I am terrible at saving money. I will wait while you reread that sentence…
I am really great at saving money on purchases and cutting back on things to save a few dollars and cents. But what is the most challenging part of saving money for me? It’s seeing a large amount of cash accumulate in an account. I am talking about an emergency fund, for example.
While the average American has very little retirement savings, is living paycheck to paycheck, and lots of credit card debt, we also know that they are also struggling with the saving part of personal finance.
It Is Easier To Get Money Than To Keep It
I am not proud of this. But it seems like forever; this is how we have lived our lives. We have always believed that it is easier to get money than to keep it. And I am trying desperately to change our mindset on this one. When something comes up, we have just always waited until payday and then worked it into the budget. If that means that the electric bill needs to wait until the next payday, then so be it.
Please understand that I am a HUGE advocate of having sinking funds which I go into full detail here, but if our sinking fund is low, empty, or nonexistent, then we wait a few days until payday and go from there.
I am also not talking about saving for retirement. We have that covered, and I plan on similarly treating the other savings goals the same way – I will explain later.
Why Is It So Hard For Me To Save Money?
I have come up with a list of the reasons it’s so difficult for some people to save money. And while I am writing this, I plan on evaluating myself.
No Idea Where Your Money Is Going
You spend “like you’re in congress” (Dave Ramsey Reference). Like Arianna Grande says, “I see it. I like it. I want it. I buy it.” Your mentality for stuff is that of a three-year-old, and it doesn’t matter to you if you have money in the bank or not. At the end of the weekend, it’s gone, and your account is in the negative. You have no money this week to pay bills, not to mention saving money.
This goes hand in hand with losing track of your money. You have no plan for any of It. You don’t know when the cell phone bill is due. You pay it when they tell you it’s going to be turned off, hoping that the payment goes through. We see you having trouble just trying to pay your monthly expenses.
We all know what a budget is, right?
Social Media and FOMO
I can’t talk about why people have a hard time saving money without bringing up social media.
Consider this a public service announcement and humor me while I get up on a soapbox for a minute.
Facebook, Snapchat, And Instagram are social platforms for people to express their happiness. They are excited about the new car, a yummy dinner, or a fancy date night. So they want to share.
They want everyone to feel their joy when they post themselves sitting on a beach in Maui, posing in front of Rockefeller Plaza in NYC or drinking a beer at a Luke Bryan concert.
It’s the joy they are sharing.
Life is not ALWAYS LIKE THIS! Please stop comparing your life to others and think you are missing out on something. You need to do you. Do not do them. Done. Let’s move on.
What’s The Point?
What’s the point of saving for something that may never happen? Or saving for when you are old. That’s way too depressing.
Or for like me, why bother when you know there will be another check in a few days? And if there for some reason is not another paycheck, we will figure it out then.
Of course, I know the answer. It’s for peace of mind knowing that you and your family will have food and heat. In case something does happen.
This is where my inner conflict comes from. Do you feel the struggle? I don’t like the idea that there is no safety net. Yet, not enough to plan for it. Maybe its because I have never had to deal with the situation before.
My husband was laid off when his company closed the doors way back in 2002. But we knew it was coming so we made arrangements. He was able to collect unemployment and also received a nice compensation package. So no real hardships until he was hired again four months later.
I need to figure this out. I am definitely struggling.
No Financial Goals
When you just want to get through the day and have no goals to work for, there is no reason to save money. Even if you want to go on a beautiful cruise, you would instead put that on a credit card than save the money and pay cash.
So saving money for anything is just not important to you. When you can’t save up for something small, you can’t be expected to save for something bigger. I have the small stuff. Now I need to work on that big stuff.
Bad Money Habits Make Saving Seem Impossible
When you have some bad money habits, everything seems hard. When you have no budget, no idea what you are spending your money on, and more week left than pay, then you can’t expect to save money. I would even go as far as to say it’s impossible.
First things first, clean up those bad money habits.
Track your spending, get on a budget, and use a cash-only system (blog post on how to do that).
Save Money With A Low Income
There is just no money. You are barely making ends meet. You have cut back on everything you can, and there is just nothing left. Sometimes you struggle to eat. How can you save money with a low income? Not to mention trying to pay those student loan payments each month. Who’s idea was college again?
It is not possible to save without money. You can’t save what you don’t have. This reason is by far the most challenging part of saving money as there is not a “saving” problem; there is a “money” problem. You need to make more money.
Why Am I Not Saving Money?
Because I have not come up with a system that works for me yet, I am all about finding solutions that work for me. Most of the time, it is through trial and error. I keep trying and failing. Clearly, I am not afraid of failure.
I believe I have found the answer to my issue and I think it can work for you also.
An online savings account.
How Can A Savings Account Benefit You?
After doing all of the research for this post, I have concluded that the only way I can save money is with a savings account. Here’s how a savings account can benefit you.
It has to be a type of savings account that you literally cannot access easily.
This is SO ME!
I have savings accounts attached to my checking account t our credit union. It is SO EASY to go online and transfer that money over when I want something. I even have a savings account that is NOT attached to my checking account. But because I am 3 minutes from the bank, its no problem to run through the drive-thru and transfer some money using that little blue slip of paper.
Let me be perfectly honest here. I have a budget. I have a sinking fund system. I am SUPER frugal. But I am NOT perfect. I work so very hard to keep everything flowing and together. I have learned that automated bill pay makes my life easier. Let me repeat that.
Automated Bill Pay Makes Life Easier.
Does Everyone Save Money?
I am willing to bet the answer is a hard, fast no. But as of right now, I am. In 4 minutes and 15 seconds, I opened up a Capital One 360 Savings Account. This is NOT a sponsored post, nor am I making any money from them.
I did some research and decided that this is the best online account. I can’t get to it easily, yet I can get to eat easily enough in an emergency.
This is my emergency fund. I want to have enough in this online savings account in case anything ever happens to us, and we need money; it is there. But just far enough out of reach to not dip in when we want it.
It was effortless to set up and was six steps – a total of a little over 4 minutes. I added $100 to it, and once it is actually in there (it is “pending”), I can go in and set up automation.
It took a few days to finish up the process as Capital One needs to verify your account. The did two small (I mean really small – pennies) deposits and then withdrew the same amount. I needed to go into the verify tab and record those amounts.
After that was complete, I was able to transfer my $100 starting amount, which I chose and set up my automatic deposit every other week.
It was very easy and I was happy with how the process went. I look forward to saving.
Other Ideas for Saving Cash
You can even try one of those saving money challenges to fund your new savings account. There are these games when you start out saving five dollars each week and each week, you double it. Check out Pinterest. There are LOTS of ideas!
Seriously. Super excited!!
And that, my friends, is the most challenging part of saving money – debunked!
It’s no longer so hard, now is it?