The recent government shutdown has shed light on the fact that many Americans are bad at saving money. With little or no emergency savings, this 20+ day shutdown has caused havoc on many hardworking families. Of course, with the way our government works, and the fact that a shutdown happens every time the toddlers in Congress don’t get their way, I would expect by now government workers should have a special sinking fund called “when congress can’t get their act together”. Thankfully, government workers will eventually get paid. Not so for the many people who get laid off from other jobs. Saving becomes important for everyone.
I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon with some of my favorite YouTubers and share my thoughts on why people may not be able to or won’t save money.
Let me just preface this by saying for many years, we didn’t have a big enough emergency fund to weather a job layoff. We were not savers. We flew by the seat of our pants hoping and praying that my husband wouldn’t lose his job. We had retirement savings, but not liquid savings. We would have been just as vulnerable for a loss of income. Thankfully, we are in a different place now, but I do understand why people can’t/won’t save.
Here are my 10 possible reasons you are unable to save money.
- You don’t make enough money. You have settled in on a job or career that pays too little. This is something you can control. You may either be feeling stuck in an area that has no jobs, or you are just plain lazy. I speak from experience with my own family members on the lazy part.
- You are a natural spender, not a saver. You like stuff. Lots of it. You spend every last extra dime on the latest designer purse (oh wait, that was me), new technology, or latest fashion.
- Your love language is gifts. You’d give away your house if you could to show someone you love them. You are quick to pay the restaurant bill for everyone, or buy your kids what they need, in lieu of saving money. (Guilty as charged. 🙁 )
- You have too much month left over after you spent all your money. Usually this means your required bills are more than your take home. Perhaps you have credit card debt, student loan debt, car loans, home equity… It doesn’t leave you any money to save.
- You have health issues that don’t allow you to work. This one is tricky, as there is not a lot you can do about this. This makes me think of a story my Mom told me about my grandmother. Although he received a very small social security check each month, she always had money to give to my mother when she visited. She rented a tiny apartment in Boston (subsidized) and ate very well (fresh fruits and veggies) She was able to cover her bills and have a bit left over to save. She lived to be 96. I wish she were alive today so I could pick her brain on how she did it, but I can figure it out. She was disciplined. (See No. 10).
- You live in a high cost of living area. Period.
- You bought more house than you can afford. This one is so easy to do. We did this. Banks wanted to lend us as much money as we wanted. At the time we purchased our home in 1998, we really couldn’t afford it. It took nearly 40% of our take home income. It ended up working out for us, as the value of our home more than doubled and we were able to refinance into a 15 year 2.625% interest rate when rates were at an all time low and my husband was making much more money. We were lucky. People who bought in 2006, not so much.
- You are a single income household. Whether you are single, a single parent or a stay at home Mom, living with only one income is tough. (Unless of course it’s a very large single income). I always worked part time, so there was always a little extra coming in.
- You believe money is evil and try to get rid of it as soon as you get it. There are many people who feel they don’t deserve to have money, or believe that rich people are evil. This is a tough mindset to change.
- You don’t practice self-discipline. This may be the most important reason of all. Self-Discipline is a learned skill. When practiced, self-discipline brings stability and structure into a person’s life. This not only helps in being able to save money, but also maintaining your health and well-being. I’m sure we can all work on this one.
It’s really important to save money. By having a rainy day fund somewhere tucked away, you can handle most storms that come your way.
Want more ideas?
Check out some more ideas on why people can’t save money with the following YouTubers.
Freedom In A Budget: https://www.youtube.com/freedominabudget
Wendy Valencia: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwEy…
A Joyful Home: https://youtu.be/_AIN-2JMVoE
Connie Porter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kA7sG…
Our Life On A Budget: https://youtu.be/65DJhitQ05
Well Behaved Wallet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGKtz…