This is a fun post by guest writer, Melanie! xo. Anna
I don’t own a leather duster, a wand or a top hat. I won’t be performing in Vegas or even Reno any time soon. You definitely won’t see me hanging out in a Plexiglas case, encased in ice or buried alive, but I can teach you a few mind tricks to help you save money. And really that’s better than any magic trick.
13 Money Saving Mind Tricks..
1. Automatically Draft Money Into Savings
This is by far the best mind trick I have for saving money. Set up an automatic draft to pull money from your checking account into your savings account every month. You get extra points if you set up the draft to pull to a savings account with another bank or an account is more difficult to access. You won’t even miss the money. Maaaaaaagic.
2. Never Spend Change
If you operate on cash, always break a bill instead of fishing into your change purse. Empty your change each night and gradually you’ll have a small savings. This trick is particularly useful for smaller, nonessential savings like gas money for that road trip you’ve been planning. If you don’t operate on cash, you can still replicate this process. Some banks will round your purchases to the nearest dollar and deposit that money into a savings account. If your bank doesn’t offer that service, you can easily add up the change on your purchases and move that change to a separate account. Doing the math yourself is a little a little less magical, but it works.
3. Windfalls and Unexpected Money
Those taxes returns you just got back, yeah, you worked hard for that money, but that’s no reason to run wildly to the nearest mall and blow it on a bunch of nothing. Windfalls, tax returns and unexpected money can make a great start to a rainy day savings account.
4. Freeze Your Credit Cards
Are you an impulse spender? We’ve all been there. We’re tired, hungry or stressed so we make an impulse buy. An effective and fun trick to play on yourself is to freeze your credit cards– literally. Place them in a bowl of water and put them in the freezer. Next time you want to make an impulse buy, you’ll have to wait for the water to melt along with the impulse!
5. Tape a Picture of What You Want Your Credit Card
I’ve been saving for a trip to Key West this summer. I can’t tell you what a guilt trip it is to see a picture of your long-term goal when I'm about to make an impulse buy. By wrapping my credit card and debit card in a picture of my end savings goal, I’m constantly reminding myself that afternoon trip to the vending machine won’t get me closer to my saving goal.
6. Tax Yourself
Before you make any purchase that is a “want” not a “need” implement a self-tax. Take the same amount that you’ll spend on your wanted item and transfer it to your savings account. I wouldn’t advise this as a long-term savings plan, but it the tax may defer you from making large, unnecessary purchases.
7. Pin it or Put it on Your ‘To Buy Later' List
Sometimes just pinning that too cute bathing suit or writing down the item you want on a “Buy It Later” list is enough of shopping rush. You’ll delay the purchase and you may even forget about it entirely. That’s magical, dude.
8. Ask for a Discount
You don’t have to play mind games with service people to get discounts. Sometimes simply asking for discounts will help you to receive a discount. Anna recently was able to cut $50 a month in expenses for ten minutes worth of phone calls!
9. Don’t Grocery Shop at Super Stores
This tip is kind of an anti-mind trick. Big box stores can trick you into spending money. You think, “Hey, I’ll just run in for bananas”, and end up with a cart full of god knows what. By shopping at a store that only sells the category of the thing that you need you’ll avoid the temptation of that new bag and the scarf… and hat… and shoes. Don’t let superstores hypnotize you!
Just as those pesky superstores can trick you into spending money when you are inside the store, retailers can do the same outside of the store. To avoid those ever-so-tempting online rebates, unsubscribe to retailer emails through Unroll Me. You can also avoid receiving snail mail offers through the service, Catalog Choice. These services take away the temptation before it even happens! It’s also a great tip to keep down clutter. Magic at it’s finest, folks.
11. Make it a Game
Set up a challenge between you and your spouse or you and your friends or family members. See who can save more money in a month. Award bonus points for making money on the weekends or coming up with free family activities.
12. Keep Making Payments After You Pay Off a Loan
Did you just pay off a loan? Awesome! You should be so proud of yourself. But don’t get ahead of yourself either. When people get a raise or suddenly have more money they inflate their lifestyle to match. So instead of making those student loan repayments, consider putting the same amount of money into a retirement fund. It’s making payments to your future, yo!
13. Visualize Yourself as a Wealthy Person
Athletes and top performers often cite the powers of visualization. Don’t discount the powers of visualization and affirmations just because you feel a bit silly doing it. Try visualizing yourself as a wealthy person. What does it look like? Where do you live? How do you look? What do you eat? Then work your way up to affirmations. Say your affirmations in the mirror each day. It seems so ridiculous, but after a while you’ll begin to believe. Mind magic!
What other kinds of mind tricks do you use to save money? Let me know in the comments!
Melanie is a recently married librarian living in an Airstream with her husband. Yes, it’s as weird as it sounds. Find out more about their life at Love Library.