There have been some alarming stats floating around suggesting that the majority of American have absolutely no savings. If an unexpected expense came up, they would not have the means to weather the financial storm, potentially sending them into debt. Emergency funds and down payments sound daunting, but they’re totally achievable if you break your goal down and commit. If you keep telling yourself, “I’ll start saving next month,” or “I just don’t have enough money to save,” these 9 sneaky habits might be blocking your path to financial success.
You’re a yeasayer
Everybody loves to say ‘yes’, and everybody loves the friend or colleague that always does. If you’re at every work lunch and every Sunday brunch, this one’s for you. Over time, these add up and can put a serious dent in your wallet. Practice saying ‘no’ to just one event per month, and commit to saving that money instead of shifting that spending somewhere else. You’ll be one brunch closer to having more money in your savings account.
You’re not being honest
Turning down a latte date is one thing, but being honest about why is another. Telling a friend you’re staying in on a Saturday night really sucks, but it will actually suck less if you tell them why. Let them know that you’re trying to save money so you’re going to sit this one out, but you’d still love to see them soon. If they’re a good friend, they’ll understand. They’re probably trying to save money too!
You haven’t thought about your banking
Still paying banking fees? Change that. These days, there are a ton of options for fee-free banking, even without a minimum balance. Shop around at your local credit unions or online alternative. I switched to Tangerine years ago and haven’t looked back. If you’re in Canada, Tangerine is giving $50 to all new accounts until the end of summer. Use my Orange Key – 43869618S1 – to get the bonus.
You care too much about what other people think
Caring about others the opinions of others can be detrimental to your financial success, and even well-being. Stop worrying about what fashion is in season, what year your car was built in, what gym you go to, and what part of town you live in. Often the very people that look like they have the most money are the ones drowning in credit card debt, so don’t worry about anyone’s financial situation but yours. Letting go can be freeing.
You love shopping
For years, I saw shopping as a fun activity. When shopping becomes a habit, even window or online shopping, it inevitably turns into more spending. You’ll go in for one thing, notice something else, and think about it for the next three days until you just have to go back and get it. If you’re a shopper and you’re trying to save money, try setting yourself a period of time – like a month – in which you will not visit a retail or online store. After a while, you get out of the habit and get far removed from what’s on trend.
You live in the moment
Planning ahead is crucial to saving money, but it’s no fun to do. That’s precisely why the convenience charge exists. A little bit of planning will save you a few bucks here and there, but it’ll leave more money in your pocket at the end of the month. Take advantage of your bank’s ATMs, drive the extra block for cheaper gas, shop what’s on special, open a retirement savings account, and always get cashback. Before buying anything online (with a cashback credit card!), I double check if there’s extra cashback available on Ebates. I’m embarrassed that I discovered this so late, but I just got $7 back on foundation and wonder how much money I’ve thrown away by not using this site for years.
You live within your means
Paying all of your bills at the end of the month is great, but are you also paying yourself? If you know how much you’re planning to save before your paycheck arrives, you can feel guilt-free about spending what’s left. I’m lucky enough to save 75% of my income, but it took years to get there. Try to challenge yourself to save 5% of your income for a single month and see how it feels. Paying yourself is the true way of treating yourself.
You don’t have a side hustle
I’ve been known to juggle multiple side hustles at a time, but I hate that they’re almost a necessity these days. Living costs are high and wages are low, especially if you’re living in an expensive city. To achieve your financial hopes and dreams, sometimes you just need a little extra cash on the side. If you don’t want to commit to a part-time job alongside your 9-5, there are plenty of legitimate ways to make money online. Check out my post about how to choose a side hustle, and this one about 12 side hustles you can start today.
You don’t want financial freedom badly enough
Everyone wants to make extra money, have retirement savings, and be able to quit a job that they hate without going into debt. The problem is that not everyone is prepared to put in the work and make the sacrifice that it takes to get there. Few people are willing to stay inside on a summer weekend to finish freelance work while their friends are out enjoying the sun. After all, if it was easy, everyone would do it! If you set a clear goal for yourself to get out of debt, save money, make more money, or simply not be broke, anything is possible.