Money Mind Games…

I ask this question of my readers periodically...
"do you have any "money mind games" you
play with yourself or your family to have a
better experience with money?

As usual I got many fun and interesting
replies.  First though here's a favorite
from the past...

This money mind game comes from Brigitte...

Give your money a name. Have different
accounts for different purposes and give
each of them a name.

It's harder to spend money if it has a name.
This is  my trip to Hawaii money, or my buy
a boat money,  or my buy a new car money.

True story...

My son had a girlfriend that was pretty clear
to everyone  they would likely get married.
She wanted to go out for  dinner one evening.
He told her that he didn't have any  money to
take her out for dinner. She replied "Yes you
do, you've got all that money in your savings

He said, "Well yes, but that's your engagement
ring money.  We can use that but that's less
money  that I can spend on  your engagement
ring."  She decided it was best to eat in.

It's harder to spend if you give it a name.
I'd love to know if they actually got married!

Andy suggested...

Empty your wallet of singles (one dollar bills) and stuff
them in a sealed box...

Don't open till the end of the year...

Wha-la you should have your X-mas shopping budget or
at least a good portion of it.
I do this (as I'm sure many do) with coins.  Never thought
of using singles.

Every December I bring my coins to the local coinstar machine
and get an Amazon gift certificate that pays for most of

A box that I cannot see into, filled with singles, would be fun
to open in December.

Thanks Andy!

Lark and her husband are VERY clever...

My husband and I like to travel on vacation but the big
vacations we wanted to take were too expensive to do
every year. We had fun, but we were using tour companies
and felt the trips were rushed, cobbled together, and
frequently felt like a high school field trip.

Our mind game was to convince ourselves we only
needed a vacation trip every other year. On the off
year we would use half of our vacation time working
on a needed house project and the other half we'd
take inexpensive local day trips and one night at a
bed and breakfast at the beach where we officially
pick where we will be going on our big trip.

We spend the entire year preparing and planning by
trying to learn as much as we can about history, culture,
and traditions.

We read, watch movies, and take language and cooking
classes. We search out friends or family who have already
travelled there for their stories (they are more than happy
to pull out all their travel pictures).

We will attend local ethnic celebrations where the public
is invited.  We keep a map of the country on the wall in
our living room to attach sticky notes of things we might
want to see or do.

Another bonus is that we have more time to shop for the
best travel deals and can make our own itineraries and
not depend on a tour company. We use our "insider"
information to find excellent and far less expensive
accomodations that don't appear on the travel web sites.

We have made friends at the ethnic celebrations who have
connected us with their families in that country and it has
been a big blessing for us.

We meet with them and they always make us feel welcome,
safe, and even invite us into their homes.
Nice job Lark!  Where are you headed next?

Ciara from Ireland had six money mind games she suggested...

Every year, I add up all of what you might call annual
expenses - car tax, insurance, servicing, safety cert,
home insurance, holiday budget, birthdays, Christmas etc.
and divide that number by 12, then every month (I am paid
monthly), I put away that amount in a deposit account so I
don't get any nasty "surprises" when that bill comes due.

However, one of your readers suggested dividing it by 11
instead, you don't really notice the extra you're putting
away and at the end of the year you have a "free" month to
add to savings - it works.

Here are another five I use:

The "invisible" car loan. This may also have been one of
yours, I can't remember. However, I once had a car loan,
some years ago. When the car was about 3 years old,
the loan was paid off. But I continued to "pay" the loan
and interest into a savings account - so when the time
came for me to change my car, the finance was there with
interest earned on it, instead of paying more interest to a bank.

Another one was in relation to payrises - when I last got a
payrise, instead of adding it all into my normal budgeting,
I deposited a portion directly into savings, that way it
doesn't  become subsumed into your ordinary income and
you save a portion as if you never had it. Sadly the reminder
has become subsumed into raised petrol (gas) prices and
higher income tax, in the interim, but that's life.

A third one is in relation to day-to-day spending. When you
have some change left over at the end of the week or month,
instead of just leaving it in your wallet, where it'sadded to
the next week or months day-to-day spending, take it out
and put it in a tin on top of shelf (where you won't see it and
be tempted by it) - you'd be surprised at how it all adds up.

