Are You a Spender or a Saver? How to Learn to Enjoy Saving Money

In order to save money, you have to want to save money. To help you change your mindset consider: 1.) It’s easier to save money than spend it and 2.) If you want to reach your goals, you’ll have to make it a priority to save money instead of spending it.

Early on, I discovered life is more enjoyable when you’re a saver rather than a spender.

I remember one day sitting in my sister’s bedroom as she was decorating. I was seven; she was nine. I remember our ages because as we spoke, she was hanging a poster of the just-released Volkswagen New Beetle. The car was black and the poster was tie-dye. That car was every girls’ dream back in 1997. She had just bought an armful of random things from a high school book fair. I hadn’t bought anything.

As she was hanging the poster, she looked at me puzzled and said, “What are you saving your money for? Do you want to buy a sports car when you turn 16 or something?”

The idea of buying a sports car had crossed my mind. But, really, I was saving for reasons beyond a sports car. I wanted to fill my piggy bank so I could buy him a brother. Then I’d fill that one. I wanted a whole dang army of piggy banks.

At an early age, I realized money is ever-present in our society. That’s a cute way of saying: It’s freakin’ important! If you have money, you have security, freedom, and peace of mind. Essentially, saving money gives you power, whereas spending money takes your power away. Power is worth far more to me than a sports car — even though my sister thought I was crazy.

Fast-forward to today. Because I don’t spend money needlessly, life is grand! I don’t worry about debt or jobs or bills. Security, freedom, and peace of mind are all very present.

If these things are missing in your life, you may be a spender. But, hey, at least you realize you’re a spender. That’s really important! That’s honestly the hardest part of becoming a saver — realizing you’re currently a spender. So good job!

But what you should really know is how to become a saver, so here goes:

 

Ten piggy banks of various colors and sizes lined up.
Shutterstock.com

Are You Having a Tough Time Saving Money?

If you’re having trouble saving money, it’s probably because your mind is not 100% on board with the idea that saving money is AMAZING!

You need to change your mindset in order to go from a spender to a saver. You have to WANT to save. You shouldn’t feel like you HAVE to save. Because, truly, if you want to save, you’ll never have to save. You know what I mean?

No one does something for long unless they believe in it. Playing basketball may seem like a good idea to your parents, but if you don’t want to play yourself, the venture won’t last long. Same idea with saving money. It has to come from within. If you believe saving money is better than spending it, it will happen more easily.

If you’re looking for some more motivation, consider the fact that the happiest people I’ve ever met have been savers. Saving money can lead to more enjoyment in life overall.

Saving Is Easier Than Spending

Think about it: Each time you spend money, you have to decide what to buy, locate the item, pay for the item, find a place for the item, take care of the item, repair the item — it really turns into a hassle don’t you think?

If you choose to save instead of spend, it’s really a matter of not doing something rather than doing something. Taking care of a bank account is definitely the easier alternative. It’s also very freeing to limit your possessions. And, keep in mind, when you die, you can’t take all your items with you — so nothing material really matters in the end.

Make It a Habit

Now that you realize saving money is easy, you just have to do it. Here’s how to stay focused on what matters:

  • What future goals do you have in mind? You’re reading FQF, so I’ll assume you’re a pretty ambitious person. Do you want to start a business? Be able to pay for college with cash?
  • What is meaningful to you? Do you want to make a life-changing donation to your favorite charity? Travel the world?

With these questions in mind, focus on saving for these goals each time you are tempted to spend money. Pretty soon you’ll be asking, “What do I do with all this money?!”

In Summary

Keep in mind, I live a very comfortable life. I have a nice car, live in a nice house, and eat well. I have everything I need to be happy but, most importantly, nothing that I don’t need. Sometimes buying stuff is necessary, but it should spending should never become a habit. To find out more about my standard of living, read the article: How I Save 85% of My Income.

Leave a Comment

16 comments

    • *thoroughly Googles your email address to ensure you’re not a spammer*

      *blushes* Thanks for the compliment.

      I’m not sure I can provide a sufficient answer. I aim to create original content though.

  • I completely agree. The motivation has to be intrinsic:

    – Spenders are extrinsically motivated. (What will others think?)

    – Savers are intrinsically motivated. (What do I think and want, really?)

    Knowing that more stuff can’t bring you lasting happiness is the easiest way to “switch teams”.

    • Thanks for stopping by.

      Thinking about long-term goals really helps person become intrinsically motivated. That person starts to see why buying ‘stuff’ is generally a bad idea as it does little to bring them closer to realizing their goals (realizing happiness).

      Considering the future is what helped my sister become less spendy (eventually!).

  • Now that we’ve switched gears and gone from spenders to savers, we’re SO much happier. We drive by restaurants, and all we see is money being piddled away. We see satellite disks on top of houses and cringe. Why? Not because those things are bad, but because we’ve found so much more value in having some savings as a cushion, and in consistently reducing our debt, than we ever did by wasting it away on stuff we don’t even remember.

    • I like how you said having luxuries isn’t a bad thing; you’d just rather use your money in a different way. There’s usually such disconnect between spenders and savers. But you’ve put it simply by saying I’d just rather use my money in a different way.

  • Will, this is a great post. Saving really does make life easier, so in the long run it’s definitely easier than spending. I think the biggest tip here is to change your mindset. If we have to do something, we never want to, but if we want to, we never have to!

    • Thanks for another insightful comment, Josh!

      Yeah, save money now because you want to and later you won’t have to (although you’ll realize it’s stupid not to save money when possible so you’ll keep this habit for life).

  • I agree with you Will, down with consumerism. Stuff does not make you happy. Watching the Pharrell Williams video ‘Happy’ on youtube for free will make you happier than accumulating ‘things’.

    • The thing I’ve noticed about accumulating things is you may get a momentary spike in happiness. But it soon fades and you’re actually less happy than before.

      It wouldn’t be too outrageous to say buying stuff is like taking drugs – very happy right away but then life is worse after.

      And YouTube FTW! I think people can be way more entertained for 2 hours of free YouTubing than with a $12 movie in the theater!

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I really appreciate the feedback!

  • Haha, I was completely obsessed with the New Beetle back in 1997. I was a bit older than 9, though 🙂

    It’s great that you’ve been a saver from a young age. I was always a spender, and it’s really tough breaking out of that mindset later in life. You’re right, though, there is nothing like the feeling of being financially secure and knowing you have money to spare. Watching my net worth increase is a lot more fun than buying things that only last a little while.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Jen! I bet you could buy a whole fleet of New Beetles now! But the coolest part about that thought is knowing that you don’t want to!

  • I agree with all of these tips. Saving is SO important and I think sometimes it’s a matter of just “getting over it” and living below your pay cheque, so long as it’s reasonable. I’ve done a lot of things to cut back on my spending, and the best thing that’s helped me is just simply tracking what I spend… although I’ve been naughty and not done it this month!

    I find saving to be really addictive once you get some momentum behind it.

    • Seems deep down everyone gets genuine enjoyment from saving $$. The unfortunate part is most people wait until their 60’s to realize it! Props to you for joining the party so early!