Updated: August 19, 2020
Ask anyone if it’s important to save money, and everyone would say “Yes”. But ask them again if they actually have savings, and I’m certain only a few would have one.
It is a challenge to save money, especially for people who are barely making ends meet. However, most of those I’ve met who don’t have savings are actually earning more than enough.
What’s the reason why they can’t save? And why do most people fail at saving money?
There are many factors. And a few are beyond our control, such as scarcity of jobs that offer adequate income, or suddenly having to care for a sick family member.
However, most of the other factors why people can’t save are internal. Such as, lack of self-control over impulsive buying or having no discipline to follow a budget.
Interestingly, a lot of them know that the main reason why they can’t save is because they have these bad financial habits. And will even admit to trying to change for the better at some point, but then eventually failed.
If you’re one of them, then how can you succeed at replacing these bad money habits with good ones? How can you turn your financial situation around and transform from being a spender to a saver?
I believe the answer is by consciously sticking to the good habit.
The Honeymoon Period
Whenever you start something new in your life, there will always be a “honeymoon period” when you feel inspired and motivated. A time when you feel excited about your decision to change.
Some would even share their good news to their friends, or announce it on social media.
“I just enrolled in dance classes. I’m so excited!”
“I’m starting my diet tomorrow. I’m looking forward to losing weight soon.”
“This is it! I’m going to start saving beginning this payday.”
You’ll get positive reactions and a lot of encouragement from friends, and that’s often more than enough to motivate you for a few weeks.
However, regardless if it’s starting a new hobby, changing to a healthier lifestyle, building your savings, or any other challenging pursuit — everyone will eventually hit a slump.
You’ll have difficulty learning the new dance routines. You start to experience mood swings from your new diet. An unexpected expense suddenly comes, totally ruining your budget.
When the honeymoon period ends, the real battle for change begins.
Stick with it and don’t quit.
When it comes to saving and having control over your personal spending, it’s important to understand that smart financial habits cannot be learned overnight.
And when things become rough and more difficult, when your willpower is slowly being depleted, and you’re at the brink of quitting — just remember to stick with it.
Take steps forward, no matter how small. You can choose to save a lesser amount, but at least you saved. Because during this time of struggle, any small win is still a win.
And don’t fret if you fail once in a while. It is normal.
Forgive yourself for impulsively buying something, for spending a portion of your savings, or maybe for procrastinating on fixing your budget this month.
These things happen. Just admit to your mistake, and immediately get back to pursuing your goal. Don’t just give up and quit.
It could take a few weeks to several months, but it will eventually happen. You’ll be able to break out of your slump.
And before you know it, you’ll see that your savings has already grown significantly without notice. And saving money has actually become a habit that you do with little conscious effort anymore.
The key really is having that patience and determination to stick with it, even if and especially when, it becomes hard.
Changing bad financial habits can be very hard. Resisting temptations to spend can be very hard. Following a budget can be very hard.
But you just have to keep on going. Stick with it and don’t quit. That’s how you succeed at saving money.