Lots of people are stretched financially at the moment. If you are in this situation it can be frustrating to read advice on how to save and invest money. You might be finding it hard enough to get from one paycheck to the next without suffering a shortfall in the meantime. How on earth could you be expected to save as well?
In truth the very process of thinking about saving can get you moving in a different direction. It can mean you have the chance to think about your financial situation in a way you may never have done before. Most of us get into ruts in our lives, and our finances are no exception. We eat the same foods, live by the same routines and yes, spend money in the same ways. It takes a lot to break old habits and get into new and better ones, but there are ways to do it that help us achieve our new goals.
So what should you do if you are struggling financially but a part of you still wants to save?
The best thing to do initially is to simply find some time to sit down and think about your finances in depth. For many people this can be nerve wracking. It’s a process of facing facts. If you know your finances need work the best thing to do is to roll up your sleeves and get to work. They won’t resolve themselves, but if you take the time to take a closer look at them you might find you can do something about them more easily than you may think.
Another thing to think about is the habit of saving. This is actually quite different from saving money and deciding where to invest it. For example, some say the habit of popping a dollar into a pot each week will help you save more in the future. Now a dollar a week won’t save you any more than $52 over an entire year. However it will help you develop a saving habit that will go with you your entire life. It’s not the dollar that matters – this is almost symbolic. It’s the regular savings habit that matters.
Once you start exploring your financial life in more detail you will probably start to view your life in a different way. Things that were essential suddenly don’t seem that way. You start seeing the dollars you spend on certain bills and you wonder about ways to reduce them. Over time you may even find you can make some savings after all. Things may not become a lot easier but you may find an easier financial path to take, even when things are tough.
These processes can lead to a brighter future – one where you can manage more easily and start to free up some cash to sink into investments as well. When you achieve this you know you are starting to get somewhere.