Delayed Spending: Savings in Disguise

October 25, 2012
Andia Dinesen, AFC ®

Why do you save money?  Does the image of stacks of money in a bank vault excite you?  For most, this probably isn’t true.

Saving is delayed spending.  Unless you are Ebenezer Scrooge (and you can see how well that worked out for him), you are planning to spend the money you are stashing.

Here are some tips for making that delayed spending, disguised as saving, more appealing.

Visualize.
Print out a picture of what you are saving for and pin it up somewhere you can see it every day.  On your mirror in the bathroom, your computer screen, your Facebook page, on Pinterest. 

Use SMART goals.
Help yourself save more effectively by using these tips when setting your goal.
·    Specific
·    Measureable
·    Active
·    Realistic
·    Timed

An example: Visualize and SMART goals.
Paige prints out a picture of a new couch and puts it on her dashboard in her car.  Paige is also quite active on Facebook, so she puts the picture her wall to share her goal setting abilities with her virtual friends.  Paige then uses the (specific) price of the $500 couch.  She decides to set up a transfer from her checking into savings automatically (active) on the 1st and 15th (measurable) of each of the next 5 pay periods (timed).  Paige has decided that she will have to cut back a little on her spending to reach this goal (realistic), but she has decided that it is worth the cutting back to have her new couch in just 2 ½ months.

Now, that doesn’t sound too difficult.  But we all know things (life) can get in the way.  Sometimes it is good to think about some of the negative effects from impulse spending to help keep your goal on track. 

Impulse Spending: The Negative Impact
Paige decided instead to buy the couch on the furniture store credit line so she could go home with the couch that day, she just couldn’t wait.  Paige knew she would incur some other costs, but the finance charges of 25% didn’t seem so bad, it was only a $500 couch after all, and she had a year  to pay for it.  There was also a fee of $2 per month for the 12 months; still a seemingly reasonable  fee..  But then she missed a payment. The late fee was $35 which was added  to the total financed price.  Paige started to realize that the $500 couch ended up costing much more.

Not only did the couch end up costing more, but if Paige doesn’t get back on track with the payments, then she could quickly see some negative impacts on her credit score.

Know Your Score: Save Money

Thinking about the positive effects of setting a SMART goal and the negative effects of impulse spending may help you reach your goal in a timely manner without costing you more money.

How have you used these tips in your life?  Share with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/militarysaves.  We would love to share your tips with others!

For more information:
Delaying Gratification
Find Your Balance
The Basics of Saving

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Guest Blogger | March 13, 2014

    Start an emergency fund by saving $10/week or $40/month to save $500 by the end of the year http://ow.ly/rswS2

Saver Stories View all »

On the Right Track to Build Wealth

Written by Super User | April 16, 2013

My name is Robina Wahl, and I am a military wife and a veteran. Although I am fairly new to the Military Saves Campaign, the message to “Build Wealth, Not Debt” reassured me that my husband and I were on the right track and doing the right things.

I have always been pretty responsible when it comes to saving and living within my means, but I was not prepared for the unpredictable employment lifestyle of being a Reservist and military spouse.

Read more...

Regular Savings is the Key to Success

Written by Super User | November 26, 2010

My name is Chris Strong. I joined the Air Force on 25 March, 1985. On that day, my financial life changed forever. I was introduced to saving bonds in Basic Training. Savings bonds were the big thing back then just like the Thrift Savings Plan is today. A Colonel gave us a briefing. I cannot remember his name but I can remember the 100 savings bonds he had posted to a piece of card board. He gave us a speech on the importance of saving money and how it can change your life. He inspired me to save.

Read more...

Money on the Side

Written by Super User | November 26, 2010

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait -- A colonel in the 1st Theater Sustainment Command has money on his mind.

Army Col. George Fields, the Chief of Intelligence, or G2, has been teaching a free "Managing Your Money" class here in his spare time. More than 400 students have attended his six week-long class to learn more about increasing their own finances.

"All I did was sit down and listen to a guy one day who showed me what he was doing" said the colonel as he explained how he became interested in what he calls, "becoming financially free."

Read more...