all their present needs with their impulse for self-indulgence and with sustainable plans for the future. Someone who saves money, however, will sort it out way easier.

Having your own savings increases your negotiating power

Many people save their money for down-payments in important purchase, like real estate. It is common knowledge that the larger the down-payment, the more your possibility to negotiate a property, for example, will increase. Moreover, this will bring you the benefit of better interest rates and lower installments, for a shorter reimbursement period.

If you are buying a car, you are definitely aware of how much money you can free up in your budget if you don’t have a car payment each month. Also, you can negotiate the price of the car much lower if you’re ready to pay cash at the dealership. So, if you’re looking for a bigger deal, you’d better start saving!

Saving money can help you have more fun!

If you put 5% to 10% of your income aside for a year you’ll barely notice you’re saving up and may end up finally affording a fun trip around Europe or that Caribbean cruise you secretly long for. But it’s not only about trips – you can make economies for fun large ticket items such as a new bike, scuba diving equipment, a home cinema system or a Play station. Nobody wants to pay off their summer holiday extravaganza in five years, so making a loan for these purposes is not so much of a viable solution. But if you’re saving, you’re saved – and ready to rumble!

It takes a strong will to save money

10 Big and Shocking Truths About Saving Money!

…And the lower the income, the stronger the will. We all feel good about the prospects of buying a new house, a new car, an exotic holiday, a generous retirement fund, or simply great Christmas presents for our loved ones. Still, the amounts we’re ready to put aside for a purpose are greatly influenced by how badly we want something.

These almost universal needs are some of the most common reasons for saving money – some of us make get to achieve them, some of us don’t;  sometimes it is a matter of luck, other times it is a matter of will and determination. Be that as it may, nobody is at ease with saving money for a future purpose that right now feels remote and abstract, while the sacrifices made in order to achieve the object of our desire are very present. For this reason, before beginning to save money for something you have to make sure that the object of your desire is really worth it, so you won’t lose determination on the way.

There is such thing as a saver’s pleasure

Life’s unpredictable and we all know it. There is always a possibility for a sudden job loss, for a number of reasons. Gadgets and cars stop working from time to time, someone close may get in trouble or may get sick, accidents of all sorts may occur (of course, mostly to others) – and all these happen with no notice. Which is unpleasant, because a timely warning would have made you put some money aside and don’t get an extra plasma TV just yesterday.

There are people who save for security and people who should consider starting to do so, because having your own emergency fund brings along psychological comfort and a sense of reassurance. It does feel good to know that, whenever life gives you lemons, you have your back covered – well, at least where money is concerned. It’s a good thing to know that you don’t have to get into debt each time events run ahead of you. And, after all, it’s part of a responsible adult’s life.

Before considering a loan, try readjusting your spendthrift lifestyle

Ok, you’re out of money and you really want that new iMac for Black Friday. What do you do? Before calling your best friend to see if he/she’s got some extra, or before rushing to your credit card, take a moment to see if in the short run there are expenses of your own that can be postponed, if not cancelled. Since borrowed money have to be returned (sometimes with additional charges, if we’re talking about banking institutions), maybe there are some tiny temporary changes that will help you sort it out by yourself.

Reconsidering daily or weekly expenses can help you save money, if you’re really into that iMac. Moreover, you will gain a sense of achievement, knowing that even if sometimes it’s not easy, you’re financially independent and you can handle things on your own. And that, for sure, is a comforting thing to know.

Saving money is not a sign of weakness, but of power

Our society is essentially influenced by aggressive marketing campaigns in its definition of success in terms of material achievement. A recent scientific study in consumer research has proven that in this context, saving money becomes an increasingly daunting challenge. The recently published paper shows some other interesting discoveries: not only self-control and upbringing shape our willingness to save up, but also self-esteem.

People who feel powerful use money-savings more than those who feel vulnerable, as a way to preserve their state of power. However, this is true only as long as the purpose of the savings is linked to the opportunity of maintaining power; when the two dissociate, the effect of power on savings fades away.

If you want to save money, do it on pay day

10 Big and Shocking Truths About Saving Money!

There is no need for scientific studies to prove it: experience shows that the best time to put a bit of money aside is right after you’ve been paid. Ideally, you should set things up so that you automatically add a little bit each month to your savings, so you don’t have to remember to make the transfer to your savings account each time. What’s even better is that you won’t be tempted to skip a month.

