It’s difficult to save money and not splurge on things you want. Let’s face it, those financial goals you made this year will need as much help as you can get. One of the key ways I save is to play games. Let me show you what I mean.
Last July, I made a resolution not to spend any money on things other than basic necessities such as food and my bus pass in September. Even filling up Moose with gas was pretty much off-limits as we decided to do a lot of biking, walking, and carpooling instead.
By naming September, Samurai September, the game was set in motion to see if I could succeed. Not only did I not spend any money that month, I didn’t spend any money in October either! I wanted to beat the rules of my game, and break the record by as far a margin as possible. The feeling is just like trying to smash the Pacman record by a wide margin, so nobody will ever unseat you.
THE “I WON’T SPEND MONEY UNTIL…..” GAME
The game is really easy and fun to implement. Pick something that you hope for, and not spend on anything until your hopes turn true.
1) Until… the 49ers and Redskins make the playoffs. I love the 49ers and Redskins and I also love the new LED HGTV technology that has come out. The picture quality is amazing! Since these 40″+ TV’s are $1,300+, I promise I won’t buy a new LED HGTV until either team makes the playoffs!
2) Until… I record 10 songs and sing to an audience. Music is one of my great passions, especially trying to sing and play the acoustic guitar. I’m pretty horrible, despite practicing for the past 10 years. Within those ten years, my desire for a new, beautifully constructed Martin Brazilian Rosewood guitar has emerged partly due to an increase in income. Yet, I’ve promised not to get a new guitar until I put together my darn 10 song play-list, and get the guts to sing to a live audience.
3) Until… both electrical car seats stop working. Folks know I love cars. I’m going for a record 4th year in a row of owning one car. It’s quite an accomplishment since there was a time where I went through eight cars in ten years. Currently, my passenger side electrical seat no longer adjusts. Thankfully, it’s set in a comfortable position. Not until the driver’s seat breaks will I buy a new car! With the dealer offering a handsome $1,500 trade in value for Moose, I’d rather poke my eye out than trade Moose in and spend $20-50K more for a new car!
4) Until… I can touch my toes without bending my knees. Flexibility is as important as physical strength when it comes to sports. As the tennis season revs up, it’s important to strengthen my core and stay limber to prevent injury and beat the competition. Not being able to touch ones toes is pretty darn pathetic. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to work on! Hence, if I’ve promised not to buy any more tennis and general sporting gear (shoes, racquets, clothing, bags, etc) until I can comfortably touch my toes.
5) Until… I get a raise or a promotion. Finally, if you want to really play a serious game, which corresponds completely with personal finance, tie your goals back to work. Promise yourself that until you do get that raise or promotion you won’t spend money on anything superfluous until that day. By setting this target, you will focus on your greatest money making asset, you!
Finding reasons to save money is pretty boring compared to finding reasons to spend money. If you can create fun reasons to save money, stipulated on things that have nothing to do with the actual savings process (football playoffs), I think you’ll find it much easier to build your freedom fund.
Time can be your friend or your enemy when it comes to savings. The weak see more time as leading to more opportunities to spend and blow up their budgets. The strong see time as an opportunity to build savings and watch their investments compound. The great thing about this game is that it’s scalable to whatever you wish to strive for. Once your goals are achieved, you may be so happy that you may not even need to spend any money!
Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”
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Updated for 2016 and beyond.