Sense & Centsibility Blog

Whether You Think You Can or Can't Save, You're Right

Savings piggy banksAccording to a recent article from CNBC, 78% of Americans are spending all or more than they earn and therefore are unable to put money into savings. Understandably, it seems like saving money is impossible when you're in that type of financial position. But when you're already stressed out because you're living paycheck to paycheck, a small unexpected expense may lead to disaster.

Here are 5 common reasons people give for not being able to save and what to do to overcome those obstacles:

  1. I just don't make enough money.

    Do what you can to earn more money. If you're not working full-time, find a second part-time job or a full-time job. Or if you work seasonally, try to find additional work in the off-season. If finding more work is not realistic in your situation, be sure to keep reading...
  2. I have too many bills.

    Review your income and expenses and create a budget. Then, determine if there are expenses/bills that you can either reduce or get rid of completely. Think about cable for instance; it can cost $100/month or more sometimes. For more ideas, check out this post about going into crisis budgeting mode during tight financial times. Even one less expense can give you some breathing room in your budget.
  3. I am bad with money.

    That's don't have to be a financial expert to save money! Open up a separate savings account if you don't have one and then set up deposits from your paycheck. This is the easiest way to get started because you're making it simple and automatic. Also, see #2 above. Having a budget is the best way to make sure you stay on track each month and don't overspend.

    If you feel like overspending is the problem, set limits for yourself. Determine what you have leftover after bills each month, then choose a savings amount. Whatever is leftover is what you have to spend on fun stuff for the month. You can also try using the envelope method by taking out that amount of cash and when it's gone, you're done spending. This tactic forces you to plan out your month, too.
  4. I can't spouse/partner makes it too difficult.

    Get on the same page with each other financially. Make it a habit to talk about your finances, including spending habits and goals, on a regular basis. (Read The Couple's Guide to Money and Relationships for more details.) Even though it's not a fun subject to talk about, you'll both feel better afterward. Plus then you can start saving as a team.
  5. I am trying to pay off debt so I can't save now.

    It might seem like you can't, but you can and should save money WHILE paying off debt. Because unexpected events and expenses can pop up at any moment, it's crucial to have emergency savings so you don't have to accrue even more debt. Try to save $25 or $50 (or whatever you can) from each paycheck; every little bit helps. If you set aside $100/month for 10 months you'd have $1,000! While you shouldn't stop there, that's still a substantial amount to have in case of emergency.

Whatever reason you have for not saving, ditch that excuse today. Because all it does is hold you back from achieving financial stability.

And remember: it's totally worth making temporary sacrifices for a future free from financial stress.

If you're looking to ditch your debt so you can focus on saving more money, call LSS today at 888.577.2227 for your free session. Our experts will create a budget with you and provide an action plan with concrete steps to take to achieve your financial goals. You can also GET STARTED ONLINE. Take action today to start getting rid of financial stress now.

Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.