Keep yourself informed about what kinds of savings scheme are made available by your workplace or by your bank. If you agree on a scheme that saves your money straight out of your pay, within a few months you will have built up a solid amount of savings, with the minimum of effort! And your money is always there for you.

Regular savings habit is more important than how much you put away

Regardless of if you have a fixed salary or if your income is fluctuating on a monthly basis, you should set up a minimum amount you can put aside each month, without interfering with your current expenses.

Don’t forget that as your savings build up, they will grow on a speeding pace, even if you are only paying the same regular amount. This is thanks to the fact that each time the interest earned on your money enters your account, it starts earning interest too. This is called “compound interest” and, in the longer run, it can make a big difference in terms of how much your economies are worth.

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.

23 Comments

  • You hit it right on the nail, when pay day comes around, slap some money right on that savings account. It doesn’t have to be much, five, ten dollars. Believe it or not, it will add up fast. Pay yourself to take care of your future self- Yes!! Be frugal, there’s nothing wrong with waiting until something is on sale or, really thinking hard to decide if you really need that item. Good content.

    • I think the most important concept in the post was basically that small increments add up quickly. If you’re consistently putting away a small amount with each pay check, you’re going to inevitably save as long as you don’t dip in to the savings frequently.

      How you manage to be able to put away each month is the difficult part, because of some, their expenses simply are too high to afford putting anything away. In these cases, the only reasonable outcome is to cut costs wherever possible.

      • This is totally true. I always do best with saving when I just immediately take some cut out and put it into a savings account. Whenever my budget is too tight, though, I literally start scrounging pennies for savings. Really — I try to pay anything I can in cash, and then the loose change I get back goes into my at-home savings. It’s been a nice way to still put away a bit each month no matter how tight things get since I usually forget about pennies and nickles anyway.

  • I find a simple rule really-really helpful for forcing yourself to save money when you’re a… er… “born spender” (like I was) : whenever you “get” money, whatever its source, put a 10% to 25% aside. You have to set the percent for yourself, according to how frugal a life you can live, in exchange for making sure that if you ever have to get through some hard times, you’ll have some (lots?!) in your “safety deposit”.

    You HAVE to set this as a rule for your life and you HAVE to follow it religiously – NEVER – EVER say “ah, this time I’ll pass and spend those 2 bucks on a burger” or something. N-E-V-E-R. By being hard on yourself on this and only this rule you make sure of your own future.

    • I would definitely have to agree with this tip. If you delegate the same percentage (not amount but percentage) with each pay check, then you’ll wind up with a fairly large amount saved relative to what you earn, which is what matters in the end.

  • The second point really hits me close to home. I used to spend impulsively.

    I think the main problem with people not pushing through towards spending less and saving more is the unwillingness to go through a major lifestyle change. I know I fucking didn’t want to.

    Because when you’re an impulse spender, the act of spending whether you like it or not really is considered a need. Your mind may think that’s far-fetched, but your body doesn’t. This stuff has basis in the current scientific understanding of addictions, you know. Repeated recreational activities even as simple as spending cause periodic releases of dopamine, making you literally hooked on your own bullshit.

    That’s why it’s so fucking hard.

    • There’s a post a few weeks ago about shopping addiction, and I think it’s pretty relevant to your comment. It’s pretty insightful in the way it points out that some of the reasons for it are beyond just desire and want, but an actual psychological need or compulsion to spend.

      I’ve never been overly impulsive with my money, so it’s hard for me to put myself in those shoes, but I have friends and family that are in tons of debt because of the lack of impulse control.

  • I’m pleased to read that you suggest tightening your belt before considering taking out a loan. There are far too many people in this world happy to run to a payday loan company for a quick fix options, but many of the don’t take into consideration how they will pay these loans back and it just gets them even more into trouble than they were before.

    • It amazes me how many of those payday advance type places exist. I’ve only ever used them once, and was gouged ridiculously for the service. I can’t believe there are people out there who would use it on a monthly basis… it’s completely a self-defeating practice that will only make it more difficult to pull yourself out of that financial hole.

      I’d rather go without for a month or two than to continue losing 20% of my paycheck for an advance. Ridiculous!

  • I so agree with this post. Saving to me is about taking care of my future. I have been laid off at the worst times before and it is horrific. My boyfriend was just demoted yesterday so he is pretty upset since he is trying to pay off a Honda Civic… I don’t care if he buys me anything for Christmas though, I am working harder online for we can get through winter.

    It does take a strong will to save money, I agree with this. For me I guess it doesn’t matter to much because I live such a simple lifestyle with little needs.

