9 Psychological Tricks to Help You Save More Money

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Psychological Tricks to Save Money

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Do you ever wonder why you spend your money the way you do? Why do you feel the need to get immediate gratification and end up using all your savings? Perhaps you thought the spending habit formed because of how you were raised or some other external factors. 

Research indicates that your financial habits are influenced by how your brain works and not always by your conditioning as a child. Although saving is difficult for almost everyone, as a spender, it is even more so. If you want to stop overspending, you will have to learn to outsmart your brain and develop good money habits.

Even though we all know the importance of putting money aside for whatever individual reasons, whether for financial freedom, emergencies, items, or other purposes, it is easier said than done.

This article will provide you with 9 of the best psychological tricks that will help you save more money.

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How to Trick Yourself Into Saving Money

  1. Ditch the plastic and use cash instead

Carrying hard cash while going shopping is a fun trick to save money. Although using your debit or credit card could be easier when buying things, it is not exactly friendly to your budget and saving.

Want to buy a TV or some other ‘cool’ item you saw at the store? One swipe of the card, and you can take the item home. 

If you want to start saving, then you should consider using cash more often instead of cards. You are more emotionally attached to the tangible paper and will think twice before spending it on something that isn’t valuable. 

We also want to hold on to bigger bills and are more willing to let go of the smaller ones. For instance, who would use a $100 note to buy random small things such as candy or gum? 

When buying more expensive items, even the physical act of counting and handing over cold, hard cash to pay for something you can probably live without is more painful than just swiping a card.

Another reason to use cash is that it helps you to stick to your budget and monitor your spending. You most likely wouldn’t want to carry a lot of it around, and you will probably bring only enough for what you need.

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  1. Automate your finances

It takes a lot of discipline to receive payment, for instance, your monthly salary, and then deduct some amount from it to save.

If this is challenging for you, consider setting an automatic deduction mechanism on your paycheck. Set a particular percentage of your wages to be automatically deducted and transferred into a savings account every payday. 

It is one of the best psychological tricks to save more money because you never feel the money leaving your account. You probably won’t even think of it as your money as it’s not available to use; thus, you will not make any plans or budgets including it.

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  1. Avoid the temptation of impulse buying

You perhaps have been in a situation where you went into a store to buy a particular item, but when you came out, you had a whole bag of things you had no intention of buying. 

Avoiding the impulse to purchase items on immediate display or advertisement is difficult, but it is an urge you can fight.

To avoid compromising situations and spending money on things you don’t need, reduce your exposure to them. For instance, you could shop less often or carry a limited amount of money when going shopping.

To avoid advertisements, try as much as possible to stay off social media, shopping sites, and do not subscribe to too many mailing lists

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  1. Create a mandatory waiting period for new purchases

Some of the things we think we need right now, we might not want them as much if given time to wait before buying, say for several days or a month.

Creating a waiting period is one of the best psychological tricks to save money.

If you are considering buying something, force yourself to take a step back and really think before spending your money on it to avoid future regrets. Learn to differentiate between a want and a need, and then prioritize the needs.

When you have a big financial decision to make, sleep on it before deciding whether the investment is worth it or not.

  1. Convert the price of an item into your working hours

Time is money and saving money equals saving time. Tricking your brain to look at the cost of a particular item differently helps it make the right decision during purchase, thus saving more money.

One of the best psychological tricks to save money when shopping, is converting the price of something into your working hours. Once you get the figure, determine if you are willing to work that number of hours to acquire that item.

For instance, if you wanted to buy a pair of shoes that cost $100, calculate how many hours it would take to earn that amount of money. You probably wouldn’t want to spend a day’s earnings on only a pair of shoes or jeans. 

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  1. Visualize your goals

Why do you want to save money? Is it for retirement, emergencies, a new gadget, a luxurious vacation, to purchase a house, or to get financial freedom?

These goals might seem unattainable if, at the moment, you only have a few dollars to your name. The best way to keep yourself motivated is by tricking your mind to imagine it is possible in the future.

Making a vision board, hanging photos of your goal on your wall, or wrapping your debit card/wallet with a picture of what you wish to achieve, are examples of psychological tricks that help you save money.

Every time you think of spending, opening your wallet, or looking at your vision board will make you pause to rethink your decision to spend money on things you don’t need.

  1. Monitor your spending

Get your monthly statement from the bank to monitor where your money is going and track your expenses. This will enable you to see where you are spending too much on unnecessary things and look for opportunities to trick yourself to save that money instead.

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  1. Get a coin jar

How many times do you see items having prices like $9.99, $49.95, or $103.52? If you often pay in cash, you probably opt to leave the change behind because it is just a few cents.

But those few cents could make a difference in your savings plan. When your goal is to save, every penny counts.

Having a covered coin jar at home is an excellent way to trick yourself to save money because it gives you a reason never to leave the change.

Without noticing it, the coins can accumulate and fill the jar quickly adding up to a lot of money. When you cash it out, you can use it for groceries, to pay for Netflix, bills, or other home goods.

  1. Focus on ways to increase your income

Most people facing the problem of saving money think saving and creating wealth can only be achieved by reducing expenses.

This last psychological trick to save money aims to shift this notion by encouraging you to find ways to increase your income instead of cutting off or forgoing some expenditures

You can also do both; reduce unnecessary spending while looking for ways to add your ways of making money.

If you really want to achieve a particular goal, you can work overtime, engage in side hustles, make smart investments, or open your own business.

Take care not to increase your expenditure when you receive a raise, but instead put that extra pay into your saving account to achieve future goals.

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Final Thoughts

Saving money is a skill that requires a lot of discipline and self-control. It is often difficult; hence, the need to trick yourself into saving money without realizing it.

To develop better spending habits, use the above psychological tricks to save more money. It will take time and effort, but you will eventually get there. Start small, and soon, you will achieve financial freedom.

Do you know any other psychological tricks that help you save more money?

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  1. This is so true, I have done some of these without even knowing it was a psychological way for me to save some money.
    I have greatly reduced impulse buying, maybe this is because of covid restrictions here in Kenya and our weak ecommerce,
    I have a coin saving jar and I always take three days before buying that thing that I thought I would die if I didn’t have it 3 days ago, and I have actually found I didn’t need it that much, but the best has been when I found the same thing at a lesser cost or was even free (gifted to me, okay this happened only once, but stil heeeyyy)

    1. I guess for me the coin jar thing was passed down. I grew up seeing my mom having one for “egg money,” so when I became an adult, I somehow had one. It is really good for a rainy day.
      Being gifted once counts too! At least you didn’t have to spend any of your own money. 😀

  2. In my country, mobile money is huge and many businesses have been forced to intergrate with the payment making it free for customers and helps save a lot. Point 5 hit home. I like the idea of goal setting since without goals there’s no direction and it aligns well with monitoring our spending. Thanks

    1. Mobile money can help someone save more since there are no transaction charges when paying for goods unlike credit/debit cards. So unfortunate not all countries have that option though.
      If we all converted our spending into work hours we would never buy something we don’t absolutely need ever again.
      Thanks for reading this one too.

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