Things I Don’t Understand Thursday: Why Are We Scared to Save Money?

In Things I Don’t Understand Thursday, we started off with a leaf blower and moved on to rent to own.  In both of these cases there are clear choices of buying items that you do not need or buying an item that will cost you more money if you simply save up and buy it later, delaying satisfaction which is something our society has long not been a part of.  To think I could literally walk to my local Range Rover dealer and leave with a new or leased vehicle, some of this just amazes me.  I digress though as buying a Range Rover today is certainly not being afraid of saving money, but it does tie in.

If you go on to Facebook (I don’t have Facebook for Even Steven Money, my Social Media manager needs to up his/her game) I can almost promise you that you will find a friend with a new clothing purchase, expensive vacation pictures, more expensive newer vehicle, or think about where most of those pictures are coming from, usually a new iPhone.  When it comes to spending money we are at the forefront of showing people are biggest and best purchases.  One thing that I fail to see is pictures of us saving money and even if the purchase is a picture of a new purchase that saves money it usually results in spending money on something that we do not need.  An example of this is showing the new clothing that was bought at the mall that they got for 50% off!  In most cases these clothes were not needed, instead it was an impulse purchase or the new phenomenon of getting a deal on your purchase.  Have you heard the cashier say to you “Congratulations you saved $xx.xx” or do you look at a shopping tag and see the regular price is $100, but since this item is on sale for $40 that you just can’t pass up these “savings”.  Impulsive spending and sharing our new pictures via social media is thing of the present and the future, but what about saving money?

From time to time I share savings opportunities on Facebook with my friends and acquaintances.  Some of my friends listen, but many more are not interested in saving money.  How come many of us out there are ready to impulse buy a new Ford F-150, but are not interested in saving $100 per month using Republic Wireless for our cell phone service (Check out the link for how much you can save with Republic Wireless).  Let me share with you a couple of responses I received when I posted information about RW.

fb rw convoThe first 2 paragraphs are 1 individual response and the last paragraph is another individual.  Let’s call the first person Dick* and the last person Harry*, you know every Tom, Dick, and Harry.

So Dick is concerned about the phones themselves, which to me is a bit humorous in itself.  Moto X is one of the better phones on the market and if you read reviews on the Moto X you will find the same.  Next is the attack that coverage is not good in Dick’s area for where he lives or travels, in another message I explained roaming and how Sprint acts as a primary coverage area, but if this is indeed true and the coverage is so poor in the area he travels most (this does not seem to be the case, rather referencing somewhere far away where the individual lives, I mean come on its Facebook of course I know where you live!  OK Dick brings up his side business being very critical to his side business, let me say he’s a photographer.  I won’t be to critical since I am in no way a photographer, but if you are using your cell phone as a camera you might be in trouble.  Did you notice how he gave excuses on why he does not want to save money (good or bad still excuses)?  You know what you don’t see, an impulse to save.  It could be I am not a trusted sales person or he is in a long term contract and ashamed of how much money he is spending and needs to rationalize why he spends a large sum of money on his cell phone and cell phone plan.  You know what I really think it is?

People are afraid to save.  Think of it in reverse, people are not afraid to spend.  Advertisement is specifically geared at us spending money, doing it quickly, and repeating the process as often as possible.  That is how companies make money, they put ads out there that show how great it is to buy a new vehicle, I mean for heaven’s sake they put Matthew Mcconaughey in a Lincoln and tell us how much he likes it, don’t worry about the $35,000, buy that f****** car because it feels good.  If you are still with me you know how bat s*** crazy that sounds.  In my 10% Rule on spending money on cars you would need to make a cool 350K, but forget it do it because it feels good, not because you will be paying $500 month car payments for 5 years, do it because it feels good.

What if the world was flipped upside down and people made impulse saving common practice?  What if we all we posted what our 401K contribution increase was for the year?  What if every time we saved money we shared with friends on Facebook?  What if we shared what percentage our investments went up each month?  What if every time we had a transfer go to savings we let people know with a picture on Facebook?  What would happen if every advertisement for banking was for savings programs instead of loans and credit cards?

I think in many ways this is what personal finance bloggers do, but we are here to share with those that are willing.  We try to share and educate those who are ready to listen, personal finance is not mainstream.  Saving money is not mainstream it’s not sexy, despite what BudgetsAreSexy says.  I agree and think it should be, but what’s sexier J. Money telling you to budget and save money or a model/celebrity telling you to buy a product.  In the modern world we live in, buy is sexier than save.

We are afraid to save.  Have you ever heard someone say “I was going to buy this new car, but instead I said screw it and saved 5K and put it all in my savings account/CD/IRA/business opportunity”.  Because we are afraid to save, I’m not saying as much personal finance bloggers, but some of us do exist, I’m saying the mainstream.  The guy you see rolling in the Range Rover today and getting foreclosed on 2 years later, the lady who buys 2 pairs of shoes a week, but can’t fathom to put money in the stock market to earn money.

