Stop Using These 6 Ridiculous Excuses For Not Saving Money

The other day I was reading a personal finance article on a major website. I enjoyed the article but I made the mistake of scrolling down to the comments to see what people had to say. After blogging about personal finance for almost four years, I wasn’t very shocked. 90% of the comments were very negative. People were saying that anyone…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 27, 2023

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Stop Using These 6 Ridiculous Excuses For Not Saving MoneyThe other day I was reading a personal finance article on a major website. I enjoyed the article but I made the mistake of scrolling down to the comments to see what people had to say.

After blogging about personal finance for almost four years, I wasn’t very shocked. 90% of the comments were very negative.

People were saying that anyone who saves money must hate their life, they must lead a boring life, and so on.

This is always sad to read, as many people do not save anywhere near the amount they should be saving.

  • 68% live paycheck to paycheck;
  • 26% have no emergency savings;
  • The median amount saved for retirement is less than $60,000;
  • The average household has $7,283 in credit card debt;
  • The average student loan debt is $32,264.

Due to these crazy money statistics, I believe that more people should think positively about saving money. Saving money can help you stop living paycheck to paycheck, it can help you pay off your debt, it can help you prepare for retirement, and so on.

The first step to saving more money is to figure out why you are unable to save money.

For many people, it’s because they often tell themselves excuses for why saving money isn’t something they can or even need to do.

If you do this, I want you to realize that you can change your ways and that it is possible to save money. I used to always give myself excuses as well but then realized that I was just lying to myself.

If you are interested in saving money, please read How To Live On One Income and 75+ Ways To Make Extra Money.

Below are six common excuses people give for not saving money.

 

1. “I’ll hate my life if I start saving money.”

There is a myth out there that only very sad and boring people save money. I’ve heard it over and over again.

“Wow, that person must lead a very boring life if they save that much money.”

“I can’t save money because that means I’ll just be eating Ramen and sitting on my couch all day long.”

The truth is that you can still live a great life AND save money. It is possible and many people do it on small and large incomes every single day.

What you need to do is learn how to manage your money better so that you can live the life you want to live, but on a more realistic budget. There are plenty of ways to live a great life on a smaller income so that you can save more of your money.

 

2. “I’ll figure out how to save money later.”

Many people put off saving because they’d rather spend their money now and/or because they believe they’ll have plenty of time to save money later.

There is really no need to spend every last penny you have just because you “can.”

The truth is that you never know what will happen later, so if you have the ability to save money now, YOU SHOULD.

 

3. “I deserve and/or need the things I buy.”

I’ve heard this excuse far too many times and it’s one that I used to say to myself all the time as well.

This applies to many areas in life. Many believe they need to upgrade to the latest and best cell phone on an annual basis, that they need a flat screen TV in every room, they need to spend hundreds of dollars a month on cable, they need expensive vacations, and more.

However, that’s not true. If you are struggling with debt, if you’re not saving money, if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, or something else related to these three, then you should watch your spending, figure out ways to lower your expenses, and cut out anything unnecessary.

I’m not saying you need to cut everything out, instead I’m saying you should only buy things that you truly need and want, not just because you think you deserve it or because you want to keep up with the Joneses.

 

4. “I enjoy my job and can always make money.”

While it’s great that you enjoy your job, you should still be saving money. I have heard far too many people say that they love their job and don’t need to save money because they can just work forever and still be happy.

However, what happens when you can no longer work? You don’t know what the future will bring – you may come across a medical problem, a serious life event, you may hate your job 20 years from now and so on.

Saving money doesn’t mean that your life is ending. You can enjoy your job and save money at the same time.

 

5. “The city I live in is too expensive to save money.”

This one will probably cause some debate and it will probably make a few mad at me as well. When I published the post Is Being House Poor Limiting You last Monday, I received some flack from a few readers.

Yes, I understand that some cities are quite expensive to live in, but that does not mean that you are unable to save money because of the higher cost of living. It may take time, but you need to either increase your income or cut your expenses, or even do both.

Hard work and sweat may be needed, but you’ll be happier than ever when you are finally in a better financial situation.

