Is saving like dieting? Saving can be a lot like losing weight. In other words, if you spend less than you make, you’ll have money to save. This is a simple concept but it’s far from easy to implement and get in the habit of doing.
When it comes to budgeting and your finances, you have to either work on your input (salary/income) or on your outflow (expenses). Most people can’t just decide to make more money or march into their boss and demand a raise, so for now let’s assume your salary is set for the time being (unless you get a second job). The thing you do have control over and can change from day to day, week to week, and month to month is what you buy and how much you spend.
Nobody (including me) really likes to be told what to do, so I’m not telling you exactly what to cut out or reduce from your spending but let’s start the discussion of some options and then I’ll share some of my stories (successes and failures) and maybe you can too. Even though my wife and I save a large percentage of our monthly income, there are still more ways we could reduce our expenses to save even more. Are we living within (actually below) our means, you bet, but there is some room for improvement in almost all of us if we really look hard.
So that’s really the trick, how can you live below your means (income) so you have extra to save? You may feel your blood pressure rising if you’re still reading this and haven’t clicked away yet. I can just imagine what might be going through your mind.
“I worked hard for my money and no one is going to tell me how to spend it.”
“I have to have (fill in the blank), so how can I save when I have to pay for it every month.”
“I have (fill in the blank) kids, (fill in the blank) pets, a house payment, utility bills, grocery bills, etc. and I cannot do without any of them.”
These are all statements that people tell themselves (or others) when they really don’t want to be honest with themselves about how much they spend and that they really could live without some of the things they buy every month.
Are there times in our lives when life just deals us a bad hand, and we may not be able to pay all the bills for a period of time? Sure there are. But those situations don’t have to last forever (and that’s why you have an emergency fund, right). Hopefully by the fact that you are reading this blog, you are interested in either saving/investing more or getting started in it and getting the benefits of compound interest. So in some future posts, I’ll propose some ideas to save some money and make some room to be able to carve out some monthly funds to save and invest.