I’m not sure what it is about saving money, but it seems to be one of the hardest things for most of us to do.. including myself.
Maybe it’s the fact that we all have that instant gratification mindset. We make purchases on impulse and regret them later. “Retail therapy” may make us feel better when we’re down, but it will cause more heartache in the long run!
Why can’t we save money? According to this 2013 video from CBS This Morning, 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. That’s certainly a big obstacle to saving money. How can you overcome it? Watch this video:
There are a couple additional things that have helped me out when it comes to saving money. Keep in mind, these may or may not be for you. This is just what works for us:
1.) Know yourself.
What are your weaknesses? One of the things I spend money on the fastest is FOOD. As in, fast/easy food. If I am out of the house between the hours of 11 and 2, chances are pretty high that I will be stopping somewhere for lunch. It is just sooo tempting to hit the drive-thru. If I can make it home, the impulse will pass, and I can find something to eat at the house. Boom. I just saved myself about $10.
2.) Start with small, obtainable goals.
I think most of you have seen this savings plan chart floating around on the internet:
When you’re looking at saving a smaller, manageable amount, it is much more likely that you can keep up with it. Where I run into problems is when I think about the large amounts of money we should be saving for our kids’ college, retirement, or even that 6-month emergency fund; part of me wants to hyperventilate. It is so much easier to break it down into numbers like this chart.
3.) Use separate accounts.
If you’re like me, it can be way too tempting to touch that $1,000 sitting in your emergency fund. I can think of about 50 better ways to spend that money than on some supposed “emergency,” can’t you? Ha!
We are just NOT savers by nature. So we’ve set up a direct deposit account that is not linked to our regular checking account for savings. A set amount goes into that account every paycheck. And since we don’t see it in our checking account on payday, we don’t think about it being available to spend.
If you still need some motivation for saving, check out America Saves. There are lots of great ideas that you can use or adapt to make work for you and your family. Their 54 Ways to Save Money is a good place to start!
If there is something I didn’t touch on that has worked for you, please share it with us!