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Pretending Your Money Isn’t Yours

Managing your own money comes with emotional baggage.  You know what you like, want, and need, BUT it’s hard to easily categorize everything.  Here’s a trick that works for me – pretend you’re actually managing someone else’s money.  We all judge others day in and day out.  Most of us want to point out where others could do better.  Now turn those hawk eyes onto your own circumstances instead.

Thinking

Think Like NOT You

You probably already cut, changed, or accepted your budget based on your norms (even stricter ones than usual if you are really in need).  Now look at every category again and act like you are giving every tip you ever heard of to someone else.

For example, a mortgage payment seems set in stone.  But if someone asked you how they could cut expenses, would you suggest that they look into moving if their mortgage payment is higher than necessary?  Or would you suggest getting a roommate?  Or would you suggest renting out the home if the rental market was excellent?  Sure, none of those options may work for you, but would you even think of them if you were just being you?

Getting out of your own head could help.

Works for Me

I use lots of little tricks.  Generally, I am motivated by my big goals.  But I stink at getting out of my own head.  For instance, I am not a “frugal blogger”.  I don’t make my own laundry detergent or use washable toilet paper.  But I did realize that washing all of my non-nasty clothes in cold water helps keep my gas bill below $25 every month once I tried it.

If I make myself think of every possible option, I usually find one that seemed odd before but awesome in retrospect.  I used to take my old car to my mechanic any time it had any issue at all.  But I was feeling especially annoyed one day about a spark plug problem, and then realized that I could solve the smaller issues at O’Reilly’s or Auto Zone.  Not everything needs a mechanic.  Spark plugs are way easier than most people know, and YouTube is a treasure trove for new knowledge.  Online videos helped me replace the broken glass on my old smart phone too – $15 instead of $155.

Overall, looking at my own money like it is a random stranger’s instead has ended up leading me to thousands of dollars saved that I would probably have wasted otherwise.

Have you ever tried something financially that seemed way out of character and it turned out amazing?  Or the other way around – ever try something that ended up costing you in some way?

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12 comments to Pretending Your Money Isn’t Yours

  • Ha! I may have to try that! It kind of reminds me of a staycation, when you visit your own city but look at it through tourist’s eyes!

  • That is actually pretty good! Hard as hell to be completely unbiased, but you’re right – would hopefully give you a fresh pair of eyes on it to see what you’re missing. Or, better yet, just go REALLY get someone new to look at it! Haha… That is, if they don’t pass out first on the mere thought of someone divulging finances in the real world ;)

  • oh gosh, do they really make washable toilet paper? Eek! I agree that YouTube is a treasure trove for DIY’ers. I also taught myself how to knit by watching YouTube!

  • That’s an interesting strategy. Mixing it up in some way is always a great opportunity to get a fresh perspective. I like it.

  • It’s true we all like to judge other people’s money choices. Ha! But there is probably something to learn from having a second pair of eyes and ears.

  • I am also motivated by big goals but some little tricks do help. I find my awareness around money is helpful and makes me more in tune in how I spend it. I can see how pretending its someone else’s may help you steer clear from spending it all.

  • This is good advice. I tend to think a little like that, myself. Incidentally, I can tell you that no matter how frugal or stingy I become, I will NEVER be using reusable toilet paper (or reusable feminine products for that matter – yuck). There is a limit! :)

  • @debt debs, great comparison!

    @J Money, yeah, not everyone is as comfortable as us pf bloggers about sharing their budget info, LOL.

    @Dee, yes, yes they do – http://ultimatemoneyblog.com/extreme-frugality-family-cloth

    @Money Beagle, thanks!

    @Raquel, true but not a lot of people share their money decisions…

    @Jason, yeah, these little tricks are just ideas for days that you may feel like slipping or even if you need the opposite help – encouraging yourself to spend some on memories…

    @Denise, my line too. ;-)

  • This sounds like good advice – will definitely have to give it a go!I always tell other people what they should do, maybe I should help myself a little more!

  • Love this idea! I’m always so critical of the way my friends spend their money, but I’m so lax when it comes to my own money management. If I look at my money as if it were a stranger’s, I know I’ll find a ton of areas to improve on.

  • @Bex, lol, that’s how I came up with it. ;-)

    @Lisa E, good luck!

  • I think this is a great idea. I would just really have to start believing myself when I say my money isn’t mine.