Who doesn’t want more money? Right up there with getting in shape, saving money is one of the most common personal goals. Yet, how many things are we told to save for? There’s retirement, home down payment, education, job loss, and so on. The list goes on longer than the lines at the airport. If this feels unachievable, I have fantastic news. It’s probably all in your head. (yay)
Let me explain. When you have a lack of something, such as money, you get what psychologists call a scarcity-mindset. You become so hyper-focused on the thing you lack that it drains your willpower around it. This leads to low impulse control and a feeling that things will never change. You might see a choice between being poor with that shiny new toy or poor without it. And this can happen at any income level.
Un-Pimp Your Life
Here we go. This is the part where we suggest living in a closet, right? Yet, reducing the cost of your big essentials is one of the most effective ways to have extra money. Your rent, childcare, and debt payments are things that you can’t be impulsive about. So…yes. Downgrade your lifestyle. If you dig deep enough, you can find ways to make it work. Family could watch your kids. Loans can be refinanced. You could get a bigger place and split the rent with roommates. Roommates might bring new problems, but rent won’t be one of them. There’s a reason 1 in 3 young adults are now living with their parents well into their 30s. Judge all you want, but with rising costs of living and student loans, it makes financial sense.
Don’t Take My Latte!
You’ve probably heard before how much daily fancy coffee can add up. It may be obvious, but it’s also supposed to get you thinking about your own small expenses. Check things like subscription services, gym memberships, and delicious treats. Individually, these don’t cost much, but you might be surprised to discover what the yearly costs add up to be.
This is where a scarcity-mindset makes controlling small expenses difficult. You need to keep trying, even if you fail on occasion. If you’re scared of the “b” word (budgeting), consider it a trendy spending diet.
Life Won’t Wait
Nearly 40% of Americans can’t afford a sudden expense of $400. These people will have to use loans and credit cards to cover them. Saving for the next surprise will be even harder with that extra debt. Would you bet that you won’t get old? Do you expect to never have an unexpected expense?
$400 may sound like a lot, but you can get there even if you start small. Lucky for you, today is a great day to begin. Start by saving a small amount, like $5 a week. Think of it as paying yourself, much like a bill payment that you make regularly. If you are awesome, pay yourself an awesome tax. You deserve it. You can automate it with scheduled transfers into savings. Putting it into savings makes it harder to spend on impulse, and is a great way to build a successful savings habit.
Don’t Do It Alone
It's not pointless and we are here to help. Denver Community Credit Union has been serving the financial goals of the community since 1934. We have the right tools, education, and guidance to help you save. It's up to you to take the first steps to get on the right path. Take those steps now and find out how we can help you reach your financial goals.