If you love saving money and staying frugal, you might be the kind of person who hunts down all the deals and discounts. If you’ve got a huge binder full of coupons to local grocery stores, this applies to you.

Frugal living is an admirable goal, and many people who struggle to make ends meet can benefit greatly from money-saving life hacks. However, spending money isn’t saving money.

This might sound straightforward but think about it for a moment. You can’t save money if you’re always buying discounted items. You have to invest or put the money into a savings account if you want to actually save. Let’s break it down.

Deals Encourage You To Spend

Discounts only save you money if they happen to apply to items you already plan to purchase. The best way to illustrate this is to draw up a budget for your finances.

Compare how much you earn to how much you spend, and give yourself a monthly allotment for groceries and discretionary spending. If you plan to spend $100 per person in your home on groceries each month, you might save money if discounts help you to spend only $80 instead.

However, if you still spend $100 on groceries, despite using coupons to keep the costs down, then you’ve only spent money. Use discounts and coupons to net extra money in your budget and then save that money. 

Investing Your Income

The most direct way to save is to simply place money into a savings account with your bank. These accounts are essentially risk-free ways to slowly grow your nest egg over time. They don’t offer robust returns on your investments, but they do give you a way to turn your excess capital into more spending money.

There are other, more complicated ways to save. You can invest your finances in the stock market, using techniques like value hunting or index investing. These are significantly riskier plays, but if they pan out, they could net you a massive windfall in the future.

Don’t Let Discounts Trick You

Retailers run discounts to get you to spend money. Remember, if you spend $60 on a $100 electronic device that you wouldn’t have bought otherwise, you didn’t save $40. Instead, you just spent $60.

Stick to your budget, make a plan to save money consistently, and avoid discounts that are designed to part you from your hard-earned income. With the right strategy, you can take control of your financial future by making a few simple moves today.