Is it simply that it is just easier to spend money than to save money?  That we aren’t really afraid to save money it’s just so much easier to spend it.  I mean companies and banks alike are looking for new technology to have your transaction make it feel like you are not using money, but instead you are just swiping a card at a register or entering numbers into a computer screen.  The new thing that possibly could be the downfall of mankind, is paying by using your phone, often seen at Starbucks and enough to make me lose my mind on a Monday morning( I don’t buy Starbucks coffee for me it’s like rooting for the Yankees it somehow just feels dirty).  Don’t worry about every seeing your money leave your account we want absolutely no emotion involved when you spend.  We want it to feel like it’s a video game or you are playing with chips, also one of the secrets of Las Vegas they make you play with chips because if you would be playing with money in front of you it would feel real.  Losing $20 on a hand of blackjack, no it’s not $20 it’s a $20 chip, much different just chips.  I mean Disney is coming out with bracelets that have your financial information on your wrist, I mean if that place doesn’t cost enough money imagine just holding up your wrist and then when the day is over you find out that you spent $300 on Mickey Mouse t-shirts and nachos, because that’s about what $300 gets you in the park, memories are priceless.  Speaking of MasterCard, why not run an entire campaign that says spend every flipping dollar you have because these moments are priceless, I mean the campaign is genius, but just another advertisement to spend and in this case spend as much as possible because it’s special.

Honestly, writing this I’m lost in my own tangent.  Let’s get back to Harry from our Facebook friends from above, I was paying $225 with my Verizon iPhone’s and 2 other phone plans, and his concern instead of himself actually saving money by using Republic Wireless to save what could amount to hundreds of dollars over the year that I should have been paying less with Verizon.  Are you flipping kidding me?!  Aren’t we missing the point Harry?  I’m explaining that with Republic Wireless you have the opportunity to save about $85/month on your wireless service with basically the same service and phone.  Is he afraid of saving?  Is he concerned I was paying too much for my Verizon bill?  Did he just want to point out that he was paying less than I was?  Was this just another case of wanting to keep up with the Jones’ and their iPhone?

A lot of questions can be taken from Harry, but it comes down to he is happy at least on the outside to pay $135 month, he almost wears it as a badge of honor, scarlet letter “A” whatever you want to call it.  Similarly I wear that same badge except our combined bill for our $10 RW Talk and Text, and $25 Talk, Text, and 3G, I wonder what would happen if we all wore our cell phone monthly payments on our chests?  Would we all walk around laughing at the guy who pays $200 and give high-fives to the guy with the $35 bill (I’m good with getting high fives, occasional chest bumps are fun as well)?  This makes me want to conduct a social experiment; I just might give it a try!

So like many of the Thursday posts this little guy has lost his way.  What I would like to ask of you who have read this far is to do something different, go ahead and Save Money without even thinking.  Maybe there is a new app that saves money, cost reduction program, cell phone plan, savings program, increase your 401K contribution, frankly I don’t give a $$$$ what it is, just do it don’t even think about it, Go Ahead Impulse the $$$$ out of Saving.

Good Luck and I would love if you would share what you Impulse the $$$$ out of Saving today or recently.


*Dick and Harry are good good people who have right to their own opinions.  I also have included only a portion of the conversation because most of it is boring.

**Sorry if the picture offends anyone, but honestly if it does please please stop reading my blog and go to Disneyland

28 Responses to “Things I Don’t Understand Thursday: Why Are We Scared to Save Money?

  • Hey hey hey…let’s replace rooting for the Yankees feeling dirty to the Patriots and then I can be on board with it! Didn’t know that Disney was planning on putting financial info on bracelets…they sure know how to get people who are bad with money to spend even more. They’ll of course advertise it as making it more “convenient” for their “guests.” I was always a little annoyed by those “priceless” MasterCard commercials as if those priceless moments were free or that they helped pay for it. Fortunately, I’m naturally frugal and don’t spend money without much scrutiny. I just contributed $600 to my wife’s Roth as well as mine…that excites me more than buying crap I don’t need or use.

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      If the Patriots make you feel dirty then by all means, haha. The convenient thing is becoming very over played, I mean what are they going to do ride the rides for me, escort my children to see Mickey(I don’t have kids so good luck), and hand feed me nachos while I lay in the Disney bed? I mean come on. Awesome on the contributing to the Roth, but don’t you want a new snowboard/bike/clothing instead I mean it’s priceless right?

  • Saving, like everything, is a habit…and therefore something that’s hard to initially get started & maintained. Our brand of spending (consumerism) is a competing habit: and one that gives us a small, but real, high. I’m still a little high from the new phone I bought (whoops!).

    Like eating right, or exercising, or calling your family more…there are a lot of good things we know we ought to be doing. Executing the plan is harder than creating it.

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Absolutely it’s difficult to create a habit, it’s just messed up to me that spending is our default way of life now, I want it to change I really do.

  • This is one of those things that I really don’t understand either. I think a lot of it just boils down to habit. Many Americans were never taught the importance of saving or investing. All they’ve known is instant gratification, and breaking the mold seems to become more difficult with time.
    Jacob recently posted…Wealthfront Review: Automated, Low-Cost InvestingMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      OK CCC, you guys are getting me all fired up! All I can think of is Braveheart right now and starting a revolution, as ever mini as it may be.

