Why Is It So Darn Hard To Save Money Sometimes?

by The Smarter Wallet on July 26, 2011

Everyone knows that it’s good to save money. The more you can save the bigger the cushion you’ll have if anything goes wrong in your life or something needs replacing in a hurry.

But saving is a bit like dieting. You can start off in good form and save regularly every day, week or month for a while… but then things start to go wrong. It’s almost as if you think you’ve done so well that you can let yourself off the hook for a while. It’s the worst possible thing to do though, because you then scupper your new habit and replace it with the old one of getting through all your available cash in record time and not having any left over to save.

But why should it be this hard?

Temptation lies in every direction.

You know it doesn’t matter how good your savings habits are. You will end up straying off the path if you are easily tempted to buy things.

We’ve all been there and I know I certainly have. There has been many a time when I have congratulated myself on my savings habits only to walk into a store and see something I absolutely must buy. It could be a bargain and it could even be something I would use. But that doesn’t mean it is a good decision to buy it. A lot depends on how much available cash I have and whether I have achieved my savings goals for that month.

The here and now versus the future.

Think about that saying. It’s one reason why lots of us manage to fall into spending rather than saving. Yes, we all know the future is important to save for, but at the same time it is always a lot nicer to be doing things and buying things now.

If you’re twenty five and you are trying to save for retirement, you are going to find all kinds of reasons to put things off and procrastinate on saving for retirement. You’d rather spend the money now instead. Who wants to stay indoors and live a boring existence when they could be out spending money and having a good time right now?

It’s clear that there is a fine balance here, and this is why so many of us consider saving to be so hard. We tend to think it’s an all or nothing event. Instead of looking for reasons to go down one path or another, maybe we should let ourselves off a bit easier every month. If we save a bit less and leave a small fund available just for splurging, we get to fulfill both strategies and hopefully carry on saving cash over the long term.

There are times when we all struggle to save money and there are plenty of reasons why this is the case. We can probably all sit here now and think of a couple of weak points in our spending habits -– points that would lead to us saving more if we could resolve them completely. But we’ll always have our heads turned by cars, clothing, gadgets and numerous other things. So we should just be prepared to face up to our weaknesses and try to live with them as well.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 savings September 5, 2011 at 1:01 pm

what worked for me is to automate it. it can be done in several ways, but here is how i did it. my payroll is direct deposit, but i also have the option of direct deposit of that money into more than one account. so i started a [relatively] high-yield saving account at a reputable on-line back, then instructed hr to deposit a set amount into the saving account, with the balance to my regular checking. works great, never miss the money, grows and grows. if i really need money, i can transfer between banks (free). what could be bad?

>>If you’re twenty five and you are trying to save for retirement
This statement is unbelievable. Who at 25 even thinks about retirement? I certainly didnt. I think the focus of people at that stage should be on building net worth, not retirement.

2 Tax Savings October 25, 2011 at 1:21 am

With regard to personal and family budgeting matters, this post is all the more important. How many of us will seek the help of a qualified and experienced financial advisor to optimize our savings by taking advantage of tax rules? Generally, we go by internet research and free opinions from friends when it comes to selecting the investment options. It is very critical to seek qualified advice for personal financial matters, so as to obtain desired results.

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