Once upon the time we Canadians were good savers. Yah, I know, it was about 30 years ago, but, gosh, why the free-fall into no-savings territory? Hey, maybe because…
You’ve been spending more money than you make. Stop. Carrying consumer debt means mortgaging your future income. Figure out a budget so you have a plan for the money you’re making and stick with it. If you’re paying for past mistakes and can’t make your budget balance while you get your debt paid off (finally!) AND save, find a way to make more money.
You think if you look rich you’ll be rich. If you’re paying a premium to flaunt a famous name and you’re not saving for the future, you’re a dope. Only the most insecure have to define themselves by the brands they wear or carry. And, in case you didn’t know, much of those pricey designer STUFF is made in the same factories as less expensive alternatives. Looking good is no substitute for a solid financial future.
You buy your water in bottles. Really? Because you don’t have a problem with all the plastic? Or you think it’s better than what comes out of the tap? According to Peter Gleick, the author of Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water only about 55% of bottled water is actual spring water. The other 45% is mostly treated tap water. Aquafina and Dasani come from municipal sources. Don’t get me started on sparkling water in restaurants. I was once presented with a “Water Menu”…OMG! $62 for a bottle of water? Really?
You never learned to cook. You’ve seen me peek into people’s refrigerators. Inevitably when there’s no food in the house, the spending analysis shows gobs of money spent in restaurants and for take-out. If you want to have some money to save, learn to cook. Make a menu for the week, check the fliers for the best deal so you can price-match, and shop with a grocery list. Batch cooking and freezing can save time on a busy night or when you’re just too tired to put a pot on the stove.
You think your car says something about you. Fancy hubs, big engines, leather seats got you thinking you’re a fancy-pants? I’ve always considered a car a means of transportation not a reflection of my identity or success. I scratch my head at people making a normal income who want to drive a luxury vehicle. Even if you buy one second hand, they are more expensive to maintain and insure. I guess the real question is this: Is it more important to look rich or be rich?
You bought so much STUFF you have to rent it it’s own room. This one totally makes me scratch my head. Seriously. An entire industry has grown out of our rampant consumerism. As if it isn’t bad enough that we spend money on stuff we don’t use, we then rent a separate home – a storage unit — to keep it all. Sell the stuff! Pay down your debt or build your emergency fund. Eliminate the cost of the rental from your budget so you have money to save for retirement.
You hit the malls because you’re sad, lonely, or bored. The easiest way to have money to save is to not spend it. And the easiest way to avoid the temptation to spend is to stay out of the stores. If you’re shopping for entertainment or to cheer yourself up, find something else to do. The second easiest way to avoid the impulse to spend: never go into a store without a list. Paying with cash helps too.