Friday, March 20, 2009

30-Day Economic Stability Challenge: Creating a personal savings marketing plan

Yesterday, I shared a few ideas of how to save. But I've noticed a resistance to saving in myself. That resistance is, frankly, that I'd rather spend the money on stuff I can have now than just have money laying around.

I don't feel as good viscerally about saving as I do about spending. Even though I know intellectually it's better for me, it's more satisfying to spend. I'm working on changing that perception.

How? I'm creating a personal marketing campaign for myself. The great blog Take Back Your Brain! is all about creating these kind of marketing campaigns, to get yourself to do things that are more satisfying than simply buying whatever they're selling today. Their approach goes something like this:

Fifth Avenue spends millions--maybe even billions--every year to convince you that you need the new iPhone, the new Wii, that new handbag or this new dress. If you saw as many ads for the things that would bring you real happiness and serenity, you might be as likely to do them.

A recent post at TBYB! talked about just this kind of saving personal marketing campain. Here's the way they recommended you pursue it:
  • Save the money FOR something. You probably don’t want to save money for its own sake, but because of something else it can secure for you. What is that?
  • Find an emotional hook. Why do you want that thing? What is it about it that motivates you? Remind yourself about that.
  • Help yourself visualize the outcome. Bombard yourself with images of yourself already having it (ideally with fun, attractive friends…).
  • Be relentlessly aggressive. Use multiple modalities and repeat often. Adapt the campaign as you go along.
I can relate to this. Recently I got the surprise gift of $50 unlimited calling on my cell phone. All of a sudden, I was struck by the uncontrollable desire to have a Google phone. Oh, sweet Google phone, I long for your constant internet connectivity, your maps and full keyboard. Right now, I have just a phone phone--no internet, barely any texting, not even bluetooth. But it's, you know, a phone. It works fine. Still, as soon as I got that new plan, I started fantasizing: I could imagine myself with it, how much happier I'd feel, how much more efficient and effective I'd be in my business.

Saving money never gives me that feeling. I am, as a friend likes to say of herself, a seive for money. I can't hold it. There's always something I want more, something way more exciting than just having financial stability.

But now I'm realizing I need it--more than I need a Google phone, an iPhone, or a new pair of boots. The problem is, I can imagine myself with those things. Since I've never been good at saving, I can't imagine myself doing that. So I need to train my brain differently.

The way I'm doing that is by creating a vision board for myself. I know, hippie dippy. I'm not a fan of the Secret--the law of attraction is nothing without a plan and regular action toward that plan--but I find vision boards help retrain my brain the way TBYB! describes. I have two already: One for my life in general and one on how I want to feel about my work. I'm creating a vision board for how I will feel when I have 6 months income in savings.

The primary image I have in my head, which I haven't yet found, is of a thick glass bowl filled with money. To me, it's the antidote to being a seive for money. I love the idea. Holding it, keeping it, seeing the money overflowing. That's an image I can get behind. It makes me feel secure and confident. I imagine how much more sturdy I'll be when I have it. Words like "independence" and "control" come to mind.

I'm cutting those words out of magazines now to put on the board. I'm also looking for images of people enjoying retirement, because I want to save for that, too. I want that feeling of having enough, which often eludes me.

One thing that all of this cutting out old magazines is teaching me is that I read the wrong magazines. It became clear to me early on in the magazine-cutting process that almost none of my magazines were good for this. All my women's magazines, in fact, were all about spending--all about divesting myself of money in exchange for the short lived confidence of looking hip and cute and in the club.

I'm preparing to subscribe to my first financial magazine, because I want to fill my brain with that stuff on a regular basis.

What money magazine do you recommend?

Photo by tao_zhyn.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

The thick glass bowl full of money is a wonderful image. I hope you create a copy of it on your vision board, as well as in your head. The bowl in your picture doesn't have to BE full of money ... just look like it is. (When I was obsessed with buying an RV I would go visit them on the sales lot and ask the dealer to take a picture of me in the driver's seat.) Maybe you could photocopy a $100 bill and cut out lots of them. Is that legal? Or fill the bowl with $1's and put a few large bills on top.