Recently, I was talking with a friend who expressed his frustration with his lack of ability to build savings. Money would come in with his paycheck, but just as fast would go out for rent, living expenses and what he spent going out. As he expressed his frustration, I smiled and told him I had the solution for him. He needed to invest in one thing that would help him save at last, an Amazon Prime Membership.
Sounds a little odd at first, but Amazon Prime helped me increase my savings last year by over 1000%. That’s right, 1000%! As I explained to him, at one point it was difficult for me to save too, and I truly wanted to make a savings change. At the time, I had just moved into a new apartment and generally kept my living expenses low. So, I focused my efforts on one thing – going out less. I could manage rent and living expenses, but going out with friends was an area that really added up – especially over the course of a year!
Around the same time I was deciding to get my entertainment spending under control, I bought an Amazon Prime Membership. Prime’s main function is to provide discounts as well as free two-day shipping on a plethora of products listed on the Amazon website. One Tuesday, while perusing Amazon, I stumbled upon a book that intrigued me. After a couple clicks, it was on its way to my apartment!
Truly, I forgot about the order until it arrived on my doorstep that Thursday. Instead of going out that weekend, I decided to stay in and enjoy my book. By the end of the weekend, I took a look at my bank account and, like magic, it was where I had left it at the beginning of the weekend. No massive spending – sweet! The wheels in my head started churning, and I transferred into my savings account what I thought I would have spent going out over the course of Friday and Saturday. Wow – this felt great!
Over the next couple of months, I ordered more and more books with my Amazon Prime Membership. If I wanted to stay in that weekend, I would order a book on Tuesday afternoon and it would arrive by that Thursday. As the year progressed, I found that the number of pages I read throughout the year directly correlated to my savings. It was quite elementary – read more, save more. I was hooked.
This type of behavioral change is something anyone can implement. For me, it was all about controlling my weekend spending. Instead of heading out to dinner or drinks with my friends on Friday night, I went with the alternative – an interesting book. Depending on the book, I had hours of alternative entertainment. Instead of ruefully waking up after an expensive Friday or Saturday night out, I enjoyed waking up to my reward – transferring more cash into my savings.
As my savings began to accumulate, I started to realize that I truly enjoyed the savings process. The beautiful thing about this strategy is anyone can make this incremental change! Read for a couple of weekends out of the month and then transfer funds into your savings. Suddenly your savings account will start to gain some weight. Now, with all of the knowledge gained from your vast reading, when you do decide to attend a weekend cocktail party your stories will become that much more intriguing and well spoken.