6 Reasons You’re Horrible At Saving Money

Hello everyone! Today is my birthday. I am the big ol’ 25 today! 🙂 I plan on relaxing and eating a ridiculous amount of sushi today as my birthday treat. Anyway, as a personal finance blogger, I hear a lot about everyone else’s money stories. For the most part, I hear a lot of excuses…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: June 5, 2023

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Check out the 6 reasons you're horrible at saving money. This is a great list!Hello everyone! Today is my birthday. I am the big ol’ 25 today! 🙂 I plan on relaxing and eating a ridiculous amount of sushi today as my birthday treat.

Anyway, as a personal finance blogger, I hear a lot about everyone else’s money stories.

For the most part, I hear a lot of excuses for why people can’t do things. I’m not saying that there aren’t real excuses out there, but for the most part there are several ways for you to make active changes in your life that will help you reach your goals.

Some of the excuses I hear include:

  • I don’t have money to travel.
  • I don’t have money to pursue my passion.
  • I don’t have money to go back to school.
  • I don’t have money to start a family.

The thing in common here?


Why do people let money stop them from enjoying life?

There are so many things that you can do to reach your money goals.

I understand that some things in life cost money, but I believe that saving money can help most people reach their realistic dreams. Of course, if you make $30,000 a year then going on a $30,000 one week vacation is most likely not possible. The key is to be realistic with your goals and find a path to reach them!

Side note: Also, I do understand that I make a decent living. Last time I created an article about budgeting, someone actually told me that what I have to say doesn’t matter because anyone can live off of the amount that I make. Well, let me tell you – all sorts of people have money problems, not just those who make lower salaries. Also, I know families who earn $30,000 a year and couldn’t be happier. I know others who make $100,000 a year and feel like they can never get ahead. When I first moved out on my own I was barely making minimum wage but I was still able to survive. No, I wasn’t the best person ever with my finances, but I made what I had work for me.

Here are 6 reasons for why you are horrible at saving money:


1. You don’t have a budget.

If you don’t have a budget or if your budget is not a good one, then this can be a big reason for why you suck at saving money.

A good and realistic budget can help a person and/or a family manage their money better. Yes, a simple piece of paper where you jot down your budget can actually do this.

A budget can help you realize where you might be going wrong with your finances and how to fix a financial issue that you may be having.

Many people are afraid to create a budget because it means that they will have to actually face their spending. If this is why you don’t have a budget, then please just face your fears and start creating one today.


2. You think you deserve everything.

I won’t lie – I’m guilty of this one. Whenever I would have a bad day at work (at my old day job), I would “reward” myself with something like going out to a restaurant or buying myself something because I would use the excuse of “I deserve it.”

However, I eventually realized that this is a horrible habit to be stuck in. I shouldn’t have to reward myself with material things in order to be happy with my life.

Just because you think you deserve something because you’ve had a hard day or because your friend has it, you really need to sit down and think about whether or not you should actually spend that money.

You probably don’t even want that item, and you might even regret it the very next day!


3. You confuse “wants” with “needs.”

Another area that applies to people is when a person thinks that things past basic life necessities are all “needs” as well.

Please remember that the only things that are actually needed in your life include a place to live, a certain amount of clothing (no, a $1,000 dress is not a need!), and food and water.

Some think cell phones, massive homes, gym memberships, pets (I love my pets, but pets are expensive and if you can’t afford things in life then you need to think hard before you sign up for a pet) going to restaurants, and so on are all a need, but they really are not. If you cannot afford things then you need to start cutting items out of your budget and your life.


4. You think you will have time to save later.

So many people think that they don’t have to save now because they can save when they are a little bit older. Well, what are you going to do if something happens to you or if there is an emergency?

Starting now will help you later.


5. You don’t think little amounts will add up.

I once overheard someone saying that they don’t save money at all because they don’t think it matters. So, even if they have an extra $100 in their budget each month, they will just find a way to spend it because they don’t see the point of saving $100.



Seriously, put that extra $100 in the bank and save it. After one year you will have $1,200.

$1,200 is much better than ZERO DOLLARS.


6. You don’t earn enough money to live off of.

The final reason for why you might not be able to save as much as you would like is because you don’t earn enough money.

No, there is not one number that fits all.

