How To Transition From A Season of Spending to One of Saving
Words by Vanda Frak
If you’ve spent the last few months carelessly tapping your card at happy hour and purchasing things online while neglecting your ever-growing debt or financial strain, it’s time to consider taking a sabbatical from spending and focusing on saving your hard-earned money for a while.
According to Statistics Canada, the lowest 20% of income earners were racking up high levels of debt by spending a net average of $27,935 more than they earned. This left Canadian households with an average net savings of $852 in 2018.
If looking at your bank account fills you with dread, consider the positive psychological impacts that saving money has such as peace of mind, confidence, optimism and a sense of freedom.
If you are ready to take back control of your financial situation and consequently, your mental health, well, there’s no time like the present. Here are some simple and painless ways you can transition from a season of indulgence to one of saving.
Make a goal and break it down.
Saving money can feel like going against the grain sometimes, especially when there are flashier, trendier and more exciting things you could be spending your coin on. One thing you can do to shift your focus from temporary pleasure to a more long-term mindset, is to make a savings goal for yourself.
Ask yourself what long term goal you are hoping to achieve. Is it purchasing a home? Or going on a trip abroad? Whatever your goal may be, write down what excites you about your next challenge and put it somewhere visible. Then, break down your goal into bite-sized and actionable steps you can take to save the money required to accomplish it. Having a purpose for your money will make it easier to say “no, thank you” to Sunday brunch or happy hour, and you’ll feel thankful for this mindset once you achieve your goal (think of how great happy hour will feel on the Almafi Coast!).
Set up an automatic withdrawal fund.
Setting up an automatic withdrawal fund is a simple and mindless way to save money. Similar to how you have automatic withdrawal for your bills, you can set up a tax-free savings account with your local bank and have a certain amount of money go into that account from your chequing account every month, without you having to lift a finger.
Opt-out of elective purchases.
Say “no, thank you” to elective purchases and get creative instead. Is there a book you’re dying to read? Instead of paying up to $30 for it at the bookstore, check to see if your local library carries it or if a friend has it and loan it out instead. Want to eat out with your friends? Host a potluck and invite your friends over instead. You can enjoy a great time and save costs by having your friends bring their favourite dish. Want to grab a coffee on the go in between meetings? Plan ahead, make coffee at home and bring it with you in a reusable mug. Good for the environment, great for your wallet.
Commit to a “no spending” month.
These challenges are very popular in a conscious living community, so take a page from their book and commit to a “no spending” month. This entails making a commitment to curb your shopping instinct and save money for the duration of a month. During the span of this month, the only things you’re allowed to spend money on are your living costs, gas and groceries. Getting into the habit of opting out of elective purchases, as we mentioned above, will really help you through this challenge. Whenever you feel the urge to pull out your credit card (and believe me, this urge will come), reel yourself back in. Take a moment to remind yourself of the purpose for this next season of your life.
Spending Slow Leaks.
From Netflix, to Spotify or Apple Music, to magazines, apps or subscription boxes, it’s easy to become blindsided by the amounts of money being withdrawn from your bank account every month for entertainment purposes. A good example of this could be the gym membership that you don’t use that often. Perhaps it’s time to consider cancelling it and giving some at-home workouts a try.
Write down every subscription or membership you’re committed to, evaluate which ones add value to your life and part ways with the ones you don’t make use of often.
At Paper & Coin, our primary purpose is to empower you to take control of your finances. We hope this article helped reshape your mindset towards saving money and will help you transition from a period of indulgence to a season of saving.
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