Shifting from a Spending Mindset to a Savings Mindset

If you’re new to the City Girl Savings community, then I need you to know that while I may be a finance coach and the founder of City Girl Savings, I was an avid spender before City Girl Savings came to be. I put myself in situations where shifting from a spending mindset to a savings mindset was a necessity. I share my story in CGS podcast episode 1 – Big City Spender to City Girl Saver.

I say all to say that I know a thing or two about being an over spender. I also know a thing or two about being a saver. So, when it comes to shifting from a spending mindset to a savings mindset, my guidance speaks volumes, because I’ve been there. If you struggle with spending, keep reading for tips on how to shift your spending mentality to a savings mentality. It may not happen overnight, but it can happen!

Shifting from a Spending Mindset to a Savings Mindset

Don’t wait for rock bottom

If there’s one tip that you should heed the most, it’s this one. Do not wait for the worst to happen before making changes. Do not wait until you’re almost evicted (like me), do not wait until you have nothing in the bank, do not wait until you’re laid off. Do not wait for rock bottom to happen to feel motivation to change.

Start making the necessary shifts before you enter worst-case scenario situations. Not only will this save you time and money, but it will also help you prevent the worst things from happening. If you have the awareness now to start making changes, even small changes, do so. Start looking at your bank account. Create a budget. Save $25/paycheck. These small changes will help you transition from a spender’s mindset to a saver’s mindset.

Get clear on why the shift is necessary

When you hit rock bottom, it’s pretty clear why shifting your mindset and lifestyle is necessary – you have no choice. If you’re taking my advice and making changes before you hit rock bottom, get clear on why. Why do you need to make this shift? Why do you want to be more of a saver than a spender?

Having your “why” determined ahead of time, helps to keep you motivated when the temptation to spend gets tough. And trust me, it will get tough. There will be times where you say “screw it” and make an impulse purchase you shouldn’t make. Getting clear on your why may just allow you to return that purchase after you’ve checked yourself.

Over time, it will get easier to say no to things that don’t help you get closer to your why. The hardest part is always the beginning.

Think about the ways your life (in the present) could be better with a savings

How much better would you feel about your situation right now if you had money in savings? Think about how much stress, fear and anxiety having a beefed-up savings account would save you? There’s no denying the fact that having money in savings would make anyone’s life better. Even if you make good money, having reserves can be such an empowering thing.

As you make the shift from a spending mindset to a savings mindset, focus on how much better your life would be if you had money in savings. As you start to realize the power of having a savings account that’s funded regularly, you will prioritize building it up. You’ll eventually get to a place where you won’t touch it unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Learn to value security over material things

Once I started prioritizing security over the accumulation of things, my mindset started to adjust. I stopped spending money on clothes, shoes, purses and things I didn’t need, and started appreciating having money in the bank. Sure, it’s fun in the moment to buy things – spender’s high is real. But, it’s not fun to look at an empty checking account the next day.

I think this probably comes over time, but the sooner you can learn to value security over material things, the sooner you will notice your financial decisions align with getting you to a place of financial security. Start having those conversations with yourself now.

Let growing bank account balances fuel you

When your bank account balances are always low, you never know how good it feels when large amounts of money are in there. The next time you get a bonus, tax refund or financial windfall, keep that money in your account as long as possible – and look at it daily! Let growing bank account balances fuel you to keep making more!

You will get to a place where having your accounts below a certain threshold just isn’t worth it. Therefore, your spending will be non-existent when your account reaches that threshold. As you learn to let growing bank account balances fuel you to keep growing, it will trickle into other areas. Next, shrinking debt balances will fuel you. Then, compounding interest on investment accounts will fuel you.

Understand that just because you have a savers mindset doesn’t mean you don’t get to spend on things you enjoy

This is so important. Just because you consider yourself a saver doesn’t mean you never get to spend. It means that you value saving over spending…and when you do spend, it’s intentional. You plan for your discretionary purchases. You budget for your fun spending. You save for things that you love and enjoy. Never once will you hear me say that you can’t spend. I consider myself a saver who spends intentionally, and you can too!

Know that you are in control of your thoughts and reactions

At the end of the day, no one is holding you at gunpoint making you swipe your credit card. It’s 100% in your control. While things like bills and normal living expenses can’t always be helped, you always have the choice. You can choose how you spend your money, and you can choose how you think about how you spend your money.

If you want to shift from a spending mindset to a savings mindset, take ownership. Take accountability. Know that you call the shots with your thoughts and actions. If you don’t want to be a materialistic shopper, don’t be. It’s simple in theory, but harder in execution, I know that. However, you need to know that you hold the power of your thoughts and actions. Yield that power accordingly.

Related: CGS Podcast Episode 4 – Why Mindset is Critical and How to Start Improving It

Each of the tips I share above has made an impact in my shift from being a spender to a saver. You must be willing to look inside yourself (which isn’t always easy) and acknowledge things you may not like. Not only will it help your financial decisions, but it will also improve your self-awareness and love for yourself. Have you seen a shift in your money mindset over time? What has helped you? Drop a comment below to share with the CGS community!

The CGS Team
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2 thoughts on “Shifting from a Spending Mindset to a Savings Mindset”

  1. Great article! It really is a fun game and a mood booster to see your savings account grow! I get excited to transfer money to my HYSA.

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