7 Proven Ways to Trick Yourself Into Saving Money

trick yourself into saving money

I’m guessing you’re reading this article right now because you want to discover how to trick yourself into saving money, right? As we all know, saving money is easier said than done…

Does this sound familiar? You declare to yourself “I’m going to save $3000 in 3 months” but then before you know it, 2 months have passed and your savings have increased by exactly $0…

If so, don’t worry – you’re not alone. There’s a reason why 58% of Americans have less than $1000 in savings – because saving money can be hard!

Saving money requires discipline but fortunately, there are various ways to trick yourself into saving money. Here are 7 proven ways…

How to Trick Yourself Into Saving Money – 9 Proven Ways That Actually Work

Set Up an Automatic Transfer

The easiest and most effective way to trick yourself into saving money is by setting up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account every pay period.

This concept is also known as “paying yourself first” and was popularized in the book “Automatic Millionaire” (a must-read if you’re serious about saving money.)

The idea is that most people who are trying to save money will save what’s left AFTER they’ve bought and paid for everything else. This usually means that very little money ends up getting saved.

By paying yourself first, you’re reducing the temptation to spend more than is necessary because the money is gone from your checking account before you even notice it was there.

A lot of banks allow you to set up automatic transfers online, otherwise you can go into your local branch to get everything set up.

Start a Change Jar (That You Can’t Open)

You may not have had a change since you were in grade school, but don’t write them off. Change jars can be an excellent tool to trick yourself into the saving money.

The key to success is making sure your change jar isn’t easy to open (so don’t use a mason jar!) I recommend purchasing a coin bank like this one that doesn’t have an opening at the bottom, to help avoid any temptation.

I recently purchased this coin bank from my local Daiso store here in Japan.

500 yen coin bank

At the end of every day, I check my wallet for 500 yen coins and if I have any, they go straight into my coin bank. Once the coin bank is full, I’ll have 300,000 yen saved up (which is about $2800 USD.)

You can set up your coin bank “system” however you’d like – I also have a separate coin bank that I empty everything (besides 500 yen coins) into every Sunday evening.

Join Ibotta

One of my favorite ways to save money is using the free cash back app, Ibotta. This is essentially free money just for doing something that we all do regularly (grocery shop) and the money you earn can be a great way to boost your savings account.

Here’s how it works:

Simply do your grocery shopping, log into the app and find matching cash back offers to redeem, snap a copy of your receipt and you’re done. Within 24 hours, you’ll receive your cash back reward.

Once you’ve reached $20 you can exchange it for cash or a gift card. Click here to join Ibotta and get a bonus $10.

(You can also earn $5 for every friend you refer to the app so sign up, get your referral link and start sharing! I’ve made over $2000 with Ibotta from claiming cash back rewards and sharing my referral link. Click here to get started.)

How much money I've made with the Ibotta app

Set a Specific Goal

Tricking yourself into saving money can often be as simple as setting a specific savings goal.

Think back to when you were a kid… If your mom asked you to vacuum the living room, you probably weren’t too keen on the idea, right? But if she told you “If you vacuum the living room for the next 4 weeks, I’ll give you $10” (i.e. bribed you :p ) then suddenly vacuuming the living room didn’t sound too difficult, did it?

That’s because you had a goal – earning that sweet 10 bucks!

Setting a savings goal can work in the same way.

Here’s an example:

Maybe you want a shiny new MacBook and you’ve figured out it’s going to cost you $2000. Set a savings goal of $3000. Once you’ve reached your goal, go and buy your new MacBook and save the extra $1000.

Use Acorns

Acorns is an investment app that makes it easy to trick yourself into saving money, because it saves money for you on autopilot.

Here’s how it works:

Acorns “round up” feature works the same as saving your spare change at the end of the day, except it’s done every time you make a debit card purchase.

Whenever you swipe your debit card, Acorns rounds your purchase up to the next dollar and then invests that money for you.

For example, if you spend $4.20 at the convenience store, Acorns will round your purchase up to $5 and invest the $0.80 for you.

If you use your debit card regularly, Acorns can be an excellent tool to help you increase your savings on autopilot. Click here to join Acorns and get a $5 bonus.

Start a 52-Week Savings Challenge

save money

A 52-week savings challenge is one of the best ways to trick yourself into saving money, because once you’ve completed the challenge you’ve gotten into the habit of saving (which means you no longer have to “trick” yourself!)

This 52-week money saving challenge includes a free printable and at the end of the challenge, you’ll have increased your savings by $3000.

You’ll also find plenty of ideas on how to make money and cut expenses to help you complete the challenge. Click here to check it out.

Wait 48 Hours Before a Purchase

How many times have you gone to the mall or Target to pick up one thing you need and ended up coming home with 3 shopping bags full of other “stuff” you didn’t actually need?

Impulse shopping can put a HUGE dent in your budget and make it very difficult to reach your savings goals.

One of the best ways to stop yourself from impulse shopping is to implement a “48 hour rule.”

Every time you’re tempted to make an impulse purchase, wait 48 hours. If the desire is still there (and you’ve decided that it’s something you truly need and it’s in your budget) then go ahead and buy the item.

But chances are, you’ve probably forgotten what it even was after 48 hours (which means you really didn’t need it, and you’ve saved yourself money!)

Earn Cash Back With Rakuten

If you do a lot of online shopping and you’re not using Rakuten to earn cash back, then you’re missing out on free money.

Rakuten makes saving money easy. Every time you shop online, go to Rakuten.com then click on the link to whatever store you want to shop at.

Rakuten will track your purchase and give you a percentage of the total purchase price in cash back. Every 3 months, you’ll receive a “Big Fat Check” in the mail for doing nothing other than shopping online.

Click here to join Rakuten and get a bonus $10.

Calculate Required Work Hours

This has always been one of my favorite ways to trick myself into saving money, and it works a charm.

Before making a purchase, stop for a second and figure out how many hours you’ll need to work to pay for said item.

For example, if you’re tempted to purchase a $100 pair of jeans and you make $20/hr, you’ll need to work 5 hours (more, when you factor in taxes) to pay for those jeans.

Are those jeans really worth FIVE HOURS at work? Whenever I think of it that way, the answer is almost always a big NO.

Other Articles You Might Like:

9 Proven Ways to Trick Yourself Into Saving Money - Want to Know How to Save Money? These Money Saving Tips Will Teach You How to Trick Yourself Into the Savings Habit!


Ashli is the founder of Digital Nomad Mom a blog about legitimate ways to make money from home and find ways to save. Ashli has been working from home and making money online for 8 years and loves sharing legitimate opportunities to earn.

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