How to Force Yourself to Save Money

Holding onto your piggy bank is just a matter of having the right mindset.

One of the biggest challenges in handling a budget is managing to save up funds for the big-ticket items you really want. It's much easier to go for quick gratification at the expense of long-term achievements. Sometimes saving money can even feel like a lifestyle diet, where you're always hungry for more and resentful of the things you don't have. Unfortunately, thinking like this will spell out failure for every savings plan. Tuning up your attitude and refocusing your attention can do wonders for getting yourself to really stick to that savings plan.

Step 1

Monitor your budget closely so you know exactly where every penny is going. Examining your budget on a regular basis will force you to acknowledge the exorbitant amount that's going toward coffee or work lunches, and help you identify where you need to clamp down and cut expenses.

Step 2

Approach saving money as an adventure instead of a chore. Consider it an intriguing challenge you're choosing to undertake rather than a burden you've been forced to bear. Mindset is everything and thinking of frugality as a fun exercise in creativity can leave you feeling exited instead of unhappy about each choice you make.

Step 3

Keep your eyes on the ultimate goal, instead of focusing on immediate desires such as the fast food burger you're craving in place of the sandwich you've packed for your lunch. Post pictures of the car you're saving for on the fridge. Draw a thermometer representing the savings you're building for a new home and color in a little more of it every time you make another deposit into the savings account.

Step 4

Don't compare yourself to others. Sure, the car in front of you may be a lot newer, but the guy driving it is probably in a heap of debt. You don't need to keep up with the Joneses. You only need to keep up with your own ideals. When you're tempted to let the green monster of jealousy run lose, recount your successes and know that those around you are probably spending thoughtlessly while you're make smart, thoughtful choices with your money.

Step 5

Think about the lasting value of each purchase before you make it. Is a purse that will be out of style in a month really worth as much as a week or two of groceries? Remember that things add up quickly, and a fast food dinner here and there will quickly become the new computer on your wish list. So even if the item in question costs far less than the one in your goal, you can't discount the comparison. You're always making a choice between one item and another, so make your choices count.

Step 6

Indulge in little pleasures and focus on enjoying these frugal treats. A movie marathon of films from the library won't cost a dime. A stroll through the park or picnic on the porch will brighten up the day without affecting your budget. Make bread or pizzas from scratch and turn it into a fun family activity. Fill your time with so many free pleasures that you don't have time to miss the ones that cost you money.