“I’m just barely staying on top of bills right now, much less saving.” This is a really common statement I hear from friends who are struggling between the economy, jobs and various situations that life has thrown at them. I was this way for several years just out of college, which was also my first few years of marriage. I can honestly say that my financial health has taken such a 180 in the last 10 years of my life that I can intelligently talk about the subject from my own experience and knowledge I’ve gained from others. If you feel like your money momentum is stagnate, glance through my 5 financial barriers keeping you from your goals in this article.
You may read the list and only find one or two that apply to you. I chose ones that I hear about the most often. These are almost all from personal experience and it wasn’t until I worked these things out that I saw forward movement toward my own goals.
1. You Don’t Have a “Real” Written Budget
- For years I believed a budget was making sure that I didn’t spend more money that I was taking in. That was totally off.
- A successful budget is done at a minimum monthly or in sync with your pay schedule.
- A successful budget is planning ahead, not an afterthought.
- When you have a budget, you boss your money around and tell it where to go.
- Successful budgets let you know up front where you have told your money to go and how you plan to spend it, invest it or save it.
- This type of planning controls impulse spending.
- If you want a free printable budget and some other tools an insights on creating a successful budget check out my post: Budgeting 101: How To Start Bossing Your Money Around.
2. You Haven’t Cut Up Your Credit Cards
- Emergencies Only- For some people, having a credit card around for emergencies is their financial security. If that’s you, by all means, keep one around to make you feel better. However, stick it in your safe or in a file folder at home so that you can’t access it when you’re out shopping. Actually only use it for EMERGENCIES (which doesn’t include the shoe sale at Macy’s).
- Credit Scores- Good credit scores have become like medals of honor or something. I used to be really proud of mine. Then I started drinking the Dave Ramsey cool-aid and we ditched all our plastic ball and chains. You CAN survive life with a 0 credit score. Many people do, in fact they thrive. How? They aren’t buried under a lifetime of compounding interest on their debt.
- Debit Cards- Debit cards are perfectly legitimate to carry. They keep you accountable to spending because over-spending will end in fee’s. Debit cards can help you move forward by only allowing you spend what you have in cold hard cash.
3. You Impulse Buy
- You are the spender. You see something you like, love or can’t live without and you just go for it. You only live once right?
- Guilty- Right now, I’m raising my hand on this one because even though I have a written budget and I have the freedom to spend out of my categories, that doesn’t mean I always should.
- Impulse- Sometimes I buy something within my budget, but I bought it impulsively rather than really needing it at the time.
- Getting Ahead- If you are an impulse buyer you literally have to stop yourself as that adrenaline rush starts. You have to ask why you are buying it, if you need it right now or can you wait.
- Hard Work- It sounds like a lot of work and it is. However, if you don’t spend money on that new phone accessory, purse or latte you might just start slowing moving toward you goal of owning a car or even a house!
4. You Have Car Loans
- Common and Costly- I know so many people who have car notes or loans and are really stressed about it. They feel a sense of security in a “reliable” new car and yet are ever under the burden of making the payments to keep it.
“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”
― Dave Ramsey, The Total Money Makeover
- “Used” Isn’t a Dirty Word- I think many people have the perception that buying a used car means your going to drive a 1984 spray painted Toyota Corolla hatchback. That’s really not true, unless you want to drive a 1984 spray painted Toyota Corolla.
- Buying a used car may take a little research, but you can get a reliable car that’s several years old and pay cash for it. Get one more monkey off your back.
5. You Aren’t Willing to Go Without
- Everyone has some things they believe in their hearts that they can’t live without. Mine was always cable TV. Then I ditched it and got new, productive hobbies (here’s my article on Breaking Up With Cable TV).
- If you really want to get ahead, take a good hard look at the stuff you spend money on that isn’t a “need”.
- Do you “need” cable to live?
- Do you “need” to eat out?
- Do you “need” the extra sports channel?
- Do you “need” the newest cell phone?
- Do you “need” the newest electronic devices?
- Do you “need” a new car?
- Do you “need” a coffee shop “latte” everyday? (Raising my own hand again.)
- Small Changes Lead To Big Savings- These are things to consider cutting out of your life for a period until you can get to your goals. They really aren’t going to kill you and they may just be small roadblocks that add up to keep your from reaching your financial goals.
- My husband and I really got serious about “needs” verses “wants” when we wanted to meet our financial goals and once we both got on board it was amazing how those small things added up to huge savings pretty quickly.
This post was written with the intention of helping to shed light on some areas of your own financial life that could use some tweaking to get you from where you are to where you want to be. Most people have areas where they could save, they just have to be aware of it. These are only 5 financial barriers, but there could be others. If you would be willing to share any financial roadblocks that you have found and/or changed, please feel free to share them in the comments section below!