I want to learn more about the savings task that so many people struggle with. So tell me, How do you save money?
We all tend to save money a little differently but for many reasons not necessarily for the long-term.
Today I want to walk you through conversations I’ve had with a homeless person and a homeowner to understand how saving money differs depending on lifestyle.
Save money…. What is that?
So many people laugh when they read about saving money because they believe there is no such thing. This is a common mindset we have because we believe that if we don’t have excess every month then there is no possible way. Most people who do manage to save, find a way.
There’s more to saving money than living frugal meaning you save money on sales etc. People easily overspend while simply shopping for food and other items on sale.
That’s why the term “window shopping” is the best way to shop if you don’t really need to buy anything. Leave your wallet at home.
Do we really know where our money is going?
A homeowners struggle to save money
While I was taking our son for a walk this weekend I stopped to chat to a neighbour. He casually brought up Spring cleaning and how nice the weather was outside. You know, idle conversation although I always like to, you know…dig a little.
I asked what kind of Spring clean-up they planned on tackling first and he said the cheap cleaning jobs. What do you mean by cheap cleaning jobs, I asked him? He told me that they would be chores such as cleaning windows, driveways and getting the garden ready. Simple stuff that doesn’t cost much money.
Fair enough I thought.
He told me that they weren’t able to save money this year like they did the year before. Normally they like to save $5000 a year to do renovations and other projects around the house but it wasn’t going to happen this year.
I asked why like a little kid who needs to know all the answers. In adult terms that means, I’m nosey. One of these days someone might shoot me down and tell me to mind my own business but hey, he started it.
Typically they would save a certain amount of money in a savings account which come summer would fund any projects they needed to be completed.
That pretty much sums up what we do.
Last year they struggled to do this because instead of saving money they found there wasn’t as much left at the end of the month to save.
I asked if he uses a budget and he told me no which was fine because many successful financial-minded people live without a budget. The problem was they were overspending their money. That means they were spending more than they earned each month
This is a common reason why people get themselves into debt or into the cycle of living pay to pay with little to no savings. It’s not a hidden secret either, its common sense BUT it’s not that we don’t have this sense we choose to not take the time to invest in finance until there’s a problem.
So then he says to me, “How do you and your wife save money?” Not everyone is comfortable talking about personal finance but if someone wants to, I’m game as long as it’s their money we’re talking about.
I for one don’t like talking about our personal finances but I don’t mind being vague about it. I told him straight up…We Budget!
It’s no secret here on CBB but that budget is the reason in part that we are debt free BUT from a financial standpoint only. There is so much more to debt freedom and having emergency savings set aside than putting a budget together.
You have to want to make it work.
If you think a budget is going to work on its own you are going to be VERY sad when you aren’t making any progress. Then you will blame the budget, stop budgeting and try to find other excuses why you can’t save money. The only reason is you aren’t trying hard enough to save money.
If a homeless person can do it, so can you. You don’t think that’s a fair assessment? If someone who literally has nothing can step up and save a dollar or two out of necessity then you too can find a way to save a dollar.
Sometimes we have to do things out of necessity and not choice. For those of you that do have a choice it may fall on a less stressful spectrum than others.
Living on the streets
I’ve talked to many people who are either financially rich meaning they can afford just about anything and I’ve met many people who are in debt, struggling to make ends meet or living on the streets.
I’ve had a conversation with a homeless person before and you know what, they save money too. Sounds odd considering most often they don’t have any cash to begin with, but hear me out.
I spoke with a homeless woman we knew although many would not think she was homeless,but she was. You’d be surprised how many homeless people are out there and you don’t even know it. She lost everything she owned when she went bankrupt and found herself on the streets. We knew her from mutual friends.
She had a job earning a decent living but that all came crashing down when she got divorced and lost just about everything due to secret debt he was hiding in both their names. Being laid off from her job was the clincher and what ended her “frosted life-style”. Saving money was not something they though of doing because there was always a pay cheque.
She applied for welfare but struggled to find a place to live and she just fell deeper into the street system. Eventually she started sleeping with men for money. We know because she showed up at our doorstep more than once crying. She wanted to change.
She always had a story to tell about her life and what was going on. We were shocked with what was happening in the underworld, a world we were not familiar with. It wasn’t the life she wanted but it was a life-cycle that gave her an income of sorts.
She’s not the only one that lives this life. You’d be shocked to see what happens in every city even the small towns with people you know. You only have to go on some public websites to see how many men and women are selling their bodies to make money. It’s horrible, but it happens.
