Just because you find saving difficult, is no reason to give it up. Rather pinpoint the cause and address it.
Saving is easier for some people than others, simply because we have different personalities and different strengths and weaknesses. But there are some general reasons why you may be struggling to save.
- The people around you Social norms – or the way things are done in your community or bigger society – influence our behaviour.
The more something is presented as “normal” by the people around you or by the media, the more likely you are to do the same. If people around you only talk about the stuff they buy or brag about their new clothes or hairstyles, and there are never conversations about saving, it will be more difficult for you to save – simply because we humans don’t like to be the odd one out.
- You are not tracking your spending
If you don’t track your spending, you don’t know where all your money is going. Then you can’t cut back on unnecessary spending so that you can save.
- Unplanned or too much social activity
Going out with friends can cause you to spend money you don’t have or money you wanted to spend on something else (like saving). That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun; all it means is you must find a healthy balance. You don’t have to say yes to every invitation and you don’t have to keep buying rounds.
- Saving is not a priority
If you don’t make saving a priority and a recurring habit, it tends to fall behind. Just thinking you want to save more is not enough – you have to do something about it.
- Financial ignorance
It’s hard to save money or invest when you don’t know what you are doing. If you don’t understand debt, budgeting, credit cards and so on, saving money also becomes a challenge. Fortunately you can change this all by yourself by learning more about money. It is, in fact, one of the best things you can do for yourself.
- Spend more because you have more
What do you do when you get an increase or when you save money because, for instance, you get a better deal on your mobile phone contract? Too often we spend more because we have more money available. This is called lifestyle inflation, and it’s one of the reasons why even people with big salaries don’t save and end up in debt. Just because you can now afford a better car or more shoes, doesn’t mean you should buy them. Instant gratification and luxury are roadblocks to saving money.
Now that we’ve looked at some reasons why saving is difficult, here are a few tips to make it easier:
- Stop complaining about your financial situation and start making changes – even if they are small. Complaining is always easier than fixing, but complaining achieves nothing.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Worrying what others have can cause you to spend more, go into debt, stress, get frustrated or just give up. Unless other people motivate you with their words and actions, rather ignore them.
- Be careful about what you watch and listen to, and who you socialise with. If you want to save more money, stop hanging out with people who waste their cash.
- Be patient. Learning how to save and then putting money away takes time. The important thing is to start and to keep going.