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Let me just start off by saying – saving money can be really freaking hard
I used to be a chronic broke person. I’m not talking about the kind of broke where you make good money but spend too much at Target. I am talking about the kind of broke where you fall to your knees every single month hoping and praying it all works out.
My husband and I spent many years in our early marriage struggling with our income. We barely made enough to cover our basic expenses so spending less wasn’t even an option. Starbuck’s addictions didn’t exist we weren’t spending money at all.
So, you can imagine our savings for the most part went out the window. It just didn’t happen.
As our income began to grow we didn’t grow with it. With a little more money in our pockets than we were used to we made bad financial decisions like, you know, buying a car on credit.
We had no clue what we were doing.
And let me tell you, 2 more years went by before we finally got our act together, began paying off our debt, and started to save for the first time ever.
We have gone from barely saving pennies to saving thousands a month and I want to share with you all of the mistakes we made so you can avoid them too.
8 Reasons Why You Can’t Save Money
1. You Can’t Save Money Because… You DON’T Have a Budget
Want to hear a funny story? I used to keep a monthly budget in my head. Yup, you heard it right, in my head.
I absolutely cringe thinking about it now but I used to handle our finances just by pure memorization of our monthly expenses and whatever our checking account balance was. There was no rhyme or reason to any of it.
Even though we used to make very little money it wasn’t that hard to handle but it was such a BAD habit to build.
Once we had more money we were basically throwing it away due to the lack of having a proper budget. I am completely convinced it doesn’t matter if you make $1,000 or $1,000,000 a month you need a budget!
If you need an easy to follow, free budget you can check out the budget we use have used for the last few years here.
2. You Can’t Save Money Because… You Eat Out Too Much
Do you often find yourself sitting in the Starbucks or Chik Fil A line multiple times a week? If so this can be a major factor as to why you struggle with saving money.
It’s no secret that eating out is expensive and going through the drive thru on a regular basis can suck hundreds of dollars per month if you aren’t careful.
And It’s not just your daily coffee that adds up. Even small things like not having a weekly meal plan can cause you to eat out more than you would if you had one.
and if the thought of meal planning stresses you out you don’t have to go at it alone. I have used and loved $5 meal plans in the past when I’ve lacked the motivation to meal plan for myself.
$5 meal plans is awesome because for less than one fast food meal you can grab an entire week’s meal plan -with the grocery list included. It’s completely done for you.
I like to print them off and use them again when I feel bored or stuck with my meal plan Easy and cheap meal ideas always come in handy.
If you want to get an idea of what our family of 5 eats on a budget you can check out a few of my most popular meal plans below
3. You Can’t Save Money Because… You Still Have Debt
Building up savings while having debt just doesn’t make sense. If you have $10,000 in savings but owe $20,000 you really don’t have $10,000.
As long as you have payments looming over your head the money you save is never truly yours even if you convince yourself it is.
Now before you freak out you do need a little bit of savings before you start paying off debt you just don’t need $10,000.
For us, we saved $3,000 because that was the smallest amount we felt comfortable with considering we had a family. We knew it would probably take us about 2 years or so if we worked really hard at it most situations where we would need to use an emergency fund would be far and few between.
Keep in mind we didn’t own a house so we didn’t have to worry about maintenance or repair if we had we may have saved a little more.
4. You Can’t Save Money Because…You Don’t Make Saving a Priority
Saving money is just one of those things that isn’t going to accidentally happen. If you tell yourself that you will just save whatever is “leftover” at the end of the month there never will be anything left over.
One of the best ways I have learned to save money (and lots of it) is to include saving money into your budget.
If you treat the money you pay to yourself as a regular expense you will always be able to save.
One mistake I see people do when they are first learning how to save is that they automate their savings. In theory, it seems like a good idea because you are saving without even realizing it but at the same time, you are robbing yourself of building the habit of saving.
Once you’ve built the habit of saving and it becomes a natural part of what you do if you want to automate some of it go for it.
5. You Can’t Save Money Because…You Don’t Have Savings Goals
It’s really hard to save money when you don’t have goals that you are excited about.
