Does your family have a decent income, but you don’t seem to have any savings?
Do you have a hard time saving money?
Why is that?
Every day, more and more people are having trouble saving money and sticking to their family budget I’ll show you why.
In fact, I’ve seen families earning $60,000 per year saving more than families earning $200,000 per year. Sounds like I’m telling porkies, but I can assure you it’s true.
So, if you’ve been thinking, “Once I earn more I’ll be able to save”, or “When we get rid of our debt, we can afford to put money aside”, think again.
Why Is It So Difficult to Save Money?
Do you remember when you were 7 years old and your parents would give you $1 so that you and your sibling or best friend could walk up to the corner store and buy a bag of lollies?
You’d fill up one of those small white paper bags and savour the taste of each one over the following hour.
You didn’t buy a pre-packaged bag of lollies. You didn’t throw a bag of M&Ms on the counter and hand over your dollar.
Do you remember what you did?
You and your brother or sister stood there peering into the glass cabinet, meticulously and thoughtfully choosing which lollies would ‘make the cut’ and be privileged enough to be inducted into your small white paper bag.
As the elderly man stood patiently behind the counter, paper bag and tongs in hand, you requested the addition of each lolly individually, “one green frog… one milk bottle… three strawberries and cream….one white chocolate frog…how much am I up to?”
“…… two musk sticks… two red frogs… three sugar coke bottles…three freckles….two caramel buds…….three bullets….”
This process went on for at least 5 to 10 minutes before you eventually left the store. And all you did was spend one dollar!
Why did it take so long?
Well, you only had one dollar to spend and you were so determined to maximise the value of that dollar. You were certain your parents wouldn’t give you any more money, the shop-keeper didn’t offer financing options, and you didn’t have a special plastic card in your other pocket that could pay for it. You just had your one dollar.
Compare your 7-year old self to your current self.
You currently have a house mostly paid for by a bank, you have a financed car with regular repayments, the purchase of your whiz-bang phone is built into your ‘use-now-pay-later’ phone bill – just like your internet usage – and you might even owe money on your fancy dining table or TV.
Not only have you not paid for these things up-front; but when you do eventually need to pay for them, you use a credit card!
What the f*$k?
And that’s normal! That’s just what everyone does.
So, let’s take a closer look at this.
From the moment you’ve actually used something – lived in your home, made a phone call, driven your car, searched the web, gone on holidays – until the point that you eventually have to pay for it (using your 45-day interest-free credit card), we’re talking like two-and-a-half months! Tell me, how can you guarantee that you’ll have the required income or bank savings in two-and-a-half months to pay for something you’re using today? And that’s if you even pay your credit card in full. Many of you just make the minimum payment.
With credit and payment plans and finance arrangements flowing so freely, it’s no wonder we consume goods and services like a bunch of ice junkies.
Take a step back…
Compare your current spending habits to the small white bag of lollies that the old man at the store wouldn’t even let you hold until you gave him the dollar. Compare your spontaneous and excessive purchases now to how deliberate and consciously you spent that one dollar in the corner store.
What happened between then and now?
The simple fact is this: If you were teleported to some crazy alternate universe where you could only spend what you earned, you wouldn’t be crying about having no savings, you wouldn’t be losing sleep over the overdue bills piling up, you wouldn’t be working 60 hour weeks to pay for it all, you wouldn’t be suicidal at the prospect of losing your job, and you wouldn’t even be wasting your precious time on this amazing planet reading this post. Believe me, you’d have much better things to do with your time.
So here’s a challenge: Over the next week, pretend you are 7-years old again. And, as crazy as it sounds, pretend you can only spend what you earn – after you’ve earned it. Make every single purchase a ‘deliberate’ purchase. Think consciously about everything you do on a daily basis and how it’s being paid for. And finally, consider, on a scale of 1 to 10, how happy these things truly make you and how much value they add to your life.
This is the best way to start saving money every month.
“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving” – Warren Buffet
Let me know in the comments below what your ‘7-year old self’ taught you. I’d really love to hear.
Author: Chris Strano
After playing a vital role in the creation of his two sons, Chris Strano gave up his former-life as a financial adviser to dedicate his time to providing everyday families with basic money management advice. Drawing on his years of education and experience, he has also developed an affordable 100% digital course showing young families how to build their own custom household budget and savings plan to work towards their goals, using financial planning strategies (without the cost of a financial adviser). You too can get started by grabbing his free 6-Step Budget Cheat Sheet at Build A Family Budget and follow him on Facebook and Instagram @SmartFamilyBudget.