save money

5 Painful Truths On Why You Can’t Save Money

November 14, 2019

Why can’t I save any money?

I’ve found over the years showing your true colors and being painfully blunt usually isn’t the best strategy.  People either lock up defensively when you come at them with the raw truth, or the honest reality is too painful to hear that they create and hold on to illusions rather than face the truth.  It’s easier for myself, and generally more effective to get the point across to sugarcoat truths and tailor the message for the audience.

Sometimes though, tough love is the best remedy.

I’ve heard many excuses and justifications on why people can’t save money.  Many of them bullshit, really. So I am going to take the rocky approach and really breakdown the excuses and suggest solutions to many of the bandaid responses to But I can’t save money”.

Some of them require a little sacrifice and discipline, others require greater action and life changes.  It’s up to you to follow any suggestions given. Truly, it won’t affect at all me if you keep being irresponsible with your money, or don’t make effort to improve your situation.  I could kind of care less. But, since I’m passionate about personal finance and I believe one of the ways I can make an impact on the world is helping people get smart with their money, I will share knowledge with those willing to accept it.

Suggested read: 

Want to save money?  THIS is how to do it!

You need shelter, you don’t need to own a home

Imagine this, you are NOT less of an adult for renting as opposed to owning your own home.  Purchasing a house does not mean you have succeeded in life. What an incredible insight!

This comes from years of reading Greater Fool by Garth Turner.  Canadian debt is at astronomical levels because have this assumption they NEED to own a home.  You don’t.

Don’t get into unmanageable debt because you think you must own a home.  Don’t get into a mortgage you may never repay because of what your parents or friends think.  Don’t sacrifice your financial future because you assume ‘it’s just the right thing to do’.

Listen, if you plan to live in the same place for 20 years and can comfortable afford it, then sure go ahead and buy.  It some cases it makes sense to own a home. But you should always look at various other scenarios. And the total picture.

Homes are great for establishing roots, and you can have the pride of owning something.  But they are also illiquid, and NORMALLY don’t appreciate to the extent of other investments.

I’m not saying never own a home.  I may someday if it makes sense. But don’t think you NEED to own a home.   You can’t save money if you are house poor.

You might need a car, you probably don’t need a new one

Cars are convenient.  Depending on where you live and your job it might be a necessity. But you don’t NEED a brand new luxury car.  The fancier the car, the more the repairs cost. The fancier the car, the more attention you attract from people who cost you more money.  Seriously, I remember my friend a few years ago bought a luxury sports car, and he complained all the girls he was now going out with cost way too much money.  Then there are all the other expenses like premium gas, increased insurance rates, more frequent and more intensive car washes, etc.

Again, if you can afford a lamborghini, great.  Go buy one. Come pick me up and lets see how high we can get the speedometer.  But if you are complaining you can’t find an extra $100 to save or invest.. WHY THE FUCK DID YOU JUST BUY A BRAND NEW CAR ON A 84 MONTH PURCHASE TERM?  I bought a used car on a long purchase term like that, worst financial decision I ever made.

In a past life I sold cars, I can’t believe how many idiots upgrade their cars every 2-3 years.  I see people buy a $30,000 car and because of previous loans they still owe $50,000 on that car.  Talk about underwater.

You can’t go outside naked, but you need to stop shopping

News flash, buying a new shirt or dress every week won’t make you more attractive.  Buy a gympass and eat some vegetables.

I’ll admit I like buying and having new clothes, it does make you feel good.  And truth be told, having quality clothes that fit right and are classy does make you a bit more attractive.  But you don’t need 50 different pairs of pants.

If you can afford Armani & Prada go ahead.  But if you are making all your purchases on a credit card and not making your minimum payments, it’s time to start avoiding the mall.  Start picking up a cheap hobby like hiking and start reading personal finance websites.. Like That Charles Life ;).

Personally I like to pay a bit more for my wardrobe, but I like to keep the volume to a minimum.  Honestly when I see people’s closets that are overflowing with clothes it gives me anxiety. Holy shit, maybe by shopping less you’ll improve your financial situation AND your mental health.

Check out minimalism to help save money.

Learn to cook, you child  

2 meals eaten out each day, let’s say $15 a meal (being modest).  $30 dollars a day. $150 a week. $600 a month. $7,200 a year. Holy shit, that’s only on the weekdays.  Throw in a dinner on the weekend with drinks..

$7,200 per year invested for 25 years is around $500,000.  

Learn to cook, you child.  Seriously, you may not need to own the title of a home to be considered an adult, but being able to cook your own meals is definitely a prerequisite. Yes it takes a little more time in the evenings after a long hard 8 hours.  It’s going to cut into your important time of watching a sports game or Dancing With The Stars. But this could literally be the difference of financial freedom or not.

If you don’t make enough money, get a new job

Stop complaining that the minimum wage isn’t high enough and either get a second job or make some effort to learn some new skills so you can get paid more money.  Seriously an extra 10 hours a week is an extra $500 a month.

Getting a new high paying job is hard, doesn’t matter where you live.  It takes effort to learn new skills. It takes time and money usually too.  Short term sacrifice for long term gain.

Maybe you need to consider moving to a new country or city to find a better job.  People do it all the time.

Yes, working 50-70 hours a week is a little more painful and exhausting.  Yeah, unfortunately you’re going to miss out on having wings with the boys, or getting your nails done and shopping with the girls.  

But another benefit of working more, is that when you are working your not spending money. Double savings, wooo!

The real reason you can’t save money?

You suck with money, and you’ve got bad habits.  Plain and simple. It’s not the governments fault you can’t save money.  It’s not rich people’s fault. Honestly, it’s probably not even your fault you can’t save money.  

Many of us weren’t taught these things, our parents weren’t taught them either.  Maybe it’s the school systems fault. Perhaps it’s our materialistic culture. Really there’s no point placing blame.  What we need to do is use our energy to correct and move forward.

Make an effort to learn about personal finance and save money strategies.  Start questioning where every one of your dollars go.  Draw a line between necessity and luxury. Once you can afford both, then you can start living like the instagram influencers.

These are probably just a few of the reasons people claim they can’t save money.  What are some other bad habits many people have that stops them from pursuing financial freedom?  Let me know in the comments!

If you are someone who belongs to a few of these categories, I hope you can make the necessary changes to get on track.  If not, all the same.



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  • Currently located in China, teaching English and working towards Financial Freedom. I write about money, travel, personal development and more!


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