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!
It’s the kind of thing that takes up every bit of your attention.
At a time like that, no one wants to toy with those wicked thoughts that ask, “Geez, how am I gonna pay for this bill??”
When emergencies like this hit you out of the blue, it’s easy to have that thought. “No wonder I can’t save money!”
Help!! I Can’t Save Money!
You know how they roll the cart into the room and ask you how you’d like to pay for your copay today?
Gosh, wouldn’t it be nice to have a plan in place instead of wondering which credit card you can squeeze this on?
Well, that’s the beauty of the emergency fund.
I know, you’ve tried that before. And it never works.
No sooner do you get money in the bank before you have to pull it back out to cover some problem.
Well, maybe this will help with that problem.
Why Is Your Emergency Fund Always Getting Drained???
The world tells you that an emergency fund is like a rubber band ball.
You carefully collect your money and wrap it up in a neat little account.
And one day, you finally complete your collection of money. Then you’ll display it proudly.
Look what you did!!
It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that all those people were totally wrong.
And once I changed the way I thought about emergency fund 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
Your emergency fund isn’t a rubber band ball.
Sorry, but you’re never going to have a “complete” emergency fund to display like a trophy.
But once you realize that, it’s kinda freeing.
See, you aren’t a failure at building an emergency fund! You just need to rethink what it looks like.
Think of 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 many times you trudge to the washer.)
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.
For a lot of us, the thought of saving 10% of every paycheck seems like a crazy dream.
If that’s you, make a bee line for this money saving chart. It’ll show you how easily you can save $1,000 this year by saving bits of money every week.
Open a savings account with an online bank like CIT and start saving right away (without worry about monthly fees).
Then, start saving! What a comfort to know that money is waiting to be put to work when you need it the most.
There’s No Money To Save
Maybe even small bits of savings seem unrealistic.
Or you’re eager to get that savings account a big ol’ boost.
There are tons of ways you can earn some extra money!
For simple things you can do right away, start earning gift cards (then take the cash you would have spent on those things and save it instead!).
Here are some of my favorite ways to earn gift cards:
Or get creative about earning some extra cash.
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?
Ok, so a sale on fancy shoes isn’t an emergency. For most of us, that’s probably obvious.
But about something like a broken microwave?
Most of us take having a microwave for granted. When it breaks, it’s annoying.
Buuuut if you have another way to cook food, it’s probably not really an emergency.
This is one of those cases where you are better off gritting your teeth through the annoyance and seeing if you can scrounge up enough money to buy a new one, rather than going to the emergency fund.
Get creative about it!
On the other hand, if you wake up and your car won’t start, that’s probably an emergency. (Especially if that’s how you get to work.)
Take some time to imagine what a true emergency looks like. Do it now, while your emotions aren’t in control.
You work hard to save up that money. You want your little army-guy dollar bills to work hard for you, but only when you need them the most.
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.
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.
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?