I have a secret for you. Well, I guess it’s not a secret if I’m sharing it on the internet, but I’m still calling it a secret. Okay, so here it is: I am a spender at heart. That’s right. The person who founded a business based solely on teaching people how to write budgets and make saving second nature used to love spending money. And part of me still loves it. In fact, it wasn’t until about 2 years ago that I actually started enjoying the act of saving money. Let’s be honest, the adrenaline you get from buying a pair of shoes or cute picture frame from Target does not compare to the rush of sending $100 to a savings account. There’s just no competition (at least in my mind)!
Thankfully, I can now say that I enjoy saving money more than I enjoy spending money (well, most of the time). Now don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy the occasional shopping trip and who doesn’t love them some Target? But I’m much better about spending money intentionally and within my means. Because although I used to love spending, I hated that feeling you got the next day when the guilt set in. If you’ve ever been there then you know this guilt. It eats at you. You start questioning your purchase. But then the other part of you defends that dress that you just had to have. The cycle continues on and on as you spend more and save less.
When the realization of your habits hits.
One day, realization just hit me (as I can only imagine it hits other people as well). I woke up and realized that I had filled my closet, home, and stomach with stuff. Purchases that started as joy had faded into frustration because everything around me was so crowded. My closet was full. My home was cluttered. And my waistline was expanding. I was spending so much money and what did I have to show for it? I felt out of control with my finances and I knew that something had to change. Can you relate? Have you ever had that rush of excitement when spending money only to notice that your emotions fade? Surely I cannot be alone.
How you can learn to enjoy saving money.
Learning to save money (or even send a large chunk of your income to debt) can take some getting used to. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that it came easy. There was no magic moment where I woke up and decided that I enjoyed saving money. It just doesn’t happen that way. Instead, it was a gradual process with bumps along the way. I like to think of it like training for a race. Back when I was first out of college, I started running. What began as a mile around my massive apartment complex grew into many more miles. In fact, I even paid to be part of a running club (and if that’s not commitment, then I don’t know what is!). But there were times when I just didn’t want to run. I wanted to sleep in or binge on Netflix instead. So I would skip my run and (surprise!) I’d end up feeling bad afterward.
The same is true when you’re training yourself to learn how to save money when all you want to do is to spend. You will work on saving and then make a mistake. You’ll spend money somewhere and there will be a setback. But you’ll get back up again because no one is perfect. Plus, it’s perfectly okay to spend money when you budget for it! There are things you can put in place to make saving money and spending less easier on yourself.
Allowances aren’t just for kids.
By far my number one way of curbing my spending habits was to give myself an allowance. Now I know what you may be thinking. I’m not a child, Allison. I don’t need an allowance. But I’m going to give you some tough love here. If your spending habits are childish, then you need an allowance. And I will be the first to admit that my spending habits were downright childish. So I gave myself an allowance. I started out with only $20 a month and soon bumped it up to $30. This allowance was just for me, and no one else. I would spend it on whatever I wanted, or I’d save it for a larger purchase that I had my eye on. The genius behind giving yourself an allowance is that you are telling yourself that it’s okay to spend money. And that’s the truth! It is absolutely okay to spend money. But it should be money that you planned for and included in your budget. An allowance will teach you to spend money on what is important, and not on what is convenient. It will teach you patience (and who out there doesn’t need more patience?) and discipline. And when you screw up and spend more than your allowance (which you will), then you’ll learn how to give yourself grace and set goals for the next month. I use my amazing cash envelopes (that you can grab for FREE) to help me with my allowance.
Allowances aren’t just for children. In fact, I believe that allowances might be for you!
Make it a competition.
Now I’m not a huge proponent of competing against others when it comes to saving money and finances (plus I’m just not a naturally competitive person). However, I’m not against competition against yourself! Yes, I mean you! One way you can train your mind to want to save more is to try and send more money to savings than you did last month. So if you sent $400 to savings (or debt!) last month, can you send $500 this month? Compete against your past self as that extra motivation! You can even calculate how much money you sent to savings last year and try to beat it this year. This has worked wonders for me in the past. The idea of comparing myself to my past self is very motivating. So set some goals and rock that savings!
Give yourself time.
The task of changing your habits from a spender to a saver will take time. And that’s perfectly okay. Give yourself grace, an allowance, and motivate yourself to keep saving. Eventually, you will walk into Target and you won’t want all the stuff. You’ll come out with only what you intended to buy. And you will feel free because money doesn’t control you. Instead, you are in control of your money. I promise this is possible and you’ve got this!
Invest in you!
If you truly want to learn how to budget, control your spending, and save more than ever, then you need to check out my Budget Better Than Ever Online Course! It’s perfect for you if you want a step-by-step program to guide you how to take back control of your finances once and for all. It comes with access to an accountability group on Facebook where you can turn to me for questions! It’s time to start investing in yourself so you can reach the dreams you have for your future!