Ten Ideas to Change Your Thinking About Saving Money

This is my 100th post. I sincerely thank everyone who has read them either directly on my blog, or on Linked In, Facebook or Twitter. These posts have had over 3,000 visits, and there are now around 500 fabulous followers.

To mark the occasion, I considered giving 100 tips for saving, or 100 ways to reduce debt or something of that nature. But I realized even if I could come up with that many, no one would make it past the first ten anyway. So you get ten.

Of all of the things I’ve written about personal finance, the topic of changing your mindset toward saving may be the most powerful. So, here are ten different ways of thinking that will help you achieve your financial goals.

  1. Saving money isn’t natural. People have all sorts of natural tendencies, but saving money isn’t one of them. If you are not a natural saver, there isn’t anything wrong with you, nor should you allow that to be your excuse. Saving is a learned behavior, and anyone can learn it.
  2. Financial security has more to do with what you have than what you make. While having a good income certainly makes life easier, building savings is the only way to make life financially secure. Having savings gives you the flexibility you need to meet life’s opportunities and challenges.
  3. Saving is more important than how you invest. The best investment strategy will not allow you to achieve your financial goals unless you are saving enough to begin with.
  4. Life is about trade offs. You can do anything you want, but you can’t do everything you want. If you spend money on one thing, you can’t spend it on another. If you spend more than you make today, you can’t spend as much tomorrow, and if you don’t save money now, you will have to save much more in the future. Conversely, saving money today is worth multiples of what you save down the road.
  5. Spend with intention. Money is only as good as what you do with it. By all means, spend money on what is important to you. That includes both today, and making sure you have enough to do the same in the future. Maximize what you have to spend on the important things by minimizing what you spend on the unimportant ones.
  6. Goals are the first step toward success. The only way to get what you want is to decide what that is. While big goals are important, don’t discount the value of the small goals that lead up to the big ones. Achieving your retirement savings goals starts by achieving your monthly savings goals.
  7. Be prepared to reach your goals. You can’t get where you’re going without a road map. Know what is required to achieve your goals. Lay out the specific things that you will do as well as the things that you won’t. Track your progress frequently and adjust your plan as needed.
  8. Commitment is half the battle. Commit to your goals and your process. Simply calendaring an action or telling someone else about your intentions will greatly increase your chance of getting it done. Write down and/or discuss with someone close to you both your plans and how you expect to achieve them.
  9. A budget is a plan for how you spend, not a diet for your money. A budget is more about planning to achieve your goals than giving things up. It is a way to document the steps that you will take. Every month you stay on budget is a month you are closer to your ultimate goal, and that is an achievement in and of itself.
  10. Be grateful. As the interfaith scholar David Steindl-Rast once said, “it is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful”. Gratitude helps you appreciate your life as it is, and it helps you avoid the temptation to compare what you have to what others have.

It can be hard to move forward without changing how we think about our lives. I hope these 100 posts have informed and inspired you to think differently about how you can reach your financial goals. Please keep coming back, because I’ll keep writing.

Image courtesy of samuiblue at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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