Use your marketing skills to analyze your own spending habits (and save money)

Using this same framework, you can analyze your own spending habits and find what motivates you, what messages work on you, and how you might be able to change your spending habits to save money.

If you’ve studied marketing and advertising, you’ve very familiar with the analysis of potential and current customers.

When analyzing our target market, we ask:

– Who are they?

– What products are they most likely to buy?

– What messages are they most likely to respond to?

– What motivates their purchases?

– What causes them not to purchase?

Using this same framework, you can analyze your own spending habits and find what motivates you, what messages work on you, and how you might be able to change your spending habits to save money.

Two ways to get started:

Analyze your Amazon suggestions/purchase history

Amazon (or any other major online retailer) spends significant resources to understand your spending habits and predict what you are most likely to buy next. Why not use this to your advantage?

For example, a quick skim of Amazon’s suggestions for me indicates that I’m most likely to buy beauty products and kitchen gadgets from them. This makes sense, as I’m very particular about wanting a specific beauty/kitchen product and unwilling to go to 10 stores to find it. At the same time, beauty products can be more expensive on Amazon than in retail. I could save a significant amount of money by going to a brand’s website and finding the products locally in a store. Or, I could save money by being less particular with my purchases.

Analyze your debit/credit card statements

Take look at your debit and credit card statements from a third-party perspective, as if you were analyzing someone in a focus group for your product or service.

What are you spending your money on and where? What’s the repetition of your spending habits? Where are the patterns? What percent of your money is going toward various purchases or categories of purchases?

For example, after I gifted him The Total Money Makeover book by Dave Ramsey, a friend of mine analyzed his own budget from a third-party perspective and what he found was shocking: “The family” (aka him and his wife) were spending $1,400 per month on eating out!

So dedicate some time this week or weekend to taking a look at yourself as a target market and see where you spend your money and how you might change that for the better. 

Build big goal momentum with early wins

Oftentimes, building momentum through early wins doesn’t seem efficient. It seems like a very long, continually twisting and bending curved path to success. The straight line to your big goal seems the most efficient.

Success straight line, what people think it looks like. Success, really squiggly line, what it really looks like
“21 Steps to Success” by Bernard Goldbach, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you want to reach your big hairy goal, you need to build momentum through early, small wins.

Your logic (and most definitely mine) would argue otherwise. Oftentimes, building momentum through early wins doesn’t seem efficient. It seems like a very long, continually twisting and bending curved path to success. The straight line to your big goal seems the most efficient.

But the reality is, it isn’t.

There is a reason that financial guru Dave Ramsey advocates for his debt snowball (paying smallest debts first vs. those with the biggest interest rates vs. paying down the one with the most interest first) plan. There is a reason that The First 90 Days advocates for early, quick wins in your first 90 days of a new job.

That reason is: Momentum

Or more specifically:

  • Building your confidence in you
  • Building others’ confidence in you
  • Building confidence in your big goal
  • Building others’ confident in your big goal
  • Starting the process of change with small steps
  • Having people see success in those small steps and be motivated by it

Big hairy goals are what we all need to reach for, but early wins, even if they aren’t directly on the path to the big goal, are what will get you there.

 

Photo: “21 Steps to Success” by Bernard Goldbach, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0