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Saving money is hard. Some people live paycheck to paycheck with very little money left after paying their bills. Others make more money but use their disposable income as quickly as possible. A smaller percentage of people keep their “extra” money in the bank. If you are not a saver by nature but want to become one, try the 30-Day Money-Saving Test.
As tests go, this one is simple. All it requires is some determination and the ability to postpone gratification for a month. And anyone can take part. When you follow this plan, you stop buying things you don’t truly want or need and establish a strong savings pattern.
The 30-day money-saving test, also known as the 30-day rule, requires that you stop making impulse purchases. Instead, you take the money you were going to spend and place it in your savings account for 30 days. If you still want to buy a specific item after those 30 days, go ahead with no guilt. If you’ve changed your mind, keep the money in your savings account. That way, you’ll have more money for emergencies and essential purchases. Plus, you’ll be happy you didn’t waste money on an unnecessary purchase.
Everyone impulse buys sometimes, but you probably regret many of these purchases or never use the item you once desired. You might only spend small amounts in this way and think it doesn’t affect your bottom line. But these small buys add up. Perhaps you stop for a morning croissant and latte once in a while. Resist the urge to swing by, and instead, put that $10 into your savings account. Now, wait a month. Once you’ve given it 30 days, you might still want to splurge – no problem. Enjoy your pastry.
Of course, some people make large impulse purchases, such as vehicles, vacations and jewelry. You may not intend to spend money when you shop in person or online but immediately fall in love with a sports car or trip to Hawaii. Maybe a flashy diamond ring or some expensive piece of fitness equipment catches your eye. Making those impulse buys can really harm your financial stability. You need to step back and consider what you are doing before buying the item.
Impulse spending is more about emotions than the actual purchase. During the buying process, you may feel excited and even delighted. Buying things gives you an emotional lift that can be addictive. For instance, buying an expensive pair of shoes gives you a high. Buying a new cell phone makes you feel empowered. And if you are sad and depressed, you may keep buying things you do not need just to feel better. A designer suit may become the solution to sadness.
Businesses understand the psychology of impulse buying and work to exploit vulnerable people. That’s why you see so many “24-hour sales” and “Hurry, the savings won’t last” messages posted by retailers. They feed into your need to buy quickly and with little thought. In fact, you may feel that you’ll save money by buying an item now while it’s on sale.
Delayed gratification is the opposite of impulse spending. It means you have the control to wait for things you want. Delayed gratification requires discipline and is a characteristic of a healthy personality. When you teach yourself to wait 30 days to make a purchase, you cultivate a positive habit, one you can pass down to your children. And the 30-day rule money benefits are an excellent reward for your behavior.
The 30-day rule shouldn’t be your entire savings plan, but it can be a great way to start. You never feel deprived because you don’t deny yourself those new skis or that new cappuccino maker. Instead, you’re postponing the buying decision. If your desire for them is genuine, you will want them in a month’s time. Try putting these items in your online shopping cart and then depositing the purchase price in your savings account. Make a note on your calendar so you remember to make your decision after the month has passed. The process is simple.
You can add to your savings by taking other simple steps such as using promo codes for clothing, food and travel. You can use the latest technology to save on basic expenses like utilities and computing. Bigger projects, such as home improvements, can save you money while increasing the value of your home. Instead of spending your savings, place it in your savings account or consider making long-term investments with it. With a bit of planning, you can find ways to save money every day without drastically changing your lifestyle.
The 30-day rule is a simple way to start or boost your savings plan. If you can afford your impulse purchase, you can afford to put that amount of money into savings. And if you really want the item after thinking about it for 30 days, you can have it. This method keeps you from feeling deprived.
At the end of 30 days, you may find that you don’t want to dip into your savings. And impulse items often lose their luster rather quickly. What seemed like a must-have a few weeks ago may be easy to pass up after the delay. You will also avoid adding to your basement collection of unused kitchen gadgets, musical instruments, and unwearable clothes.
Using this method means you have a handle on self-discipline and a real chance to fundamentally change your financial situation. Apply the 30-day rule to purchases large and small to build up your rainy-day fund. Or use it to save up for something you need, like a new car or a replacement roof. Passing up those expensive bakery treats can be a bigger help than you might think.