Why is saving money so freaking hard? I’m sure you’ve asked yourself that question before. I know I have. You may have even said to yourself that you must just be one of those people who has trouble saving money. It is a common misconception and limiting beliefs that many people experience so please know that you are not alone.
There was a time in my life where I thought the same. No matter what I did, it just wasn’t working. You just wished someone would throw you a bone. Well if we are wishing for stuff, I would have wished for someone to throw me more money.
I do really understand how you feel though. You look at other people and it seems that they have it all figured out and are able to save with ease. While everything YOU manage to save somehow gets eaten up by some “emergency” or bill you forgot about.
It was from those feelings that I developed the bulletproof budgeting strategy that was made for everyone just like me. Although I have a pretty solid grasp on my finances, now and then I for sure slip and it leaves me feeling really frustrated.
I knew I had to dig even deeper into why. Guess what? It turns out there are some significant biological reasons that saving money is so dang HARD. Understanding them can help us all do better and feel better about saving money.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons that our biology is messing us up when it comes to saving money.
Trouble saving money tip 1. Herd Mentality and Saving Money
In the earlier days of our species, we were pack animals. We stuck together because that is how we survived. We had to hunt/gather for the day’s food and didn’t necessarily have the option to save our food for later. Living in the moment is something that was so necessary and something instinctive. We are biologically developed to only keep exactly what we needed for that moment and that moment only. This part of our biology is still present in our cells today. We haven’t evolved that much in the last several hundred years (as much as we like to think we have).
Forward-thinking in this regard is then quite foreign. The idea that we don’t use what we have, while we have it. That same survival instinct that kept us going is still genetically imprinted in us today. When we have more – we use more. We aren’t programmed to save it for later. This is a key component of why we have so much trouble saving money!
I don’t know about you but the second I became aware of this, it made me feel a lot better. Living in the crazy (over) developed world we live in, means we rarely acknowledge that we rely on our instincts and probably don’t think we need them. They are still important and play a main role in so much of our decision making each and every day. What should you take away from this? Things that are programmed deep in your cells are not your fault – please don’t blame yourself for having trouble saving money. Also know that it is something that you can overcome.
Tip 2. Saving Money and Longevity
Another reason that saving money today is harder is that we are being asked to save a whole lot MORE than ever before. We are living a lot longer and so need to be able to provide income for ourselves for many more years than we used to.
Our age expectancy has increased a pretty substantial amount in a short space of time due to many factors such as environment and modern medicine. It wasn’t necessary or needed to save up so much money in order to not be destitute as you age. Our life span has far outstripped our wage increases and the cost of living keeps rising too. So, even though we are earning more money in general, our bills are higher AND we are being asked to save more.
No wonder we are frustrated and having trouble saving money. It feels like a losing battle. Costs rise, wages don’t keep up and there are more bills than ever. But there is still hope.
3. Learned Helplessness
I could cut the list short and you would have ample reason for why you’ve have trouble saving money all these years. Unfortunately, there is more. Something in our brains that is termed “learned helplessness”. It sounds like a picnic if you ask me.
Every time we try and fail to complete a goal, our brain creates pathways and structures that reinforce the belief that we are not capable of accomplishing that goal. This is why it gets harder and harder to do something successfully after failing a few times. Our own brains try to convince us that (based on past experience) it is not going to work.
This learned helplessness response can be a challenge to overcome but it’s not impossible. We just need to change our approach. Trying the same thing, the same strategy but just trying harder is not the answer. We need to try something different in order to overcome that biological response that conditions us towards failure.
This change in our approach is how we eventually will overcome the biological urge to spend and not save. We have to reprogram our minds before we can reprogram our genome. This means that while we may have trouble saving money now, if we change our approach we can actually alter the programming in our brains to help us feel more confident and in control in the future!
Final Thoughts: Why you have trouble saving money
Our brains are amazing…. Truly. However, to protect us, it can often hinder our ability to choose another way without fear or doubt. Understanding how your brain works and processes scenarios are the keys to working WITH it and not against it. Start small and don’t give up. If you have to, tell your brain to shut up or take a coffee break.
Taking small consistent actions will help you to not only build momentum but also confidence and motivation which will keep you on the path to success and financial freedom. Having trouble saving money doesn’t have to be your permanent reality. Ready to get started changing this? Click the link below to get the FREE budget template so you can start saving easier today.