How to make saving money less painful

People always ask:

“I’m starting to save, and it’s beginning to hurt. How do I save without feeling like I’m saving?”

At first glance, you might think: What kind of fool question is that?

But I am not guilty to admit that I thought the exact same thing when I first started!!!

When I first started budgeting and thinking about my money, I felt like saving was being in a horrible mental prison.

“I am making all of this money, 70% of it is going to debt each paycheque, WHY THE HECK DO I NEED TO SAVE THE REST? ARRRRRRRGH!”

It was torturous to see my money disappear so quickly towards debt, and then to know I had to spend another 30% of it in bills and a small, small bit of it on fun.

I didn’t see the point. I felt angry. I wanted to go on shopping binges.

I wanted to do MORE. Buy more. More of everything.

I felt like life was not fair, why didn’t I learn about money sooner, blabbedy bla bla….

*cue the waterworks and the pity-me princess routine*

After I got over myself, I realized that my focus on money, debt and saving was very negative.

So how do I do it now without throwing a mental temper tantrum at life?

My Secret: Change your focus

I needed to change what I was doing from being negative (crying about deprivation of money and stuff), to being positive.

I am doing whatย  I did before (actually, MUCH more), and I’m happy doing it…(which is something I never thought I’d say).

I can still buy anything I want

I tell myself all the time:

You COULD buy that if you wanted to.

But do you? Really?

Is it going to improve your life significantly?

Or do you just want it as an impulse purchase?

Think about the precious space it’ll take up in your suitcases when you move — is it worth the space & weight?

99% of the time, it’s just my inner repressed shopaholic lusting after something shiny and new, but then my saver personality takes over and is way more practical.

So yeah. I can truly buy anything I want if I set my mind to it.

I just CHOOSE not to, which is very different from not being able to.

…and saving money is the happy result!

My #1 priority is not to buy things to clutter up my life and physically tie me down anywhere (hence the aversion to home ownership), or otherwise known as “minimalism”.

I choose not to buy.

I don’t buy what I don’t need or really, really, really want.

Since I don’t buy anything I don’t want, I save the money.

And the more I save, and the more I realize how unnecessary STUFF is to make me truly happy, the happier I get thinking about and using what I already own.

It sounds so New Age-y and strange to get happier over time, but it’s true.

My top 3 happy (PG-13) buttons:

  1. Great, stimulating & fun conversation (BF, Friends, Bloggers, Socializing in general)
  2. Delicious food – it’s seriously orgasmic when it’s done right. Totally makes my day.
  3. A really great night’s sleep

So, what are your triggers to save? Are you happy to be doing it?

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.