5 Reminders on How to Make Saving Money Fun

by Tracy · 7 comments

It’s true, saving money can be fun with the right attitude and a bit of creativity. You don’t have to spend a dime to gain a positive attitude; it’s all about making the decision to approach living a more frugal life as an adventure and opportunity instead of just looking at the restrictions.

How to Make Saving Money Fun


1. Learn to re-frame, that is to make a conscious effort to look at what you believe about a situation in a new way. For example, if you have to cut out cable to make ends meet you could either think:

I have to cut out cable to save money and now I will not get to watch any of the good shows right when they air.

Or

By cutting out cable, I won’t be tempted to watch so much television so I’ll have more time to read and exercise!

Both statements are equally “true” but one is more motivating and positive. Instead of looking at your money saving efforts as deprivation and a hassle, find ways to see them as a challenge or an opportunity.

2. Pick concrete goals. Saving for retirement or a rainy day is important, but it does seem rather vague, doesn’t it? Take some time to think about what you ultimately want from life and then express it in a way that is concrete and easy to visualize.

Do you want to be able to buy a house in the country in five years? Travel to Europe? Retire to someplace warm and inviting?

Be specific so that you know exactly what you are working towards. Knowing that you are working towards a larger goal makes pinching pennies less grim, more great.

3. Make it a game. Challenge yourself to see how much healthy food you can get at the market for $50 or how many kilowatts you can shave off of this month’s bill. Look at frugal living as a puzzle to be solved instead of an imposition.

If you look at saving money as an opportunity to exercise your creativity, it feels a lot less restrictive if you only look at it as a way to limit your spending. Here are some ideas for fun challenges:

  • Challenge your partner or a friend on who can come up with the best day or night out spending the least amount of money. Even if you lose this challenge, you still win.
  • Keep a log of how much you save at the grocery store each week and try to beat it.
  • Try to see how few miles you can drive each week.
  • Give yourself a no-spend challenge where you try to go without spending any cash for a few days or a week.

4. Keep things in perspective. It’s easy to lose sight of just how lucky we are and compare ourselves to those above us.  I was reading a story about a local high school where the average household income is $11,000, the crime rate in the zip code is the 14th highest in the nation and the infant mortality rate exceeds that of many third world countries. After reading that, it was hard to feel down in the dumps about not being able to afford a new outfit that I wanted.

Be grateful for what you have and stop obsessing about all the things that you can’t have or are giving up. This will allow you to better appreciate each moment and enjoy yourself, even if you’re making do with less.

5. Remember that almost all of the truly meaningful things in life don’t cost a thing. Sure, it’s fun to go out and do things that cost money, but at the heart of it, most of what makes these times special has very little to do with the amount of money we spent. Our most meaningful moments are usually:

  • Spending time with those we love
  • Exercising our creativity
  • Getting into a state of flow

Find ways to get more of these things in your life instead of material possessions and you’ll find that your happiness increases along with the size of your savings account.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Justin May 23, 2011 at 7:41 am

Concerning point 2, picking concrete goals, my wife and I have found that having separate savings accounts for various goals helps. Saving may not be the most exciting thing but watching the balance rise on an account specifically named “Vacation” is gratifying.

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Adam May 23, 2011 at 2:01 pm

My in-laws who were raised during the Great Depression still keep their panty stuffed with food because they remember how it felt to go hungry. Given the frugal way they live well into their eighties, they perpetually save for a rainy-day scenario they pray will never come. It’s sad that so many people, are financially overextended to a point that they cannot/will not save. Hmmm…

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Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager May 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Love this suggestion: “Make it a game.” Think of free ways to reward yourself for accomplishing your goals.

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Amy Saves May 23, 2011 at 4:16 pm

“Give yourself a no-spend challenge where you try to go without spending any cash for a few days or a week.”

I’m gonna try and do this for a few days. First step, stop eating out.

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Robert May 23, 2011 at 6:07 pm

I like the game part, we usually do that. Its actually fun and rewarding.

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Cath Lawson May 23, 2011 at 6:53 pm

These are fab tips Tracy. Your idea of visualising things to save for is a good one. It’s so hard to be motivated by money alone.

I’m going to try the grocery one. I get really lazy sometimes and buy ready made stuff. Lisis has been trying to just buy stuff that isn’t packaged in plastic and she has spent way less so far.

Also gratitude is really important. Whenever I have a bit of spare time, I write down things I’m grateful for. It reminds me to appreciate the small things in life that I sometimes take for granted.

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Witty Artist June 2, 2011 at 12:33 am

Excellent tips, Tracy. Thanks :) I like looking at the full half of the glass. And I’ve also noticed on myself that re-framing is a great thing. I guess we all tend to see things negatively when we have to save money. When I’m in such a situation, I think about the great things in my life and I’m grateful for them. This gives me the boost to go on more confident.

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