The savings rate for middle-class Americans is low. The rate jumped to 7.6% in 2019, but that’s still far below what it needs to be to put Americans on solid footing. Now that we are in unprecedented times and unemployment rates are up, savings will likely fall back. It seems easy to just give up. After all, even if you save 7.6% of your salary, it will take 13 years to save a year of expenses for an emergency fund. Thirteen years is a long time! But even if the savings are small, there are many benefits of saving even small amounts.
There are so many financial tasks that we “know” we should do, but who has the time to even remember them, let alone do them. But now that we are all in social distancing, do we have a lot of excuses?
I’ve compiled a list of 50 quick and simple financial tasks you can complete in quarantine to get you jumpstarted on your money goals. These aren’t all clearly “financial” but every part of your life impacts your finances – your health, your relationships, etc. I wouldn’t do them all in a day, but any one of them is feasible in a day. These are all beginner tasks but stay tuned for another post with more advanced tips.
When people talk about personal finance, they usually want to know how to save money but start talking about budgets and it’s all sorts of panic.
It’s a little odd that people would be more interested in saving money, i.e. how NOT to use money, then how to use it. Money is a tool. It’s not enough to know what inappropriate uses are – you have to know when and how to use your tools to get the maximum benefit. So let’s take some of the stigma out of spending and talk about how to spend money to create a better life.
When I was paying down my debt, it felt like I was fighting for every last penny. I’ll feel so much better after my debt is gone. But then, after my debt had been paid, I looked at my paltry bank account and still felt fear. I wondered, when would I ever feel like I have enough?
It’s common knowledge that one must control one’s thoughts because thoughts lead to actions. The same is true with money – how you think about money directly leads to how one spends money. So it goes that improving your relationship with money is an important first step to changing your spending habits.
Many people, particularly women, believe they are terrible with money and then act according to that belief. “I’m terrible with money,” one thinks, and thus that person doesn’t feel the impetus to learn how to be better with money. Or she tells herself she is terrible with money so it doesn’t hurt her psyche when she’s spending as she shouldn’t.
If you are terrible with money, then acting as if you’re terrible with money seems like a logical next step. But if you perceive yourself to be good with money, it’s harder to act against that identity. If you act against your belief in yourself, you have cognitive dissonance. So you then have to change your actions to match up with your identity or you rationalize your actions to yourself so you can retain your identity. Either way, it’s a bit more difficult than just thinking bad person=bad actions.