How To Get Your Mind in the Mindset of Saving Money


January 29, 2024

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Get into the Saving Mindset

Do you remember learning how to ride a bike?

You didn’t just leap on a bike at the age of two and magically whiz around like a pro. First, you started with a tricycle, then a bicycle with training wheels, and finally, you could ride a real bike on your own. 

Learning how to get your mind in the mindset of saving money is like learning to ride a bike – once you get the hang of it, it’s a skill for life. But there will be some scrapes along the way. You won’t instantly “get it.” Instead, it’s something that you’ll need to practice. But, eventually, it’ll become effortless. 

Think of this article as training wheels guiding you through easy, practical strategies to embrace a savings-friendly mindset and keep your finances on track. 

The key to getting your mind into the mindset of saving money is to release the money blocks around budgeting and allow yourself to create a budget that doesn’t feel restrictive. When you do this, you’ll want to save. It won’t feel like a “have to” or a “should.” Instead, it will be a normal part of life. 

So, let’s get started creating a more secure financial future!

How To Get Your Mind in the Mindset of Saving Money
Mastering the art of saving money is like riding a bike—once you’ve got it, you’ve got a skill for life.

What exactly is a ‘savings mindset’?

A ‘savings mindset’ isn’t about the amount of money you have or how much you earn.

It is about your relationship with money and your attitude towards what you do with your money.  Someone with a savings mindset is conscious of their spending and following a plan to increase their savings.  

It can be little things like waiting 30 days before making any unplanned purchases or setting aside a portion of your earnings every paycheck. 

A ‘savings mindset’ means you are intentionally saving rather than just spending what you earn.  

Remember that having a ‘savings mindset’ doesn’t mean you have to scrimp and forgo all the extras. It means you can make educated decisions on what you spend your money on and be aware of your savings goals.  When you have a ‘savings mindset,’ you are consistent, and savings are on autopilot, so you don’t panic and suddenly have to get so restrictive in your budget to do the things you enjoy.

A ‘spending mindset’ is when you aren’t thoughtful about what you spend.  

If there is money in your bank account or room on your credit card, you spend it.  Most people with a spending mindset aren’t aware of how much money they have, how much they spend or on what items.  While you may be quick to judge a spending mindset, it is forgivable because financial literacy isn’t something most of us learn.  

It isn’t until something happens, like losing a job, death in the family, or the breakup of a marriage, that we are forced to look at our financial situation.   So, it’s understandable that many people are on autopilot. Most people don’t know how much they save and spend and how much just little changes can impact their financial freedom. 

What are some ways to build financial discipline for saving money?

There isn’t a secret to how you save more money or build a nest egg. You either spend less than you earn or earn more than you spend. 

So why do so many of us fail at budgeting? 

  1. Because it requires change, and any change is uncomfortable.
  2. Saving means looking at the future; something in the present feels more “real” and provides instant gratification.
  3. We have many habits ingrained in our subconscious, most of which we haven’t ever considered, let alone tried to alter. 

As a result, building financial discipline can be difficult.

To build financial discipline more easily, try these techniques:

  • Put savings on autopilot so the money automatically comes out of your account each month. 
  • Create and write down a clear long-term goal and have it somewhere you see daily.
  • Make sure you aren’t too restrictive but are making small changes to reach your goals.
  • Be consistent with budgeting and accountable for your spending.
  • Work on your limiting beliefs or internal programming that is holding you back. 
  • Stop comparing yourself to others.  Remember, this is your life, and you can make choices that align with your goals. 
  • Write out your values so that when something is tempting, you can determine if it is something you value and if it keeps you on track.
  • Use tools such as the “50-30-20 rule” and the “wait-30-days rule” before you purchase something non-essential.
  • Be comfortable saying no to things your friends, colleagues, or family members ask you to do.
  • Acknowledge if you feel FOMO, thinking you are missing out on something. Remember what you are missing out on if you say yes. The answer is you need to follow your path and your goals. 
There isn’t a secret to how you save more money or build a nest age. You either spend less than you earn or earn more than you spend. 
There isn’t a secret to how you save more money or build a nest age. You either spend less than you earn or earn more than you spend. 

