Punish And Reward Your Own Behavior To Save Money

If you want to start saving but know you lack the discipline to stash money away, you’ll need to come up with ways to trick yourself into getting into the mood. An ongoing game of mental solitaire could end up being quite profitable.

Admitting her methods are weird, the writer at Well Heeled Blog shares her quirky ways of fooling herself into frugality:

* Pay yourself for eating in. Whenever she eats brunch in rather than going out, she puts the $15 to $20 she would have spent into a savings account.

* Save the money you glean from returns. When she returns an item to a store, she transfers the money to savings rather than leaving it in her account, vulnerable to impulse spending.

* “Spend” money you almost wasted on savings. When she window shops and stops herself short of buying something she really wants, she sends the amount she would have spent to her savings account.

Weird Saving Tricks I Use [Well Heeled Blog]


Edit Your Comment

  1. pop top says:

    Why not just skip all of those weirdo steps and have the exact amount you want transferred into your account done automatically when you get paid? If you know you need say, 68% of each paycheck to pay bills, and the other 32% is extra, why not just get it all out of your account at once? Then you can transfer money out as needed, but you won’t have this magical pile of excess money tempting you with its siren call.

    • axhandler1 says:

      That’s basically what I do. Whenever I get paid, I know I can transfer a couple hundred to my savings and still have enough left to pay my bills, so that’s what I do. I could split my direct deposit between my checking and savings, but I like this way better becuase if I am having a difficult month, money-wise and feel like I need more cash, I can simply transfer less money to my savings.

      • Cat says:

        That’s basically what I do. Whenever I get paid, I know I can transfer a couple quarters to my savings and still have enough left to pay my bills, so that’s what I do.

      • chizu says:

        I do an automatic transfer every month from my checking to my savings account. I keep my eyes on my account to make sure I have enough to cover all my bills, if I don’t, then I make a transfer from my savings to my checking. If I don’t have to “borrow” money from my savings, then it’s a plus that month. If I have to borrow from my savings, I’ll see in the next couple of months if I have a plus amount in my checking and see if I could “pay myself back”. I like the automatic transfer just because there’s so little effort on my end. I think most people can do a $10, $20, or whatever around they are comfortable with and just make that transfer every week/two weeks/month. Increase as you get your expenses under control.

    • CanadianDominic says:

      Because this system rewards DISCIPLINE. If you have a hard time saving, its a different technique that pays yourself every time you make a small sacrifice. If it works, and adds some dollars to the savings account, whats the problem?

      • pop top says:

        If you have a hard time saving then how is my made-up system not just as good, or even better? If you can’t control what you spend, then take that money away from yourself before you can even spend it. Give yourself the bare minimum to cover bills and sock the rest away. How is doing a bunch of silly little things like paying yourself for not eating out or buying something better than not giving yourself access to the money in the first place?

        • CanadianDominic says:

          Because people are different. Not everyone thinks like you, and if a silly game accomplishes the same goal as your straight forward and serious system, what difference does it make? To meet your goals you probably make sacrifices occasionally, and the OP does as well, just in a different way that is perhaps more suited to their personality type. Again, I cant understand at all why someone would criticize someone for accomplishing something many people have difficulty, but in a slightly different way.

          Learn to relax a bit in 2012?

    • SoTEX says:


  2. energynotsaved says:

    Many of us have issues with saving money. I do. In order to make me save, I have an auto transfer on the 5th of each month to my Fidelity account. I’ve made it difficult to get to that money, and so it just doesn’t really exist for purposes of spending.

    I need to save more, but I want to make sure I can get to it in case of an immediate emergency. Here is where I like her ideas of transferring to the savings account. I may try that, well, next month, when I have something in the checking account….

  3. sufreak says:

    Honestly, theres simpler methods. A budget. You allow $X per month for dining out, etc. Keep the cash in an envelope. If the envelope is empty, you’re not eating out. If you have extra, it rides to the next month, and you get an additional Taco.

    For annual expenses, use SmartyPig.

    Once you’re good with a budget you can ween yourself away from cash and earn points on a CC. (provided you pay it off)

  4. chizu says:

    After my car payment ended, I arranged for an automatic payment to go into my savings account every month around the same time to take a lesser amount out. Unfortunately last year had been a really bad year for savings: car problems, dental work, plane tickets, etc. The upside is, I was putting money away, I was able to pay for all these things instead of trying to get a loan or borrow money to pay these things off. Despite the saving and spending kind of cancel each other out, at least being at zero is better than being at negative. Now the thing to do is get the (what little amount) money I saved up OUT of Bank of America…

  5. aloria says:

    I take my “disposable” income (what I’ll have left after monthly bills) and divide that amount by 30. That number is my allowance for the day. I keep a diary of what I spend each day, so I always have a number in my head of how much over or under I am. This helps me to get out of the “I’ll make it up later” mindset when I’m about to splurge– it’s harder for me to spend money on something I don’t need with a negative balance hanging over my head.

    If I have a positive balance at the end of the month, I’ll sometimes treat myself to *one* of those splurges I avoided, though usually I find that I don’t really want it anymore.

  6. do-it-myself says:

    As a student, with the little money I would make, I’d make sure to put every other paycheck into a savings account. Sure, I was living partially off loans, but I knew I wouldn’t have them forever. I saved and saved for a couple years. I was without a job for many months after graduation and it most certainly paid off. Currently my savings is $15 but I had to use it to pay rent and other bills. It served me well as a true emergency fund. Once I got a job, I paid off my credit cards in full. My partner counted as my 0% interest credit card so I’m currently paying that back in a few bulk installments. Not that my savings nor bills were very large, it was still all that I had. I don’t even understand the concept of others being $40,000+ in CC debt. I literally made (and currently make a little more) peanuts and I feel like I’m living an extremely lavish lifestyle. I have pocket change in retirement, but it’s starting to build. If I want something and know that I won’t be able to pay off my credit card in full at the end of the month, I don’t bother! The only exception is a well deserved new furniture set that’s being financed @ 0% for 2 years. It’ll be paid off in 9. Sure, I don’t have every single thing that I want, but I have everything that I need and I don’t starve myself of life’s joys either. I guess I’m just not greedy enough?

  7. Flik says:

    Whenever I get a raise, I just roll the extra money (post taxes) into my savings acct or 401K. I lived without it before – I can live without it now. It’s the easiest way I’ve found to save without thinking about it.