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Article  •  24 March 2023


Save money with this advice from 'Atomic Habits'

'Atomic Habits' explores the psychology of money to help you save more.

Saving money isn’t easy.

And with the economy in the state that it is – rising interest rates, increased costs of living, astronomical prices of fruit and veg, you know the drill – it might feel tougher than ever to tighten those purse strings, much less to put any money aside.

Luckily, habit expert James Clear has a bit to say about saving.

In his book Atomic Habits, James suggests that the difference between not-saving and saving might sometimes be as simple as a mindset shift. ‘You can make hard habits more attractive if you can learn to associate them with a positive experience,’ he says. ‘We often talk about everything we have to do in a given day. You have to wake up early for work. You have to make another sales call for your business. You have to cook dinner for your family.’ Or, in this case, you have to spend less.

‘Now, imagine changing just one word: You don’t “have” to. You “get” to,’ James suggests.

Instead of imagining yourself being forced to save, think of it as giving your future self more money.

According to James, saving is often associated with sacrifice . . . and who wants to do that? Sacrifice sounds hard, unpleasant, and boring. ‘However, you can associate it with freedom rather than limitation if you realize one simple truth,’ he says. ‘Living below your current means increases your future means.’ By saving money this week, month or year, you’ll be able to spend more later on down the line.

Seems too simple to be true, right? Not according to Atomic Habits.

To stay motivated while saving, remember these tips, and you’ll be on the right track.

Tips for better spending habits

  • Instead of thinking ‘I have to save money for the future’, think ‘I get to save money for the future. Make this even more impactful, by focusing on what you’re saving for. For example, ‘I get to save money for an amazing holiday this summer.’
  • Break big goals into smaller chunks. If you’re hoping to save $5,000, focus on $100 at a time instead of the full amount.
  • Pair your money-saving with something that makes you happy. For example, every time you pass up café coffee, listen to a song you love or text a friend. It's all about creating positive associations!
  • Enrol yourself in an automatic savings plan.
  • Wait 24 hours before making a big purchase.


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Atomic Habits
A revolutionary guide to using tiny changes in behaviour to transform your life
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