When was the last time you could look back at the past month and think “wow, I really saved a lot of money!” – And I’m not talking about “saving” money from the 25% discount you received when you bought clothes. No, I’m talking about saving cold hard cash, tucked away in a bank account you never touch.
Many people, including myself, tend to take a rain-check when it comes to putting money aside for saving. But why? Why do we convince ourselves it’s OK to not prioritise saving money?
There are 4 reasons people do not save money. See if you can identify with one, if not some of the reasons:
I just need to buy that one thing before I can start saving…
Yeah… you said that before… a couple of times actually. There will always be something new and shiny to buy. We have a tendency to believe that new stuff will make us happy, content or “fit in”. Face it, chasing a lifestyle you can’t afford only causes terrible stress for you and your loved ones.
How to fix it
Take some time to figure out what it is you need, and what it is you want. Remember, honesty is key! For example, saving money is a need, buying food is a need, and paying rent is a need. Buying a new TV is a want.
Instead of spending money on the things you want, rather save money for the things you need. And when you get the urge to splurge remember that your financial freedom will bring you a lot more satisfaction than any shiny thingamabob.
Living in the here and now…
That worked for Timon and Pumbaa in The Lion King, but you definitely can’t Hakuna Matata your way through paying bills or saving money. Your future self will hate you for it!
Living in the moment is not about being la-di-da about life. It is a way of controlling your thoughts and focusing your energy on important things – such as your finances. Living in the moment is to focus on the task at hand and letting go of past stress and future worry.
How to fix it
Focus on the most important tasks, which in this case is setting up a plan to save money each month. Start by listing everything you spend money on this month. By the end of this month, you will clearly see where your money is going, and where you could cut some expenses and start saving.
There’s still time…
I’m guilty of this one. Thinking I will definitely save money next month, but I never do. Others feel that they will put money away for savings when they have a better paying job, or receive an inheritance. It all comes down to the same thing; procrastination – and it will have a dire effect on your long-term finances.
How to fix it
It’s important to realise that procrastination is not about being lazy. Procrastination is about fear. Fear of failing, fear of being less than perfect and the fear of being judged.
The best way to deal with this fear is to face it. Each time you face your fear it will have less power, and over time it will lose its power completely. So face your expenses head on by drawing up a budget. It doesn’t have to be perfect! Each time you look at your budget, each time you fill in the amounts, you will have taken a step away from fear and a step towards financial freedom.
There’s no money left for saving…
This is a serious one. Especially given South Africa’s financial state. Living costs are on the rise while salaries stay the same. The truth of the matter is that a lot of South Africans simply do not have a cent to spare by the end of the month.
What are your options
This one has no easy or quick fix. The best thing to do is to inform yourself about your options and to act sooner rather than later. If you are in a severe financial pinch and you are unable to cover your expenses you should consider professional debt management help. Research your options, decide on one that will work best for you and stick to it until you are back on your feet.
The reasons we do not save money may differ but in the end we all need to make drastic changes to save money. New financial habits will have to be learned and there is no time to waste. We need to stop taking a rain check on putting money away for savings. Remember, saving money isn’t just for vacations or fancy gadgets, it’s also for emergencies, when life hits hard.