Keeping Up with the Joneses: 5 Common Excuses for Family Overspending

famfamThere are 3 categories of people - those that save, those that don't, and those that want to save but think they can't. The reality is everyone can find some money to put aside from one month to the next. Whether it is $5 or $500, any amount of savings is a good starting place. It creates a habit that is good financially and important for your future.

Here are five common reasons people aren't focused on saving.

1. "There Are Too Many Expenses"

It may be difficult for your family to make ends meet each month once all of the bills have been paid but if you aren't saving because you think there isn't enough money to go around, it is time to make some changes. Start by listing all of your monthly expenses - from the mortgage right down to the $1.50 you spent on coffee yesterday. It all adds up. When you know where you are spending, you can start finding which expenses are unnecessary and will free up some cash for your savings account.

Related: 10 money-saving tips for families on a budget

2. "But I Want It"

There is a big difference between what you need to live and what you want in your life. Until you can differentiate between the two, you will continue to struggle with money. You need food to live but you don't need gourmet pizzas or Chinese takeout every night. Identify what you need to get through life and learn how to save up for the things you want.

3. "The Neighbors Got a New Car"

This is an offshoot of the "want versus need" mindset. Trying to keep up with everyone else's lifestyle will not get you very far. You have to realize the importance of saving for the future rather than trying to create a lifestyle beyond your means. You may desire a brand new family vehicle and have some need for it, but you would be well-served to keep driving the vehicle already paid off. Put the money you would have used on the new car into a savings account for real emergencies.

4. "I Forgot"

When people cash their paychecks and the money is in hand, it can be very easy to spend it all before contributing to your savings. Ideally, you should earmark a certain percentage (start at 10%) of your income towards savings each time you get paid. To prevent forgetfulness, have your savings amount automatically transferred into your account so it never actually touches your hands and tempts you to spend. Increase your automatic savings deposits as your income increases. It will likely get easier as you begin to see your account balance grow.

5. "I'll Just Borrow and Put It Back"

A final reason that people can't seem to save successfully is because they aren't committed to improving their financial future. They start out doing the right thing, but when something comes out that is not a true emergency, the feel they can just borrow some cash and pay themselves back which rarely happen. Establish a savings account, automate your deposits, and leave the money alone.

-By Anna Newell Jones


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