Our family has always struggled a bit with saving money. It seems every time we get an emergency fund established or a little money stowed away, Murphy’s Law kicks in and we have to spend that cash to stay afloat. However, we aren’t the only ones that struggle with this. In fact, most people find it hard to save money. Here’s why…
Is It Really Hard to Save Money?
You may be thinking to yourself, “That sounds like an excuse to just not save.” It’s really not. Saving is hard, especially when you are spreading your focus across multiple financial goals. For us, we are focused on becoming debt-free, saving money for a home, and stacking up our savings. Sometimes, saving takes a backseat.
Not to mention, every time something comes up, we may have to dip into savings to take care of the cost. Of course, this is better than swiping our credit card or taking out a loan, but it makes reaching that three to six-month emergency fund difficult to reach.
All that being said, we aren’t alone. Much of America has a difficult time even saving enough money to cover a $1,000 emergency. That’s pretty nerve-wracking. Many people don’t even save 5% of their take-home income and 20% of Americans don’t save any portion of their income at all. But why?
In truth, most Americans aren’t saving any money at all because of their own choices. They aren’t willing to scale back or dial down their lifestyle. That isn’t always the case though. There are several factors that contribute to the difficulty of saving money.
- Rising cost of housing, childcare, education, and healthcare: This is completely out of your control, but everything is going up. With the rising cost of necessities, it is hard to save money.
- Debt: One of our loan payments is $488 per month. Think about if that was going into savings! Debt is a huge killer when it comes to being able to save.
- Not making enough money: Your wages simply may not be high enough to stash anything away and cover your basic needs.
- Lack of organization: Many people don’t track their spending, which can help you identify areas where you might be able to save.
- Social activities take priority: This is especially hard for younger individuals. Oftentimes, social engagements take a higher priority than your finances (and they shouldn’t). Plan for outings and don’t overdo it.
- Financial ignorance: Most of what you need to know about finance wasn’t taught in school and parents often fail to teach their kids about managing their finances too.
- No desire to learn: While you may not have learned young, you can learn how to better manage your money now. You have to want to do it though.
- Lifestyle inflation: When you get a raise, start saving more money instead of inflating your lifestyle costs.
The best piece of advice I can give you if you are struggling with saving like we often do is to stop comparing yourself to others. This is at the heart of why it is so hard to save money for many people. Unfortunately, when we compare ourselves to others, we wind up overspending and possibly even hindering financial progress altogether. All of this just to keep up with the Joneses. Don’t do it!
Readers, what part of your personal finances do you struggle with most? Why?
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Amanda is an editor and writer. She has a passion for sharing information that helps people and communities to better themselves in some way. In addition to writing online, she also freelances for local newspapers in her hometown of Charlotte, NC.