The worst excuses for not saving
The Easter/Anzac holiday period is over.
It was a time to chill and relax courtesy of a string of public holidays.
But now is the time to reset when it comes to your money management as we slide into the end of financial year and tax time.
Let's start with what you've achieved in the first four months of the year (yep it's now May) and compare them with those goals set at the start of the year.
The year is getting away from us and those goals will stay a dream, rather than become a reality, if you've fallen behind or haven't implemented a savings discipline.
Haven't been able save money each month? We're calling this a load of crap.
Sorry to be harsh but sometimes it needs a jolt to get action.
Sure, if you have the high expense of raising a family or have had an unexpected financial setback, there could be a valid explanation.
Not an excuse … an explanation.
Not so much if you're a double income/no kids couple or a working single.
Saving is a habit you need to get into as a way of life, even though you might have to ditch other more fun habits (impulse buys, uberEats, and drinks at the pub every night after work) to make it happen.
As we've said, saving is the start to set you on the road to investing.
Here are some of the most common excuses we've heard from people who can't get their act together.
"I can't afford it"
This is the worst excuse out there.
You'll never afford anything with this mentality, so good luck living week-to-week in your parent's basement until you're 35 … extreme but increasingly the reality for many.
If that doesn't appeal to you, remember that saving isn't about how much you earn, it's about how much you put away.
Start small, even $20 a week counts (that's roughly $1000 a year) and work up from there. Figure out what you need versus what you want.
You'll probably have to sacrifice buying some things to save money, but chances are you didn't need them anyway.
"I'll start next month"
"Next month" is a nice vague point in time in the future, which quickly turns into two and then it's Christmas, and no one can save at Christmas, and before you know it you're 30 without a cent to your name.
So start today … yes today, right now.
Put $50 in a high interest online account, put loose coins in an non-breakable money box at the end of each day, or set up a direct debit to come out of your transaction account on the day you get paid.
Whatever you do, do it now. Starting next month means you're already behind.
Yeah, "you only live once", and you deserve to spend money on things you want, to a point. But YOLO has consequences.
If you want to struggle to get ahead, be one of the pack, outlive your money, go for it. Otherwise, rein in the impulse buys and stop splashing out on things you really can't afford. In the future you will be grateful.
"I'm too busy"
You and everybody else.
Saving isn't a time-consuming task you need to sit down and do each week, so get a grip. Setting up an automatic direct debit from your everyday account to a separate savings account takes two minutes.
Check in on it whenever you check your other accounts and you're done.
"I'm too deep in debt"
Out of all the excuses, this one probably holds the most weight. Just.
To hit savings targets, it's important to slowly clear consumer debt and redirect that money towards savings.
Start by focusing on one debt, paying it down, and moving on to the next one and doing the same.
Being in a debt spiral can be souls destroying and can often be a trap from which you never escape.
A general rule of thumb should be that if you have ongoing consumer debt (like a credit card balance constantly rolling over) you should have no savings.
Any spare cash should be directed to paying off the debt.
Do the numbers … why have savings earning 3 to 4 per cent interest (on which tax is paid) when paying off consumer debt will save 10 to 18 per cent interest.
This doesn't mean you're off the hook.
It's still important to start saving so there's an emergency fund and to actually feel like you're getting somewhere.
"I'm too young"
Sorry to break it to you, but you're not.
You're never too young to save or, importantly, start learning how to do it.
Why do you think they hand out those Dollarmite savings accounts in primary school?
Saving for long-term stuff like retirement or a house might seem a long way off, but the sooner you get started, the better off you'll be.
It's about having the right mindset and build habits.
But, we agree, saving for savings sake can be mind numbingly boring.
That's what at the start of this year we talked about setting goals for those savings to achieve.
It could be paying down a pesky credit card balance, building a deposit for a house, a dream holiday, a wedding … having something worthwhile to achieve at the end of a savings program provides a huge motivation.
Particularly during those times when you're stuck in a rut and being tempted to spend elsewhere.
Put a picture of that savings goal on the fridge as a constant reminder of what's at stake.