For many of us we believe savings is an afterthought. Something reserved for people who have a lot more disposable income. Not for someone who has a family. Not for someone with collage loan debt. These are some of the lies we tell ourselves that keep us from building up savings. Just as there are emotions that driving us to overspend. There are also competing emotions that make it difficult for us to save. Here are five of the biggest feelings that effect our finances.
- Instant gratification – We live in a fast paced society. In the age of fast food and internet immediacy, no one likes to wait for anything. Saving for a rainy day or for a large purchase goes against all the credit card company advertising we see daily. We are repeatedly told to just “borrow” the money for the things we want, rather than wait. We can worry about the consequences later.
- Lack of planning – You reach the end of each pay period with nothing left to put away into savings. You don’t feel that you have spent a lot and are not even sure where your money went. You only know that putting money aside was not something that ever entered your thoughts while you were out at dinner, buying that new shirt and treating yourself at Starbuck’s.
- Ignorance is bliss – In order to find money to save, you have to face the financial mess that has become a habit. If you commit to saving money you can no longer hide behind ignorance and spend with abandon. As long as you choose to remain ignorant you can escape fiscal responsibility…at least temporarily.
- Entitlement – You feel saving for the future isn’t needed because family, government, ex-husbands, our children, or someone else will take care of you in the end. You don’t have to worry.
- Fear – The ins and outs of finance can be complex and intimidating. Fear of looking stupid can prevent you from taking control and figuring out why you have an empty wallet.
These are several very legitimate reasoning’s that may hold you back from building a savings and getting you out of debt. Here are some simple ways to combated these emotions.
- Prevent yourself from having easily accessible funds. If you have a tendency to make impulse buys, deny yourself access to credit cards and immediate sources of money. Some people have gone as far as freezing their credit card to prevent them from being able to make purchases on a whim. Another option is to go on a spending diet and challenge yourself not to spend anything in a certain category for a week or two, maybe even a month. Then take the money you would have spent and put it in saving. The amount you will saving during this diet might just change your mind about impulse buys.
- Make a budget. I know it’s cliché. I know it’s not sexy or fancy. But people have been saying it forever because it works. Take a day, hash it out, maintain it for at least a month (hopefully forever.) If you need to make a large purchase you can plan it into your budget and know that you can really afford it by saving overtime and not taking on additional debt. This is what people did before credit cards. It works.
- Be an adult. Put on your big boy pants and be honest with yourself about your needs and wants. Did you need new clothes for work or did you really like that outfit? Did you need the new the IPhone or did you just really want the newest one when your old one was working fine? Facing up to what is preventing you from saving takes courage. You have to admit fault and well…be an adult. But once you educate yourself and take reasonability you will find money in unexpected places.
- Take control. Sorry to burst your financial bubble but there is not white knight coming to save you from financial ruin. By having your fiscal future dependent on the actions of others you give up control of your life. This is a recipe for disaster. Take back your control. It is never too late to plan for your future and correct the mistakes of the past.
- Enlist the help of a professional. Finance doesn’t have to be your field of expertise. There are people who do this full-time and can help guide and teach you. Go to your local bank where you opened your savings or checking to get started. Do a little on line research. There are several blogs, like Savingsadvice.com and Howtostuffyourpig.com, that can make complex finance terms simple.