How do I set effective savings goals?

Setting a colossal savings goal may be tempting when you have initially decided to “get your finances under control.”

But you need to be careful; if your goal is unattainable, you end up feeling resentful and deprived. And you’ll eventually give up. Which can lead to depression and anxiety and thinking you aren’t good enough. 

A practical savings goal is achievable, realistic, and less restrictive. 

It should feel uncomfortable, making you pause before spending. But it doesn’t make you feel impoverished.  There’s a delicate balance between the two.  

To make it easier to set a goal, you could follow the 50-30-20 rule, which is that 50% of your take-home money goes to needs, 30% goes to wants, and 20% goes to savings and debt repayment.   Then, set this up so your money automatically goes into separate savings and checking accounts each month. 

A ‘savings mindset’ means you are intentionally saving rather than just spending what you earn.  
What did you learn about spending and saving when you were a child? This will inform how you save and spend today!

How can I change my habits from spending to saving?

To change your habits from spending to saving, you must acknowledge the two major areas that influence all your decisions around money.  

  1. Internal Programming
  2. External Pressure

Internal programming is subconscious, representing your relationship with money and impacting all your financial decisions. 

The values you learned when growing up created your attitude today.  Thoughts and ideas such as “money is scarce, people with money are bad, I will never have enough money, I am not good with money” are creating your current behaviour.  

All of these thought patterns will counteract your goal of saving, so you need to acknowledge any of these limiting beliefs first and choose to reprogram your mind to think positively about money.  

External pressures are pressures that society puts on us.

This can include what we see on social media, in our neighbourhood and with our friends and family.  Where you live, your career, your kids and the costs associated with conforming are significant.

Your desire to spend and your savings habits are opposing forces and create a conflict in your mind.  By working on both internal and external pressures, you increase your opportunity for success in changing your habits.  

A practical savings goal is achievable, realistic, and less restrictive. 
Think of a way to save money that feels as fun as a piggy bank but is more practical. After all you can’t stuff a million dollars in a piggy bank. But you can come up with a way to enjoy saving and tracking your money.

How does budgeting help in developing a savings mindset?

Budgeting helps develop a savings mindset because you are forcing yourself to determine where your money goes each month. 

The excuse of “I don’t know where my money went” is no longer valid.  

On a positive note, when budgeting, people often find areas where they are spending, but that spending isn’t creating any value. It isn’t a need, and they don’t truly enjoy or deeply desire the thing that they’re spending money on. This discovery creates an opportunity for savings because it is easy to stop spending here.

It can be like finding money on the street, except you’re finding it in your bank account! 

After you create a budget, you check in at the end of the month to see if you are on track with where you thought you would be.  Checking in each month creates a habit of being aware of your spending habits, and it is rewarding to see how much you are saving.  

Budgeting helps develop a savings mindset because you are forcing yourself to determine where your money goes each month. 
Budgeting will help you cultivate a savings mindset. When you take time to consciously decide how your money is spent each month, your mindset will shift.

Why is having a savings mindset important for financial health?

One of the biggest mistakes I see is people spend everything they earn and don’t have a plan for emergencies or their future. 

By having a savings mindset, you are aware of your spending and can create a stable future.  You can meet your financial obligations comfortably and are in control of your money, which feels empowering rather than restrictive.

You are less likely to panic and stress every month when bills come in, and you have confidence when you look at the future. Financial stability also means we can take advantage of opportunities in other areas of our lives because we are on a solid foundation.

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About the Author

TIFFANY WOODFIELD is a financial coach, cross-border expert, and entrepreneur based out of Kelowna, BC. As a TEP and associate portfolio manager, Tiffany has extensive experience working with successful professionals who want to leave a legacy and enjoy an adventurous, work-optional lifestyle. Tiffany combines extensive knowledge from her background as a financial professional with coaching and her passion for personal development to help her clients create a unique path that allows them to live their fullest potential. Tiffany has been a regular contributor to Bloomberg TV and has been interviewed by national and international publications, including the Globe and Mail and Barron’s.