Saving money is a struggle for many people regardless of socioeconomic status. Most people know that saving money has many benefits … so why is it so hard?
The why’s are many, some say that it is an earning problem not a saving problem; others say they just can’t pass up good deals when they see them; and a few say it’s because they deserve it. All justifiable points that will resinate with many people. Maybe the inability to save comes from a generational imprint steaming from the financial havoc that was wreaked on American households- the Great Depression followed by the more recent Great Recession.
These historical events caused Americans to shift priorities if they wanted to survive. In this historic time of economic turmoil, the rise of instant gratification became paramount. People highly sought out things and events that brought "fun" to their lives and allowed them an escape from the gloom that awaited them once the "fun" was over.
People continue to seek out pleasurable activities which stimulate the reward centers of the brain. According to a 2014 study done by Cardratings.com, 77 percent of men and 81 percent of women can not go more than 7 days without using their phone. Similarly, 41 percent of men and 57 percent of women could not go 7 days without checking Facebook.
Phones and social media are not exactly life essentials; however these outlets provide something that the brain loves: instant gratification. Unfortunately, saving money does not give the luxury of instant gratification. Forgoing instant pleasure is a requirement to saving money. Long term goals - like buying a car, buying a house, or saving for retirement requires people to resist the impulse of instant gratification to prepare for a future reward. After all, forgoing pleasure brings with it frustration and "pain" that is triggered by the void.
Fortunately, there are some saving approaches people can try to get them through this behavioral bias. Thanks to The Penny Hoarder and GoBankingRates, they found a few creative ways to save money and conceal the "pain" of saving money.
1.)Pretend you make less than you do.
2.)Be your own competitor.
3.)Save with retail debit cards and reward programs when you have to spend.
4.)Find a job you love - easier said than done.
5.)Put your bills on autopilot.
Marc has 36 years in financial services and 6 years in teaching.
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