The Difference between ‘Saving’ and SAVING – How We Lie to Ourselves

Ok, so what IS the difference between ‘saving‘ and SAVING?

At first, you might think, ‘What the hell? There isn’t a difference!’, but there really is.

There’s a lot of ways that we can ‘save’ (definition No 1) money, and by that, I mean saving money on purchases.

For example:

  • Using coupons and vouchers.

  • Buying things on sale instead of full price.

  • Lowering your thermostat.

  • Going to cheaper petrol stations.

All those sorts of things.

So, the aim is that you’re either saving on what you would have paid, or you’re abstaining completely.

For example:

Previously, you might’ve gone out every Saturday and bought new clothes. Now, however, you’ve decided to only buy clothes as and when you need to replace things.

So that’s the first definition of ‘saving’ money. It’s really just spending less.

The second definition is SAVING money (definition No 2). What I mean by that is actually putting money into your bank and leaving it there for an extended period of time. This could also mean investing it.

The distinction is important because, oftentimes, we lie to ourselves. We feel good because we’ve:

  • Bought a ‘two for one’ offer in the supermarket.

  • We’ve cycled instead of driven to work all week.

We’ve all ‘saved’ on things in this way and we’ll say to ourselves, ‘I’ve saved money!

While that’s great, and I’m not knocking it (I loves me a bargain!), we also need to ask ourselves:

‘Have I actually done something with the money that I would’ve spent?’
‘Have I spent my ‘savings’ elsewhere, instead?’

So, for example, let’s take the coffee drinker, who spends, let’s say, £5 every day on coffee.

She’s gone through Monday to Friday and she’s not spent any money on coffee. By the end of the working week, she usually would’ve spent £25. On Saturday, she thinks, ‘I’ve been so good this week, I haven’t bought any coffee! I’m going to treat myself to a takeaway pizza tonight.’

That’s great (no judgement made), but all she’s done is exchanged one purchase for another. She’s not actually saved any money. If, however, she said to herself, ‘Great! I’ve saved £25 this week on not buying coffee! I’m going to put that £25 in an interest-earning savings account.’ Then that gal has actually SAVED money.

The Difference between 'Saving' and SAVING - How W
Photo: Tom Sodoge on Unsplash

I know it sounds so obvious to point out, but in daily life, our buying behaviour isn’t always so apparent to us.

So, there is an important distinction. The first way of saving is, (the way I distinguish it), ‘money-saving‘. To recap, to me, that means:

  • Getting deals/bargains.

  • Paying less for goods or services than usual.

  • Getting something for free, whereas before I might’ve had to pay for it (like finding a free book to download).

To me, these are all money-saving tactics, but SAVING is the actual physical act of adding money to a bank account.

It’s a simple thing, but it can often trip people up, so that’s why I felt it was important to talk about today.

It’s all very well being frugal, but if you’re not actually doing something with that saved money, whether it’s:

Moving some money from your current account into a savings account,


Putting money you normally would’ve frittered away on sweets or chocolate into a jar,

then you’re not actually benefiting yourself at all.

It’s important, on a psychological level, to make that clear in your head. Being aware of these small behaviours will give you your best chance of succeeding at saving in 2018.

The Difference between 'Saving' and SAVING - How W
Photo: Aris sfakianakis on Unsplash.

What I’d like to know from you guys is:

Have you ever found yourself thinking that you’re doing well at cutting back on spending, or finding deals in the supermarket, etc, only to think:

‘Well hang on a minute, I haven’t actually got any more money!’


‘I’m still struggling at the end of the month!’

If so, I hope this post helps to bring this savings issue to the forefront of your mind. What I want for you is that each time you make a ‘saving’, that you think:

‘Right, I saved that on my shopping, I’m actually going to physically move that money over into SAVINGS.

Although I haven’t used them, there are apps that will ’round up’ your purchases to the nearest pound. The spare change is then sent to savings or investments. Do you use them? Do you think they’d help you to save money? Let me know!

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is gradually getting bigger. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me an email or all three! I will always try to help you.

Lisa aka ‘Bunchy’

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