When it comes to banking and financial matters, to saving money and to clawing your way out of debt, it’s tempting to make money excuses, and to take the easy way out.
It’s easy to pretend it’s not happening.
But, burying your head in the sand will not only leave you out of pocket and with an unpleasant taste in the mouth, it can also allow you to become suffocated under the sheer weight of your money problems.
Here are 11 of the most common money excuses regarding financial matters, and the reasons why you should rethink your finance and spending habits this year.
1 “I’m terrible with money”
This is by far the most frequently-heard excuse we hear among friends and peers. By declaring an inability to manage money, people then somehow think it is okay to dig themselves bigger and bigger holes. It’s not! The only way you can change your circumstances is by actually trying. Of course, this is easier for some than others – but sitting down, working out a budget plan and actually sticking to it are the first steps to better money management.
2 “I’ll earn more in the future”
Many people expect to be earning more as their career progresses – an entirely reasonable supposition, but unfortunately, not one that always plays out… and certainly not one to base your savings plan on. If you are earning money now, make the most of that and set aside some for the future. You never know what is waiting around the next corner.
3 “Carpe diem! I want to enjoy my life while I’m young!”
An admirable sentiment, no doubt, and one that should be factored into a savings plan, but not one that should take precedence over the plan. The mentality of “you only live once” can lead to blowing money on all sorts of frivolous, fleeting pleasures (many of which come with a nasty hangover). Find a balance between enjoying your life and also taking care of the future.
4 “I deserve to reward myself for all of my efforts.”
Rewards are a great motivating tool for meeting your saving targets… but make sure you actually meet them before you treat yourself. Do you really need those new shoes, that designer jacket, or even the latest mobile phone gadgetry?
The answer is almost definitely no, and though the occasional reward can help to boost morale, it shouldn’t become something that is taken for granted or underappreciated. It’s not a party if it happens every night and it’s not a treat if you do it all the time!
5 “I don’t have time or money to start saving”
This is absolutely not the case. There are several ways to save money.
Eating lunch out? Prepare sandwiches or other meals the night before and take them with you.
Forking out for expensive cabs? Take the bus; ride a bike; walk, if possible.
You’ll not only be saving money, but feel healthier while you’re at it. Can’t find money to save but can always find money for a few pints at the pub? Come on. Don’t lie to yourself.
6 “I don’t care about money”
This is a favourite of students, liberals and general freethinkers… including many of us in a past life. Pretending you’re not materialistic while at the same time spending every penny that comes your way is a sure-fire method of ending up in a whole load of debt. Even if you genuinely don’t care about money now, there will come a time when you do. Prepare yourself by putting away some now.
7 “I have to pay for unforeseen expenses”
While things like computers repairs, dental fees and parking tickets are things that you probably didn’t expect to happen, they occur so frequently that you really should. Factor in an “unexpected expenses” column to your weekly or monthly budget and don’t touch that money – then, if by some miracle the stash does escapes the month unscathed, you’ll have more to add to your savings.
8 “When my inheritance arrives, I won’t have to be anxious.”
Aside from the fact that this is a rather morbid sentiment, it harks back to the idea of expecting to earn more in the future. The truth is you have no idea what tomorrow will bring and placing all of your eggs in the inheritance basket is a case of counting your chickens before they have hatched.
9 “I don’t have children, therefore I rely on myself. There’s no need to save”
Again, no one knows what the future holds. Perhaps right now you are independent and free from financial responsibilities, but what if a happy accident should occur?
You need to keep an eye on the future and on all possible outcomes. Even disregarding children and dependents, opening and adding to a savings account is just plain smart practice when it comes to living a sustainable and prudent lifestyle.
10 “My credit card helps maintain my credit rating”
True in a sense, but dangerous if misunderstood. Let’s be clear, here: simply using your credit card a lot does not help your credit score, and can actually do significant damage to it if mismanaged.
Your credit score is determined by a number of factors, including the length of time you have had the card, the number of cards you have, the percentage of your available credit you use, and, of course, how promptly you pay off the credit. Managing credit cards effectively is beneficial to your credit rating, but only if done properly.
Don’t use it as an excuse to spend, spend, spend.