Instant gratification is all very well. It feels great for a while. But I find the glow soon fades, especially if I’ve lost the plot and made a crazy impulse buy. Having to save up for something seems to give the whole buying experience much more emotional value, the pleasure lasts longer and it’s a sure fire way to avoid impulse purchases.
I still remember the thrill of buying a clothes when I was younger, saving up the money I earned working in the local chip shop. And I’m rediscovering the feeling by saving up for the things I want these days.
There’s an art to saving. Making the whole thing visible instead of just squirrelling the cash away in a bank account and forgetting about it does it for me – I love seeing a pile of coins and notes growing, and spending time daydreaming about the thing I’m saving for.
Right now it’s a pair of the funkiest shoes in the known universe from an expensive shop in Brighton’s North Laine. They’re bright pink, round-toed, high heeled with spotted red and white frilly fabric edging, a metallic blue sole, flowery fabric inside and floppy, pinky-grey silk ribbon laces. Absolutely sumptuous, delicious, gorgeous… fantasy shoes! At £85 it’s a bit of a stretch in one go but split over three months it’s no problem at all.
How to make saving up fun?
Here are some ideas.
- buy an old fashioned piggy bank and enjoy the buzz of rattling it, hearing the chink of coins and the rustle of notes grow in volume as your stash increases
- use a tall glass pasta jar so you can actually see your cash pile get bigger
- put it in the bank but keep a visible running total in a spreadsheet, on your phone or in a notebook so you can gloat over it
- store spare change in a jug and guess how much it’ll contain when it’s full. The bigger supermarkets often have Coinstar machines where you can exchange coins for folding money and it’s remarkable how quickly it grows into a worthwhile sum, especially when you include 50ps and pound coins
- Set up a monthly transfer from your everyday account so you save a regular set amount and know exactly when you’ll get where you want to be
- make it into a game or competition with friends or family – who can save the most? And who can dream up the most creative ideas for saving?
- next time you pay something off, for example car or furniture finance or a loan, continue putting the money away so you don’t notice you’re saving
- save with a bunch of friends and plan a date a few months ahead for a shopping spree
- use piggymojo, an absolutely brilliant site that makes saving cash fun using all sorts of clever stuff like smartphone and social network integration. Excellent
- set goals so you have something concrete to aim for – it makes a huge difference
Give it a while and you might even find the whole saving process addictive!