Do you wish you were able to save more money? Doesn’t everyone? The option to save more is available, just for a lot of us it can seem easier said than done. The truth is, it doesn’t need to seem daunting. There are a lot of easy changes you can make to save more. Some of the reasons people struggle with saving money can be:
They’re not keeping track
Often the biggest reasons that you have trouble saving is because you aren’t keeping track of what you’re spending and earning. We’ve talked about keeping a spending journal before, and how important it is to monitor your spending in order to save more. A spending journal can show you exactly where your money is going and you’ll be able to manage your expenses better to understand what you’re spending your money on, what are necessities, and where you’re wasting your money. Everyone has a different way they like to track and manage their money, and it’s important to find what’s easiest for you to stay on top of.
One of the most common reasons people have trouble saving is they keep putting it off for later. Retirement, or whatever your saving for, can seem so far away. However, if you don’t start saving now, you could be in serious financial problems when you get there. Don’t make excuses. Don’t tell yourself you’ll start once you’re making more, or next month, etc. Putting it off or procrastinating won’t get you anywhere. Once you’re in a habit of saving money each paycheck, month, or whatever works for you, you’ll realize how easy it is and how quickly money can add up in your savings account.
Another common reason that people use to put off saving is that there are just too many bills and expenses that you need to pay right now. Between bills, rent/mortgage, groceries, and everything else in life, expenses and bills can often feel like too much on their own, let alone thinking about putting aside money to save for another day/time. Technology can help you automatically pay your bills these days with online banking, so why not do the same thing with your savings? Treating your savings the same way as you do a bill will help you have a better mentality when it comes to how important it is to be saving.
Lifestyle habits need to change
Speaking of spending, another reason many people aren’t successful when it comes to saving is because of their lifestyle and spending habits. Whether they’re maxing out their credit cards, impulse purchasing things, or spending money on things you want versus need. Making a lifestyle change can seem impossible or really challenging, however, it’s possible. It just takes a few weeks of struggle to build out the habit and before you know it, you can’t even remember your life any other way. Take a look at your lifestyle. Are you spending too much on going out? Buying lunch or dinner versus making it? Getting a daily coffee? The list goes on and on.
Living in the present
Next to your lifestyle habits, and wanting to start saving later in life, there is also living for the right now mentality that can get you into a financial hole. Having that “you only live once” mentality when it comes to spending money can be very expensive. It’ll run up your credit cards with many impulse purchases and not thinking about your future will have you left in a financial pickle. We’re not saying you can’t enjoy yourself but it’s important to have a good balance and to really think twice about making responsible financial purchases.
It’s common for people to make excuses with their money, especially when it comes to savings. One of the most common struggles people who have some of the qualities and bad habits as described as above, is credit card debt.
Credit cards can be incredibly dangerous when you aren’t a responsible spender. It’s not hard to rack up a hefty credit card bill and feel like you’re in a black hole for paying them back. Spending money you don’t have isn’t wise, and credit cards make it easy to. It can be easy to lose sight of how much you’ve spent, and when your monthly statement arrives have to dip into your savings to pay it off. This obviously doesn’t help with building up your savings! According to Finder Canada, the majority of Canadians have a credit card and in 2017, 89% of Canadian households reported having at least one credit card. The data also found that credit card use is on the rise and the number of Canadians reporting they have a credit card has increased by 7% from 2013 to 2017.
The issue with credit cards is when not used responsibly, they can get you into a financial problem. When the shock wears off from your hefty bill, it’s time to take a hard look at your finances and before you continue spending, take a look at what you’re using your card to spend money on. Credit cards can have a high interest when not paid off on time so it’s important to not be spending outside of your means. Here are some tips to get you over the credit card debt hurdle:
Don’t run from it
Ever been concerned that your card is going to be declined when you tap/swipe it? This isn’t a good feeling. You don’t want to be maxing out your credit cards with an interest rate that’ll only add up (and affect your credit score). One of the worst things people do when their card is maxed out is run from it and ignore it. They get another card and continue on, all while racking up so much debt and interest that they’re making it harder to dig themselves out. If your monthly bill is continually growing and you aren’t able to make monthly payments, it’s okay to stop using credit cards entirely. Get rid of them, or leave them at home, when you don’t have them with you you’ll have no choice but to pay with debit or cash. A good tip from About Money is to keep your spending within 30% of your credit limit making payments easier to manage.
Stick with cash
This may seem like a no brainer but stick with cash versus credit cards. Physically having and only using cash to pay for purchases will help make your purchases very real. You’ll start to think twice about how much you need something when you see your hard earned cash coming and going directly from your wallet. Using cash will help you keep track of your spending better. The Financial Post reported that a survey found that those in the 18 to 24 demographic preferred to pay cash compared to others. And if they do carry a card, it tends to be a prepaid or debit card.
By using cash only, you are seeing first hand where your cash is going and by only having so much of it available, it will also help curb your spending habits on what may be unnecessary items that you never realized how much you were spending money on (which we know can easily be done with your cards). This is also a great opportunity for you to re-evaluate your budget and contribute what you would be spending to help pay off the credit card debt you have.
A few other tips to get yourself out of credit card debt:
- Have a financial game plan for spending and also paying back your credit cards
- Break bad spending habits by taking a look at what is on your credit card statement each month that isn’t a necessity
- Get a loan today from GoDay to keep on top of your credit card payments and avoid interest until payday
How to prepare to tighten your savings belt
You’ve acknowledged there’s a problem with your spending that’s preventing you from savings. So how do you prepare yourself to tighten that savings belt? Here are our tips:
Know Your Spending
The first step to getting on top of your savings plan is to know how much you have coming in and out on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis. Refer to past budgets and spending habits to evaluate this to help you build out a budget that will allow you to reach your savings goals.
Tweak your budget
It’s very common for people to have to reevaluate your budget numerous times in a year. Lay one out and don’t be afraid to reevaluate if you realize that you have budgeted too much or too little for some necessities that you can’t live without. What you shouldn’t do though is to adjust the budget just to fit all those “wants” versus needs.
Starbucks every morning when you could be making your own at home? Shopping because you’re bored? There are various ways everyone can cut back on your expenses. Take a look at what you can trim down and make sure that you don’t have out of control spending habits that you’re sinking your money into. Start by making small changes and gradually work your way up. Something as simple as making your own coffee at home each morning two out of five days a week, and gradually making that five out of five can make a big difference. Take that extra cash, even if only $20, and add it to your savings pot.
Force yourself to save
Treat your savings like a bill that needs to be paid each month and make sure you have that money going into a savings account that isn’t easy to access. You don’t want to feel like you can dip into your savings whenever you need extra money. Make sure you set these monthly/weekly/bi-weekly payments to automatically transfer out of your account. This allows for you to not forget about it, and also you’ll learn to live without that money quick and not make up excuses for why you can’t put money into your savings account each payday.
Another way to save more is to turn savings into a game. Check out this post we wrote a while back to help gamify savings and make it more fun. Saving can seem boring because you’re putting money away for something that seems so far from now, but we promise you won’t regret having savings down the road. Starting early is important!