When you make it a game, saving money becomes a child’s play.

5 Ways to make saving money fun

Going on holiday abroad is fun. Buying the latest iPhone is fun. Dining at a plush restaurant to celebrate a memorable event is fun. But saving money? Well, that might not seem like much fun right now, but it does enable you to do fun things in the future without straining your finances. 

You already know how important it is to save. That’s not the hitch; it’s getting yourself to actually do it that gets tricky and tedious. So, here are five fun ways to save money that make the process easier and more joyful. 

1. Make a game of it 

Think of a category, such as shopping or eating out, that you would like to cut back on. Then, every time you indulge in that activity, set aside the same amount you spent on it as savings. For instance, if you buy a dress for Rs 1500, you should put away another Rs 1500 towards your savings. This will not only build your savings but also help you control your spending – every time you want to shop, you will have to shell out twice as much!

You can try to make this a habit as well. It’s like the good old ‘swear jar’. Every day you fail to work out or stay up past your appointed bedtime scrolling away on social media, put in a set amount, such as Rs 500, into your savings kitty. 

Related: 10 Habits of people who are never broke

2. Challenge yourself 

Take the no-spend challenge to see how well you can control your impulses and do justice to your savings goals. To start off, try the no-spend challenge for a week. Don’t spend money on anything other than what’s absolutely necessary, such as your daily commute to work and buying groceries for home-cooked meals. This would mean no eating out, no shopping, no movies at the theatre. 

Once you successfully finish the first week, you will realise how a lot of your typical purchases are unnecessary and just how much money you were wasting on them. You can then extend the no-spend challenge to two weeks. Alternatively, do the no-spend challenge for a week every month. 

3. Get a savings buddy

Just as a gym buddy motivates you to work out and meet your fitness goals, a savings buddy can encourage you to meet your savings goals. Your savings buddy can be a friend, a family member, or even a co-worker. You can start by setting and communicating a specific savings goal – say, Rs 50,000 for a mid-year holiday. Then, you and your buddy can break it down to a monthly goal. 

When you have someone to help you navigate the savings process and hold you accountable, it allows you to save more efficiently. Another way this helps is by inducing healthy competition. It can be fun competing with each other to see who’s going to reach their savings goal first, who’s being more efficient with their monthly budget, etc. 

4. Have fun on the cheap

Think about when you tend to spend the most money. It will most probably be on weekends. Now, think about what makes up most of your discretionary expenses. It’s likely to be entertainment-related, such as eating out, shopping, movies and concerts, etc. If you can find new ways to have fun that don’t require spending as much money, you could have a good time and also save significantly. 

For instance, if you love Japanese food, you could learn how to make your favourite dishes and enjoy the cuisine at home. If you love reading, you could join a library close to your home instead of buying books. You could also try taking advantage of free attractions in your city, such as museums, art galleries, etc. to have fun on weekends. 

Related: Take these 5 minimalism challenges suited for every personality

5. Read personal finance blogs 

You need to create an ecosystem that is conducive to building the savings habit, and thereby build your savings. In addition to what is mentioned above, you can sign up for the newsletter of a few personal finance blogs that you like. You can also pick up some books on personal finance. If you’re not much of a reader, following finance blogs on social media also helps. Even if it’s just constantly seeing quotes, or reading tips and tricks on saving money, it will keep you motivated. 

This habit will also introduce you to how other people are meeting their financial goals, what their struggles are, and how they are working to overcome them, and perhaps be a part of a community that has the same goals as you.

Pick one or two of the above fun ways to save money, and over time you’ll see how effective they are in meeting your money goals. In the end, your reward will be whatever it is you are saving for – and that in turn will goad you to save further for realising other goals. Happy saving!

Are you looking for ways to save big on monthly bills? Here's a millennial woman’s guide for the same.