3 Excuses for Not Saving You Need to Stop Making
by Maurie Backman | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on April 8, 2021
It's easy to think of reasons not to save. But the longer you make excuses, the more financial pain you might cause yourself.
If saving money were easier, everyone would do it. But saving money can be difficult. It requires discipline and some degree of sacrifice.
Here's the thing, though -- emergency situations can strike at any time, and we all need money in savings for when they arise. As such, it's time to stop making the following excuses for not saving -- and start taking action.
1. "I don't earn enough"
Let's be absolutely clear here -- someone who earns $60,000 a year is in a much stronger position to save money than someone earning $30,000 a year. But it's also possible to make smart choices within many income-related constraints. Now, there may be an exception here for very low earners. If you're making minimum wage, you may legitimately have no money left over each month after you've covered your basic needs. But if you're earning a livable salary, cutting back on a few indulgences could spell the difference between putting money into savings most months or not.
Say you're single and living on $60,000 in a mid-sized city. Money may indeed be tight, but when you really think about it, chances are, you spend some amount of your earnings on nonessential expenses. You probably meet friends for dinner several times a month, or grab coffee from a cafe several mornings a week. Doing those things less frequently could be your ticket to boosting your savings -- even if it happens slowly.
2. "I can always fall back on credit cards"
If you have a number of credit cards with a fairly generous spending limit, you may be inclined to rely on those when a financial emergency strikes. But doing so could land you in a world of debt -- and cost you a lot of money in interest. While your credit cards may offer you some flexibility now, once you max them out, that borrowing option goes away. A much better bet is to use credit cards for purchases you can pay off by the time your bill is due, and rely on the savings in your emergency fund for unplanned expenses.
3. "I'd rather enjoy life than pinch pennies"
Some people don't focus on saving money because they feel it'll impede their lifestyle. But remember -- no one is saying you need to stick 50% of your earnings in the bank. There's nothing wrong with spending money on things you enjoy, but you also don't have to give up every single indulgence to build savings -- you just need to set priorities.
Say you spend $200 most months on restaurants, another $100 a month on coffee, and the equivalent of $500 a month on vacations and travel. If your savings need work, you can cut back on one of these categories in your budget, rather than all. For example, you may decide you can't give up your tasty restaurant meals and coffee, but you'll downgrade your trips and cut that spending category in half. Either way, you have options, and you should know that saving money doesn't have to mean depriving yourself of everything that makes you happy.
Having savings is important, no matter your age, job status, or living situation. If your savings need work, do your best to give them the attention they deserve. Doing so could spare you a world of financial stress in the long run.
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