I’ve written before that you should treat your budget like a healthy meal. Of course, you can also try hard limits, like the FIRE movement’s math-heavy approach, to achieve early retirement. But at the other end of the spectrum, revenge spending can spiral and ruin your finances, just as binge drinking can ruin your diet. In between is the concept of “soft saving,” a happy medium between these extremes. It’s all about moderation. Or that’s the idea anyway.
Let me bend my first-hand insight into Gen Z here. In general, a “soft life” is a lifestyle that is low stress and incorporates self-care. Like quiet quitting, soft savings is simply a trendy term to describe the timeless pursuit of a life worth living within the framework of capitalism. While older generations worked all their lives, Gen Z wants to work. life their whole life. Soft saving is a nice way of saying that you save money in a way that doesn’t require intense management and doesn’t ruin your life with overspending.
And while personal finance trends come and go, some soft savings tenants are holding up under intense scrutiny. Here, we’ll take a closer look at what soft savings are and how to decide if it’s the right approach for you.
What are soft savings?
Soft saving is a money management technique aimed at saving money without drastically cutting back on your lifestyle or depriving yourself of small comforts. But what does it actually look like?
Soft savings allows you to make small changes to your spending habits to free up small amounts of cash that can be put toward savings. The “soft” aspect comes from a gradual and flexible approach rather than strict budget cuts.
The most valuable thing about this trend is what soft savings can do to your relationship with money. The soft savings philosophy recognizes that, like crash diets, dramatic lifestyle changes are often unsustainable. So instead of cutting out all eating out, entertainment, and non-essential shopping, look for gentle ways to lose weight that you can maintain over time.
How to start soft saving now
Here are some simple soft savings strategies you can use to increase your savings without sacrificing your day-to-day happiness.
Pause your spending. Before you buy, stop and ask yourself if you really need it or just want it right now.
Downgrade if it makes sense. The first thing to do is look at your bank statement and make sure everything you’re spending money on is actually worth it (and not some subscription service you forgot about a long time ago). For regular expenses like your cell phone plan, downgrade to lower-cost options if possible.
Limit impulse purchases. Avoid impulse purchases by waiting 24 hours before purchasing anything unplanned. My favorite hack is to always physically write down what I want to buy before I actually buy it.
Please use cash only. To feel the impact of your spending, use cash instead of card for any purchases.
Set no-expense days. Pick one or two days a week where you don’t buy anything.
The key to soft savings is consistency over time. Think continuous moderation, not yo-yo dieting. You might be surprised at how much you can cut back on expenses, whether it was unintentional or due to stress.
Flexible support is possible with soft storage
If we take one value out of the soft savings trend, we get: flexibility. If you beat yourself up every time you indulge in small luxuries, you’ll quickly burn out. The key is not to be perfect, but to regularly choose to save over spending when it makes sense. Give yourself the space to enjoy life by building sustainable habits that you can practice every day.