 

6. “It’s too late for me to start saving money.”

Some believe they are either too old to save money or that they are too far in debt to save money. These excuses are simply not true.

It’s never too late to start saving money. Every little bit helps and it can drastically change your future. Saving something is better than saving nothing.

If you are in debt, that doesn’t mean that your world is over either. You can start saving more money so that you can pay off your debt and dig yourself out of the hole you are in. There is no need to continue to add to the debt. You are just making your problem much more worse if you continue doing what you are doing.

What excuses for not saving money do you often give?

 


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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. Sophie

    I completely agree with you and it frustrates the hell out of me to see people around me doing this. My parents are one of the worst examples. My dad’s now retired but my mum still earns just shy of 6 figures, they’ve paid off their mortgage and live in a relatively cheap area yet they have a huge amount of credit card debt and complain about being broke all the time while proceeding to take several holidays a year, buy new gadgets, fancy clothes etc.

    I’m on the other side of the spectrum in that I am genuinely excited and have made all the plans to save when I’m able to but unfortunately my income is pretty stuck at about $10,000 a year atm. My yearly bills+expenses amount to about $10,500 a year no matter how much I scrimp and cut things down. People always say that if you’re motivated enough you can easily save and I 100% believe that for most people out there that’s true but I couldn’t do it without various utilities being cut off. That’s what I love about having found your site though, its giving me ideas on new things to try out to get my expenses down/income up without my study suffering.

    1. Even though your income is low like you said, great job on living on a low income as well. It is possible!

    2. I like you Sofie, don’t have much of an income, and have not been able to save most of my life. There are many people who only live check to check, work two jobs and still do not have the luxury of being able to save. It is not a matter of they don’t want to make the sacrifice, as they have nothing to sacrifice. There are some folks who have the money but spend more than they have, and there are those who don’t have a nickel to put aside. Now that I am not working on a job, I save all of my Social Security checks and live off my online income. I pay everything in cash and keep one credit card. I am terrified.

  2. I’m totally guilty with this one Michelle! I always told myself that I need to save money, but unfortunately I didn’t. I have a budget, but didn’t follow it. Sometimes, I have some unexpected expenses like giving myself a reward. πŸ™

    1. I used to do the same also!

  3. People make excuses because they don’t want to sacrifice; they want immediate gratification that spending can give them. Saving money, once you finally start can become almost addicting as you see the amount grow and grow. If you don’t and you keep using these lame excuses, you might find yourself in my past situation – 80K in debt, unemployed, and no savings. It wasn’t fun, but I turned the corner many years ago. Saving is like breathing to me now. It’s that natural.

  4. I can hardly look at the comments to any PF article on a major media outlet because they are nothing but trolls that just want to bicker and viciously attack the author (as well as one another). That says something about the general mentality of our society.

  5. Procrastination is one of the problems I used to deal with. I always said especially with regard to saving the phrase “I’ll save later” and “not now”. This resulted in no savings and no emergency fund. I was glad that a financial adviser helped me build a positive mindset and forget about procrastination.

    1. Great job on changing your ways Jayson!

  6. Some other common excuses are healthcare costs (which are admittedly excessive), having kids, or “safety.” For example, we need this expensive over-sized vehicle for safety. An excuse I’ve used is blaming my spouse. Spouses seem to get blamed a lot for cable, clothes shopping, fast food or coffee habits, etc. It’s easy to see how the things I don’t want aren’t necessary, but surely there’s something I could change on my end of things. Fighting about frugality isn’t much better than fighting about money!

    1. Oh yes, the safety excuse is a good one! I’ve heard that far too times.

  7. Erica {Erica@EricaDHouse.com}

    I grew up in a household that drilled into me that savings was #1. I never would have DREAMED of thinking that saving = boring life! My Mom and Dad worked very hard to get out of 40k credit card debt and pay off my Dad’s student loans (also about 40k worth) when I was in high school. I learned so much from watching them budget and sacrifice to reach their financial goals.

