The Psychology of Budgeting – A Few Tricks to Help You Save

We all know saving money can be difficult. There are just too many temptations out there and whenever you hit the shops to buy things you actually need, there’s always something else jumping out at you, begging you to buy, buy, buy. You may think a trip to Primark is harmless enough, but before you know it you’ve been sucked in by the super-cheap prices and forked out £30 for stuff you don’t really need.

The thing is, saving is all about motivating yourself and using your willpower to reach certain targets. I find the best way to do this is to set myself incentives. If I save a certain amount of money by a certain date I can give myself a little treat. Not something expensive obviously – that defeats the whole point of saving – but just something I really want or am looking forward to.

Another great way of putting money away is to get a money jar. Whenever you’ve got silver coins in your purse or pocket, take them out and put them in the jar. You won’t miss a few 50ps each week and before you know it, you’ll have a stash of coins ready to cash. Admittedly this is a slow process, but it’s so rewarding at the end.

If I’m getting a bit disheartened with my savings efforts I start making a list of everything I spend my money on. Do it for about a fortnight and write down all your purchases. You’ll soon notice how much you waste on things you don’t really need and this’ll make you more determined not to just throw money away. I always get really annoyed when I can’t buy something I really want because I’ve frittered away my cash.

A lot of you probably struggle because you decide to save money without setting yourself any clear goals. This means it’s all too easy to convince yourself you’ve done well when really, you’re only £50 better off. Instead, set yourself a specific goal like paying off your credit card bill. That way you’ve got more of an incentive to save a certain amount and you’ll feel much more motivated. Plus, if the end of the month comes and you can’t pay off the bill you’ll feel pretty bad about your efforts – not what you want.

Finally, don’t go to the shops when you’re feeling down. Dieters will know one of the hardest times to stay away from the chocolate is when you feel a bit low and it’s the same with shopping. Buying things gives most people an emotional boost so stay well clear!