Saving Money – Basically!

Almost everyone nowadays wants to save money. What's more, almost everyone nowadays needs to save money. And saving is a very prudent and principled aim. Then why do so many individuals and families – Americans in particular – fail so miserably at this seemingly uncomplicated and necessary financial act? Why do so many well-meaning people, having every good intention to save a reasonable percentage of their hard-earned cash, continually find themselves struggling through from one paycheck to the next, and then to the next – month after month, year after year?

What's so difficult about saving money? Well, if the uncompromised truth be told, there's nothing difficult about it at all. To prove it, let's take a moment to define just what the concept of saving money is. Saving money means (drum roll) – not spending it! If you were expecting to hear some stately, high-sounding ten-step theoretical formula, sorry to disappoint you, but not today. It truly is that simple. If you want to save money, you just have to stop spending.

So then, if it's truly that uncomplicated, what's the problem? The problem, frankly put, is not actually saving the money, but finding the discipline necessary to save the money. And for many of us, that really can be much easier said than done. After all, we've grown up and been indoctrinated into a culture of instant gratification, the society that teaches us, "If you don't have the money to pay for it now, charge and pay for it later. No need to worry about how you're going to pay for it later, just satisfy your itch right now and enjoy yourself."

But as many have so harshly learned, putting off paying for something till later doesn't necessarily make it easier. Oftentimes, in fact, it's quite the contrary, because the ease and convenience of scratching several 'now' inches can create the consequence of a number of accumulated monthly payments, putting a substantial dent in the income that you would have had left over after taking care of your necessary living expenses. But now you're stuck with these obligations, possibly for the next several years – and to make matters worse, the item or service you bought might not even last that long. Once this happens, however, even if you do somehow manage to muster the discipline necessary to put a savings plan into action, all of your discretionary income is now going to bills that must be paid. So, just as the lack of discipline can keep you from putting money away, too many bills (the ironic outcome of poor discipline) will have exactly the same effect.

If you're starting to feel the financial pinch from a situation like this, it's not too late. Put a moratorium on spending for things that you really don't need. Establish a workable budget and make a quality decision to stay within it. Then start building your savings. It doesn't take much to begin; you needn't save hundreds of dollars each month if that's outside of your current circumstance. What's initially important is that you develop the habit of saving, and this is where you'll have to cultivate your disciplinary strength. There's simply no way around it. If you don't discipline yourself now where your money's concerned, you'll only have to do it later; only then you'll likely be under a lot more pressure. The choice is yours.

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