Throughout this journey I am on as a money moron, self reflection made me realize some of the lame excuses for not saving money.
What are some of your reasons you have not saved money?
The 9 lamest excuses I told myself for not saving money
- I don’t make enough – early on in my career during my early-mid 20s, I fell into the trap of telling myself, “if I were to make a little bit more, I could save”. There is always something you can cut, which is why I think budgeting is so important. Budgeting does not have to be exact. For example, I want to spend the least amount of time budgeting so I take a couple minutes a month to estimate and move on. Start by saving 1% and then slowly increase. Find a side hustle to earn some money. Do something and take action even if you think the amount is minimal.
- I have time, I’ll do it later – I used this excuse in my 20s and missed out on tons of compound interest opportunities. I did not participate in my company’s generous 401k and ended up defaulting on my student loans and missing credit card payments. I skipped out on investing because 1) I did not understand how investing worked let alone 401k, so I ignored it and 2) I believed I had enough time to “catch up” because when you are in your 20s, you think 30 is “old” and it will take forever to reach the 3-0. This post by Art of Manliness provides a very simple to understand view of the power of compound interest.
- I want to have fun now – I strongly believe that you should not have to wait until you retire to actually enjoy life. For example I love to hike, but who knows if I will be able to hike as much or as strenuously in my 50s or 60s. However, I took the “fun” part more seriously and it cost me my savings. I have heard that maturity starts when you know when to pass and hold off.
- I need to have *that* now because it’s on sale – Although I still fall into the trap of Black Friday shopping deals, I took it way too far in my 20s when I saw my favorite Salvatore Ferragamo dress shoes “on sale” in a variety of styles. In reality, I am not saving any money, I am still spending money.
- I have too much debt – I was so overwhelmed by how much debt I had for funding my entire college education with student loans, I just said “f it”, I am not paying. Oops. That also demotivated me to the point of not saving in my 20s. Regardless of how much debt you have, there is something you can save. As noted previously, start with 1%…start with something.
- I didn’t learn how to save money – my parents never taught me about saving or investing money. I never bothered to do my own research. That is the reason why I ended up going to an out of state college and funded my entire education with student loans. I did not know any better. I was too lazy and short sighted to do my own research. If you are reading this, then you are on the right track. Please take action because reading means nothing unless you take action. Continue to learn, get motivated, and take action. It is never too late.
- I live in an expensive city and my living costs are too high – I have lived in very high cost of living cities, so it was very easy for me to use this excuse. It comes down to budgeting and knowing where your money is going. There is something financially you can cut from your life. It might be as simple as cutting that coffee trip from 4 days a week to 2 days week or going to the barber or salon once every 2 months rather than once every 3 weeks.
- I make a lot of money, I’m entitled to spend – when I started making some real money in my 20s, I experienced lifestyle inflation. I felt entitled. How much of a money moron was I? Who cares if I live paycheck to paycheck? I am enjoying my life and I will get back to saving later because I have time. Oops. I strongly believe that you should still enjoy yourself while you balance your savings, but budget that “entitlement spend” if you must and realize the long term sacrifice you are making financially.
- I don’t know where to start – I used this excuse my entire 20s. I was so overwhelmed about investing and 401k and company matches, that I eventually just ignored it all. This resulted in me going into default and paying for those mistakes that is costing me to this day. Where I began to turn things around was getting in the right mindset of being open minded about learning and being honest with myself. I then started to listen to personal finance podcasts, listening to audiobooks, and reading personal finance blogs.