Make Saving Sound Better
By Shannon M. Medisky
Let’s face it, “semantics” isn’t just semantics. Words mean a lot. They not only convey meaning, but they carry emotional implications too. Words are powerful, and it just makes good sense—and good financial sense—to use them to our advantage.
It’s certainly no secret that the words “saving money” and “being frugal” have garnered some bad connotations. “Stingy,” “tightwad,” “cheap,” I could go on, but you get the point. The words “saving money” have become all but bad words to some. I’m far from swayed or influenced by public opinion (most people who like to save money are, otherwise we’d fall for all those stupid, but expensive ad campaigns and frivolous packaging), but how many of us really pay much attention to our internal semantics? Do you stop to consider what you say to yourself? Words are indeed powerful, but sometimes our thoughts can be even more so.
To get your inner semantics on a more positive, money-saving track, consider adopting the following suggestions:
Adopt a vocabulary that embraces an adventurous approach. The choice to save money can mean opting to try a new brand that’s on sale that you’ve never tried before, not necessarily resorting to the cheapest item on the shelf.
Opt to say “stretch” instead of “skimp.” When you think about it, that’s the end goal in skimping to begin with: making something stretch. But, oddly enough, “stretch” doesn’t carry the same negativity that the other word does.
Choose words that reflect choice, not a forced hand. Saving money isn’t something any of us are forced to do. Despite how our finances may make us feel otherwise, it’s still a choice. (If this weren’t true, there’d likely be far fewer bankruptcies.) Saving money is an ongoing choice and commitment. It’s about consciously and purposefully managing our finances and in doing so we affect a better life for ourselves and our families. Honor this with your word choices. By spending less in other areas, you’re afforded the ability to spend more where and when it truly matters to you.
If “can’t” is unavoidable, immediately follow up with a big ol’ “but…” Sometimes the word “can’t” rears its ugly head and it simply (to use it again) can’t be avoided. When this is the case, strive to immediately stress the “but” and if there isn’t a “but,” create one! Again, saving money is always about choice, so actively choose to stress the positive. For example, when you can’t buy something now that you need or want, follow up with the words and/or thought about what you already have or exactly when you can secure it. Having to utter “can’t” doesn’t have to be, nor should it be the ending thought.
Employ creative, but equally true word choices. The following are my own personal word preferences. I hope you find them useful, encouraging and effective too:
- I don’t skip anything. I save for later or opt not against it.
- Things aren’t too expensive for me. I just view them as overpriced.
- I’m not cheap. I make choices that are budget-friendly, fiscally-wise and earth- as well as often environmentally-friendly.
- I never have to say “No” to myself, but sometimes I choose to say “just not now.”
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