Overcoming Barriers to Saving

6. April 2011

People know that having an emergency fund and money set aside to purchase larger items is important. Even so, turning that knowledge into action can be a challenge when daily choices consume both attention and funds. That's why at the end of each month, you can end up without enough left over to save. Savers are a maverick breed. They maintain better credit scores, pay bills on time, don't pay for costly bank fees and have less stress than their spender counterparts. This article will highlight how to shift away from being a victim of savings barriers and toward bringing life to a savings plan.

See if these issues thwart your efforts to save:

1. Does the Cost of Living Keep You from Saving? So often we let our finances dictate how we live rather than the other way around. To beat this barrier, develop a solid spending plan that includes savings. A budget will help prepare for both regular monthly expenses and vacations and holidays that eat away available funds as well. By implementing a good budget, you can set aside savings for priorities. Free online budgeting tools are available to help you get started: http://www.myspendingplan.com/

2. Do You Find Yourself Making Impulse Purchases? Consumerism pressures us to support a lifestyle that hinders efforts to build wealth for the future and protect against the unexpected. Advertisers promote impulse purchases that diminish future choices and encourage us to value wants over needs. America Saves has some great tools to help you reverse that cycle: http://americasaves.org/resources/

3. Do You Need to Manage Your Time Better? Leading busy lives, time constraints keep us from planning our purchases and influence us to purchase for convenience. How many times have you found yourself driving through the fast-food lane in between activities? To overcome this barrier, advance planning is required. Meal planning savesmoney on food purchases and provides healthier options than eating on the run. For help to get you started visit: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/

4. Are You Carrying Credit Card Balances? There are three directions to send money each month. Pay for the past, live in the present or invest in the future. By carrying credit card balances, you allow the past to pressure your financial choices and keep you from investing in your future by saving. Check out some great calculators to help accelerate your debt reduction: http://www.crown.org/Tools/Calculators/

Barriers keep you from saving only if you let them. By becoming a saver, you join a revolutionary movement that will improve your financial savvy and increase wealth for the future. Keep up the good work!

Lori Irwin, MBA, CFP® is the Director of Financial Stability, a community impact initiative of the United Way of South Hampton Roads. Her work involves providing financial education in group, individual and web-based settings to all age groups. She trains volunteers and community agencies to deliver quality financial education and one on one mentoring. Irwin is also a Certified Financial Planner with Signature, a wealth management firm in Norfolk, VA.