What if I told you that you’ve thrown away at least hundreds of dollars this past year for junk? Would you believe me? Would you think that you are too smart to make some dumb mistake like that?

While it may be hard to believe, but highly intelligent people like you and I have wasted money to various degrees. We’re all guilty of unconscious spending and for some of us, it’s hindering us from building out financial wealth. However thee are ways to keep it under control and replace them with habits to help us save more.

How We Spend Money Unconciously

Even though we stay within our budget most months, there are times when we’ve been surprised during our monthly review to see spending in a certain category go up.

  • Eating on the Go: Sometimes I’m out doing errands and I’m hungry. Rather than pack a lunch I grab whatever is around at a reasonable price. Do it often enough and both my wallet and my waist notice.
  • Last Minute Shopping Runs: The combination of lack of planning and life’s surprises usually means I’m making a hasty trip to the store where I not only purchase the item I need I also pickup a extras.
  • Small Online Purchases: iTunes has made some good money off of me. I’ve been known to hear a song online or on TV, love it, and then purchase the single. Seems small, but imagine doing that several times through out the month (along with picking up an episode or two of television).

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this problem. How many times have you’ve spent money on bottled water? Tap is fine in most of the country, but bottled water is a popular purchase. With a filter installed and a reusable container you can have fresh, quality water on the go.

The point is, many of us spend money without even knowing it. We’re not bad people; we just have some money leaks we need to fix.

By the way, the reason we stay within budget even when we spend more is because we’ve included buffer money into our family’s banking accounts. We’re human and we know that from time to time it happens. Yeah, we could beat up ourselves for every infraction, but we’d rather be realistic on how we budget.

Ways to Save Money Todayspare change jars

Just as it’s easy to spend money little by little, it’s also easy to start saving little by little. You just have to be creative.

Bank of America and Wells Fargo have a savings program that allows you to transfer small amounts of money from your checking account to your savings. You can set up a similar system with your own bank accounts. Start a small automatic transfer from checking to savings every time you get paid. Can’t afford $50, then start with $25.

Keep your loose change for the day and deposit it in a jar as soon as you get home. Wait until the container is full and then deposit that into your savings account. Making small changes in our lives can lead to big savings. You just have to be aware of what can save you a ton of money with minimal effort.

Psychology of Money

Saving may not seem exciting, but wouldn’t you rather be rich? Curious to see what affects your money making (or losing) decisions? Check other posts in the Money & Psychology series:

What have been some hurdles for you when it comes to saving money? What helped you to succeed where you had failed before? How long did it take for you to reach your savings goal?

Photo Credit: Rev Dan Catt

Laura Martinez

Laura Martinez