For the most part the homeless may live on handouts, small cash jobs and maybe government assistance. Just because someone gives a homeless person a $5.00 bill doesn’t mean that they will spend it all in a day either.
The perception of homeless sitting on a street corner with a bottle of booze is just something that we’ve all come to believe. Not all homeless people are this way nor do they dig through dumpsters. There are different types of homeless lifestyles depending on how one goes about it.
There were days where she had no clients, even weeks went by so she had to make sure that she saved money to get by on. She wasn’t renting hotel rooms to sleep in she was on the streets with a blanket she carried in her bag, sleeping on a couch at someone’s house or community services for the homeless.
Most days she would spend in public places such as the library to read or hanging out at the mall or downtown shops. She walked everywhere she went but in the winter she kept to one area. She managed to get food from the local food bank and soup kitchens.
The money she had she kept inside her bra so no one would steal it from her. She risked her life to stay alive. No, she didn’t have to go this route but sometimes it’s easier to say this than to live it.
We haven’t heard from her in years and we hope that she is getting the help that she so desperately needed. Maybe, just maybe she has pulled herself out from the streets and is getting back on her feet again.
We all have a story, don’t forget that. So you see even a homeless person has ways that they save money because that next $5.00 bill might not come for a long time.
Many of us take for granted even the smallest of savings thinking it means nothing unless the numbers in the bank account are growing. Every bit counts but you must have patience to watch it grow. If you have to pay off debt, pay your debt but make sure you save a bit too just in case you need it. Balance is key.
When I ask what saving money means to people I find that we all have different perspectives. Saving money for the homeless woman may have only meant for day or two but saving it is better than having nothing at all.
How we save money
I’ve pretty much been an open book with our budget and net worth updates on CBB that if you want to know how we save money all you have to do is read about it.
There really is more to saving money than just budgeting though. As you all know I stand behind my motto of “It’s not about how much money you make it’s how you save it.”
Money is going to be part of our lives forever so we better start treating it right otherwise we will see generation after generation of people who are not only in debt but have nothing in the bank.
Saving Money Tips
When we set out to save money there were a few things that we followed and continue to follow to this day. I will share these savings concepts with you but remember that however you choose to save money is up to you. It’s relevance in your life needs to be assessed now and not just when it’s an emergency situation.
Spend less than you earn or earn more
You know I can say this until I’m blue in the face but unless you have a secret stash that won’t run out you need to spend less money to save money.
If you can’t possibly spend less money than you need to earn more money or move somewhere cheaper, get rid of cable, internet, cell phones. Start learning all the tricks of the savings trade when it comes to shopping too because most people spend a fortune at the grocery store.
Check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide~
Budget or track your finances
Not everyone has the means to budget or wants to use an actual budget and that’s fine provided that they are saving money and paying down debt.
There’s no point complaining if you can’t do it with our without a budget. If working without a budget isn’t cutting it give budgeting a serious effort and stop being so negative.
If you’ve tried budgeting and it doesn’t work for you then track your expenses however it works for you and hopefully you will still come out on top spending less than you earn whilst saving for a rainy day.
Be Optimistic and stick to a plan of action
A plan, yes you need a plan to achieve your goals. If you go into a savings plan or budget with a negative mindset you will almost always fail.
If you create a plan stick with it even if you fall off track a bit. Figure out what went wrong and don’t make the same mistakes again.
Don’t feel pressured to conform to society
Social media creates a world that people think they need to live in to be successful or seen as part of the in-crowd. We’ve done this to ourselves and because we have technology to broadcast it debt loads continue to grow because many of you are too busy trying to keep up with everyone else.
Just because you see that everyone else goes shopping for new clothes and has the latest smartphone and flashy car doesn’t mean you need it. Having toys and stuff doesn’t make you rich, maybe on the surface but broke in the bank.
If you want to save money then you need to take control of your finances. There’s no other way but to either accept your financial situation or make it better then do the best you can to save money.
So, tell me… How do you save money?
Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?
- Check out my new Free Recipe Index
- If you like FREE then click this link for my FREE Excel Budget Spreadsheet and all my Free Money Saving Lists!
- You can now have full access to my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide in Canada.
- Single millionaire paid the price to get where he is today
- How to prevent financial secrets in relationships
- Saving 50% of his gross income is no longer a dream
- Man uses hourly wage to spend less and save $5000
- Sneaky wife teaches husband a money lesson he won’t forget
- 10 tips to find employment that suits your budget and lifestyle
Photo Credit: FreedigitalPhotos.net/MisterDC