Is It Easier to Spend Less or Save More?

What do you think, is it easier to spend less or to save more? While those are really just two sides of the same coin, one may actually be easier to do than the other. It’s a matter of focus.

Spending less

Focus on spending less, and you’ll likely end up spending your time thinking about all the stuff you can’t do because you are cutting back. It’s like being told not to picture an elephant: you immediately picture an elephant. You suddenly find plenty of different things that you need or want to buy or do.

It’s hard to say “No, I can’t, I’m spending less right now.” when you really want to be doing all those other things instead. When you’re focused on what you aren’t able to do, your energy is aimed in the wrong place. That’s why it’s hard to be successful if you’ve got a generic goal like “we need to spend less”.

Saving more

But focus on saving more instead — especially if you’re setting aside money for a particular purpose that’s important to you — and it becomes a whole lot easier. That’s because you’re focused on what you can do instead of what you’re missing out on.

For example, it’s much easier to decide you’re going to eat at home instead of spending the money to go out for dinner if you know that you’re putting the money you would have spent toward something you want even more than a meal out.

Set an amazing goal for your money — something that you really, really want to achieve — and you’ll be working toward something that really matters. You can mark off your progress as you get closer and closer to that goal. And each time you save a little bit more, you’ll feel successful instead of deprived, which will help keep you motivated.

It really is easier to save more.

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14 comments

  • Savings is easy. But most of us are saving for something. Otherwise it is very hard to stay inspired, unless you have been through a bankruptcy already.

    Having a clear goal, as you mentioned is very very important to achieve it. Thank you.

    • I’m not sure that it’s easy for everyone. Or at least, I know I had a hard time with it at first! But it does get easier once you get going.

  • Interesting! Focusing on goals is great — write them down, too!

  • I try to do both! Whenever I received an increase, I usually increased my savings for a portion of the increase. I check my expenses monthly to see if I can reduce them further.

  • Wow! I’m right there with you. Your advice reminds me of David Chilton’s thoughts on the topic (Wealthy Barber). He says that budgets are baloney and people do what they have to do when they see a goal in front of them. Great refocusing idea.

  • I feel the same way about this. When I make a decision not to buy something because I want to save more of my money, I feel like I’m doing something good for myself. But if I tell myself I can’t buy something because I shouldn’t be spending money, I feel deprived for a moment. It’s interesting how changing the wording can really change the way you feel.

  • Marie Lewis

    I would say both are easy in their own ways. It’s just the matter of self control and determination which denotes the success at the end of the day. Personally I try to incorporate both as much as possible in a month. I usually follow a strict budget due to which I keep an amount aside for saving right after getting the pay check. Moreover it’s not that I don’t go for luxurious components but at the same time I keep my capability of affording in mind and buy accordingly. Nice read throughout.
    Marie

    • Sounds like you’re doing well with your finances. To me they are two sides of the same coin: by saving more, you probably naturally spend less and vice versa.

  • Saving is easier if the money gets set aside automatically before you see it. Having a goal helps in deciding how much to save.