What if I can't save?

How am I supposed to save money with my salary?

By Cordell Thomas, Chief Impact Officer United Way of the Inland Valleys

To those who find themselves saying “I cannot save because I don’t make enough” or “I am not wealthy enough to save”, I would say that wealth is not about how much money you make. Wealth is based on how much money you SAVE! So which area do you pitch your tent under? Do you have to make a six-figure income to pay down debt or put money aside in a savings plan?

In order to begin taking steps towards saving money, consider how you can plug the money “leaks” from your budget. For example, consider your cell phone bill - are there ways to reduce your monthly bill by reducing the amount of data or other extra add-on items? Or if you may not spend much time in front of the TV, consider what you are spending on your cable package. Small alterations that do not cause significant pain are great places to start looking for money to save. Once you identify money “leaks” in your budget, re-route that money automatically to your savings account. The toughest part of saving is taking the first step.

My advice?

• Save ALL of your RECEIPTS for 30 days.

• Tally up your EXPENDITURES and find out the areas of excess.

• Utilize the information to develop a BUDGET.

ADJUST your budget so you are spending less than you make.

REMOVE your credit cards from your wallet.

DELETE your credit card information from sites like eBay, etc.

• Set spending LIMITS!

• Attempt to remove the opportunities to SPLURGE

Excessive spending is the main reason for the inability to save and reduce debt. By identifying splurges, and then actively restraining yourself from excessive spending, you will take a massive step towards a more financially healthy lifestyle. And remember, change only happens when you take a 17-cycle challenge. Translation: if you can refrain yourself from doing something 17 straight times (17 cycles), you can develop a new way of handling urges to splurge.

Tell me what you think about this post, or if you have had success in any of the techniques described above. You can reach me at cthomas@uwiv.org

Kimberly Starrs