Money ‘magic’ to curb spending

Editor's Note: This post on money ‘magic' is a bit of a departure from our usual fact-based personal finance advice but in the spirit of Halloween, contributor Sierra Black explores folklore and saving money, with a little spookiness thrown in.

The Evil Fruit

It's Halloween, the season of ghosts, ghouls, and witches! To celebrate, I thought I'd share a little money magic with you that really works. It's an old Southern folk magic spell called Money Stay With Me. This version is adapted from Cat Yronwood at Lucky Mojo, a hoodoo shop in California.

This magic spell is designed to keep money in your pocket, regardless of how much you have coming in. As GRS readers know, it's saving that makes you rich, not windfalls or high salaries (though those certainly don't hurt).

The Money-Stay-With-Me Spell

To work this spell you'll need a green candle, a lodestone (or a magnet), several coins, a piece of paper, and a safe place to keep your stuff while you're working your mojo. The traditional version also calls for special incenses and oils, which you can buy through Cat's site or make yourself if you're the DIY type. Or just leave the bells and smells out entirely; as you'll see, the real magic of the spell comes from your commitment to doing it.

To get started, set out four coins on the corner of a plate or tray. In the center, put a piece of paper with your name written several times in red ink. You can also include a prayer or psalm to help you focus, and a lock of hair or a photograph.

Carve the words “Money Stay With Me” on your candle. Light the candle. Say any prayers or affirmations you like to focus your intention: saving money.

Now go through your purse, your drawers and your secret stash and cough up any money you have. Put all the bills over $20 on the plate. At this point in the hoodoo spell, you'd write your name on the bills and anoint them with magical oils and powders. I'll leave it to you to decide whether or not to do that. If it speaks to you, and makes you more excited and committed to what you're doing, by all means break out the bells and smells.

But here's the really important part of this spell: Leave those $20 bills there, sitting under a magnet, for seven days. Every night, burn a little more of your green candle and add any new cash that's come into your life to the stack.

At the end of the week, you can spend the twenties at the bottom of the stack. If you want. You may also decide to pop 'em in your savings account.

Continue this spell for at least one week, but keep doing it as long as you like.

Why This Works

Astute readers will already have figured out the “magic” behind this spell. It's not the incense or hoodoo incantations — though those can be powerful triggers for some people. It works because it compels you to keep your hands off your money for seven days.

Anyone who uses a 30-day list is familiar with the principle behind this very practical spell: Choosing to wait before spending money on something often results in not spending the money at all.

Related >> How to track your spending (and why you should)

Most money spells aren't worth the paper they're printed on. This one actually helped me make the switch from a spending mindset to a saving one, because of it's practical aspect. Underneath the ritual, it's another simple mental hack for saving money.

Whether you keep your $20 bills under a lodestone dusted with magic potions or in a cookie jar you only let yourself open on Sundays, having a mental rule that keeps a lid on your spending will help you curb impulse buying and save more cash.

The important part is to make it a rule you believe in, something the childish, inner self will get on board with. Keeping my cash on a hoodoo altar tickles my playful side — the same side that tends to impulsively spend money.

You might find yourself rolling your eyes at the idea of a money spell. That's okay. Find a mind game that works for you: putting your money in a piggy bank like the one you had when you were a kid, or in a dedicated savings account you only look at once a week, or a locked safe-deposit box. Do whatever works for you, whatever convinces your inner self that you're serious about not spending this money.

I used to get a lot more benefit out of this practice when I ran a largely cash-based business. I'd get paid in stacks of $20 bills several times a week. Keeping them shut away for seven days kept me from impulsively spending as soon as I had the cash, and then being sad at the end of the week when my budget didn't balance.

Now, most of my income comes in a few large checks each month, and those go straight to the bank. My little money mojo altar sits empty a lot of the time. But I need it less now. I've learned how to convince money to stay with me, with or without my magic magnet.

Happy Halloween! Have fun with tricks and treats — and any magic that comes your way.

Photo by orangeacid.

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