27 September 2023

How to save more money according to a financial behaviour expert

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Financial behaviour expert Emma Edwards* offers her top three tips for saving more money.

With the New Year approaching, you might be starting to think about the financial changes you’d like to make in 2023.

If getting savvier with your finances and stashing some extra cash is on your radar, here are three ways you can shift your brain into money-saving mode.

  1. Get specific on your money-saving goals

All too often, I see people spending the whole of December promising themselves they’ll “be better with money” or “save more” in the New Year.

Working with vague goals means you’re far less likely to achieve the results you want.

If a financial glow-up is something you’re after, get clear on what that looks like.

What time frame are you working with? What behaviours will you need to adapt or change in order to make that happen? Most importantly, be clear on why you’re wanting to save more or spend less.

Connecting to the motivations behind your savings goals is key to sticking at it.

  1. Track your spending

Even if you think you know where your money goes – in fact, especially if you think you know where your money goes – track your spending.

It’s something we’re often hesitant to do because it feels confronting or boring, or maybe even pointless.

But doing so can be eye-opening, and it can help uncover areas where you’re leaking money in your life.

It’s not about uncovering reckless spending or overindulgences – nobody’s accusing you of that!

It’s about keeping an eye on your habits for a period of time and then using that data to make small tweaks that add up to big savings.

A program like MoneyHub from H&R Block can help you get started.

  1. Zoom in on your habits and routines

To fully understand your financial habits, we need to zoom in on how your brain thinks about spending money.

Set aside a week or two – or if you’re really up for it, a full month – where you don’t spend any money on anything non-essential.

I’m not trying to ruin your life, I promise.

This isn’t a money-saving exercise, it’s a reflection exercise – though it will probably save you some cash in the short term.

This concentrated period of focus allows us to tune into all the times you reach for money without even realising it, and it exposes your financial habits by isolating them.

After your cold turkey period, you can work on consciously rebuilding your spending habits by selecting the things that matter most to you.

Sometimes, exposure to how automatic our money habits can become is all you need to make that big change.

Making lasting money changes isn’t about crash budgeting or giving up everything you love forever.

It all starts with understanding your habits and behaviours, and these tips will help you do exactly that.

Emma Edwards is a finance writer and content creator based in Melbourne as well as the H&R Block SMB Ambassador.

This article first appeared at lifehacker.com.au.

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