Saving Money by Not Spending It

19 May

Looking for tips on how to save money? I’ve got a great one:

Don’t spend it.

This is also probably one of the hardest money-saving tips to put into action. I know I suffer from want-itis often. Our 3-year-old daughter? Yeah, she’s got it too. You just try to make it out of Target without a meltdown in the toy aisle. I dare you!

In the coming weeks I’ll write more about the methods I have used to manage our household finances so we could be a single-income family in Southern California. But for now, let’s keep it simple: Don’t buy stuff. Extraneous stuff. Stuff you don’t need. Stuff that will fill up your house with clutter. Stuff you will step on six times a day while walking from your living room to your kitchen. Stuff that replaces other stuff that still works perfectly well. Stuff like beautiful purses and a fourth pair of flip-flops and vintage-looking seagrass baskets with quaint little chalkboard labels on them that are just so adorable and would perfectly store all of those Little Tikes train tracks you picked up at a garage sale a few weeks ago… Yeah, that kind of stuff.

Like most families, we are not saving as much money as we should be. One way that I am going to begin combating that is by depositing money into our savings account whenever I am seriously considering buying something that is not necessary. Example: My 4-month-old baby loves this toy by Lamaze, Jacques the Peacock. At least, I think he does. As much as a 4-month-old can love a toy. He drools on it. And his eyes get bigger when he sees it. I hear it crinkling in his car seat when we are driving somewhere. That’s good enough for me! Anyway, Lamaze makes other toys, like this Mortimer the Moose. I think it’s adorable. And look at those reviews! I am a sucker for good reviews, let me tell you. I don’t buy anything that doesn’t have more than four stars on Amazon.

I realized that as cute (and well-reviewed) as I think Mortimer is, he isn’t necessary. So instead of buying him, I turned around and transferred that amount of money into our savings account.

Actually, I rounded up. Mortimer is $12.69, and I took $15 from our checking and moved it into savings.

It’s not much. But once money is in our savings, we tend to leave it alone and let it grow. I’m hoping I can turn this into a new habit. Maybe you would like to give it a try?

If there is something you want to buy, resist. Take the amount of money you would have spent on a frivolous item and deposit it into your savings account instead. Whatever method you choose to track your finances, leave a little memo there for the record. Mine will say, “In honor of Mortimer.”

What will you resist buying this month?

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