How you can psych yourself into saving — so you don’t waste your money

Posted at 7:41 AM, May 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-22 11:47:18-04

(WXYZ) — You can do anything if you put your mind to it... even save money.

The brain controls your body, but it can also control your wallet. If you're thinking about saving money, you're already off to a good start.

"Really not as hard, it’s... the thinking," said Nicole Pettibone, a therapist at Ascension Behavioral Health. "And thinking leads to doing."

Pettibone says changing behaviors, like spending too much money starts with the mind. First, figure out where your money goes.

“Start tracking how much you are spending and identify things that you might be able to live without," she said.

While you're logging that, figure out if there is an emotional pattern.

“Identify what you are feeling when you’re spending.”

If you indulge in retail therapy, that could be a problem. Just like with other addictions - therapists use the acronym H.A.L.T. Ask yourself if you’re Hungry - Angry - Lonely or Tired.

“Some people spend money to kind of numb what they are experiencing.”

Once you identify those feelings - it can help control impulses.

“If you’re always spending money and you’re searching for something for a level of happiness that you just don’t have.”

Some say social media is the new way to keep up with the Joneses. Between that and shopping apps that tempt you into spending... maybe it’s time to put down your phone.

“It’s hard when we have everything literally at our fingertips.”

Use a goal system called S.M.A.R.T – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based.

“Have a goal to save money. They would identify the timeframe that they want to save it. How much they want to save it and then start breaking that down into measurable parts.”

And keep at it, even if you make a money mistake.

“'I’m going to do better next time' and if you feel like you really can’t control your spending, there might be something else going on and that’s when you might want to get professional help with that.”

And if you need extra support, experts say recruit a savings buddy!

If you have a friend that is also trying to save money, it’s easier to set goals together and keep each other accountable.... so you don’t waste your money!