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You’re stuck. You have asked yourself many times, why can’t I save money? I get it. I feel you. That was me before. I know saving money is hard, but trust me when I tell you that it is so rewarding once you start.
If you are ready to make a change, I have 15 real reasons why you could possibly be stuck and what to do so that you can move past them and start saving money today.
1. Not Knowing How Finances Work
This is a biggie. Being able to manage your money is not a skill that comes naturally to most people. It didn’t to me anyway.
I had to research and figure things out on my own. This is when I discovered Dave Ramsey. He helped me out tremendously! His book “The Total Money Makeover” is life-changing. He helped me whip my finances into shape and has been a major inspiration in all the changes I made that got me to the point I am today.
That’s why I started this blog. It helps me to be accountable and I love to help other people.
2. You Have No Budget
You have to have a budget. It’s important to know where your money goes and what it’s doing for you. Are you spending more than you make? A budget will help you figure this out and find ways to do better.
Creating a budget will help you track your saving progress too. Once you direct your money into the right place, you can decide how much you want to designate for savings. I always say you need to save first, then everything else.
Saving doesn’t have to be hard. Once you figure out how much you are going to be saving, pull it out first so you won’t be tempted to spend it on unnecessary things.
It’s so easy to let that money slide into an unnecessary category like clothes or Starbucks.
3. You Have No Emergency Fund
Dave Ramsey tells you to do this first. He recommends starting with $1000. Once you reach this goal in your emergency fund, then you can start putting money into your savings account.
An emergency fund should be for things that are not expected. Some examples would be:
- Home Repairs
- Medical Bills
- Car Repairs
Creating an emergency fund is like putting a buffer between you and your money. This way when things pop up, you don’t have to crawl deeper into debt to cover them.
4. You Have Too Much Debt
Spending more than you make will definitely put you in debt. Most people do this by using credit cards. The sad part is, most people don’t even realize how much a credit card costs them in high-interest rates.
The average family has around $15,000 in credit card debt. When you are in this deep, you need a strategy to help you get out of it. One thing you can do is go through your budget to find categories and items to cut so you can use that money to pay back your debt.
Another thing you need to do is stop using them. Once you stop, it will make repayment easier.
You have to pay more than the minimum or you will never get ahead. This is the only way to see any progress.
5. You Have Too Much House
If you have ever heard the term “house poor” then you know what I’m talking about. Being house poor is when you spend too much of your total income on your mortgage, home taxes, and insurance.
It’s recommended that you only spend 30% of your total monthly income. So before you decide which house to buy, figure out what you can spend.
If you are stuck in a house that’s too much, consider refinancing or selling. Sometimes you can get a cheaper payment by refinancing or you can get out from under the house and into a cheaper one.
6. You Have a Car Payment
One of the best things I have done for my finances is to pay my car off. There is nothing more draining than to have a car payment hanging over your head.
The average car payment in America is between $563-397 according to Lending Tree. Another thing that gets people trapped is when they let you finance for longer than 5 years. Don’t do it.
Without a car payment, you could put over $6756 into your savings account if you are one of the ones who pay a $563 payment. That’s a lot of money!
The problem I was having with my vehicles was that I wanted the newest, prettiest, coolest car. I have since realized that reliable transportation to get me from point A to point B is more important, especially when my car is paid for.
7. Your Student Loan Debt
Student loans are detrimental to any budget. The interest rates are high and it makes them hard to pay back. If you want to see how you can save some money on school costs, see this post.
44 million Americans have over $1.6 trillion dollars in student loan debt. That’s huge! Most graduates pay $300 or more each month to a student loan. This makes the debt similar to a car payment.
If you need to find some ways to pay your loans off faster, check out this post from Nerd Wallet.
8. You Think You Need Everything
You don’t have to have everything. Once I figured this out, my budget got a little easier to manage. There is a big difference between a want and a need.
Things that are essential to survival are needs. Other things that you don’t have to have are wants, like a cell phone. People don’t want to admit this but you don’t “need” a cell phone. I can remember a time when there was no such thing.
So what you need to do is figure out what things you are willing to do without. One thing I decided to cut was coffee from places like Starbucks. It’s so much cheaper to make my own coffee and take it with me. You can easily cut $20 a week from your spending this way.
9. You Compare Yourself to Others
This is a hard one for most people. Do you know the phrase “keeping up with the Jones”? Well, this one can get you in a lot of trouble. People also compare their debt to others. Just because Jane and Joe down the street have a $400,000 house and a massive payment doesn’t mean you should too.
It gives me so much satisfaction to know that I got a deal on my house and that my payment is only 11% of my total monthly income. It is recommended that you only spend 28% of your monthly income on your mortgage, so I’m in the clear.
My point is, don’t overstretch yourself to keep up with others. I feel the same about my car (that’s paid for). I get a joyful feeling thinking about the fact that my house is cheap and I have no car payment. You don’t need a fancy car, I would rather set myself up for a great financial future than have the fanciest “things”.
10. Your Cell Phone is Too High
We have already established that a cell phone is basically a want. Did you know that most people overpay on their cell phone bills?
I found a wireless phone provider that uses Sprint and T-Mobile’s towers for service. The plans range from $15-25. They pick which network you use based on your location. Clark.com has a review article about Republic Wireless that you can see here.
If you want to cut your bill in half, this could be an option.
11. You Don’t Make Enough Money
I would recommend both! I have found so many things that I could cut from my budget! The biggest was satellite television. We were paying almost $130 per month. I cancelled it and we use Hulu now! It’s only $11.99 per month to have the no commercial account.
12. Rent’s Too High
Rent has gone through the roof recently and if you have to rent, it makes things difficult for your budget. A few ways you can save on rent are:
- Get a roommate
- Negotiate when you resign
- Ask about a discount for paying in full
- Look during the offseason
- Sign a longer lease
- Consider relocating
13. You Always Have an Excuse
Making excuses is one of the easiest ways to not save your money. You also may not even realize you are doing it. The most common excuse is “I’ll start next paycheck” or “as soon as I pay this bill off, I’ll start saving”.
Stop the excuses! Start now. It’s ok to start small. Even just $10. Before you know it you will have $100 saved. Don’t let your excuses be the reason you are being held back.
14. You Eat Out Too Much
Most people don’t realize how much eating out can add up. I temped at an office over last Christmas break and they all ordered in food every day.
So for the first week, I resisted but then I fell into temptation. Before I knew it I was spending $15 a day on lunch.
That added up to $60 (a four-day work week) and it would add up to $240 per month…just for 4 days of lunch. That’s crazy!
The best way to avoid spending too much on food is to meal plan and make a grocery budget. What I normally do is sit down on Sunday and make a plan. I look at what’s on sale and decide which meals I am going to cook. I take the leftovers for lunch or will fix a sandwich.
If your job is like mine and you don’t have a way to warm up food, grab one of these electric lunch boxes. I usually keep my food cold until about an hour before lunch and I plug in my lunch box (it warms up really nice!). I also make sure I have lots of snacks packed so I’m not tempted to eat out.
15. You Need Goals
If you want to stay motivated to save, set a goal. Start small and then after you reach it…raise it. I love to reach a goal so it helps me keep going.
People who set goals are more likely to succeed so get it started.
There are so many things that will stop you from saving money. But you have to stay strong, resist the temptations, get your goal set, and get started. I promise when you start making progress you are not going to want to stop.