After two decades of personal finance reporting, I’ve heard every excuse in the book for not saving money. That said, none of them really hold up — at least over the long term. Here are eight excuses I hear all the time, why you’re likely saying them and what you should be doing instead:
1. “I’m too busy.”
Yeah, you, me and everyone else. Sure, you’re busy, but this excuse really means you’re too lazy to make saving (i.e. your security, wealth and overall future) a priority. It’s a total cop out, especially when you can make it automatic and devote little to no time to the exercise at all. Automate your savings so that you have money taken directly from each paycheck and deposited into a 401(k) or other workplace retirement account. If that’s not an option automatically have money transferred out of checking into savings each time you get paid. How much? Saving 10 percent is a good goal, but start where you can and increase when you can.
2. “I don’t have enough money.”
I’ve never met a budget that I couldn’t coax a few extra dollars from — and I’ll bet that you can do the same. For instance, you’re probably buying more minutes and more cable channels than you use. Oh, and how many black skinny jeans do I count in your closet?
You have enough money, just the wrong priorities.
If you’re saying this, then it’s time for you to track your spending. Not forever, but for as long as it takes for you to get a good idea of where your money is going (push yourself to do it for a month). You can do this by either writing all of your purchases down or by plugging them into a mobile budgeting app. After you see how much is going out (and have compared it to how much you have coming in), you can make adjustments to save more and spend less.