Problem: When you get extra money, it all seems to disappear.
Solution: To force yourself to save unexpected income, create an account specifically for that. Then have no money in it until you put unexpected income into it. When your unexpected income is over $1000, put that into your emergency fund. After all, emergencies are as unexpected as unexpected income, but they both happen in life. And if that emergency fund is built from saved surprise income, it will be far less painful to build.
Problem: You spend when stressed, and you’re always stressed, so you’re always spending.
Solution: If living pay check to pay check is stressful, then getting out of debt is a stress reliever. Consider taking money used for stress relief – money used for massages, “retail therapy” or partying – and deliberately take some of that money from your budget and dedicate it to debt pay-off. Consider this a long term investment in stress relief.
Problem: Can’t save enough for retirement.
Solution: Kill a habit that’s killing you. Smoking, snuff, alcohol consumption or clubbing – kill the habit, then save the money it saves for the longer life you’ll now enjoy.
Problem: No college savings for the kids.
Solution: Put your kids on a commission based on chore completions (tracked via chore chart). Then encourage your children to put some of their money into a long term college fund with matching from Mom and Dad. If they save $50, it will encourage you to save $50 to match.
Alternative solution: Have your kids help go through the budget and come up with cost savings. Let them have all of what they save, with half after the bill is proved to be lowered and the other half in a college savings account.
Problem: Online shopping can be a deal, but you tend to get too many good deals or think you need a whole lot more than you can afford.
Solution: If you see things online that are “gotta gets”, instead of buying them, put them on your online wish list. Benefits include: 1) delayed gratification, because you can edit the list later if you change your mind 2) you save the expense when others get the gift for special occasions 3) family and friends save money by getting what you actually want.
Saving money doesn’t have to mean eating beans and rice and having life grind to a halt. All it takes to meet your financial goals is a plan to meet them – and now you have one.