Have you ever worked hard to save money, but can’t seem to get anywhere? No matter what you do, there seems to be nothing left and you just keep living paycheck to paycheck? If that's the case, there may be something you can improve on to bank some more of your hard earned cash.
Below are 5 possible culprits I've learned to watch out for in order for you to save more and get on top of your finances.
1) Do You Pay Yourself First?
Do you pay yourself first? It is very important that we put our savings in the bank. If we don’t put our savings in a bank, there can be a tendency to pull it out or use it whenever something comes up. Maybe we want to buy something or extra expenses pop up.
We might not budget or keep it somewhere like a bank. Also be aware to keep your cash in a bank if possible or in a safe place so it’s not misplaced or stolen. If it’s stolen, we can lose our desire to save money.
I remember when my wife and I were newlyweds, we didn’t even have enough money to put into a bank account. But we tried to save some money, even if it was just a little. However, no matter what we did, we had the hardest time saving.
But, when we decided to open a bank account, we noticed that our money was growing. Even if it was slow, we could see actual progress. Pay yourself first by setting up auto-transfers in your bank. Set aside 20-30% of your post-tax income if possible, but any amount is a good start.
2) Are You Spending More than You’re Making?
Do you ever end up spending more than you’re actually making? If you are one of those people who likes to follow fashion or must have the latest gadgets, then it may be difficult to save money in the long run.
My wife and I are foodies. We love trying new food and going new places. When we were first married, we would often go out to eat but didn’t really have much disposable income to do this. Sometimes, we even borrowed money from friends just to use for certain expenses. Every paycheck we received just went to paying our debts and we continued to live paycheck to paycheck.
Work to create a budget, even if it’s a simple budget to start. This way, you know how much is coming in and how much is going out. This will help you know your spending limitations.
3) Do You Avoid Places Where You Like to Spend?
One of the things that I don't want my wife to visit is usually the mall. When she sees something on sale, she can't refuse to buy it.
So, if you want to avoid this habit, you can try going to the mall less. The more you are in the mall, the more you are exposed to the temptation of purchasing things you don’t really need. Even if you don't intend to buy, you will find yourself buying because items are “on sale”.
The lesson is that if you avoid places where you tend to spend more money and don’t get there in the first place, then you won’t be tempted to spend money on things you don’t need.
4) Do You Have High-interest Loans?
Debt is a major reason why many people fall into or stay in poverty. People start using bad debt before understanding its implications and before they know it, they’re in a vicious cycle. On the flip side, if you know how to use good debt, then you can prosper in life.
If only they were more educated and disciplined to use debt to their advantage. You should try and avoid bad debt such as credit cards, payday loans, or high interest car loans.
Good debt can include a mortgage for your house, which is typically amortized over 15-30 years and a fixed payment. Good debt allows your money to grow.
Avoid high interest loans or don't borrow at all if you’re not in a position to secure good debt. If you are in debt, try to consolidate the debt and work side jobs to earn more to try and pay it off as quickly as possible.
5) Are You Prepared for an Emergency?
Surprises happen in life, whether it’s a surprise car bill or unexpected medical expense. It is important that we have emergency funds because this is where we draw when our partner or children are sick or there is an emergency in the family. If we are not prepared for an emergency or we don't have an emergency fund and something comes up, then we may end up spending the hard earned money we have saved in the bank.
When we have an emergency fund, then we don’t have to touch our savings or take on high-interest debt. Work to have a $1,000 emergency fund first and then work up to 3-6 months of living expenses eventually.
They say, “if you want something you never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done.” Everything we want to achieve in life requires discipline and patience. So, brainstorm the things you start implementing in your life or avoid in order to be more effective in saving money for the future.