Stop that inner dialogue that says “I can’t save money!” With a few tweaks, you’ll find it much easier to become a saver, even if you’ve never been one!
The day my 2 year old broke his arm was one of my worst days ever. Thank the Lord for good hospitals full of people who can help!
The doctors and nurses got to work on him right away. It was a very obvious break…a sickening extra bend in a tiny arm where no bend should ever be. I still feel gross thinking about it.
But life with kids brings trips to the emergency room. Unless you keep them in a bubble, there are always plenty of bumps, bruises, and (in our case) asthma attacks.
And the bills that come with it make you think, “No wonder I can’t save money!”
Help!! I Can’t Save Money!
Those fabulous doctors and nurses don’t work for free. Back in those days, we’d wait in our room until the worker rolled in a cart and asked for our copay. And I’d wonder which credit card to use this time.
After all, it was an emergency. I couldn’t have predicted that an accident like that would happen. How could I possibly have cash at the ready for something like this? Sure, I knew I was supposed to have some money saved up, but saving money never worked like it should.
That’s because I thought an emergency fund was like a rubber band ball. You carefully collect your money and wrap it up in a neat little account. And one day, you’d complete your collection of money and could display it proudly, knowing that you had accomplished something big.
I didn’t know it at the time, but every part of my thinking was completely wrong. And once I changed the way I thought about this money, I finally set myself up for success.
- No more building up money only to lose all of it and feel totally defeated.
- Getting caught off guard by a freak accident was a think of the past.
- It was the beginning of the end of that crazy cycle. You know the one, when you add to a bottomless pit of debt because life is spinning out of control??
How did I change everything? Let’s talk this through.
How to Change Everything About Your Savings Account
The truth about a savings account or emergency fund is that it’s like a pitcher of water.
You might fill a pitcher with water in the morning. But you don’t do that because you’re supposed to have a pitcher of water in your house.
You do it because the pitcher is empty, and someone is going to be thirsty soon. By the end of the day, that pitcher is going to be empty and you’ll be filling it up again.
When we stop to think about things like filling a pitcher or making a bed (that someone is just going to mess up again in a matter of hours), it does feel frustrating. Moms in particular know the feeling of a laundry hamper that is never empty no matter how much work you do.
You’ve got to reframe that thinking or life is nothing more than a drudgery. Who wants to live that way?
You know I’m a sucker for a good quote, so when I saw this one from Saint Teresa, I had to soak it in.
“Wash the plate not because it is dirty nor because you are told to wash it, but because you love the person who will use it next.”
It reframes everything! Save the money again, not because you’re supposed to, but because you love the person who will need it.
Let’s look at some steps you can take to stop your “I can’t save money” thinking.
Fill Your Savings Account
You need to have a plan in place to refill this account when it empties. Ideally, you should always save part of your paycheck before you pay for anything else.
If you can’t save money because you’re eating out 5 times a week (or shopping, insert your weakness here), it’s time to look at the world differently. If you think an emergency will never happen to you, talk to someone who thought they had a steady job in 2007 but learned differently after the crash. Or someone else who’s life was changed by a car crash.
It’s perfectly fine to splurge and have a good time, but wouldn’t you enjoy that good time a lot more if you had a safety cushion in the bank?
If you can’t think yourself through it, you’re probably better off opening a savings account with an online bank like CIT and setting up an automatic savings from every paycheck. Then forget about that account! Until you have an emergency, anyway.
There’s No Money To Save
Some people could never save a portion of their paycheck and hope to survive until next payday. It’s easy to make that excuse. So don’t automatically assume you fall into this category.
But if you live so frugally that you’ve never read a money saving tip you haven’t already tried, and despite all that work you still have no extra money, then I’m talking to you.
It’s time to dig deep. Can you work an extra job until you have saved enough money? Since you are reading this blog, I’ll assume you have some type of access to the internet. In that case, you’re in luck! There are tons of ways to make money online if you’re willing to work harder than the next guy.
You might also try house cleaning business. There’s demand out there for dependable workers. If you’re someone others can always count on, you can create a business for yourself!
Define Emergency Correctly
Once you have money in the bank, protect it!
What’s an emergency? It’s obviously not a sale on fancy shoes, but it’s not even a broken microwave. If you’ve always owned a microwave, it’s easy to start thinking of it as a necessity. But truthfully, if you have another way to cook food, this isn’t a must.
Sure it’s more convenient to warm up leftovers in a microwave. But is it so convenient that you want to drain your savings or pay a ton of interest by sticking it on a credit card? Do without for a while and save up cash to pay for another one. Who knows? You might even find that you don’t use it as often as you think and you can save the money for something else.
An emergency is a broken car (your only source for getting to work), a health problem, or a cut in pay. Define right now what an emergency is for you so you don’t make a rash decision and buy something you don’t actually rely on every day.
You might know that we are working really hard to pay off credit card debt right now. We’ve paid off one credit card and have two more to go.
One essential step to getting out of credit card debt is to stop putting things on credit cards. I know you’ve read that before. I bet you totally agreed with that statement, but in your mind you added an astrisk. Of course I won’t use my cards anymore! You know, unless there’s an emergency.
If you keep putting emergencies on your cards, you’ll never pay them off. And not just because you are adding to the balance. It’s much more than that.
You have to stop thinking of credit cards as part of your money life. You must get away from them no matter what it takes. Have a savings account, and learn to actually use it!
When an unexpected expense shows up, always use your cash. Don’t hang on to your cash in case a more emergency emergency shows up. Use it this time.How is a savings account less like a rubber band ball and more like a pitcher? #moneyClick To Tweet
Once you use that money, drop your credit card payments down to the minimum and refill your savings account. Yeah, you won’t pay off that debt as quickly. But who cares? If you don’t add to the balance, it’ll go away eventually. The important thing is that you’ve learned to pay yourself.
Like Dave Ramsey says, when you get serious about paying off debt, Murphy will move in. Suddenly you’ll have to rebuild your savings account three times in a row. That’s hard. But if you make yourself do it, you are going to love the change in your life. I promise.
Stop that inner monologue that says “I can’t save money!” Only you can change your life!
Remember that a savings account is not a rubber band ball. It’s a pitcher of water.
Have you ever changed your life by changing your perspective?