I’m the type of person who obsesses about details. I scrutinize purchases. I agonize over all types of decisions big or small. At times, my fear of making a mistake has cost me money. I’ve missed out on opportunities that could have helped us save money or helped us earn more.
There have been times where I was so unsure of how to start saving money that I just didn’t bother. My fear was preventing me from reaching my goals.
I decided that it wasn’t healthy to live like that. It wasn’t good for my mental health and it didn’t help my financial health.
Finding the Courage to Save Money
When you’ve spent most of your years being a spender, finding the courage to save money can be a real challenge.
Where do you begin? How do you begin? What if your spouse won’t get on board? What if you fail?
And even if you’re a saver like I am, finding ways to save money can be nerve-wracking. What if you try to do something yourself and it ends up costing more money? What if the great deal you find ends up being a piece of junk? What if you could have saved more money elsewhere?
It’s time to stop letting fear control our pocketbooks. it’s time to work on finding the courage to save money.
Determine the cause of your fear.
Why are you afraid to save? What happened in your past that makes you nervous now? Did you lack the right information about your money? Were you afraid about controlling your urge to spend? You deserve better, and better begins when you can identify the source of your fear. Once you know what’s causing your apprehension, you can work on letting it go.
Sometimes it’s simply a lack of knowledge that holds us back from our full earning and saving potential. If that’s the case, head to the library and read as much as you can about saving money. Look at websites and blogs and find the information you want to know. Talk to trusted family, friends and financial advisers. Knowledge can give you the courage to ask better questions about your money. It can give the courage to try new things that can help you save.
Consider the worst case scenario.
My family jokingly refers to an inability to make a purchase decision as “spatula syndrome.” Years ago, my mother was trying to decide which spatula should replace the one she’d broken at home the night before. She was agonizing over the decision, picking up one spatula, then setting it down and picking up another. My father finally lost his patience. He told her, “They’re a dollar a piece! Buy all of them and throw out the ones you don’t want.”
She realized then and there that she was spending a lot of time on a decision that didn’t really matter all that much. She realized she could buy a spatula, and if it ended up not being very good, it would be inexpensive to buy another.
Whether you’re trying to decide if you should tackle a DIY project or make a purchase, ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” You may make a mistake, but chances are it won’t be too costly or labor intensive if you’ve already done your homework.
Most decisions we make with money aren’t life or death. And with the exception of getting into debt, it’s usually not that difficult to correct simple financial mistakes. So think about what could happen and consider what you would do if it happen. If you know what could happen and you have a plan, that will give you more courage to take the risks.
You’ll feel much less apprehensive about saving money if you just start small and work on it a little bit everyday. Perhaps today is the day you pick up the phone and negotiate a lower cable bill. Or perhaps today is the day you try to make your own bread.
Taking small, calculated steps can help put you on the path to success and will mitigate any missteps you make along the way.
Find family and friends who are interested in saving money. They can share their ideas. You can share your ideas with them. They can offer you a kind ear when something you’ve tried to do to save money didn’t work like you thought it would.
Allow yourself to make mistakes.
You will make mistakes. It happens. And even if you don’t make a mistake, sometimes the unexpected comes up. That’s why every construction and remodeling budget has a contingency fund. You should have one too. Budget a little extra for that money-saving DIY project. Keep a little extra food in the pantry for when that new frugal recipe doesn’t work out.
Build on your success.
You’re going to save money, and it’s going to feel great, so do a little happy dance, tell your mom, or share it on social media. That success will give you the courage to continue to save money. It will give you the courage to take what you’ve learned and apply it to more and more ways to save.
It’s okay to feel a little nervous about managing your money. It happens to all of us. But if you start with these steps, you’ll build the confidence to overcome your biggest financial fears.