A fourth suggestion is in relation to discretionary spending.

As I'm paid monthly, it was my habit to (mentally) divide this
amount by 4 (for 4 weeks). However, like the habit I've
formed with annual expenses, I now divide it my 5 as a.)
some months have 5 weeks and you're not left short; and
b) the "extra week" means that when you need, for example,
to have waxing done (mainly for us ladies perhaps) , want to
treat a friend or stock up on some of the extra good coffee
while it's on special offer, you can do so and the other "extra
weeks" are saved.

A fifth one  DON'T keep the change! No I'm not suggesting
you become mean about tipping :-). This refers to small change,
such a 1, 2 and 5c coins, instead of keeping and spending
them, empty your pocket and throw them all into a jar or tin
every night, forget about them for a year. Then in january, take
the jar to your local supermarket (most of our have coin sorters),
put them through the coin sorter and if you opt to take a voucher
you don't even have to pay the 3% charge. So in January, when
all the festive fare is gone, you have your supermarket voucher
and a "free" Sunday dinner as a result!

Thanks Ciara!

Keep up the good work.

Readers, feel free to add any money mind games YOU use in the


  • Nikki says:

    I get paid bi-weekly, and we plan our budget on two checks a month. Twice a year, there are three checks in a month. Because we budget according to two, that is always “extra” money. The one that comes in the fall we always use for our Christmas spending, and it’s great to have a check that isn’t already earmarked for bills. I do, however, continue to take savings out of all 26 checks we get. It’s amazing how much you can do with an “extra” paycheck.

  • Leo says:

    Nice one Nikki! Thanks!

  • Cathy says:

    When I do laundry I put a dollar in a container for each load so when I need to get a new washer or dryer I already have the money for it. If I had to go out to do laundry I would spend by far more. Actually that is how I started this. My washer broke and I went to the laundromat and spent $20 for the weeks laundry for my family and it was a hassle to carry everything there and not the best use of my time so I put this method in place. Once you have enough tucked away for the washer and dryer anything extra can go toward something else you choose, but always put that $1 aside. It adds up faster than you might think.

  • Janet says:

    Last year on the internet, I saw on a “money” website where someone saved their $5 bills…So last year I started saving $5 bills somewhere around April and still managed to save over $500…This year I started Jan. 1st and so far there’s over $700 in my “stash” earmarked to pay down a debt in one chunk…It’s an easy way to save and makes you think twice when purchasing something and you have to use a $5 bill.

  • Leo says:

    Great idea Cathy! I had the brilliant idea to do this for the dishwasher too.

  • Leo says:

    Nice one Janet!

  • Leo says:

    Reader Lynn emailed this to me… “I give myself a weekly allowance. If I don’t spend it, it goes into a cup on my desk. I put all miscellaneous checks that come in with the saved cash. When I have $100, I put the money in the checking account and pay on a credit card (which I’m working to pay off.) It’s a win win. “

  • Ciara says:

    Thanks for another great idea Cathy. I will adopt this one too.

  • Ann says:

    I have a little teapot on my dining room table, as a centerpiece. I allow myself a certain amount of every money each week for food and gas for the car and then I work really hard to get what we need for less than that. Each week, before I go to the bank, I empty my wallet and coinpurse into that little teapot. When it is full, I take it to the bank. Since we are out of debt, we can use that money for our “found fun money”- to go to plays, to buy small gifts, or to go out to eat.

  • Leo says:

    The teapot method! Thanks Ann!

  • Paula says:

    Every year every employee at the company I work for is given a raise. We are also given the option to purchase stock in the company and the company adds 15% to whatever we purchase. The stock purchase comes off of our cheque, so I calculate the total amout of increased earnings my raise will give me every 2 weeks and increase my stock purchase by that amount for every paycheque. It adds up, pays immediately and is money I never miss, because I never had it. Plus I can cash in my stocks whenever I want or need – bought new windows for our house with some stocks this year!

  • Leo says:

    Nice one Paula! Thank you!

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