Lazy Ways to Save Money
Often our goals are difficult because they require too many decisions to break out of our rut. But if we redesign our lives so that making good decisions is easier, we can become successful without any willpower. You don’t need self-control to brush your teeth, you just do it. And if you grow up in an environment that only gives you good choices, you don’t need willpower. Here are some lazy ways to save money by tweaking your environment.
Don’t Bring Bad Decisions Home.
I have a rule – I never buy potato chips ever. I know myself well enough to know that, if it’s in my house, I will eat the entire bag in one sitting, no matter the size. Do I miss potato chips in the house? No, because I never really think about it. But if I had potato chips, I would constantly be thinking, don’t eat the chips!
The first rule for detoxes is always to remove all the bad stuff from your home first. That way you make it difficult to backslide.
Don’t Dwell on the Bad
Are there some people who you follow on social media that just make you feel bad about yourself or that encourage you to envy? Unfollow them. It doesn’t even matter if they post a mix of good and bad. That’s more bad than you really need.
Some people will think that you should learn to overcome your jealousy. But that’s difficult – this is easy. You don’t actually gain anything from being the bigger person every day. In fact, using your willpower to overcome tiny problems might mean that you exhaust your willpower and have nothing left for big problems. The best thing to do is not to rely on self-control but to avoid situations where your self-control gets called into question. So delete your friend and even go so far as delete your app. As they say, if you hang out long enough in a hair salon, eventually you’ll get a haircut. Don’t hang out in places that make you feel bad and encourage you to make bad choices.
Remove Stored Credit Card Information
Sometimes if I see a long line to checkout, I’ll just discard my potential purchases. I hate waiting in line that much.
Companies know that any barriers that stand between you and checking out could be detrimental to their sales. That’s why so many shopping websites encourage you to save your password and credit card info. Make it difficult for yourself. Remove all bookmarks to shopping sites. Clear your browsing history so your browser doesn’t suggest you visit these sites. Delete all credit card info from these sites. Don’t create an account to make checkout faster, and in fact, delete your accounts to these sites or forget your password. Then you’ll hit so many roadblocks that your lazy self will have no choices but to save more money.
Unsubscribe from Sale Emails
Personally, I know I would save much more money buying things full price when I need them, than buying things on sale that I don’t need. Even if I buy things on sale, I usually buy a bunch of other things on sale to make the shipping free or just because it’s cheap. That’s why sales are kryptonite for me.
Still can’t bear to miss a sale? Set a filter in your mail so that any mail coming from a retailer gets sent to a separate folder. Thus, if you have to buy something, you can get the discount codes.
Lock up your Investments
Legend has it that the investors with the best returns were dead or inactive. Though whether or not that fact has actually been studied, it still makes sense that when there is volatility in the stock market, our emotions get the better of us. The harder it is to see the dip or to get to your investments, the more likely you are to ride out a dip in the market without panicking.
One way to prevent panic selling is to delete stock apps from your phone. Another step is removing access to your investments from your phone or putting your investments in different institutions and different accounts. Personally, I have lots of different accounts, and I only muck around with one of them – my brokerage account. Trading from my IRAs, my 401k, my HSA, my 529 – that’s just too much work. And I have never even been tempted to move money in a panic from any of these accounts. That could be enough of an obstacle to prevent you from panic.
Conclusion – Lazy Ways to Save Money
You’re always making decisions. But if you make lock out some of your bad decisions now, you make bad decisions more difficult and good decisions easier.
There’s nothing wrong with running out of willpower. But you want to know that when you are operating on autopilot, you’ll still be doing ok.