However, if you are watching TV for 40 hours a week, and you complaining about not having enough money, then I’m going to have to say that you need to at least get out there and try to find something. If you are trying, then good job! That is the first step. I understand that the economy is hard out there, but trying to find something is key.

If your expenses are higher than your income, then you are simply not making enough money.

It’s as simple as that.

You either need to make more money or cut back with your expenses. You will never save money if your expenses are higher than your income.


Do you let money control your life? What are you doing to change that?

What are you currently saving for?

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. I totally agree with you Michelle sometimes we confuse “wants” with “needs.” Before I had a gym membership and I bought an iPhone 4s even if I had a Smartphone. It was too late that I realized that I just wasted my money and I’m proud to say that I’m even more smarter now when it comes to budgeting.

    1. Good job on being smarter with your budget 🙂

  2. I think a lot of people are unhappy in their work so “medicate” them with stuff… I am trying to be more intentional with my money, especially since blogging about it, and I logged onto my spending account today and had a spare $1,200. That’s just from a few weeks of not spending everything I pay myself (self employed, so I pay myself a set wage).

    In the past my account would be at zero and I’d be pulling spare money from my business account.

    I was pretty stoked. Happy birthday! Can’t believe you’re younger than me ha ha. Makes me feel a bit old.

    1. Good job on controlling your spending! And yes, I used to “medicate” myself with stuff all the time. It was not good!

  3. Happpppppy birthday!!! Every year you try to catch up with me, but every year I’m still a head! 😉

  4. I think there are a couple things that are putting a drag on our savings, mainly our student loans. While we are saving now, I can’t help but think once those payments stop going out the window that it will be much easier to sock away money each month. But I’m not one for making excuses 😉 I am doing what I can to increase my income so that I can pay off debt and save money faster.

    1. I think you are doing very well DC! 🙂

  5. Travis @debtchronicles

    When my wife and I started on our debt repayment journey, we knew we needed to reduce our spending, but just couldn’t possibly comprehend that we had anything in our monthly expenses that we could cut……when we “opened up the hood” and looked at where our money was going….well, it’s amazing how much we found that we could easily cut. 🙂

    1. Yes, there almost is always SOMETHING that can be cut. Until you analyze your spending, it’s hard to notice that though.

  6. Michael

    For me, my salary just isn’t enough. I’ve cut expenses everywhere. I actually had to get rid of my car recently so that’s now saving me gas and car insurance, which will help, but it’s not enough and it’s causing bigger inconveniences now. I look for new jobs, I’m busting my ass to finish school and I set up automatic savings into my 360 accounts. Both a per paycheck amount and the week amount since I’m participating in the 52 week challenge. It’s not a lot and it takes a long time to even save up $200 but it’s something.

    1. Michael

      And have a great birthday!!!

    2. Good job on cutting expenses. I hope you find a better paying job!

  7. I am working on a similar post for GRS!

    I get tired of people wondering why they’re broke when they do nothing to help themselves. I also agree with Christine above that so many people medicate with material possessions!

    1. It definitely does get tiring listening to excuses when sometimes it’s just so obvious!

  8. Great points Michelle, especially on the wants vs. needs. That is a huge one to watch out for. It also drives me nuts when I hear the “Oh, it’s easy for you, but I make less so I can’t” excuse. I understand that on one level, but ultimately it will come down to choices so many of the times and many live well even though they’re not making six figures. Happy birthday!

    1. It drives me nuts when I hear that as well!

  9. Alexander

    Saving money is very essential. You never know when the “hard times” arrive! So, leave your self-excuses for losers and save now. Set up a sum of spare money, that you can allow to save monthly, and do it. Even if it’s just $100 per month – YES, it will result in $1200 per year – and – I agree with Michelle, this is MUCH BETTER than ZERO.

    Have a very happy birthday, Michelle! 🙂
    By the way, I have mine tomorrow, though I’m a little bit older than you.


    1. Thank you Alexander. And happy early birthday to you 🙂

  10. Happy Birthday! I can’t believe someone didn’t see the value in saving $100 a month. Just because it’s a little amount now doesn’t mean it won’t add up to something great in the future!

