What do you think of when you hear the word save? Does it stress you out? Is it something you wish you could do, but really haven’t? Is it something you think you’re doing on a regular basis, like getting a deal or using coupons? But the most important question is when you save those dollars, where do they go? What are they for? If we can focus in on that, it makes it a lot easier to save and hit our goals. And it can make life a lot easier and a lot more fun.
One – Less Expense
If you use a credit card, even if you’re getting a bargain, something on sale, if you’re not paying that credit card off every month, you’re getting charged interest. But if you save the money ahead of time and can pay cash for that item, you’re going save money. Also, if you already have the cash put aside for something, you get to decide when you buy that item, which means you can wait for a sale, for a better price, or you can even negotiate. Having the money ahead of time and being truly ready to make that purchase, puts you in the driver’s seat.
Two – Stress Relief
You can put out any fire that comes your way. Think about how you feel when the car breaks down, or even if you just blow a tire. It can be stressful to find money for these things that seem to come out of the blue, even though really, it’s even though, really if you think about it, it’s just a matter of time. I mean, something’s always going to go wrong with your car or a medical expense that’s not covered by insurance. Life happens, and it’s stressful. But if you have the money to pay for those things, it cuts the stress because you can focus on taking care of the problem at hand, instead of figuring out how you’re going to get the money to take care of the problem at hand. And even if it’s not a fire you’re trying to put out, it’s still a stress reliever for big chunks of money that you need at certain times, that always seem to hit you out of the blue, like Christmas. Even though it comes the same time every year, we so often feel so unprepared for it. If you save ahead of time, you can enjoy those things much more. And think about how you feel when the car insurance comes up. You have to pay 6 months or a year at a time. That can be stressful as well. So, saving ahead of time for those expenses really relieves stress.
Three – Opportunity
This is the flip side of having to put fires out. This prepares you to take advantage of opportunities that come your way. What if you want to go on a cruise and your dream cruise has just gone on sale 50% off? If you have the money waiting for that kind of thing, you’re ready! You can pay for it now, go on that trip, stress and guilt free, because you don’t have to worry after the fact about how you’re going to pay for it.
Four – Flexibility
When you have savings behind you, you’re free to make so many more choices. You can stay at your job or choose another job or choose to take the leap and start your own business. You can choose to move to another location or stay where you are. And flexible can be massively important when you’re talking about something like a natural disaster or a man-made disaster, like what happened in Ohio during the last several weeks with the train derailment. If you’re in a situation where you feel like you need to get out of your home or out of the area quickly, do you have the resources to do it? A lot of people in those situations feel trapped because they don’t have any money to stay in a hotel or travel out of the area for an extended period of time. Savings gives you flexibility to make decisions for you and your family based on what’s best for you, and not based on price.
Five – Make Thoughtful Decisions
Certainly like we were just talking about, it gives you the flexibility to stay or go in an emergency. But beyond that we make decisions with our money every day, and a lot of times we make them out of desperation in the moment, because we didn’t think about them ahead of time. This could be as simple as going out for lunch during your workday because you didn’t pack a lunch, or it could be as big as having to take out a payday loan or some other kind of predatory loan, because you feel like there’s no other option.
Saving Is Planning Ahead!
In the end, all these reasons come down to the same thing, saving is about planning ahead. Savings gives you choices over your life. Are you in control of your time and your decisions, or is it in the hands of someone else? You decide. And if you can decide for yourself why savings is important to you, that’s going be your motivation for creating and following a plan that can get you to those type of savings.
But do you have any money to save? You can’t honestly answer that question until you have a clear picture of your finances, because you don’t truly know how much your expenses are versus how much your income is. So, work on that first. Create a list of your income and expenses and see if there’s anything left over. But here’s the secret; if you don’t have any money to save, look at those expenses and ask yourself honestly, is there something I can cut out of my expenses, so I do have something to save? Even if it’s just a quarter to start with, it’s a start! And those quarters add up to dollars. Not only that, but they build your motivation to keep going and keep finding other ways to save. And if you truly don’t have any money to save, and there are no expenses you can possibly cut out, maybe it’s time to look for more income. These days, there are a ton of side jobs and little things you could do to bring in at least a little bit of extra income. Be honest with yourself when you’re asking and answering these questions and focus on why you want to save. That’s going to help you make the hard choices that sometimes come with trying to find money to save.
The good news is that you have the power. Changing your financial life is not so much about the money you have today, but the determination, the willpower, and the resourcefulness you have to make changes in your life that are going to change your financial future. There are resources out there for any income level, even free. You just have to be diligent about finding them and implementing them. And it’s not always easy, but it can be done.
If you want help creating your savings plan, or just want to brainstorm about ways to save money, get in touch with me and let’s work together. If you have ideas and strategies for saving, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear about them and share them on an upcoming episode.