If you’ve been trying to save money, you might have realized just how difficult it can be. It can seem that no matter how hard you try, something gets in the way. So if you’ve been thinking about saving money but are wondering what are some roadblocks to saving money, here are some of the top ones that can get in your way.
What are Some Roadblocks to Saving Money
There are a number of things that can get in your way when you’re trying to save money. The good news is that most of them are under your control, so you can change them or push them out of your way.
1. Your Mindset
One roadblock is your mindset or personality. If you rail against saving money and you feel that having a budget is a downer and will make you miserable, then chances are, you’ll never get your savings off the ground.
If you hate the idea of saving money then you will never get the job done. Good personal finance starts with knowing that having money in the bank and living on a budget will make your life easier and better and not miserable and difficult.
In fact, it is the exact opposite of miserable.
I know. I’ve been there.
Not having enough money to pay your expenses and having no emergency fund only leads to stress and misery.
Think about it.
A trip comes up and you can’t afford to go without maxing out your credit cards. That puts you in even a worse situation. You have an emergency and have to ask your friends or family for money. That’s never fun.
You may not believe it until you do it, but living on a budget will give you more freedom and certainly more peace of mind than when you don’t.
2. Not Taking the Time to Determine How You are Spending
Do you know how much you are spending on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis?
If not, there is a good chance that you’re spending a lot more than you realize.
I have a friend named Nancy and she and her husband were making good money, but they didn’t have any money in the bank.
Once she started keeping track of what they were spending and what they were spending their money on, they realized they were spending $500 to $600 dollars weekly on eating out, drinking, and other entertainment options.
She was pretty horrified.
So, they started to cut back and track all their bills and spending. She and her husband were still able to go out and do the things they enjoyed. They just did it a little less and they took the time to decide if what they were going to spend money on it was worth it to them.
If it was, they went ahead and did it.
If it wasn’t, they didn’t.
They were easily able to pay their bills each month and pay off their debt and still enjoyed their lives.
They felt good about themselves and were a lot less stressed out about money which improved their marriage as well.
You see, if you think about budgeting the right way, you will discover it improves your life and allows you to really enjoy yourself without guilt.
3. Making Excuses
We all make excuses about all sorts of things, but none more than why we can’t save money.
If you find yourself making an excuse about a spending habit such as buying lattes every day, then chances are you aren’t being honest with yourself.
You can save money, you’re just finding silly excuses not to.
I get it. Changing habits can be difficult and scary, so start out small.
You don’t have to upset your whole life.
Just make small lifestyle changes. Get coffee out at Starbucks one less time a week.
Don’t run to the grocery store when you just need one item. Find something in your pantry to make for dinner.
Making small changes in your daily life will start to add up quickly.
Think about the things you tend to do daily or weekly and you will find ideas on how to stop making excuses and start saving those dollars and cents.
4. Not Cutting Out Unnecessary Expenses
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the above, but once you’ve figured out some of your unnecessary expenses, make an action plan to eliminate them.
This can include getting rid of your cable TV and go with streaming.
Getting rid of a landline phone, or something simple like getting a Brita pitcher and filter your water, and ditching bottled water will save you money without making huge changes in your life.
You see, even small things like a water pitcher can save you good money over time without making you give up things you love.
Sometimes, the biggest obstacles to saving money are just not stepping outside of your comfort zone and looking around you to see where you can easily save.
Take some time to make a list of all the things you have or use or do now and how you can make small changes to save a bit of money here and there.
You might also enjoy:
The Top 17 Things You Can Live Without to Save Money
5. Having Too Much High-Interest Debt
If you have a lot of debt, especially high-interest debt it can be very difficult to save money.
This type of expense has to be addressed before you can begin saving.
If you find all of your extra money going to paying off debt, then there is no way you can reach any type of savings goal.
In fact, if you have a lot of high-interest debt it doesn’t even make sense to start saving money until you get it paid off.
Yes, you want an emergency fund, but beyond that, you need to get the debt paid off.
If you’re paying 12 or 15 percent on your credit cards and only receiving 1 percent interest on your savings account then you’re losing money.
So, work at paying off this debt first. If you have several maxed-out credit cards with high-interest rates then consider getting a consolidation loan to lower your interest rate and get them paid off faster.
6. Impulse Buying
I’m a terrible impulse buyer or at least I used to be. I’d see something and just had to have it and too bad what the consequences were down the line.
I know you might feel the same.
There is a rush when buying something you really want like the brand new iPhone the day it comes out for sale.
What you don’t realize, yet, is that you also get a rush when you start seeing your savings balance go up and up and your debts go down and down.
Nowadays, I am usually two years behind the new iPhone, and I don’t mind a bit. I get lower phone bills as my phone is paid off. It’s a great feeling.
I did the same thing with my car. I keep it for years after I’ve paid it off. Yes, I’d love a new car, but I love not spending $400 or $500 dollars a month on car payments every month.
So, work on resisting the impulse to buy something the minute you see it.
Wait a week or two or even a month and if you really still much have it then go ahead, but most of the time you will find that the impulse has gone away.
7. Not Having a Plan or Goal
One of the biggest roadblocks is not having a plan or goal for your financial future. The quickest way to hop on the road to savings is to know what you are saving for.
Whether it is for your retirement or to buy a house or put the kids through college or all of the above, having goals will help you when you are making a financial decision.
If you know that you are saving money for a new home, then perhaps it makes sense to hold off buying a new car or going on an expensive vacation.
The thing you want to spend money on right now will seem less important when you have a goal in mind.
Having that goal will change your values when it comes to spending.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to be an expert at money management to reach your goals.
It’s all about baby steps and having a strategy that works for you.
What you’re saving for and how you save will be determined by your own specific set of circumstances and the balance that works for you so you can enjoy your quality of life and save at the same time.
It doesn’t have to be one or the other.
You can have both.
8. Having Bad Role Models
Let’s face it. Not all of our parents were money experts.
My folks are great, but they were never all that good at managing their money.
They spent way too much too often, so I didn’t learn good savings habits from them.
I certainly can’t blame them for me ended up in debt and racking up a ton of student loans, but I followed their pattern of living for the moment and not worrying about the future.
I’ve been lucky that I found ways to pay off all of my debt and student loans, but it wasn’t easy and it certainly stood in my way when trying to save money.
(Learn more about how I paid off my debts here.)
To Sum it All Up:
If you are finding too many roadblocks when thinking about saving money start with a savings goal. Then begin to make some small changes in your life. Before you know it, all of your personal roadblocks will fall away while you watch your bank account fill up.