Save Budgeting

How To Make Saving Money Fun

Jen Dziura  |  February 9, 2024

Saving money doesn't have to be a pain. Here's how to make saving money fun. (Yes, it can be done in a way that you actually enjoy it!)

We all know that we’re supposed to save money — for emergencies, so we can make big purchases without credit cards, and for “the future” in general.

But saving money doesn’t usually feel fun or glamorous. Usually it means forgoing glamorous experiences so instead you can feel adult and responsible.

It’s time to flip that thinking. Here are five ways to make saving money fun, empowering and, yes, even a little glam!

App It Up

I’m sure you’ve heard the stock advice to “pay yourself first” — that is, have money automatically tucked into a savings account before you ever see it.

That’s fine advice, but I feel like I could enjoy the process more. While a notebook and a pen always worked just fine, there are tons of great (and free!) budgeting apps on the market right now that can actually make saving money fun. (Here are a few of our favorite budgeting apps if you’ve never experimented with one before and want a recommendation.)

These apps can help you set up an automatic savings plan, or even round up your purchases and put the difference into savings. Or, you can use them to move money into a savings account automatically, or manually. Your choice. Even if you don’t have much to save right now  — maybe it’s just $30 a week — that’s great!

Set Some Arbitrary Goals

A lot of general savings advice suggests you save for a trip or some other large purchase. But the truth is, you can save whenever you feel like it. So, instead of saving “for a trip,” pick an arbitrary dollar goal and try to imbue it with some ritual power — kind of like how people are always posting cute graphics on Facebook about how 3/14 is Pi Day or 11:11 is an “angel number,” etc. If nothing is jumping out to you, start with your age! If you’re 28, on your 28th birthday, set aside that same number of dollars for yourself. Or if your child’s birthday is May 13th, every time you look at the clock and it’s 5:13, move $5.13 into your savings account. Yes, there are lots of other things you could do with that money, but moving it into savings beats spending it on that second latte of the day that you (or your jitters) really don’t need. 

Think of Your Money as Security and Power — and Don’t Let It Go

A lot of the value of saving money is security — being able to bounce back from a failed relationship, medical crises, iPhones that fell in the toilet, getting laid off, and so much more. For example, if your laptop suddenly died, how much would it destroy your budget for the month to buy a new one?Instead of thinking of money you save as just a number, think of money as your get-out-of-trouble card. The more you have, the more invincible you become. Like a superhero. That’s very satisfying. You are a different and more powerful person walking around all day when you have backup in the form of savings.Even a small amount of money can have this effect. In fact, perhaps more so — the difference between $0 and $200 in savings is arguably much greater, mentally, than the difference between $10,000 and $20,000.

For instance, sometimes you go on an awful date. If you let someone treat you and take you out to a place you can’t really afford, you might feel kind of, well, “stuck there” to suffer through,  which is not a good dynamic. But if you’ve got cash reserves on hand, you can end a bad date with panache — throw down more than enough cash, and just walk out. Like a boss.

Of course, we hope that doesn’t happen often. The point is that keeping a cushion of cash for security is a way to truly be able to money and reduce our day-to-day financial stress. After all, having $100 in the bank lets you feel less stress during every thiscould-cost-$100 potential crisis, and that’s a wonderful feeling.

Strategically Stock Up on Necessary Goods

Are you a reasonably organized person with a bit of shelf space? If so, consider buying in bulk to save hundreds (if not thousands!) of dollars every year. Here’s a look at the foods you need to buy in bulk to save the most money.Don’t get me wrong. You ever want to buy in bulk just because marketers are telling you it’s a deal (usually on something you don’t need). But for those items you do need, buying items when you see them on sale, or from wholesale clubs like Costco or Sam’s Club, can be a wonderful way to save. One of our favorite things to buy in bulk? Olive oil, because it lasts for two years. Also, a shelf full of Illy coffee (the best) will not only help your kitchen look and smell like an Italian cafe, it also lasts for two years. (Along with tons of other coffee brands.) Plus, you get bonus points for organizing your storeroom with pretty little bins of all your goods. (You want to come to my house and see my tubes of Sensodent shelved beautifully next to the Brita filters and SodaStream refills? I’ll bet you do.)

Essentially, the goal here is that you set up your future self with things you know she’s going to need. Because no one likes making a midnight run for tampons… especially when you know you could have paid half the price if you’d planned ahead.

Vision Board What You Want… On Social Media

Do you covet a genuine Chanel handbag? Yes, it could set you back thousands of dollars, but if you really want it, it might be something you want to invest in one day.

But rather than buying it on impulse (or worse, going into debt for it) start a Pinterest board or an Instagram collection called “My Savings,” or “The Bag.” Anytime you see a picture of this bag, add the photo to the gallery. And keep saving.

Once you have the money saved up, ask yourself you really want to buy the bag after all… Probably not that much, right? Because a lot of the value of the bag is knowing that you’re the kind of person who could buy a Chanel handbag if she wanted to. And you could! But over the years that you’ve been saving, you now find that you’ve grown wise, and instead of actually buying it, you’re instead going to make an actual investment in your future, and maybe open a $16 bottle of champagne.

Eventually, you’ll have, say, $20,000 in that account, and then you can look back at social media and see all of the luxury goods you could afford with that money… Except you still have the $20,000.

What’s next? We say it’s time to turn that money into $1M for your future. Which can absolutely be done, with a little coaching. You got this!

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