  8. There are a lot of small desires on a day to day basis that make it seem as though saving is impossible. That’s my main issue. Oh, it’s a small treat three times a week, where in fact, that’s a tank of gas that could last me a whole month or a round trip visit to my family. It might not seem like a lot right now to me or to someone else, but in reality it all adds up to a healthy savings account.

    1. Yes, definitely! I used to be guilty of doing the same, but now I always remind myself about how easily it adds up.

  9. Number three kills me – the entitlement attitude when it comes to money is so over used and so harmful to your finances.

  10. Man, yeah # 3 is strong around here. I totally used to be like that as a teenager. I used this excuse for EVERYTHING from books to clothes. But nowadays, it drives me up the wall. πŸ˜‰

    No, if you can’t afford it you don’t deserve it.

    We’re just about to move into a tiny flat (50% smaller than our previous one) because my boyfriend was laid off.
    In my mind I truly deserved a proper beach vacation this year after successfully battling my ed AND starting a side business. But we can’t afford it at the moment so we’re gonna stay at home except for a few days of visiting friends in England.

    Oh and we still put all our coins in our little jar (which now serves as a piggy bank for our 4-day-vacation πŸ˜‰ AND put up to 150€ in our rainy day fund.

    I really can’t wait for our new and – thankfully- also halved rent. So.much.money.to.put.into.savings! Yay!
    It’s the best πŸ˜€

  11. Jordan

    I’m always confused when people say they don’t need to save money. Maybe a lot of people think the magic social security angel is going to help them in their own age or their kids will step up and foot the bill. When I think of spending my last 20 years on government assisted health care and probably a small subsidized apartment or assisted living with kids who are burdened my me, I am rushing to deposit every penny in my retirement so I can live comfortably with peace of mind for the long haul.

    1. Jordan

      *OLD age whoops

    2. I agree Jordan! Saving money is something that everyone needs to do!

  12. I completely agree with you! It truly is sad.

  13. I hate when people make excuses. Bottom line: if it’s a priority to you then you will find a way to make it happen. I used to make some of these excuses too, but I’m getting better at saving money all the time.

    1. Great job on getting better. I t can be hard but it’s well worth it.

  14. #2 was probably my excuse a few years ago, because I felt like my income was super low and there was no possible way I could save during that time. A lot of these excuses are unrealistic and it seems like some of those people bashing the idea of saving are living in the moment a little too much. There is no guarantee that you will have your job forever and even be capable of working for the rest of your life. There are plenty of ways to save without β€˜becoming boring’ or β€˜having no life’.

  15. One thing my friends know I am not a fan of is excuses! We have a lot more control over our lives than some people give themselves credit for. Personally now that I am on this financial independence journey I find myself making excuses on why NOT to spend money. “why should I buy X, when it could get me 0.01% closer to FI??” πŸ™‚

  16. This is GREAT, Michelle. The other day, I read a great article from ThePennyHoarder.com about 12 ways to earn more money. They were terrific suggestions, some of which I intend to try. One comment on this article said, “How do you expect us to make time for all this?”. I kid you not, one comment simply said, “Hog wash”. I don’t understand, haha. But way to call their bluff!

    1. Haha yeah the comments can be so bad!

  17. Sarah

    I think way too many people see saving money as meaning you put every single penny away and never do anything fun. Of course, you know that’s not the case. πŸ™‚ For us, if we didn’t save, we’d never take a vacation or do anything fun.

  18. Amy @ DebtGal

    I’ve heard the “I want to enjoy my money while I still can” one a lot. While I believe it’s important to find a balance and enjoy life, we can never predict the future. One may not “enjoy” paying for expensive medical treatment, for example, but wouldn’t be nice to have the option, if needed?

  19. I know a few people that give those excuses. I’m so tired of people trying to live that “Yolo” lifestyle. I’d rather save instead of have to borrow money when something happens.

  20. jackie

    the hardest thing for me is balancing saving with paying down debt. i try to do a bit of both so I don’t feel like i’m sacrificing either. hoping to keep paying off our debt so we can save even more.

