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How the Wealthy Think…and You Can Too!

Q.  How can I SAVE money to create wealth (which means cutting back spending) and still have a feeling of ABUNDANCE, not a mentality of LACK (which means the desire to SPEND).  

A. Oh the devious ways we fool ourselves by how we choose to think.  

If you think like a Consumer, then cutting back spending to sock away savings will absolutely feel like scarcity or deprivation, while spending offers the pleasurable (but deceptive) pretense of abundance.   

When you think like a Wealth Builder, you understand that every cent you put in savings is money you’re giving to YOU (not Starbucks or MasterCard), so that ultimately you can purchase what you please without pressure or worry.  

To paraphrase the old saw, a Wealth Builder tells her money where to go. A Consumer wonders where it went.  

The difference between the two mindsets is not deprivation but delayed gratification. And it’s easy if you think small and automate.  Every month have some money, no matter how small, automatically transferred from your checking to your savings account. You don’t miss what you don’t see.   

What if there’s nothing to spare at month’s end? Try giving up something small, like a daily latte, and bank the savings. One woman funded her IRA with lose change from her purse, coins she found in pockets doing laundry, and cash from the coupons she redeemed at the market. 

I recommend two types of savings accounts. An Untouchable for emergencies and unexpected expenses.  And a Touchable for fun stuff, like a vacation or shoe sale—which keeps you from dipping into your emergency savings, yet not feeling deprived.  

Bottom line: Instant gratification is such a cruel illusion. I’ll never forget meeting an elderly woman who lamented: “I always got such joy from shopping. But now that I’m old and I look back on all the money I wasted, I wish to God I had saved more.” 

How do you balance feeling abundant with the discipline of spending less and saving more? Leave me a comment below.

Thank you, Tracy Beth & Maria Aum, for the Q.

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Comments & Feedback

  • Wendy Dewar Hughes

    If I want to buy something, I will leave it and not buy it at the moment I see it. Instead, I’ll walk away and shop elsewhere, or go home without it. My rule is, if I can’t remember it, I didn’t want/need it; if I can’t forget it, then I’ll go back and get it.

    This prevents impulse spending. I also decide what I need before I start looking for whatever it may be. That way, I can be on the lookout for a good deal rather than buying the first one I see.

  • Catherine

    Thanks for this article. Just what I needed to reframe my spending habits. One way I stop myself from an impulse purchase is thinking–do I have something like that at home, already in my closet? Often, I remind myself that I not only have that item, but it’s actually nicer than the one I’m considering buying.

    • barbara huson

      I’m so glad you liked the blog…and I like your reminder–do I already have this? Thanks for sharing this!!!

  • Pati Wolfgang

    You have been so helpful to me.
    I’m a bit proud of what I’ve been able to save. What you’ve taught just clicks here. Bless you!!
    Next step is investing.

    I wanted to share a fun story.

    I was blessed to find the books of Farber and Mazlich, “How to talk so your children will listen. How to listen so your children will talk” for one. (Excuse the lack of capital letters!)

    They’re based on a wonderful man’s work, Dr. Haim Ginott.

    One of the tools in their proverbial toolbox is right up your alley.

    When my boys were tiny, whenever we went in the store, I would bring pencil and paper.

    I would also count the money in my wallet before going in to see how much treat money we had.

    Later, I had them help count.

    Then, when they saw things, they could see if that fit in their treat allowance. What was sweet, too, is plenty of times, one would give their funds to their brother. Or they’d pool together.

    If it was more than the daily funds allowed, I would write down, with their help, what it was and what store it was in. That left them feeling heard. They knew what they wanted mattered, even if it couldn’t be bought that day. They’d focus on reading the label to me, figuring out which store. It was cute.

    Then, once a week or so, we’d have a fun fund meeting and go over the list. We’d talk about the extra “fun fund” we had that week. I’d talk about how this week was more than last because…. etc. That helped them see, sometimes if the plumber came, we could still do something fun, but we toned it back a little.

    They’d constantly say how it helped them to see how they could want something so much, then just a day or two later not want it any more.

    They’re adults now. They both have savings. They both keep a portion for silly fun, just like you say.
    They love to save just as much as they love to treat themselves. Saving is a treat. They still share and pool funds.

