Many of us are illiterate when it comes to saving money. We save $1000 one month and godamn it, our car breaks down and it costs us $800 to fix it.
Thank god we have that emergency fund right?
However for most of us that emergency fund is only in our imagination. We struggle even to pay our bills every month, let alone save. And that’s not because we are bad at saving or we spend too much.
I believe most of us are unable to save money due to these issues :
Low income &
An inability to set and maintain boundaries
You might be quick to jump at my throat and say that you don’t have an income problem and that your boundaries…are fine. (and btw, what are boundaries?)
But think about that, is your income large enough to cover all your needs and your children, furry pets and all your family members’ needs? Is your income big enough to allow some breathing space in the budget so you don’t spend all your money before the next pay check comes?
Is your income allowing you to save at least 10% (and are you actually doing it?) and give another 10% away? (BTW giving is very important to your financial health-see an article here that links tithing to wealth) Are you earning enough to afford your rent? (remember that your rent needs to be 30% of your income).
If you answered nope to all this you might have an income problem.
1. You can’t save money because of your microscopic income
If you need a magnifier to read your monthly pay check you might have a problem.
Personal development guru Joseph Murphy believes that if you don’t earn enough money to cover your needs (and most people don’t) there is something deeply wrong with your mind.
Meaning that, you are operating from a poverty or lack mindset.
Having a poverty mindset is not something you can joke with because it can lead to many problems including debt, depression and bankruptcy.
A poverty mindset also leads to the belief that you’re not good enough to get a well-paying job that you are happy to perform in exchange for money.
This belief might have been created as a result of living in a poverty-striken environment as a child.
If your parents were poor and lacked the confidence needed to obtain high-level jobs, then you might have learned that from them. And an inability to secure a high-level job is something normal to you. You never question the thoughts, beliefs, opinions and phrases you grew up with. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be scrapping to pay rent or save for a rainy day.
Thoughts and phrases that describe a poverty thinking (and shrink your income)
A lack mindset is created as a result of a negative thought or phrase repeated ad nausem trough your thinking or your actions. The following are thoughts you might entertain on a daily basis that distract you from feeling good about yourself (and your money)
I can’t afford that
When you say I can’t afford it you send a negative impression to your subconscious mind which will later attract situations to you that will prove you cannot afford that new leather jacket. This is a negative phrase that most of us use when finding some expensive item we’d like to own but think we can’t.
Joseph Murphy suggests that people should reflect on their abundance and have faith that sooner or later they will obtain everything they want. If you don’t believe you are deserving of having everything you want then that’s how it will be.
I hate my job.
This is another common expression that undermines your power to think positively and create more wealth. If you focus on your current negative circumstances you will create more reasons to complain. Instead focus on lessons you learned from your current job or certain aspects of your work you DO enjoy. That will put you in a better mindset which is helpful if, for example you want to find a better job.
I spent so much money
Again these words are toxic and you should remove them from your vocabulary. The word spent is negative because it implies you got rid of that portion of money and you won’t have it anymore. As if there won’t be more money coming into your life. I know you have used the word spent your entire life but try to be more mindful of it.
The truth is, you won’t ever run out of money. Money is made to come in and out of your life and it has always been that way.
Try to remember a time in your life when you didn’t have any money, not even a penny. See, you can’t. You always had money even when you were a kid.
If you got an allowance or pocket money from your mom, you had plenty of abundance.
This is too expensive.
The word expensive is again negative and a sign of your scarcity/poverty mindset.
If you think something you want to have is too expensive for you it means you don’t think you’re capable of earning a good enough income to afford that item. The question here is why you’re not able to see yourself earning the desired salary to afford expensive items or experiences?
Pick up a journal and write down all negative thoughts about your earning potential. You might find some limiting beliefs about money and/or yourself that you didn’t know you have.
2. You can’t save money because you have no boundaries, yo!
When you don’t set boundaries with yourself, the people in your life and your bank account you will fail to protect yourself from future painful situations. (and there will be many)
If you’re having trouble setting boundaries you might not believe you are worth protecting. Or worse, you have never heard of boundaries before and you don’t even understand what I am trying to say.
Briefly, boundaries are limits you decide for yourself that protect you from pain and suffering.
For example, you might set a boundary to not have sex on a first date, to not date your best friend’s boyfriend or adventure at night in a sketchy neighbourhood.
Because if you do hang out in sketchy neighbourhoods, you might get yourself followed by overly friendly people (& trust me, you don’t want this)
This boundary protects you from physical harm.
However sometimes you need boundaries to feel happier and less lonely in life. A boundary here would be to talk to your friends every day and communicate your needs.
When it comes to money boundaries are more blurry. Money is something you don’t actually know (where does it come from and where does it go) too well, it’s abstract to you and most times it doesn’t feel good to deal with it-because you don’t understand it as well as you understand your mother, sister or quirky friend.
But it’s absolutely paramount that you set boundaries with your money.
Here’s what happens when you have zero limits on your finances:
You will overspend.
You will give money to people you don’t like giving money to.
You will get into debt for ridiculous reasons.
Your girlfriend or boyfriend might take control of your finances without your permission.
You won’t be able to save a dime and instead you will be indebted for long periods of time.
You will feel sad and confused.
Therefore you need boundaries when it comes to earning and keeping your money. Truth is, if you don’t have financial boundaries you might also lack personal boundaries. That’s because the way you behave with your own money you behave with the people in your life as well.
Financial expert and teacher, Dave Ramsey often admonishes his clients when he finds out they lack boundaries. A book he recommends to his students is Boundaries by Henry Cloud.
I’ve read that book and found it really useful in understanding what healthy boundaries are, how to set boundaries and maintain them throughout your life.
All in all, saving money is a delicate subject one that you must not take lightly. If you look deeply at your reasons for not saving money you can discover an inability to earn a great income, a lack of control when it comes to your spending or a difficulty in saying ‘no’ to loaning money to the people you love.
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