  11. Happy Birthday!
    I just finished saving for our vacation this summer and now I need a new savings goal.

    1. Where are you traveling to? 🙂

  12. I hate hearing money excuses. I am pretty darn happy at around 30k a year! We all only have one life to live. So money should not stop people from doing what they want to do. Put in a little work, get your stuff together, and live your life the way you want to. You’ve only got one shot at doing that people!

    1. You said it perfectly Alexa!

  13. kammi

    Happy Birthday! Mmm..sushi!!! So good!!!

    1. I can’t wait 🙂

  14. I used to be super guilty of making excuses to myself to justify my spending. It was ridiculous!

  15. Happy birthday!!! I used to definitely not think about things adding up as much, but now that I have become more mindful of it, it is amazing how much better our finances look.

    1. Good job Shannon on being more mindful of it. Little things can add up quickly! 🙂

  16. Great list!! It’s the cold hard truth. It really is. Not to say that there are not obstacles to saving money and getting ahead. There are and some people have more difficult situations then others but there are also others that aren’t making good choices and don’t want to put in the extra work.

    1. I agree! There are those who are in bad situations, but there are plenty of others who just aren’t making good choices.

  17. I’m so sorry Tonya. I really hope things start getting better for you.

  18. Sarah

    AGH! I know SO many people that fit this bill, it is unreal. I have one particular ex-cowoker (she’s 24) and her husband were looking into filing for bankruptcy because they can’t afford their bills. Yet, they go on vacation every break (she and her husband are both teachers), she spends $150 on a haircut and color, they eat out for dinner several times a week, she takes her dogs (she has two) to get their nails painted (!). It is unreal the junk they spend their money on and now she’s complaining that they don’t make enough to live, yet they just sold their house and are trying to purchase an even BIGGER house. No joke, I want to hit her upside the head with a Dave Ramsey book. (and the bankers that are giving them a $200,000 home loan on their $68,000 yearly salaries and mountain of debt).

    I will admit it is hard to own up to what you are spending. I have been much more diligent about tracking our spending this month and it was quite and eye opener for my husband about how much he spends at Dunkin’ Donuts. Needless to say, he’s cutting back on that. (I’m just as guilty with ice teas through a drive thru).

    1. Ugh sounds like your ex-coworker DEFINITELY has room to cut expenses out of their budget!

  19. Momager

    Happy Birthday! Great article. I hear excuses from a lot of people that only think they don’t have enough money but really are throwing it away on pointless stuff. I was guilty of that a few years ago and didn’t realize how great I had it. It definitely takes a shift in perspective. But one that is worth it! Enjoy your birthday celebration!

  20. Haha trust me, I am still guilty of number 2 as well!

  21. As a college student, I already knew the difference between wants and needs. Needs are those things belong to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Wants are those unnecessary things such as luxury and etc.

    1. Good job Hannah!

  22. Excellent post. I can relate to a lot of these reasons . In my younger days I faced some of those problems. I used to reward myself by going to restaurants a lot of the time. I realized in my late 20’s that I had to stop that if I wanted to actually get my finances right. #5 is one that everyone should pay attention too. Small amounts do add up. If people would just keep saving they would get to their goal.

    1. Thanks Jason! 🙂

  23. I definitely know of people who don’t see the point of saving. It really gets to me that they don’t realize that 100 a month can get them to a better place than they were before. We are definitely grappling with the wants and needs portion and knowing whats a need and whats a want and leaning towards the latter most of the time.

    1. It’s sad that there are so many out there who think that $100 won’t help them. $100 is a lot, especially when it adds up over time!

  24. debt debs

    Happy Belated Birthday, Michelle! I’m a day late and about $250,0…. oh well, we won’t go there!

    You hit all the nails on the head here! Truly awesome post. Can I frame it?

    You are a great example for all young people – you go girl!

  25. Great post! So many times when people complain about money, they can solve the problem rather easily. Most don’t have a budget. Creating one will solve the majority of problems. For the issues that a budget doesn’t solve, they are usually solved by learning to not give in to the urge of instant gratification.

  26. jimmy

    Nothing like a tough love pep talk – we all need it sometimes. I think the less disciplined we are with money, the more we need systems in place like automatic savings plans. As a parent, I am working hard to make sure my kids have values that help them discern what is a necessity and what is a “want.” Having our eyes open to how blessed we are to have our basic needs cared for, helps keep us balanced.