Saving is twice as fast with this simple trick

Ezra Finch
2 min readApr 1, 2022

In theory, saving is a breeze. You just put some money aside every month and you don’t get it anymore. Unfortunately, in practice this is usually different. All around us are things that we want and in addition, you often unconsciously spend more than you think. The result is that at the end of the month you have again not achieved your savings goal. It sucks, but you can do something about that. There is a surprisingly simple trick.

Dan Ariely has discovered how to save twice as fast. Dan is a psychologist and author of the book Money and Behavior . In this book, as the title suggests, he looks at how people deal with money. To find out how money and behavior influence each other, he conducted several experiments. One of these led to a handy trick that makes saving twice as fast.

Save twice as fast

In an interview with Trouw , he explains exactly what he did and what the outcome was, but in short it comes down to the following. A group of Kenyans was divided into three and each subgroup was given a savings target. Subsequently, the groups were motivated in different ways:

  • Group 1: weekly messages to remind them to save.
  • Group 2: a bonus when they saved a certain amount.
  • Group 3: weekly messages and a gold coin. This coin had a box (24 in total) for each week of the experiment that they were allowed to cross when they reached the savings amount. In addition, they were instructed to hang this coin in a highly visible place in their home.

In general, people respond well to rewards, so you would think Group 2 would score the best. That just wasn’t the case. At the end of the experiment, group three had saved twice as much as the other groups. According to Dan Ariely, this is mainly due to the fact that they were constantly reminded of their purpose by the coin. This method makes saving visible, tangible and a topic of conversation.

This is how you apply this simple trick yourself

You can easily apply this trick yourself. It doesn’t even have to be a coin. As long as you have something that reminds you every day that you need to save and helps you keep track of your progress. For example, do you watch a lot of series on Netflix? Then hang an A4 sheet with your savings goal next to the television. This way you are reminded every day that you have to put money aside. Simple and effective.

Ezra Finch