Saving Money 101
Saving money is as much mental as it is physical.
This cannot be stressed strongly enough. It’s easy to take coins from your pocket or your purse and drop them into a jar or a piggy bank. It’s harder to take $100 every month out of your checking account and post it to a savings account. The most difficult thing to do, however, is to say ‘NO” to something that you “WANT.” Yet this is exactly where saving money begins.
Why is it so hard to say “NO”?
It would take a trained psychologist to determine the exact answer, but typically emotions are partly to blame. Depression, loneliness, sadness, anxiety, excitement can all be triggers to spending. Buying something, even if you don’t NEED it, temporarily tames the emotion, but it always comes back. You need to learn the various feelings that trigger your spending. Perhaps you notice that when you’re bored you head to the shops, or when money is particularly tight, you have an overwhelming “need” to spend. Realizing that every time you spend money on something you don’t NEED can be a serious detriment to any saving plan may help you discipline yourself to find other ways of comfort.
Adjust your attitude.
Good money management is an acquired skill. As you go forward with the process of saving money, you need to have a positive attitude which is often what will keep you and your family headed in the right direction. If you think you can’t save, then you probably won’t. Be determined and stay positive about saving. As you see your savings mount up, this will become easier and easier.
Begin with a plan.
When someone goes into business, they create a Business Plan that becomes the blueprint of their business. The same thing should apply if you are trying to save money. Put your plan in writing. A written plan allows you to check your progress and to get back on track when you find yourself falling off track. Set short-term, intermediate-term and long-term goals. Being able to see your accomplishments is a great motivator. Start small and work your way up.
When it comes to saving money, make sure your goals are realistic. If you earn $50,000 a year, saving $20,000 would be nice, but it is very unrealistic. Make your goals attainable or you will never save.
Once you have set your goal for saving, realize that things can and will change. The secret is learning ways to be flexible. If you normally save $150 per month and something unexpected happens, you may only be able to save $50 that month. This is fine as long as you focus on getting back on track.
Saving a large sum of money doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it is a lifetime endeavor. You need to accept that it will take time and good planning so as not to become discouraged.
Stop competing with the Jones (or your family, friends and neighbors).
You don’t have to compete with anyone. Be proud of who you are and what you have. If all you have is a 20-year-old TV set that still has a beautiful picture, don’t give in to the temptation to buy a 42″ plasma TV just because brother Charles bought one. Competitiveness is natural and to a degree, healthy. However, when competition creates a buying war to see who can have the “best” when they have no business buying at all, then it becomes damaging.
Be satisfied with life.
Learn how to enjoy life and nature rather than possessions. Being happy in life is far better than buying item after item. Having an inner peace is better than having a house filled with “things”. This does not mean that you can’t enjoy some of the finer things in life, it just means learning how to be happy with yourself and not “things”.
Live within your means.
If you have credit card debt that you can’t pay off at the end of every month, it only means that you are spending more than you are making. In other words, you are living byond your means. Sure, most people want more than they have, but life is not about spending money. Be thankful for what you do have, and learn how to enjoy the financial position you are in. This is where a budget will help you identify the amount of money coming in against the amount of money going out. Click here to find out more about creating a budget.
Start saving NOW!
There’s no time like the present. Find a container right now, empty all your change into it, and put it in a drawer or cupboard. Even if it’s a measly penny, you have just started SAVING. From now on, do this every day. Every baby needs to take a first step. This is your first step to saving money.
By Candee Wilson
The Saving Lady