6 Simple Ways to Develop a Saver’s Attitude

Cutting expenses is the way to spend less so you have money to save. But unless you are actually putting that money into a safe place to be held for some future use, you’re not really saving at all. You’re just spending less.

Even if you cannot save a great deal of money right now, that’s okay. It’s not the amount you save that matters as much as the fact that you make saving money a regular habit.

Stacks of $5 bills showing the result of a saver's attitude

Grab all the discounts

Many mortgage lenders and student loan companies offer incentives for their customers who set up automatic payments for their monthly payments. It’s worth knowing you’ll never be late, and if you can get even 1/4-point reduction in the interest rate, over time that will really add up to be something significant. Automobile insurers give discounts to good drivers, non-smokers, good students, cars with particular safety-equipment and any number of other situations. But you have to ask. Make the call. Then save the difference.

Get fanatic about coupons, coupon codes and getting cash back when it’s available. But don’t stop there. Once you have that discount, be disciplined enough to actually save that $.50 or $5.00 or whatever it is. Stash that cash. Rakuten, formerly Ebates, is the best way I know to keep all those small cash-back amounts in a safe place. If you don’t have an account and are not adding even the smallest amounts to it every time you shop, you’re really missing out. Open a Rakuten (Ebates) account here, then remember to use it.

MORE: Ebates—an Awesome Way to Build a Cash Stash

Set dollar limits

Okay, so this sounds curiously like “budgeting.” It is. Deciding ahead of time the amount you are willing to spend for anything is to impose important limitations on yourself. Maybe it’s time to let your inner parent out—that part of you that knows how to demand discipline and good behavior.

MORE: How to Create a Household Budget

Fee yourself

Banks and credit-card companies don’t seem to have much trouble socking us with unbelievable fees, so take a lesson from them and fee yourself.

Every payday, impose a self-tax equal to one-hour’s pay—the gross amount before taxes. Consider it the price for having a job and put that amount straight into your savings account. Give yourself ample warning that upon your next raise, that the fee will jump to two-hours’ pay.

Every time you make a withdrawal from the ATM or you write a check, charge yourself a set fee of $1 by recording the actual amount plus a buck. Deposits? A $10 fee for each deposit sounds about right. When you’ve collected $50 or $100 in fees from yourself, settle up and transfer the whole amount straight to your savings account.

Oh, the stories I have from my readers who have started this kind of self-taxing plan to create and build their savings. Amazing.

Embrace cheaper substitutes

Have you given the store brands at the grocery store a chance? If not, you should. The pay-off will be significant, and you could be pleasantly surprised to discover just how many items are identical to the name brand—only the label and the price are different. Always look for and then consider the less costly option.

Play with your money

Make a decision that from now on you will never spend another dollar. That means all your $1 bills go into a stash. Or get really brave put away every $5 bill that comes into your possession. Save them. Wrap rubber bands around them. Stash ’em in a safe place.

Dreamwash every purchase

Whatever your goal—$1,000 in your savings account, a new house, an all-cash wedding, a trip to Spain—whatever it is, “dreamwash” your mind so that you think of every purchase you make in light of this goal.

If it’s something tangible (like a house) print out a picture that represents it and hang it in a prominent place in your home to remind you. Make a copy to keep in your handbag. Make it your computer or phone wallpaper.

Make a clever sleeve from duct tape or construction paper that slips over your credit card and requires you to see your dream each time you reach for the plastic. Adapt this clever idea.

It’s your attitude

No matter how much or how little you have to save right now, you can develop a saver’s attitude. The things we tell ourselves about money and the attitudes we choose have a powerful effect on our behaviors.

I’ve watched people with quite ordinary incomes do extraordinary things simply because they stopped feeling entitled and became habitual savers. That has made all the difference.

You may also enjoy:

8 Easy Ways to Grow a Cash Stash in 2019

19 Realistic Ways to Make Money Online

How to Break the Habit That’s Eating Up Your Future

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3 replies
  1. Robyn Jensen
    Robyn Jensen says:

    Sometimes, saving like this can be taken to the extreme. When my sister’s mother-in-law died in 2015 at the age of 95, the family found over $100,000 stashed all over the house–in books, jars, vases–it didn’t seem to matter. The family got her bank to agree to sort it out and count it up. They were surprised when two vans pulled up and six adults and five kids paraded in with “the loot.”

  2. Betty Thomas
    Betty Thomas says:

    These tips are all spot on. I always used certain Brand name products and was relunctant to try the generic or store Brands, but then I examined my grocery bill and knew I could do better. I buy very few processed or packaged foods but the ones I do purchase are now whatever is on sale or the lowest price Brand. I quit using the phrase “cheap brand” because it seemed to tell my brain that the product is inferior. Changing my language changed my opinion of the bargain and therefore saved me money, yay!!


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