How can I get my family on board with saving?

When it comes to spending, it’s easy to get excited. You don’t have to try hard – advertisers do all the work for you, making the acquisition of shiny new things look and sound fun and appealing.

Spending, however, requires a little more creativity on our part. But even if you manage to get hyped about saving yourself, your family might think you’re a grump if you’re constantly reminding them to switch off the lights and close the doors and buy the cheaper detergent.

So how can you get your family on board with saving? How can you use the same sorts of tricks advertisers do to make spending seem so appealing to convince your family – and perhaps yourself! – that saving is the best course of action?

How do you think – and talk – about frugality?

Metaphors like ‘belt tightening’ aren’t just phrases to add colour to our language, they’re mechanisms that shape how we think. The metaphors we use can influence our perception of the world, as well as how others think.

When you read reports and news articles stating ‘We’re in the midst of the perfect storm, and we need to tighten our belts to maintain our fiscal health‘, you can end up feeling powerless.

When you talk about money with your partner, your family, your kids, or your colleagues, using words like ‘budget’ can make a meal, a shopping trip, or an outing sound unappealing.

Using metaphors that sound doom-and-gloom can affect our motivation. According to behavioral psychologists, our motivation is highest when the outcome is both valuable and achievement seems likely.

Rather than ‘tightening your belt‘ – a goal with no aim other than frugality for frugality’s sake – why not try a more positive metaphor, such as ‘knocking one out of the park’? Sporting metaphors (even for those of us who are rubbish at sports, such as myself!) often rely on the idea of effort resulting in reward.

Consider the difference:

‘What’s for dinner?’
Leftover pasta.’
‘Pasta? We had that last night!’
‘Yes, but we have to tighten our belts round here. Money doesn’t grow on trees!

versus:

‘What’s for dinner?’
‘Roast pumpkin and spinach pasta!’
‘Pasta? We had that last night!’
‘Yes – we’re really knocking it out of the park! We’re only $97 away from our holiday now!

By removing negative words like ‘leftover’, using more positive metaphors, and linking efforts to a visible outcome, it’s possible to frame frugality in a much more motivating way.

As the editors of Nonprofit Quarterly point out, ‘Obstacles and challenges are before us daily, but so are the opportunities for doing things differently.’

Next time you make the decision to save money, think about how you can frame it positively – either in your own internal monologue, or in how you present it to your partner, your family, or your flatmate.

FamilyHolidayWhat positive messages do you use in relation to saving? Share them in the comments below!

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Today’s featured image is the cute piggy bank given to us by my wonderful Mum!

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