7 Ways Psychologists Say Saving Boosts Your Mental Health

We all know that saving consistently can do wonders for our bank accounts, but what about our minds and our moods? As those dollars add up, how do our personalities change? Our outlooks on life? Our stress levels?

If your personal savings plan is gaining momentum, I bet you've noticed some unexpected benefits in other areas of life. (See also: What Traits Do Most Savers Share?)

Here are seven psychological benefits of saving regularly.

1. Discipline

A healthy bank balance doesn't happen by accident. We live in a virtual wonderland of consumer goods where every taste, inclination, or terrible idea can be indulged with a swipe or a click. Saving means swimming against the tide of stuff and having the discipline to say "no" more often than "yes." And the wonderful thing is this: When we adopt effective self-discipline tricks, the results can help us in nearly every part of life.

2. Peace of Mind

If being in debt or riding the edge of your budget has you stressed, then building a savings cushion should bring you peace of mind, suggests Rutgers University. All savers may not be Zen masters, and there's a lot more to tranquility than a pile of cash, but establishing a healthy financial buffer sure doesn't hurt. Saving is a form of personal insurance and, after all, isn't peace of mind what insurance companies are selling?

3. Confidence

Successful saving builds confidence in at least two important ways. First, it reinforces the fact that you can really achieve something when you set your mind to it. And second, saving provides the capital to get things done when necessary. If that 1979 Bronco finally kicks it, you have the capital to buy a dependable replacement (or at least fund a healthy down payment). If your 30-year old furnace gives you the cold shoulder in the middle of a January blizzard, you don't have to kindle a campfire in the bathtub to stay warm. Isn't having the resources to act the ultimate confidence-builder? (See also: 17 Little Ways to Feel More Confident)

4. Assertiveness

Having a deeper and more authentic sense of confidence makes people more assertive. With the skills to save and the bank balance to prove it, you can channel healthy assertiveness when the occasion calls for it. Go after that promotion, ask that special someone out on a first date, or simply work toward your next set of personal goals with greater gusto.

5. Optimism

It's easy to be cynical when all your hard work barely floats you from one paycheck to the next. Research shows that saving something — no matter how small — can gradually build a sense of optimism. Watching a fledgling bank account grow helps us feel like we're working toward something greater and gives us the traction we need to find new ways to save more and save faster.

6. Compassion

Savers don't have a monopoly on compassion, of course, but saving can give us enough breathing room in our own financial lives to look around and see what others need. Saving regularly affords us the luxury of a clearer perspective — and that's often the seed of active compassion. It also gives rise to compassionate actions — such as having the means to donate to good causes or help others when they're in need.

7. Sense of Freedom

A high level of consumer debt is a lot like indentured servitude. Steep interest rates, late fees, the potential damage to credit (and all that can entail) can keep people toiling for years with very little to show for it. Being able to save regularly means you've at least tamed your debt enough to stash some cash — and cash is often an important part of being free. Spending less and saving more can help us embrace important freedoms in our careers, our relationships, and where we choose to live. Without overstating it: If you feel cornered by any aspect of life, explore the transformative power of amassing some capital and then use it to launch yourself in a new direction.

Sure, it might not be the cure for everything that ails you, but there are some very real psychological benefits to establishing and maintaining a savings routine. In fact, saving and frugality can be downright sexy. So, as you watch that bank balance grow, consider what other parts of your life are blossoming too.

Do you save regularly? How has it improved your frame of mind and your sense of self? Share your story below.

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Guest's picture

I'm ranking this one among my Top 10 favorite blog post topics of this year! Such thought-provoking ideas. I think that the combination of #3 and #4 would help with negotiating skills, which would mean that the psychological effects of saving money help you earn more money as well.