How to Save Money » Frugal Living

How to save money when all you want to do is spend

Save Money
Last week I talked about paying yourself first and I received an email from a reader, asking me how to save money when all they want to do is spend what they earn. They are young and want to live their life… you only live once, right? Surely they can spend now and save later – right?

Well, technically, yes – but I would strongly advise against that. It’s important to save money for your future. Not only for retirement but for things like a home, a new vehicle, braces for your child, a wedding, repairs on your home.

What are you going to do when you need to pay for these items? You don’t want to put them on credit. So you need to save your money to pay for them. It’s that simple.

I understand that it can be exhausting to just save, save, save. It gets old real quick, I know – but it’s important. Would you rather have $100 in the bank or two dinners out? Which one is going to help you in the future?

Make it fun

If you want to save money without having it seem like a burden, make it fun! Having a positive attitude towards money in a good start. I know it may be hard if you have a bundle of debt, but try to be optimistic about your finances and you will be happier. Enjoy saving money by rewarding yourself when you reach your goals.

Celebrate small victories

Set small financial goals for yourself to work towards. Maybe you want to save $50 one month. Do whatever you have to do (work overtime, sell stuff, etc.) to make that money and then celebrate when you do. Even small goals are worth celebrating.

Of course, it’s also important to celebrate large goals as well. If you set a goal to pay off one of your credit cards in 6 months and you are able to do that – celebrate your success! Take yourself out for an ice cream cone or another small treat and then move on to your next goal – maybe you can treat yourself to two ice cream cones then. 😉

Make it automatic

The best way to save money is to have it come right off of your paycheck. This way you don’t ever see it, so it’s much less painless than having to manually transfer money into your savings account every month.

If your employer does not have a savings deduction option, you can always have your bank set up an automatic money transfer. If you get paid twice per month, have your bank withdrawal a certain amount from each paycheck and send it over to your savings account.

Saving money is a critical part of every financial plan. Preparing for your future is an important step that you don’t want to overlook. You are never too young or too old to start saving. Just start!

Even if you can only afford to save $25 a month right now – that’s $300 you will have at the end of the year. When your income goes up (or you are able to get your expenses lower), you can start saving more than that. You’d be surprised at just how fast small sums of money can add up!

Easy ways to save money

Bring lunch to work. Buying takeout every day is expensive. Even a $5 sandwich adds up to $100 a month (if you work 5 days per week)! Buy a few loaves of bread, some condiments and other sandwich toppings I’m sure you can make the same sandwich yourself for much less than the fast food joint.

Ditch the landline. If you have a cellphone, you don’t need to have a home phone as well. Cancel one and keep the other.

Use coupons. Coupons are cash! Using just $10 in coupons on your weekly grocery shopping trip will save you $40 per month or $480 per year!

Eat at home. It’s no secret that preparing meals at home is much cheaper than buying takeout or eating at a restaurant. Find some easy recipes and get cooking!

What are some easy ways that you save money?


  1. Ashley

    These are great tips, thank you! 🙂

    Automatic savings is really the best way to do it. We opened an ING TFSA a year ago, and I started automatically contributing $35/week to that account. My husband didn’t even realize until about 3 months later, that we had $35/week coming out of our account. I told him about it, but he clearly wasn’t listening when I did lol. It’s much easier to do it on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, on the day of or the day after your paycheque.

    I absolutely agree about bringing lunch. I can’t believe some people spend $10+ a day and go out everyday for lunch. I do think you need to splurge a bit, so I bring my lunch Monday-Thursday and then on Fridays I order lunch with my co-workers and boss. It saves a lot of money, and I’m happy to splurge one day a week.

  2. travelgeek

    Absolutely agree that saving (especially early) is very important. I was very fortunate to have an economics teacher back in high school who emphasized the power of compound interest when you start early. At 15, it was unheard of for anyone to think of contributing to RRSPs and stocks when everyone else was spending on clothes and nights out.

    Fast forward 20 years…. as a result of those habits, I’m able to go on multiple vacations a year, and also have enough to be able to say ‘F you’ to my boss if he ticks me off to a point and not worry about where my next meal is going to come from.

  3. Michelle

    I love your advice Cassie.
    I do not have a cell phone.. We pack our own lunch and snacks.. Cook from scratch and eat take out on occassion.. and regularly save.
    And love to use coupons.. Agree that coupons are cash.. they add up easily.. and if you use them during sales = cheap / free products.

  4. teachermum

    I think the most important thing people have to do is examine their attitude about money. Somewhere along the way it seems people (using a very broad generalization!) have decided that they can get whatever they want, whenever they want it, whether they have the money or not. Credit is “normal” and considered available cash. They don’t like cooking so they don’t do it. They need the newest and best of everything and won’t wait to get it. Going without is unheard of.

    I think that until one realizes that money is simply a tool to accomplish things in life and it is to be used wisely and not simply for self-pleasure, saving will be at the very bottom of the list! You need to plan for a home, car purchases, renovations, kids’ educations, weddings, grandchildren, retirement, etc.

    The future comes MUCH faster than you think–so start planning very won’t hurt so much when it arrives! My son (20 and in second year of college) is already planning to save as much as he can to buy a house. He seems to be letting go of the fancier car idea (that he can’t afford to insure at his age anyhow!) He has also been “taught” that he needs a career which can support a family with mum at home with the kids. He takes that very seriously. My daughter at 22 and just finishing school is wondering just where she might find a young man who meets her standards…she has a list…she will be a career mama and a fast food jockey just won’t quite do! Hopefully it won’t take long to find a job so she will get back to serious saving to put toward a house downpayment one day.

    They were helped with school expenses by grandparents and we intend to do the same for ours one day. Perhaps a small chunk of money toward a home downpayment. And most definitely family trips to Disneyworld! None of that will happen without serious planning though…and there will be two weddings that must happen first, some day…Yes, we are in the middle of the “expensive years”!!!


  5. Cassie Howard

    Ashley – Yes, automatic savings all the way! It’s so much easier that way. :I also agree that you need to treat yourself every so often. If you can afford 1x takeout per week and that makes you happy, then do it! If we don’t allow ourselves a few indulgances along the way, we won’t get very far.

    travelgeek – I wish I was lucky enough to have someone teach me about the importance of saving when I was younger. Unfortunetely, I didn’t learn about it until I was about 20!

    teachermum – Ugh, I know. People my age have grown up to think that debt is just a normal way of life. It’s way too easy to be able to get a credit card (or 10), buy a house, everything. I also agree that the future comes faster than you think! It’s a good thing you have taught your children about money in the right way, they are going to be just fine!

    Michelle – Sounds like you are spending and saving money wisely. Good for you!

  6. travelgeek

    People these days have been taught to think of every major purchase as a ‘monthly payment’. A car sounds unattainable at $20000, but is much more ‘affordable’ at $450/month. A $500000 house is only carries as $2500/month mortgage. That $1000 TV? No, not $1000, but $50/month. Doesn’t take long till they’re in the ‘monthly payment’ debt hole.

  7. Cassie Howard

    travelgeek – You’re totally right. It’s too bad that most people don’t realize that in the end they will be paying much more for those items, once you add in all of the interest they will have accumulated.

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