Despite a miserable financial reality—bounced checks, late mortgage payments, bank overdrafts, inner turmoil, and lack of sleep—you will still find people telling you that they can’t afford to save.
The reality is that they can’t afford not to save.
Helping a friend or a loved one move from the “I Can’t Afford to Save” mentality which focuses on financial problems instead of solutions is a heavy load. While you can’t take on their burdens, here are some concrete solutions and baby steps to help them move from living paycheck to paycheck to financial solvency.
- Point them in the direction of simple savings challenges. Simple savings challenges like the 52 Week Challenge can help them save $1,378 by the end of the year by having them put away a dollar amount corresponding to the week of the year. For example, Week 1 of 2015, you save $1, Week 2, $2, and Week 52, $52.
- Have them write everything down. Putting all of their spending on paper is a great way to get them out of the “I Can’t Afford It Mentality.” A simple budget like this allows them to really see where their money is going and where simple changes can be made. This financial roadmap helps them get more in tune with how much they spend, where they spend, and even why they spend; once they gain control of their spending, they will soon be able to plan where their money goes daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly.
- Help them identify two costly bad habits and/or addictions and help them strategize ways to eliminate them. None of us are angels, but some of us have expensive habits or addictions like smoking, drinking, and shopping that bring little or no value to our overall well-being. In fact, smoking and drinking can negatively impact your health and make you a prime candidate for a hefty medical bill down the line. Quitting is easier said than done, but the effort to reduce the impact that these influences have on your life is good for your mental health and wealth.
- Suggest that they open up an online account that is not easy to access. Accounts like Ally or Capital One 360 are great places to start because they take an average of three days before they dispense funds. This forced “cooling down” period allows you to think twice before dipping into the account for an impulse buy. Once you deposit the minimum required to keep the account open, eek out $10 a week to deposit into this account and increase the contributions by $2, $3, or any amount with which you are comfortable. What’s important it that you week no ATM card or checks associated with this account.
- Encourage them to work smarter. If they can’t save with their current salary, it’s time that they bring more money in. Is there overtime at the job? If they don’t want to exchange time for money, have them consider creating products to sell (i.e. ebook, a hot sauce, hair and body products) If they have no desire to create products, encourage them to use what they have. If they have extra space in their home, rent it. (Airbnb.com is a place to begin). If they have extra garage space, point them in the direction of parkatmyhouse.com.
- Tell them to sell and downsize. Have them go through each room in their house and find items that are gently worn and unwanted and sell them. Sites like Twice.com, Poskmark.com, Ebay.com, Craiglists.com are solid resources for making money from unwanted items in your home.
Frugal Feministas—Can you really not afford to save? How are you using the resources that you have to make a way when you think there is no way?
If you need deeper work around healing your relationship with money or overcoming your blocks and fears, maybe it’s time for some money therapy.