Nearly half of Australians have been saving more during the COVID-19 pandemic and want that to continue as Australia reopens.
That was one finding of phase 2 of McCrindle’s research into Australian sentiment, attitudes and behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic, released last Thursday.
It’s heart warming reading through the list of the experiences people wish to continue.
I am hopeful that the pandemic will be a circuit breaker that gives many of us an opportunity to consciously reinvent our lives aligned to what matters more to us.
It’s so tempting…
I am also concerned that as the marketing machines of our consumerist culture ramp up, we mere mortals will again find the temptation difficult to resist.
Willpower is notoriously fickle, so we can’t rely on it if we are going to stick to our ambitions to save and be good with money.
To resist the marketing make trade-offs visible
One way to make buying something less tempting is to highlight what you will miss out on if you spend the money now.
In a way, you are reframing the FOMO (fear of missing out) and using it to your advantage.
To achieve this clearly define your saving goals, and tie each goal to something that really matters to you.
Then have a bank account for each goal, and nickname the account to match the goal.
Next time you’re tempted but there’s not enough money in your everyday account, you’ll need to transfer from one of your goal accounts to make the purchase.
If the item you’re tempted by is less meaningful than your goal, that may just be enough to motivate you to step away from the checkout.
What to save for
If you can’t immediately think of a meaningful goal to save for, but want to keep your saving habit, here are a few suggestions from experience:
- Emergency savings – build resilience in case one day you are one of the unfortunate people who lose their income. I recommend you save enough to cover at least three months of expenses.
- Infrequent commitments – don’t get caught needing to dip into your goal savings for predictable bills that don’t happen every month. Build up specific savings to cover those commitments.
- Car upgrade – Save for rather than pay off your next car and you can get a free holiday.