    • I’m sorry to hear – being laid off (and especially at this time of year) is particularly tough. It’s a time of year that is really spend-heavy with gifting obligations, larger and more extravagant meals, and even just increases in bills due to heating.

      Hopefully you guys were able to put together a decent emergency fund to see you through this rough patch; best of luck to you and your boyfriend in the new year.

  • You are right, sometimes in life unexpected things happen and when they do it is nice to have some savings to cover the expenses. You never can be certain when that might be. A sudden accident or an emergency room treatment can mean big bills fast.

    I have a plan i try very hard to stick to, I made a budget and when I get paid the money gets split into different places, there is the bill account that covers only bill payments, a savings account and then the household account., that includes my money for the extras in life, like make up or going for coffee. It is a lot like when we were children and only had a certain amount to spend, we knew we could not go crazy because money was never constant. This idea works for me because the bills are covered and when i do get something a bit extra I value it so much more.

    • A safety net is so important because you’re right – there are always unforeseen issues that can occur suddenly and without warning.

      The best way I’ve found to do this (your mileage may vary) is to set up an automatic withdrawal each month that coincides with my first paycheck deposit. This means that right off the top, I’m skimming a portion of my money to a savings account to allow for it to build up.

      Then, I deal with all my various bills and will usually have a fairly substantial amount left over. I then take this money and deposit 1/2 of it to savings as well, leaving the remainder as spendable discretion money.

      Even then, the spendable money often adds up over a few months until there’s enough for a big ticket item, which I may or may not want. If I don’t want anything at the time, I’ll just halve it again in to my savings.

      My savings account grows really quickly this way, because I limit myself to a subset of my income constantly.

  • Great tips. I especially like the tip about saving money is your current self taking care of your future self. That is so very true, and when times with money are tight, it does not have to be a self that is that *far* into the future. The few dollars that you save today could very easily help you out tomorrow. Saving helps in the long AND in the short term.

    It does take a strong will to save money, but once you get into the habit of doing it regularly like one of these tips says, saving gets easier. Saving money is basic self-care, but many people (myself included) overlook it.

  • Yes! I’ve been living pretty frugally for the last few years, and it has made it much easier to have savings when it came to making decision. I did not feel pressured. I could travel away. I do realize it is power; the friends I have who just waste it all end up not having anything left when something that matters come up.

  • Good advice. Saving can be very empowering and reassuring. It is good to have a buffer in place should you fall ill or lose your job. SImilarly, it is a relief to know that you have some funds put by for household emergencies.

  • Most people don’t realize how easy it is to save at least some money every month, and it’s just wise to do so. That being said, I also know of people who can’t get enough hours at their job to have anything at all left over after they have paid for just what they need to stay alive keep a roof on their head.

  • I used to really live outside of my means. I was always living in fear of overdraft, and my brain felt like a calculator trying to figure out if “purchase X” would leave me enough money to pay my part of the bills that month. I took a personal Finance class at school and realized that it didn’t have to be that way. By switching my spending habits, and putting away money as soon as I got it, I was able to slowly grow in financial security. Now, I don’t have to worry about if I can afford to go to the doctor, or if I can afford gas in my car – I have a safety net I’m able to fall back on. This article is great advice and serves as a good reminder of how to stay financially secure!

  • Such a great article. I think the most important thing to do when it comes to savings is to start right now. Not next month, or when the car is paid off, but now. Go to your employer and have a certain amount deducted from your pay and put into an investment account. If you never see the money, you can’t spend it. Stop and evaluate what you’re spending your money on and make a few small changes. Pack your lunch once a week and save that money. Skip buying that new dress or pair of shoes this month. Have a fun night at home instead of going out. There are so many ways to make small changes. I’ve found that savings can be additive – once you get a nice little amount set aside, it’s fun to watch to grow. Celebrate any amount that you’re able to put aside.

  • Once you start saving and get in the habit, saving money is one of the easiest things you can do. Especially if you set up an automated savings plan where a certain amount of money is deducted from your account every week or month. After you set that up you don’t even have to think about it anymore, and your money just keeps growing. I agree when you say it doesn’t matter how much you save, just as long as you do it consistently.

  • Even when I’ve got very little money coming in, I try to make deposits into my savings account whenever possible because I know it’s saved my butt on more than one occasion and prevented me from having to take out loans. Saving really is a beneficial habit and this post is full of wisdom about it.

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