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

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

You might ask yourself ‘What’s the difference between the two and what does this woman mean we lie to ourselves?’

‘Saving’ money (definition No 1)

There are lots of ways we can ‘save’ money, and by that, I mean reducing how much money we spend on purchases.

For example:
  • use of coupons and vouchers
  • buying things on sale instead of full price
  • lowering your thermostat
  • going to cheaper petrol stations
So, the aim is you’re either lowering your usual spend, or you’re not spending at all.
For example:
You might go out every Saturday and buy new clothes but you’ve now decided to only buy clothes as and when you need to replace things.
This first definition of ‘saving’ money and is all about spending less.

‘SAVING’ money (definition No 2)

The second definition is SAVING money, which involves putting money into your bank and leaving it there for an extended period. 
The distinction is important because, often, we lie to ourselves. We feel good because we:
  • bought a ‘two for one’ offer in the supermarket.
  • cycled instead of driven to work all week.
Having all ‘saved’ on things in this way we say to ourselves, ‘I’ve saved money!’
While that’s great, and I’m not knocking it (I love a bargain!), let me ask you, have you put away the money you would’ve spent? or have you spent your ‘savings’ elsewhere, instead?
Take the coffee drinker, who spends £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, her normal spend would be £25. On Saturday, she thinks, ‘I’ve been so good this week, I haven’t bought any coffee! I’ll treat myself to a takeaway pizza tonight.’
No judgement here, but all she’s done is exchange one purchase for another. She’s not saved any money. If, instead, she said to herself, ‘Great! I’ve saved £25 this week on not buying coffee! Let me put my £25 in an interest-earning savings account.’ Then that gal has SAVED money.
People in a high street - The Difference between 'Saving' and SAVING - How W
Photo: Tom Sodoge on Unsplash

Our spending behaviour

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, or putting the 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.

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

Does this happen to you?

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!’ or ‘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.

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Bunchy x

2 Replies to “The Difference between ‘Saving’ and SAVING – How We Lie to Ourselves”

  1. Yes- finally, someone realizing the difference between saving and actually saving. It bugs me when people say they have saved 50% on a purchase. Ah, no you haven’t, you have spent 50%. You haven’t saved anything.

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