2 Questions to Help You Save Money

Last week, I was sitting at my computer with a shopping cart full of clothes. Before I clicked the checkout button, I asked myself two questions. Then I closed my browser without buying anything.

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What are the 2 questions?

Asking these two questions before making a purchase has saved me thousands of dollars (if not tens of thousands). Those questions are:

  1. Does this bring me closer to my goal?
  2. Does this bring me enough joy to justify a negative response to question #1?

Finding my why

Years ago, I was like the Ariana Grande song where she sings: “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it.” I wasn’t reckless, but I was what you’d call a Spender with a capital S. I had a 401k and could pay all my bills. Any money left over went into savings, and savings went into trips and shoes.

Although I married a Saver (also with a capital S), Steven’s desire to save money for “a rainy day” didn’t translate for me. I don’t operate in the world of “what ifs” (this may explain why he’s a Keeper and I’m a Thrower-Outer). I wasn’t able to change my spending habits until I found my why.

When I decided to open my health coaching practice, I had to figure out where the money for the business would come from. Now I had a goal, and this was my why. It motivated me to take action. I read financial blogs and listened to podcasts on how to save money. Excited by my undertaking, Steven was ready and willing to eliminate some easy expenses with me.

The easy savings

  • Cable tv we rarely watched (this saved us $200 a month!)
  • Groceries we didn’t eat (meal planning and a shared grocery list app were key here)
  • Car lease payments (we bought a certified pre-owned car when our lease was up)
  • Monthly subscriptions we barely used (newspapers, gyms, etc.)

It was a great start, but I needed to change my spending behavior to make sure I could fund my business. Thus, the two questions were born, and I ask them before making any non-essential purchase. If an expense is in pursuit of my goal, I go for it. If it’s not, I evaluate the joy factor. Some non-goal-oriented expenses are worth it, but most aren’t. For example, we still go on vacation, but I’m no longer buying a trendy pair of sunglasses for said vacation when I have a functioning pair already.

Once I got into the habit of asking these two questions, our credit card bill was cut in half!

How saving money impacts overall health

Okay, you might be thinking, “Jen, you’re a health coach, why are you talking about how to save money?” Well, you’ve heard of financial health, right? There’s a real association between the health of our finances and the health of our selves. Have you ever lived paycheck to paycheck? Bounced a check? Had enough debt to crush an elephant? What do you think that stress does to you?

On the flip side, when we discover our why, or what motivates us, we unlock the key to what drives us forward. My goal doesn’t just help me spend better; it helps me live better by defining my priorities and making it clear not only where I want to spend my money but also my time.

Now it’s your turn to share. How do you feel about your finances? Where do you think you could save more or spend less? Comment below!

4 thoughts on “2 Questions to Help You Save Money”

  1. This is timely. I am a SPENDER (all capitals because I legit do not save for anything other than bills). I grew up having what I needed, mostly, but not what I wanted and as an adult 100% subscribed myself to a “you work hard and deserve it” mantra. I do not make a lot of money, so that indulgent attitude (if I’m being honest) certainly has not helped me out financially. This post is a great message for me and absolutely resonates. Thanks Jen!

    1. I hear that reasoning a lot, not only with spending but also eating and drinking. It’s about finding that middle ground where you enjoy the results of your hard work while balancing a healthy approach – that’s where question #2 came from! x

  2. Hi Jen,
    I guess I am responsible for Steven being a saver with a capital S. I was the one who made him take his birthday money to the bank and keep a bank book to watch his money grow! I am that person also. In my marriage, I am the saver and Jeff is the spender. This only applies to money and not to “things”. I am not a saver of things but I am most comfortable spending less. First, for our home, next for my children and all their activities; nursery school, camp, vacations, Bar Mitzvahs, college, and on and on. My savings now is for the winter of my life, enough to last as long as I do. And of course, having some left over to share with all of you!
    xoxox nancy

    1. I’m thankful Steven was raised how he was! He keeps me grounded in the best possible way. Just this morning, he was telling us about family dinners at home. He said “I just remember laughing a lot.” That’s a blessing no money could ever buy! xx

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