Wanna know the #1 reason people reach out to me for help with their money?
Wanting to save more money, and not knowing how.
Why’s it so hard to save? You make a decent income. You know you make more than your basic expenses. So what’s going on?
You don’t know where your money is going. This is a crucial first step. Knowing where your money is going is the gateway drug to budgeting it, and budgets are the gateway drug to epic savings accounts and peace of mind. Not sure where to start? I've got a (free) thing for that.
You don’t have a budget. Your money is like a teenager - if you don’t give it a curfew it’ll go G-d knows where and stay out all night. It needs boundaries. Give it some.
You don’t have goals. “More money, please” is technically a financial goal, right? What do you need and want your money to do for you?
Your goals are lazy. You need to get a lot more specific than “make it rain!” S.M.A.R.T goals are best.
You hate feeling “restricted” or “micromanaged”. The assumption here is that if you make a plan for your money, it’s going to feel like you’re on a diet. This comes up for lots of folks, but is especially common among people who come from impoverished backgrounds or whose childhoods were marked by a feeling of scarcity (whether real or just felt real). It also doesn’t have to be true!
You’ve got bad habits around money. This can take the form of ignoring your money (not tracking where it’s going, not having a budget), spending too much, or even spending too little.
You don’t understand the point of savings. Are you just supposed to let it sit there? (Yes, mostly - except for “break in case of emergency” situations).
You don’t know how to prioritize savings when you’re still paying off debt. This is a complex topic, but as a rule of thumb, I recommend saving a little bit before paying off debt, which will help you break the debt-payoff-new debt cycle for good. Also - keep contributing to your retirement accounts while paying off debt.
You don’t have a plan for the ‘unexpected’. Some things are truly unexpected (medical emergencies, a car breakdown), but we tend to list a lot of things under the umbrella of ‘the unexpected’ that really are more predictable than you might think. Car accidents are unexpected, but needing new tires isn’t. Just because you don’t know when something will happen or how much it will cost doesn’t mean you can’t put some money aside for it.
F*cking capitalism and institutional systems that prevent economic mobility. See also: socializing women to feel shame for desiring money and independent economic security. Fight economic injustice where you see it.
Did you see anything here that felt familiar? Anything I missed? Tell me about it in the comments!