“The habit of saving is itself an education. It fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought, and so broadens the mind.” ~ Thorton T. Mungor (American Scientist)
How many times have you rushed home after a long day of bargain shopping just bursting to share with someone the phenomenal amount of money you were able to save on the season’s latest trends? Sharing your wins is a wonderfully healthy way to encourage yourself to stick to your budget, but before you get too excited over your good fortune, ask yourself what happens to the money you “saved”. Remember saving is the absence of spending, so if you take the 20 bucks you saved on that sweater at Gap and spend it on a movie for two, technically you didn’t save anything.
To see really positive results from living frugally, especially when it comes to shopping, try putting the amount of money you saved on an item into your savings account or even a “rainy day” emergency fund. Turning momentary saving into real saving can add up quickly and is a painless way to create a little more breathing room in the budget.
For instance, let’s say you hit the sale of the century at the mall and saved $100 on a few pieces for your fall wardrobe. (This would probably be more likely at a discount store like Ross or a thrift store, but why split hairs?) Maybe the following week, it’s triple coupon time at your favorite grocery store and the bottom of your receipt informs you that you’ve just saved $80. At the end of the month, take the hundred and eighty dollar savings you acquired and deposit it into your savings account (or emergency fund if these are two separate accounts). Even if you only saved fifty dollars each week, in a year’s time you’d have put back $2600 in residual savings. For as little effort as it takes to transfer funds with most banks, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you let false saving become the “win” and don’t commit that money to a secure location.