Let’s face it: It’s downright hard to save money.
But why is it so hard to save money?
By addressing this question, we can move beyond the difficulty into an ease of saving money.
Our Culture Makes It Hard to Save Money
Just yesterday, I was completely annoyed because my map app wouldn’t load to instantly reveal the fastest route to the grocery store. I could have been, instead, noticing the miracle of this modern convenience that I normally have.
My point is that we all want results faster and faster in this age of technology. This trend is completely contrary to saving money to live on in ten to fifty years.
It’s a conundrum that pulls us every time we receive money that could potentially be saved.
Most of us don’t really want to save money, but we know we need to save money. We know that we will need money to live, unless we take our chances on the lottery, a huge bonus, or a slightly more predictable inheritance.
But Why Is It So Hard to Save Money?
Think about it. Back 200,000 years ago, humans usually got immediate relief from their actions. Our primal brains were wired for this.
For example, a buffalo was killed, or berries were picked, and they had food.
A fire was built, and humans felt warm.
They entered the cave and had shelter.
Now shelter comes with a thought process more like this: If I save money for five years I can have enough for a down payment on a house.
And what about this one? If I save money for 30 years, I’ll be able to not run out of money when I am 90. Yikes! No wonder it’s so hard to save money for retirement!
And yet we live in a time of immediate gratification with technology that allows for us to have more and more instantly. This is constantly conditioning us to feel like we can have what we want within minutes, and certainly not decades!
Plus, our world has more and more wonderful things we want that can delivered for free within two days, if not two hours!
As a result, there is this ongoing conundrum making it harder than ever to save money.
What can you do to stop delaying or avoiding your financial future given that your immediate needs and life enjoyment are quick to reward?
Ways to Make It Easiest to Save Money
Here are 9 ways to make it easier to save money. They are more mindset based than tactical because we have to get our mind on board first.
Otherwise, not even the very best strategy in the world to save money will make us do it!
Get Clear about What You Want
Identify what you want to have in your life. Recently, I have become aware of just how hard to is to say with certainty what I want.
I think this is because we were often encouraged to not think too big as children. Or we were led to believe that, especially as women, it was selfish to focus on what we wanted.
Plus, many women feel unworthy of what they really and truly want. Do you?
Allow yourself to identify and embrace what you really want. This is the engine for taking the actions to create or get it.
Admit the Challenge of Delayed Gratification
Own that delayed gratification is a challenge. Once you notice something, you can change it and become the driver of your financial future.
Now, as opposed to the cave dwelling day mentioned earlier, the basic needs of shelter are tied to delayed gratification.
And you may have noticed this too: Some of us learned delayed gratification as children, or are naturally more inclined to it, while others aren’t.
Fortunately, my parents were pretty big on delayed gratification so they modeled this well for me.
Show Your Money Some Love
We pay attention to those things we value.
Set up regular and specific times to review your investment accounts and your monthly cash flow.
Monday night or Saturday afternoon at 1 pm the first week of the month are good specific examples for cash flow.
And once a quarter should be fine for net worth updates unless there has been a significant change.
Each quarter note the progress in your wealth accounts. If there is a lack of progress, you can take action while there is time to have an impact.
Stimulate A Feeling of Hope and Prosperity
Use a calculator to see about how much your wealth account will be worth in the future based on certain actions you will take.
You probably already know that a favorite Financial Woman word is probability so do remember that future calculators must rely on probability based on history.
The unsettling truth is that probability is all you have with investing. Remember that the only certainty of return comes with cash type accounts (like money markets) which are super safe but extremely slow to grow.
Use the Word Wealth
Refer to your savings account as your “wealth”. A wealth account may have $500 or $1,000,000. Honor your money by calling it wealth.
Most women avoid calling their savings accounts “wealth accounts” because it triggers feelings of shame with thoughts such as “I only have $500 in this account so I can’t call it wealth. It’s is embarrassing and shameful that I don’t have more.”
Meanwhile the $1,000,000 account holder is busy beating herself up because the lost money in the last stock market decline or didn’t take advantage of her employer’s retirement matching.
It’s all relative, and we, as women, are the queens of self-abuse here, which leads us to avoidance of managing our money altogether.
Take Some Credit
Give yourself credit for what you’ve done so far. This is so important that I’ll repeat it. Give yourself credit for what you’ve done so far.
When you do, you’ll do more of it than if you beat yourself up or avoid your money. If you are still reading this article, give yourself credit for taking the time to focus on these simple mindset changes to save money and invite prosperity.
Don’t Delay All Gratification
Give yourself little rewards along the way. This may be a pedicure, a special meal, or new purchase.
As I have gotten older, I have realized that these little rewards can cost nothing. They can come in the form of time.
For example, a self-reward can be about giving my time and attention to something that I enjoy or care about; a meal with a friend, reading in my hammock on a gorgeous day, or volunteering.
Pay Yourself First
You won’t even need to deliberate whether any extra cash flow for the month should go toward that long desired purse or a down payment for a new car. Instead, it will flow right into your savings account first.
Then, you get to use whatever extra money is left however you wish. And the amount you save will increase every time you see it.
Never See the Money
By paying yourself first and automating that process, you never get that sweet money in your hands, or rather, your checking or current spending account.
Systems and automation make things happen that otherwise won’t happen. Psychologically, it’s like we don’t even get the money. But then, there it is in our savings account!
Shift Your Perspective on How to Get Wealth
Now I am going to add a little twist to this post.
Be open to the fact that acquiring wealth isn’t just about saving money. In fact, let’s be real: the wealthiest people did not get that way from saving money.
We live in a time of incredible opportunity that I would have never dreamed of as a younger woman.
Nowadays you can start an online business that reaches a global market in the time it takes to run a few errands!
Or you can start a consulting business by consulting those you already know locally or even globally via social media.
Or you can get a certification to do something like graphic design, coding, video editing, dog training, marketing, or a myriad of other activities you actually enjoy.
You can offer services locally or even globally in less than an hour through various online platforms.
While saving money is required to build wealth, the money that you get doesn’t have to come from the 8 to 5 grind or limiting your haircuts to every 6 months.
When I got this, everything changed for us.