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How to Trick Yourself Into Saving For a Down Payment

Aggressive saving but make it fun.

Saving for a down payment can feel like a monumental task. You want me to save how much?? How many tens of thousands of dollars? But how? I’m just a baby, and we all know that babies have no money.

Well news flash, baby: you’re not going to achieve your financial goals if you never try.

Overcoming your reticence to begin saving for a down payment, and making sacrifices to do so, takes commitment. But there are a handful of tricks and tips that could help along the way.

If we all had perfect willpower, we’d be better at saving. But that ain’t life. Instead, you can create fun little games and shortcuts to get invested in your savings progress. Having a warm, engaged attitude toward saving could help you save up faster than having a resentful, detached relationship with your goals.

The key: make saving fun, and make it automatic.

One of the simplest ways to boost your savings progress is by making use of your “spare change”. Roundup features are available from many different companies, including our pals at Moka (who we just joined forces with!).

The gist of a roundup is whenever you spend money from your bank account, your bank or your fintech app will save the spare change. If your coffee is $2.25, then you’d “round up” and funnel the leftover $0.75 into your savings!

It’s small, but that’s the point. Using a feature like this enables you to save more essentially without even noticing. Tools like this can make your money work more efficiently for you.

We love kitsch and camp in this household, people. We love it. And thus, we must recommend the old classic: the thermometer chart.

You’ve probably seen these before. They’re printouts or store bought items that you hang on your wall or your fridge, and that you customize to reflect the specifics of your savings goal. As your savings grow, you use your favourite colour marker, or stickers, or other fun things to indicate your progress on the chart.

Just try to not get excited about your savings with one of these things around. Dare you. It’s impossible.

Using a physical representation of your savings progress will not only trigger that little dopamine hit that shouts “good job, me!!”. It will also help keep your savings goal at the front of your mind.

If you tend to overspend, hang it next to your front door to remind yourself to keep the bar tab low tonight. Or hang it next to your computer to remind yourself to get off Amazon, already.

Never underestimate the power of a pack of Mr. Sketch markers and a cute thermometer chart.

Like the roundup feature, consider automating your monthly savings contributions. Once you’ve used your budget (like the 50/30/20 Budget, mayhaps) and decided on a monthly contribution, set your bank to automatically move that money into your savings account.

Bonus points if that savings account is locked in for a specific term, so you can’t withdraw that cash after the fact until a predetermined date.

This basic amount can be out of sight, out of mind. Rather than agonizing over allocating a big ol’ chunk of income every paycheque, just let the bank do it for you, and adjust to working within your new net income.

Knowing that you will, without fail, save this amount every month could make saving feel like less of a chore.

Like automating your savings, you could also increase your savings progress by making a few blanket decisions like “I am not going on vacation for the next two years.”

Instead, you decide, I’m gonna chill at home and spend more time out and about in my city. Remove the cost of airfare, of accommodation, of overpriced food at your tropical resort of choice and you may find yourself closer to meeting your savings goal.

Instead, take your vacation days and commit to walking every street in a new neighbourhood. Check out your city’s art gallery. Rearrange your furniture. Even try out some local attractions, like paddle boarding or kayaking or whale watching in Vancouver.

The idea is not to spend zero dollars on your staycation, it’s simply to trim the fat and spend comparatively less than you would on a full blown tropical resort vacation. Future you will thank you!

Hey, you’re moving anyways, aren’t you? Try boosting your savings progress by selling some of your things. Taking several months or weeks to slowly evaluate the things in your home (and if you really need or want them) can create a passive income stream with little added stress on your part.

Try out Facebook Marketplace, or selling on Instagram. If you’ve got books, contact your local used book seller and see if they’ll purchase them from you. Try using dedicated apps like Poshmark to resell your clothes.

You could earn some extra cash to put toward your down payment, and by the time you move, you’ll have culled all the crap you’ve accumulated over the years. This one’s a win-win.

Saving for a downpayment without any help from family is hard. It’s a lot of money to put aside, and the cost of living ain’t exactly goin’ down. But committing to your savings goals, and even making the process of saving fun, can help you get there faster than you’d think.  Looking for an easy way to get started?  Check out the link below to try out our MogoCard!


You got this!! We believe in you.

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