Trying to save money can be hard. Especially when you’re just getting use to having money to spend in the first place. Managing your funds can be intimidating. Here are a few reasons why you might not be able to save money and how you can begin building your bank account.
1. Your rent/mortgage is too expensive
Your housing expenses ideally should be about 20-30% of your income. Yes, housing is a non-negotiable expense but there are certain variables you can change to pay less for your housing. You can get a roommate, move to a different neighborhood or states, or downsize and live in a smaller place. Just spending $100 less on rent can save you $1200 a year.
2. You keep ‘treating yourself’ even though there are no funds left in the bank
Yes, most of us work really hard and you do deserve a treat from time to time, but within reason and within the budget most importantly. Every impulse purchase shouldn’t be justified by this reason. When you do treat yourself make sure you are still staying within your budget and try to make it a reward instead of impulse buying. For example, if you stick to your workout schedule this month, treat yourself with a cute new workout outfit. It can serve as motivation to reach your goals too.
3. You haven’t paid off your debt
This is a big one. If you have huge loans to repay it’s always very hard to find room in your budget to save. In my opinion, I believe paying off any debt should be your top priority. Having debt can limit your options in all aspects of life. Not only can debt take a huge toll on your budget but it actually costs you more the longer you have it. Compound interest can turn your 5k loan into a 50k loan faster than you think.
4. You spend money before you get it
Credit cards can be great for establishing credit history and building your credit score. However using your credit to pay for items that you can’t afford can be dangerous. Don’t make a habit of deflecting to your credit card to make purchases that you can’t afford. Something that has worked for me to build credit has been to only put expenses on my credit card that I have the money for, right now, in my bank account. This way I never carry a balance and I am never charged interest. Another great perk of using this method is that I rack up points that I can use to pay for flights and hotels later. That’s actually how I was able to fly to Belize for free last year!
5. You aren’t paying yourself first
Before you pay any bills make sure you set aside money for yourself first. You earn your money and you deserve to give yourself some before you start dishing it out all the XYZ bill companies with their hands out. You can keep the money you pay yourself in a savings account or really pay yourself by investing your money if that’s right for you.
6. You don’t know how much money you’re spending
Have you ever gone out and had a great weekend only to look at your back account Monday morning like who robbed me?! I’ve been there too and it’s not fun. You have to know where your money is going in order to even think about saving. You might find money that you were spending somewhere else can help boost your savings account. Are you paying unnecessary parking fees? Can you take public transportation, uber/lyft, or car pool to work? How much does it really cost you to buy lunch every day? Could you make your own lunch a few days a week to pad your bank account?
7. Your relationship with money isn’t healthy
Many people whose first memories of money come from a place of lack or scarcity have developed unhealthy relationships with money over time. Some people go into a preservative state with their money and because of this they save the majority of their money not allowing room for pleasure or non-essential activities because of the fear of lack. Other people who come from the same places of scarcity with money might go into an exploitative state where they tend to want luxury items because they were not afforded to them before. Try and understand your spending habits. Look at what categories where you spending the most money and see if you notice any unhealthy patterns.
Saving money can be tricky, especially when you have debt and you don’t make a lot of money. Start making a few small changes
What have been your biggest challenges while trying to save money? What tips can you share?