  21. Brittney @ Life On A Discount

    What I find amazing is that people never run out of excuses (unlike money). They can come up with 101 reasons why they cannot save money or pay off debt, yet if they put that energy toward understanding their finances or earning side income, they would be much better off. A lot of it comes down to a mindset. Do you believe you can control your money? Or do you believe your money controls you? Unfortunately, many people the latter. And guess what, if you believe that, it will come true. Self-fulfilling prophecies are a real thing. It’s unfortunate we don’t require financial education for every American. We would be in a much different place as a country if we did.

    1. I definitely agree with you Brittney. So much of it has to do with a person’s mindset.

    2. Kim Kubisiak

      Totally agree with you Brittney….it is just as much about the mind set, as it is the income level.

  22. Brittney @ Life On A Discount

    Also wanted to add, my co-worker just told me today that she cannot afford to save money or even purchase life insurance (at $15 a month), yet she had a Starbucks latte and muffin in her hand. That afternoon, she bought Chipotle for lunch. She literally just spent $15 on consumable items that will be gone in a matter of minutes, rather than setting up her family for a lifetime of financial security. Once again, it’s about a mindset.

    1. Sadly, many people do this.

  23. I think people don’t have enough confidence in themselves. They’re afraid that if they try to save money they will fail, so it’s easier to not try at all. People also don’t want to sacrifice anything!

  24. Similar to #2, is the failure to even think about finances. That was us for a long time, part of the 68% living paycheck to paycheck, making money and spending it (and then some). We were immature, with no plans or goals, and that’s how we ended up in our current situation. Thankfully, we’ve grown up and starting making changes to correct our financial mistakes. I’m sure that are many others who will forever spend without thinking.

    1. Good job on realizing your mistakes!

  25. Before we started budgeting and working on getting out of debt, #3 was the biggest problem for my husband and I. Quite honestly we were entitled. We thought we deserved the things a middle class income could buy without the income to back it up. Since I shared my debt free story on my blog I have gotten a LOT of the same complaints about why people can’t save money. Another big one is that they just don’t make enough money. And I totally get that. When we started paying off our debt, we were living on one low income, but I’m living proof that it is possible!

    1. Loved reading this Shannon. It is possible!

  26. This post speaks the truth.My son is making the same excuses.Everyone should start saving with as soon as possible and be on the better side off the road.If wealth is lost,nothing is lost,but if you’re financially fit,you can do whatever you wanna to do and nobody can stop you.

  27. Good job Catherine on coming to your senses πŸ™‚

  28. These are all terrible excuses! But there really is no good excuse to not same at least a little something every month.

  29. It really is scary to see how many people have no retirement savings or very little retirements savings. What is going to happen in a few years when millions of people have no money and are no longer able to work? This sounds like a disaster in the making. I think a lot of people are using excuse #2- they are waiting until later to start saving…

  30. That point β€œThe city I live in is too expensive to save money.” is true. There are many cities are quite expensive to live in. But still I am trying to save money from my everyday life. And I took idea from your 1 old post that cut my hair after 3 months. πŸ™‚

    1. While it is true, it is just an excuse.

  31. I’ve been guilty of some of these in the past as well!

  32. We had a sense of entitlement about our spending for a long time. Finally one day we woke up and realized that what we really “deserved” was to be debt free! We aren’t there yet, but we’ve got a solid plan that should get us there by next year. Can’t wait!!

  33. I think in the end we each choose the sort of life we want to lead. Some choose to spend while they’re earning in exchange for a lower standard of living when they’re not (in retirement). Others choose to assure they have the nest egg they need to support the lifestyle they want in retirement and not be a financial burden on other family members. Then of course there are those who choose to ignore money issues and spend with abandon, assuming, I guess, that the ‘Money Fairy’ watching over them will somehow make it all turn out okay. πŸ™‚

  34. Tracey

    I am working hard to change my views on saving money. My family is a family of spenders and I was never really taught to save. I have heard my mother exclaim more than once that she deserves something because she works. I need to change my mind from always going with wants and work on my needs. One of these needs would be saving money so later in life I can finally be financially secure. I am a work in progress.

  35. I became a sneaker head and collector and have a new habit for racking up sneakers. Hopefully I’ll get frugal again momentarily. πŸ™‚