Back in April we shared the story of Betsy and Warren Talbot, who realized their dream of spending five years traveling around the globe. The money strategy that made it all possible? Their “phrase to save,” a financial motivation tool that helped them sock away $75,000.
Here’s how it worked: While trying to set aside money for their adventure, Betsy and Warren learned to postpone would-be purchases by comparing their prices to one day on the road, or about $100. Suddenly, a $100 statement necklace no longer seemed like a must-have splurge, if it meant shortening their trip or giving up a day of travel.
How a Phrase to Save Can Help You
A phrase to save is a tried-and-true way to align your day-to-day spending with your longer-term dreams. After all, it’s no fun to forgo your morning coffee, unless you consider that the $15 you save every week by drinking it at home instead of buying it each morning would add up to one-fifth the purchase price of that fall coat you really want. Or the price of one stock in your as-yet imaginary portfolio. In fact, research even backs this up: A University of Pennsylvania study found that those who focus on visualizing their future goal make better financial decisions today.
And it turns out, the Talbots weren’t the only ones relying on this trick. The story resonated with many readers, and we loved hearing how other LearnVesters use their phrase to work towards their goals, like the reader who asks herself: “Do I really want a $1,500 Prada bag … or those hardwood floors of my dreams?” Or the commenter who nixes unplanned expenses when she visualizes the cozy new bed she’s planning to purchase.
Real Readers Reveal Their Phrases
Here, how four readers are reaching their financial goals—by keeping their phrase to save in mind each day.
“Will This Help Me Buy My Dream Beach House?”
Name: Christine Tarlecki
Location: Phoenixville, PA
Profession: Freelance writer/marketing professional
Goal: $100,000 toward a down payment on a three-bedroom beach house in Avalon, N.J.
How My Phrase Does the Trick: I’ve been using my phrase A LOT these past few months—I have to! I often get tempted to splurge on dinners out and occasional shopping.
“Sure, I’ve slipped a few times, but, with this phrase to save in mind, I’m already almost a third of the way to my $100,000 goal.”
For example, most recently, I was really pining for a new Rebecca Minkoff tote bag. So, to keep my spending in check, I asked myself: “Will this help you get your beach house?” The answer, like always: “No!”
Other questions I’ve asked myself: “Will having coffee out every day get me to owning my beach house? Buying stuff at the outlets?” No, and no! I realized I didn’t need the bag, and just remembered to use what I already own instead.
This summer I spent some time in the area of the Jersey Shore where I’m looking to purchase my beach house, and seeing my goal up close motivated me even more to keep working hard.
Sure, I’ve slipped a few times, but, with this phrase to save in mind, I’m already almost a third of the way to my $100,000 goal.