Are you losing your motivation to save money?
Most savings goals take time to accomplish, making it easy to lose your enthusiasm and the will power you had at the start.
But there are some strategies that can help.
Here are several tips to help you stay motivated to save money.
Why You Lose Your Motivation to Save Money
There are a number of reasons you could lose your motivation to do something.
Maybe you chose a goal that doesn’t actually align with your values. Or maybe your values have changed.
With a large financial goal, the loss of motivation comes down to impatience.
Most money goals take time to achieve, but it’s human nature to want quick results. When you don’t get them, you’re more inclined to lose your drive and give up on them.
A lack of visible progress, feelings of frustration and deprivation, and losing sight of why you’re saving in the first place can all contribute to a loss of motivation.
How to Stay Motivated to Save Money
Keeping motivated can be a challenge, but with the right strategies and mindset, it doesn’t have to be impossible.
Here are 6 key ways to stay motivated when you’re saving money:
- Remember why you want to save
- Rethink or refine your goal
- Evaluate your tactics
- Build an environment that promotes success
- Treat yourself and celebrate your wins
- Be adaptable
Remember Why You Want to Save
Behind every savings goal is a purpose. The reason why you want to save.
Saving money for a vacation is a goal, but recognizing the reason behind that goal is what will help you stay motivated.
What do you value?
Identifying your purpose comes down to understanding what you value.
Is a desire to experience new things with your family driving you? Maybe it’s the security of having an emergency fund in place or sufficient retirement savings for the future.
A clear purpose will give you the motive you need to succeed.
What are your priorities?
Whether it’s your family, your health, or some other reason, determining your purpose is essential to setting your priorities.
Understanding how a purchase impacts your goals will transform the way you look at your budget.
When you start to feel restricted, unmotivated or tempted to blow your budget, bringing to mind the reason for your efforts will give you a renewed sense of purpose.
Once you’re clear on your priorities your decision-making process will become easier, helping you reach your savings goals faster.
What’s your mindset?
Mindset is an important but often overlooked tool in achieving your goals.
Having a positive mindset will not only help you reach your target, but it’ll help you stay motivated along the way.
Make sure you’re telling yourself things that promote the behavior you want instead of sabotaging it.
For example, if you constantly refer to yourself as a spender instead of a saver, you’ll be more likely to struggle to save. You’re basically justifying failure before you start.
A study out of Stanford showed that a
In the study, one group of participants were asked “How important is it to you to vote?” while another was asked, “How important is it to you to be a voter?”
That slight shift in phrase – “to vote” versus “be a voter” – was significant. The group who consciously decided to identify with their goal (“to be a voter”) were 13% more likely to actually vote.
All that is to say, if you’re trying to save money, don’t just think of it as saving money. Think of yourself as a money saver.
You could also try using financial affirmations to improve your money mindset.
Rethink Your Goal
Sometimes a lack of motivation is a sign that you’re targeting the wrong goal or focusing on too big of a goal.
Is it the right goal?
Think about your goal and if it’s really a reflection of your values.
So often we’re told things we should be doing with our money.
But if you set a goal based on someone else’s expectations, you’re not going to be able to sustain the momentum to succeed.
Does your goal feel impossible?
If you’ve got a goal to pay off a large amount of credit card debt or save up a huge amount of money it can be especially hard to maintain your motivation.
It can feel like you’re not making any progress when you’ve got a long term goal you’re working toward.
The best way to maintain your momentum for these types of goals is to break them up into smaller goals and track your progress.
Set milestones and use savings trackers to visualize your progress.
Is it a big enough goal?
If you set too small of a goal, you may start to feel uninspired.
This sapping of your motivation may cause you to fail at what you assumed was a sure thing. A double-whammy.
Set a goal that challenges you, but still feels possible.
Evaluate Your Tactics
Another reason you may lose your motivation when trying to save money is that your tactics are wrong.
Are you sprinting your way through a marathon?
You may start your journey super excited and gung-ho to save by imposing spending restrictions or slashing your budget.
Those may be great tactics for immediate results, but they won’t be sustainable for long-term financial goals.
Don’t burn yourself out by attempting drastic change over a prolonged time.
Try saving smaller amounts more often
It can be tempting to try to find as much money as quickly as possible.
But if you find yourself constantly struggling to make ends meet or having to dip back into those funds you’re going to get frustrated fast.
Instead, set up smaller savings deposits more frequently.
Telling yourself you’re not going to eat out this month and immediately depositing the $100 into your savings account that you normally would spend may seem like a good idea. Until later this month you decide to eat out anyway.
Instead of breaking your budget, or feeling deprived and resentful of your it, break it up and saved $25 a week.
If you automate the savings you may not even notice having less money to spend. There are several savings tools to help you, my favorite being Peak Money and
Take on a money saving challenge
My absolute favorite money-saving tactic is money challenges. I prefer monthly challenges; they’re long enough to make a noticeable difference but short enough to not burn you out.
One of the quickest ways to save money is to tackle a no-spend challenge.
You set the rules, but typically you’ll refrain from spending money on any non-essential items for a month.
To actually realize the savings, take note of the things you would have bought and transfer that cost into your savings account.
Here are some other challenges you can try:
Build an Environment to Guarantee Success
Who and what you surround yourself with can have a massive impact on your motivation and success.
Who are you surrounded by?
Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
Who are you spending time around?
Are they friends and family who cheer you on and encourage you? Or are they belittling you and undermining your confidence?
Surrounding yourself with like-minded people will help you stay motivated to reach your goals.
Are you surrounded by temptations?
Whether it’s friends and family always wanting to go out or your Instagram feed showing off the latest fashions or gadgets, you may be subject to temptations that can undermine your efforts without even realizing it.
Start to be more deliberate with the entertainment you choose.
Unfollow feeds that make you want to spend money and unsubscribe from sales emails from your favorite stores.
And don’t ever set foot in a Target. (Ok I’m kidding with that, but definitely do shop with a list and stick to it!)
Immerse yourself in things that support your efforts
Do you have a habit of mindlessly surfing the internet only to end up on Amazon and impulsively buying things?
If so, try to start surfing sites that promote your success.
- Hop on to Pinterest and make a dream board with things that get you excited about your goal.
- Read personal finance books and blogs with budgeting tips
- Listen to a podcast with ideas on how to make extra money
- Watch some YouTube videos related to achieving your goal
Try to replace or alter any potentially negative habits into positive ones that will help you stay positive along your financial journey.
Treat Yourself and Celebrate the Wins
It may seem like a little thing, but making sure you give yourself permission to have fun is one of the best ways to increase your motivation to save.
Set up a fun money account that you can use whenever you want to splurge or celebrate.
How much you put in depends on your situation and your goals, but having enough so that you can indulge in Starbucks or enjoy a night out with your friends will help you avoid that feeling of deprivation a strict budget can often cause.
Also, setting a reward in advance for hitting your milestones can help you stay motivated.
I have a favorite restaurant I typically reward myself with at the end of all my monthly challenges.
Knowing what treat I’m in for helps me stay focused as I push through the tough days along the way.
Roll With the Punches
One of the best tips for sticking to any budget or goal is to be adaptable. You have to know how to roll with the punches.
When a boxer gets punched, he’s less likely to get knocked out if he moves with the punch. Similarly, your budget is less likely to fail if you’re willing to adjust when needed.
Whether it’s an unexpected expense or a change in your priorities, being able to adjust your budget to reflect your current reality is the best way to avoid derailing the entire thing.
It can be tough to stay motivated to save money, especially for long-term savings goals.
But using the strategies above will help set you up for success both in maintaining your motivation as well as reaching your goals.