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Today’s post is a guest post from Emma at Tuppennys FIREplace
I’m always looking for new tactics to save money and I am sure you are the same. You want to save money without feeling like you’re being deprived, because who wants that?
You don’t want to go on a never ending spending freeze just so you can throw an extra couple of hundred into savings each month.
But I am sure you realise that if you want to save money then you can’t continually spend like there is no tomorrow, which I am sure you don’t do anyway.
As much as I love living frugally and often NOT spending money, I am not here to tell you to do the same.
And of course, I’ve had plenty of years where I did spend (too much) money and had the debt to prove it.
If you’re in debt, you need to cut back on spending.
If you’ve got financial goals to aim for then you need to free up extra cash to achieve those goals.
And of course the best way to achieve these is to get your spending under control. But how to do that and not get that deprived feeling?
How to save money month after month and not end up building debt at the same time?
The 30 day rule
There are many people who talk about using the 30 day rule to save money. And they often talk about it like it’s no big deal.
Like everyone does it, should do it and you’re silly not to. But these self same personal finance perfectionists are almost always high earners, with huge disposable incomes.
Their choices about spending and saving money are often very different to you and I.
When you decide to save money, you know you’re going to have to live a bit differently and give up some things.
It’s all very well following the 30 day rule when you know you can buy anything you want at the end of that time.
Very different when you know that waiting 30 days doesn’t mean you can buy anything you want because you still only have a limited budget.
What is the 30 day rule?
The rule is very simple. If you see something you want then wait 30 days before you buy it.
Put the money it would cost into a savings account for those 30 days. If you still want it in 30 days then feel free to go buy it.
If you no longer want that item, keep the money in your savings account.
What I have found in my many years (cough) of saving money is that being able to wait 30 days is hard to do although not impossible.
It’s something that you will absolutely be able to do, but not straight off. It’s like going from walking to sprinting with Usaine Bolt without any training.
The 1 Week Rule
The reality is, to save money you have to stop spending in a way that you can sustain month after month, and enjoy the process.
What worked for me, having tried the 30 day rule and failed many times, was to not aim so high or so far ahead.
30 days was too much for me when I was trying to cut back on spending yet I still wanted to enjoy buying things I saw.
I found success with pausing my spending for a week, because realistically I was likely to only think about or go shopping once or twice a week due to work and other commitments.
So putting any spending off for 1 week was a definite change for the better without me feeling like I was waiting forever.
How to Save Money With the 1 Week Rule
Using this rule doesn’t give you license to spend whatever you like, just one week later. Sorry about that!
Firstly, you still need all your other financial ducks in a row.
You need to have worked out your budget and know exactly how much money you have to spend each month, without getting into debt.
For help in creating your budget check out these posts:
Secondly, the main idea of waiting one week is exactly the same as it is for the 30 day rule.
- You see something you like
- You wait a week
- You decide whether to buy or not
The key here is that more times than not, you are going to end up not buying, because the impulse to buy has worn off.
1 week later and you can ask yourself these questions:
- Do I still want this item?
- Do I actually need it?
- Is it within this month’s budget?
- Do I want to buy it more than I want to save towards my money goals?
The most important of those 4 questions is actually number 3 – can you afford it right now?
If you can’t then you shouldn’t use the 1 week rule, you should just walk away or make a plan to save up for this item.
Push Back your Spending
Pushing back your spending decisions by one week is about giving you a chance to step away from the thrill of seeing something you (temporarily) fall in love with.
One week later and you may well have forgotten all about that thing, at the very least you can make a more rational decision about whether it is worth buying without those shopping endorphins urging you to buy, buy, buy.
You still get to buy things (if it passes the 4 questions above) but more often than not you are going to decide that you don’t want it, all things considered.
Ramping Up Your Non-Spending
Using the 1 week rule allows you to kickstart a different way of spending and saving money.
Over time you will find that you can push that 1 week further out, to 2 weeks or even 3 until eventually you are one of those (annoying?) people who sing the praises of the 30 day rule.
I am one of those annoying people who can easily wait 30 days or longer to buy something.
In fact I have got the point where I can easily just not buy, but that might be because I’ve been around more years than you and have slowly bought all the things I really need.
Or it might be because I don’t actually like shopping any more!
Emma talks about all the ways you can save money and live frugally over at Tuppennysfireplace.com. Living frugally allowed Emma to pay off her mortgage 10 years early and now she is on a mission to share just how fabulous and life changing being frugal can be.