Wish Farming: How To Save Money with Up
Aug 31, 2021 · 5 min read · Tales from the Upside
Hi, my name is Anne and I’m a wish farmer.
When I was a kid I spent hours deciding what to spend my money on. I used to beg Mum and Dad for those tins from the Reject Shop, the ones with dollar bills printed on that are nearly impossible to open without slicing an artery. I loved that delicious tension as they got heavier and heavier…
Should I put my pocket money in this week, or splurge it on lollies?
Should I crack it now for a GigaPet? Or wait a bit longer for an actual Tamagotchi?
Grown-up money might be bigger and live in a bank account, but there’s still a lot of the same decisions to be made. Now, or later? This wish, or that one?
For example: I’m trying to save up a home deposit. That’s a super big goal! But I also really want a cargo bike. New books are my favourite kind of self-care, and I also want one of those fancy French enamel pots so that on Spag Bol night I can feel like I’m whipping up a five course meal in a fancy French kitchen...
That’s a lot of stuff, and I’m just getting started.
Before I joined Up, I treated all my ‘savings’ as one big bucket — just like one big pocket money tin. That meant I either spent what felt like ‘home deposit money’ on books, and felt bad about it... or, didn’t buy anything, and felt deprived.
Both of these scenarios sucked 👎
But I found a new way.
Up + Wish Farming = Serenity.
‘Wish farming’ with Savers is a way of giving all my dreams a place to live and grow. I brainstorm everything my heart desires; choose a small number of wishes to nurture now; and then give those wishes all of my savings firepower till I can get them.
I found this idea through the smarty-pantses who make the You Need A Budget software (shout out to my fellow budgeting nerds), and it’s really easy to organise inside Up.
A Saver for Every Wish
At the heart of Up are Savers: heaps of free homes for your money, so you know what’s meant for one thing and what’s set aside for another.
Whenever I want something new, I make a Saver for it.
But not just a generic Saver: every wish gets love and care with a name, a priced-out goal amount, and a carefully chosen emoji. Up even gives you neat Saver swimming pools so you can lie in bed and watch your emojis swimming ever closer to your goal. Not that I’ve ever done that. Cough.
At this stage, I don’t worry too much about whether a goal is something that’s truly a priority — I just set up a Saver. The heart wants what the heart wants, and sometimes the heart wants a new puppy. I don’t talk to my heart about what the landlord would say. I just make a Saver.
Time to Choose
Next, I prioritise. While I can love every wish, I definitely don’t have the financial firepower to feed them all at once. Sorry, enamel pot dream: I want the bike more, and I want to save fast enough for it that I stay motivated.
I like to pick out about three goals at a time. Maybe a really big one (the someday home!), a medium sized one that will take a while, but is still achievable (bike adventures!) and a littler one (a pile of dollarydoos that are all mine for books).
I press and hold on the three Savers I’ve picked to move them to the top of the pile.
Those other wishes? They still matter. I still love them. They’ll be there when I’m ready.
Sunlight, water, and time
Just like a real farm, a wish farm needs TLC. These little wishes need to be fed with cash.
The easiest way to fill Savers is just to pop in spare money in when you have it. If that’s what you like to do, no shade.
But the magic of Up is that it’s full of little techno tricks I can use to trick my brain into saving faster, and with less pain. It’s a psychological game that Up and I play against my own spending, and the only winner is me.
🏡 A home deposit is a commitment: big money and big time. So every pay day, money goes automatically into that Saver before I even realise I have it. There’s not even time to feel deprived.
🚲 My cargo bike wish isn’t urgent but it is exxy, so I’ve chosen to move any extra money I get into that Saver. If I get birthday money or a tax return? If I sell something I don’t need? Forward that money in to the Saver. If I have a Spendable balance left on Pay Day, in it goes too.
📚 And last but not least, any extra money Up finds through Round Ups fill a ‘quality time in bookshops’ Saver.
One of the funny things about human brains is that they can adapt to a huge range of circumstances. Making my money less available (within reason) forces me to adapt to having a bit less day to day.
I find I splurge less on stuff that just seems cool for a moment, and get what I really want long term.
Get and Reset
Happy day! The ‘books’ saver has hit its goal of $100, the shop is open: I’ll see you in about three hours.
It’s time to empty my Saver totally guilt free, because a) I know the money is available and b) I know — because I’ve saved for ages and had time to think — that I definitely want to use this money for books.
Later, after I’ve enjoyed a very solid read, I’ll have a play and see which goal will replace Books. Maybe this is the month I’m going to go all out on a cheese delivery?
An interesting side benefit I didn’t expect from saving this way, is that I’ve discovered the wisdom of waiting before buying. Heaps of times, by the time a ‘must have’ goal has made it to the top of my list, either I honestly don’t want it so much any more, or I’ve found a cheap or free way of getting it. In the week it took me to write this blog post, I found two books I wanted at the library, and Marketplace delivered with a $5 cast iron pan that just needed a bit of TLC!
Oh — and waste not want not. Savers can be edited with new names, emojis and goals, so they’re fully recyclable.
A few more of my favourite Up features
But wait, there’s more! There are heaps of ways to find a few extra bucks behind the digital couch.
Trackers on my phone let me know how much is left in my ‘food shopping’ and ‘entertainment’ budgets. It’s now a bit of a game to use slightly less than my set Tracker amount… and Forward the extra into my 🚲 Saver. Buying cheaper brands or going for a toastie instead of Uber Eats actually feels pretty great when I can fling a few dollars towards my dream 💸
Boosted Round Ups
Did someone say challenge? When I first used Up, I turned on basic Round Ups and quickly realised I never missed the money. I’ve gradually turned Round Up Boosts up to $3 and I’m still totally OK, but saving faster. I know of Upsiders who boost to $10. That’s not for me, but serious respect.
Up keeps track of what bills are coming up before I get paid again, and tells me what’s ‘Spendable’ before pay day rolls around again. If I end up with a few dollars left the night before pay day, you best believe I’m moving them into my wish farm.
How do you use Up?
I’d love to make this post part of a series, about all the ways people customise Up to fit their own personal money style. If you’ve got a story to tell, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can have a chat!
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