    I loved, too, that never, ever did I have them cry in a store wanting something.

    I never would have thought of that on my own.



    • barbara huson

      Pati, I LOVE THIS STORY!! I love it so much I’d really like to use it for my next blog….giving you full credit of course. I’ve had so many questions re: talking to kids about money…your story is perfect. Really brilliant. Can I use it…and your name? I can’t thank you enough for sharing it with me.

      • Pati Wolfgang

        Barbara, you angel.

        As I told Lynda, absolutely!

        Those books were some of the deepest treasures I’ve found.

        I give copies to people I barely know.  It’s a mission.

        You and your big heart. You might enjoy this story too, even if it isn’t financial.

        I worked at a center for mentally challenged folk.

        I had the “developmental” group.  Some considered them low functioning.  I’d watch these low functioning folk run circles around the people with the clipboards.

        We had a tiny room with a large table and a bookshelf crammed with supplies.

        One of my sweeties “Rob” was nonverbal, in his thirties.  He’d get frustrated and occasionally lash out.  It was very rare.  But, boy.

        Well, the supervisor was one of those you wonder what she was doing in “human services”.   I’m not sure how much human was in there.

        Rob was late getting back after lunch.  He liked to go across the street to a little store and buy a treat.

        They knew him.  It was a high point to his day.

        Well, I guess the store was crowded, who knows.  He was a few minutes late.

        This woman told him he wasn’t allowed to go to the store any more.

        He came in the room.  Let out this yell.  Pulled the shelf over.  It landed on top of some people.  Materials flying.  About a dozen people screaming.

        I used the technique of redirect, then help the person focus on expression.

        I tossed out paper and tossed markers.  Everyone stopped.  I said, ” Quick.  Everyone draw what you are feeling! ”

        Everyone focused.  I wish I’d saved the pictures.  They were amazing!!!!

        One girl drew Robert.  Then drew herself huddled.  Then drew hearts going to Robert.

        We went around and shared our pictures, including Rob.  His had yellow and orange and red flying.

        We got to this woman’s.  She said “I love you so much, Robert.  But that was so loud.  I was so scared.  I was sad for you and I love you. But, boy, I was scared. I love you so much, Robert.”

        Robert said, SAID, “I love you too, Karen.”   They hugged.  Then we all hugged.

        He was verbal after that.

        • barbara huson

          Wow…I got full body chills reading this, Pati. You are quite an extraordinary woman. I’d love to meet you someday!!

  • Paula Zimmerman-Taylor

    I still adore shopping, and when I dont do it for a while, I do feel deprived. I live in NYC, so there’s always temptation in the form of goods, events, movies, all that stuff! I’ve been able to discipline myself a little, and at least most of the time know where my $ is going, and I’ve closed my storage space as of today so I know that will save, but I still can’t save or do that action of automatically putting a certain amount into savings, can you do that with 2 different banks? I feel my financial health is growing but at glacial speed!

  • Joyce

    Recently I simply put 10% of whatever I deposit from my. Business into savings. Then I assess at the end of the month how much additional can go into savings. I know how much I need for monthly living, taxes and any extra after that goes to additional savings.

    Thw 10% immediately off the top is right for me. I pay myself first. I ask myself what do i want: that’s plenty of money for my future self for whatever she needs.

    Thank you for teaching me this Barbara. I would always do these complex calculations to determine savings and then never save. This simplifies things and then I can go back and add to my savings

    • barbara huson

      Oh Joyce, you are totally thinking like a wealth builder. Makes me smile from ear to ear!!! Thanks for this!

  • Lisa


    Your new newleters are brilliant. You just enspired me this week to cancel an online subscription that I don’t use and the money to my retirement fun.

    I like to put an emotional attachment to the money I save. For example, my emergency fund = dignity. It means if my job gets outsourced or if I can’t stand working for my boss any more, I can leave whenever I want to. If my relationship does not serve me well any more, I can leave too. I am not too depentant on that person. If a family member suddenly dies, I can take time off to grieve without worrying about cash too much. This gives me a sense of abundance. I don’t have to stay in any hostitle situation I don’t want to.

    • barbara huson

      Brilliant, Lisa. Really truly brilliant and inspiring…canceling the subscription and putting in retirement. Thanks for sharing it here…truly hope others follow your lead!!!

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Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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