Right now we are currently saving up for a house. The thought of owning a home has got me so incredibly excited that I want to throw any dollar I can at our house fund.
But mark my words there will be times where saving money is necessary but not always fun. For those moments you need to think beyond what you are saving for.
What is something you can look forward to after you reach your goal? Finding something that you can be excited about working towards makes saving money so much more fun and doable.
6. You Can’t Save Money Because…You Feel Discouraged When You Can’t Save Much
This is one mistake that we used to make all the dang time. When we first started a budget there were many months where we could only manage to save $100 and sometimes even less than that.
I would feel so discouraged that I would end up telling myself “what’s the point”. I thought that saving $100 wouldn’t make a difference.
But it really does make a difference. Putting $100 towards a savings goal is better than putting nothing.
If you wait until it’s good enough it never will be.
7. You Can’t Save Money Because… You Make Excuses About Why You Can’t Save
This is sort of similar to the point before this. A lot of times people will avoid saving until they feel that it is the right moment. We used to do this too!
You might tell yourself you will save more when you make more money, have a better job, the kids go to school, when you turn 30, after you buy a house, etc.
Let me tell you waiting to save until everything is perfectly aligned will never happen. The year will still pass the same whether you begin to save or not.
I regret so many years that we weren’t saving because we were waiting for the right time. Even if all we were saving was a few dollars here and there it would have been so worth it.
8. You Can’t Save Money Because...You Don’t Plan For A Rainy Day
When people talk about saving money the first thing that usually comes to mind is an emergency fund. Emergency funds are absolutely necessary for those major unexpected life events like the loss of a job.
But I’ve noticed that a lot of people forget about saving for the little things that will come up that can also put a strain on your budget. Some examples are:
- Car repair/Maintenance
- Celebrations (birthdays, anniversaries, mothers day, fathers day, graduations, weddings) we combine this into one account
- Medical expenses (co-pays, medication, etc)
Creating separate savings accounts for these types of expenses can really make a difference in how much you can save. You will find that putting money into accounts like these every month will take so much stress off of your monthly budget.
You will no longer have to rearrange your budget for expenses like these that can and will pop up at some point in the year.
Car repairs and medical expenses alone can be very expensive. How nice would it be to not have to dip into your emergency fund when your car’s AC goes out.
Now, when it comes to how much to put into these accounts you don’t need to go crazy if you can’t afford to do so. The first year that we decided to put money into an account for Christmas we only could manage $50 a month. Not only that but we didn’t start until 6 months into the year.
By the time Christmas came around we had $300 in that account. That was $300 we didn’t have to worry about and we have continued to put money into every month from then on.
9.You Can’t Save Money Because…You Stay At A Low Paying Job
I feel like this entire post has been a therapy session because This is another major mistake we have made and I see others making too.
You don’t need to stay stuck making a small salary just because you feel comfortable at a job.
When we first got married we were pretty young and didn’t have real careers. I got pregnant with our firstborn 3 months after we got married.
Because of that, my husband felt comfortable staying at his job for way too long. I get it though, we were young, newlyweds just had a baby and it was a consistent income.
But it took 7 years! 7 years to get the confidence to take the skills he gained and move on. Please don’t feel like you need to work your life into a small salary just because it’s what you know.
10.You Can’t Save Money Because…You Don’t Have A Side Hustle
In this day and age, it’s so easy to find extra ways to make money outside of your regular 9-5 or on the weekends as a stay at home mom.
I started this blog 2 years ago as a way to make a little extra money purely for our savings. Despite all of the craziness 2020 has brought the income I have made from my blog has remained the same.
We have been able to save over $12,000 this year alone! Yes, $12,000! We never would have reached as much as we have without this little blog.
If you want to start your own blog you can do so HERE. I can’t recommend starting a blog enough.
Although I personally love blogging you don’t have to start a blog to make extra money on the side. There are so many other ways to make a little side cash including:
- Door Dash
- Dog Walking
- Selling your creations on Etsy
- and so much more!