You find something that you REALLY want to buy. Perhaps it is a bigger purchase than you normally make. Or maybe you don’t quite have the money in your budget to buy it. What is a financially smart person to do? Consider implementing a 30-day rule for saving money!
Implementing the 30 day rule for saving money will allow you time to save up the money you need for the purchase, give you perspective and most likely save you from regretting a big impulsive purchase.
What is the 30 day rule?
Simply put, the 30 day rule is this: When you want to buy something, instead of purchasing it right then, you don’t buy it. Over the next 30 days, you take the time to save up the entire amount of money you need for the purchase.
When the 30th day comes (and if you have saved the full amount) you can go ahead and purchase the item.
How can the 30 day rule save you money?
The 30 day rule is a simple but effective method that helps you save money in several ways:
- It prevents impulse purchases that you might later regret: Gone are the days of realizing that you bought something you will never use. 30 days gives you plenty of time and distance to decide if what you want is a product that will be worth the cost.
- It keeps you from spending money you don’t have: We all have times where we get excited about something that seems like an innovative product or great buy. But when you need to use credit for that purchase or have to delay paying a bill to get it, the cost is not worth the benefit.
- Sometimes after the initial excitement, you will decide you don’t want to buy the item: The 30-day rule will help save you money by giving you space and perspective to decide if the item you want to buy is worth the sacrifice it took to save the necessary money. If you decide not to buy it after 30 days, you can put the money into savings or towards debt.
Why use the 30-day rule?
The 30-day rule is a wonderful way to keep your spending habits in check. If you are prone to impulse purchases or tend to go over your budget, the 30-day rule will help you to refocus sloppy spending habits into more conscientious budgeting.
It is also a great tool for people who are beginning budgeters. Instead of feeling restricted and deprived by your budget, you can say, “Yes, but later” and work towards saving the money you need.
This rule is also a sound and simple financial strategy to teach your children responsible spending. By implementing the 30-day rule for saving money in your home, you can help your kids experience the joy that comes from waiting and working towards a bigger financial goal.
When would the 30-day savings challenge come in handy?
The 30-day savings challenge is helpful for anyone beginning to use a budget. When you go from overspending to working within monetary guidelines, the adjustment period can be painful.
The 30-day savings challenge will help you feel less like you are being deprived and more like you are in control of your finances.
It is also a great tool to use as a more advanced budgeter. If you are working towards a larger financial goal like homeownership, you can tighten your spending by implementing the 30-day rule for saving money.
Perhaps you’ve already established an emergency fund. You may also have room in your budget for more of your “wants.”
By implementing the 30-day rule for saving money you will be better equipped to evaluate those purchases that are considered more of a want.
You can potentially use the savings from utilizing the 30-day challenge towards your bigger goal.
What are the other benefits to saving money in 30 days?
One potential benefit of waiting to spend money is that the item you want could possibly go on sale and you could save money. Waiting will also give you time to do research to decide if there is a better option.
Besides the other obvious benefits of spending within your means and learning to delay spending so that you can save money, the 30-day savings challenge will also help you strengthen your financial resolve.
Budgeting can be hard, especially when you are used to living without budget constraints.
Every time you complete a challenge that encourages you to save instead of spend, you will get a confidence boost and recognized your ability to control your spending and instead work towards a bigger goal.
More often than not, the time you spend saving money over the 30-day challenge will help give you perspective about the necessity of the purchase. You might find yourself wanting to apply the money you’ve saved towards something even better.
How to implement this savings rule
Implementing the 30-day savings rule doesn’t have to be complicated, but following these steps will help you to be more successful.
When you want to buy something, write it down (what, where, and how much).
Using anything from your planner to a note on your phone, record the item you want, its cost, and your starting date.
You may want to do some quick research to make sure that have found the lowest price possible.
Factor the cost into your weekly budget.
Divide the amount of money you need to save by your weekly income AFTER you’ve subtracted all of your necessary costs.
If you don’t have the extra money in your budget to put towards your 30-day savings challenge item, try to creatively figure out a way to earn extra money.
You could tighten up other budget line items like dining expenses by choosing to make all of your meals instead of eat out during the next 30 days. Another option is to temporarily eliminate some things from your budget.
You could cancel streaming services for the month and rent movies and borrow books from the library. Maybe by biking or riding public transportation to work for 30 days you could “borrow” money from your usual gasoline costs.
Have you ever heard the saying, “I can do anything for 30 days?” Now is the time to test that theory out. Decide where you will put your 30-day challenge money: Some options include: in a bank account or in a special cash envelope.
Create a visual reminder of your goal.
By keeping your goal handy- on your phone or hanging on the refrigerator–you will remember what you are working towards and stay on track.
Maybe you could make your own version of the thermometers they use to show how much money an organization has raised. Have fun coloring it in and celebrate every inch that gets you closer to the finish line (temperature?).
Contribute extra money towards your savings goal.
If you get a bonus from work or save money elsewhere, feel free to add the savings to your 30 day challenge envelope.
When the 30 days are up celebrate the hard work and vigilance that it took to get you here. Next, take a look at the money you’ve saved and then decide whether you want to purchase the product or pocket the savings.
Consider what you learned from this experiment
You should celebrate your resolve every time you successfully follow the 30-day spending rule.
Each time you thoughtfully delay a purchase and save up money before purchasing it, you are getting stronger and setting a great example for your friends and family. Some things to think about:
Online shopping makes it easy too easy to over-purchase: The 30-day spending rule flies in the face of online purchasing. We have become too used to getting what we want, with a maximum 2-day shipping delay.
This experiment will hopefully make you take a closer look at your online shopping habits and change them if necessary.
How much stuff do you really need? Instead of immediate gratification, the 30 day spending rule can help us to consider more carefully our NEEDS vs our wants. The majority of things we purchase actually fall into the want category.
Spending freezes make it easier to save money: This experiment is one version of a spending freeze (pared down to only one item).
Maybe after completing a 30 day spending rule you can consider trying out longer and more inclusive spending freezes to help you reach your financial goals.
Final thoughts on the 30 day rule for saving money
Could you continue this and make it a 52 week rule? After you’ve strengthened your saving/delayed gratification muscles, consider extending this rule from 30 days to 52 weeks!
That’s right, the next time you want something, try waiting an entire year before buying it.
Not only will the amount you need to save each week be significantly lower, but you will have time to really consider how much you want the item and research better alternatives. Maybe someone will even buy it for you for your birthday.
The 30-day spending rule isn’t complicated but it is a valuable way to learn to control your spending and thoughtfully evaluate your purchases. Try it out and let me know how it went.
Will you buy the item you were saving for? Or will you use the money towards something that will push you even closer to your financial goals?