  • I think most people are scared to save or think about saving because it is not the default setting. It’s really easy to just go with the flow and not even challenge the actions that yourself and everyone around you is taking.

    That’s what makes the FI community such an outlier. Sure some of us in the past have probably been caught in the spending trap, but we are now clear eyed looking forward and making decisions for the right reason. Not just spending on autopilot as before.

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      FB you make good points and your right I was part of the spending trap, Mercedes to buying new clothes on my credit card, I guess it just hits me a little now that I think about saving as a default.

  • I think that most people are just simply blissfully ignorant that a good and fulfilling life can be had without spending all that money. Outlets everywhere reinforce that idea – social media, advertising, our obsession with celebrities, etc. just as you point out. Few seem to understand that their best life of all can come without those material things… A life of independence and freedom to do exactly as they choose. If at that point they still want to buy expensive cars, so be it. But understand that those material goods are not the ticket to happiness.
    Mrs. Maroon recently posted…Could I Pay for College With Diapers?My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Preach! I think what’s more painful is not only are those material good not the ticket to happiness it’s almost a sure fire ride to unhappiness with loans and payments, which takes away from your freedom and makes it mandatory to earn more and skip opportunities you would have otherwise jumped at.

  • I think the problem is that a lot of people are extremely short-sighted in their views. Going back to the Verizon example, when I tell people they have to pay for the phone up front with Republic Wireless that steers them away. Even if they would save money in the long run, it makes them feel better to pay $50 for the new iPhone. A lot of people also want to have the latest and greatest, while I’m fine with my Moto X hopefully lasting me 3-4 years. In fact I’ve only had a smartphone for just over a year now!
    Debt Hater recently posted…Free Community CollegeMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Debt Hater, you are correct the short sighted views is what makes people scared of saving money. I hear a lot of but if I need this for shopping or this or that.
      Yeah I’m with you on the Moto X and having it for a long time, kind of excited about that because every year I keep it is every year that I save even more money on my phone costs.

  • I think a lot of people don’t like change, not so much saving money. We considered RW but the $600 upfront cost for two phones was ehh. If we kept them for 2 years, which seems to be the lifespan of our phones since we break/lose/water damage them about that often, it’s a $25 a month cost. In addition to the 2 $25 plans, so total cost $75/month, whereas we only pay $70 a month right now through verizon for both our phones, unlimited talk/text and 12 gigs of data. For us it was easier to stay knowing that it is very reliable service/network. But I do encourage everyone to call often to their utility providers to continue to get deals.

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Of course everyone has their own opinions on phones and if you are getting a total cost of $70/month that’s a positive. On the flip side to your views would be you will pay for a phone with Verizon in many circumstances especially when you upgrade, the next thing that I really didn’t like was the 2-year contract, just didn’t like the idea of having no choices. RW is month to month which provides flexibility. Lastly is have you considered switching to no data and running everything off of Wi-Fi, I work a 9-5 and found it really nice to not worry about checking emails, etc throughout the day and I end up checking 1x or 2x a day when I take a break or lunch in our lobby, something to consider. You should check out RW Calculator I made and see how long it takes to break even on your plan.

  • I impulse save all the time.. get bored at work and spend a minute to add 50 bucks to vanguard… or if I made an impulse purchase I will sometimes add the same amount to vanguard just for the hell of it.. I also make “impulse” principal payments on my mortgage..

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Joe you are my favorite, let’s just say if their was more people adding to Vanguard for the heck of it, we all would be in a better place!

  • People are so weird about changing the cell phone provider! With all of the low-cost options out there, I can hardly believe that people are still paying for a full-service plan every month.
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Does Free Community College Make Sense?My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      It is kind of funny it becomes a life decision almost, but I suppose if you are trapped in a 2 year commitment with a cancellation penalty with the full-service plans maybe it is a life decision, ha!

  • Work provides us with whatever phone we choose (new iPhone 6 for me) and free service. Yet some people still pay for a “personal” phone, and carry two phones around…

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      It would be hard to justify the cost of an additional phone, like having 3 cars with 2 people, wouldn’t think the cost justifies the means.

  • “People are afraid to save.” this is so true and relates to a lack of awareness on what we actually really want to accomplish in life. We don’t save because we don’t know what we love enough to save for and the thought of missing out or dying before discovering that want is pervasive.
    Jason @ Phroogal recently posted…Your Money Mindset: Are You Unconsciously Spending on Likes Not Loves?My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Great point I don’t think people think about what the big purchase(Ford-F150 my go to example) and how it will affect our future self’s.

  • I don’t think people are afraid to save…they are afraid to CHANGE. They don’t want to say no to friends even if they don’t have the money because they are afraid of being lonely, or excluded. They don’t want to change phones (I’m raising my hand) because we’ve grown to love our iPhones. One of my big ones is my hair. I have to get it cut every eight weeks because it looks awful if I don’t. While I won’t ever be so frugal I cut it myself (maybe if it was really long I would), but I could so somewhere cheaper than the current lady who cuts it, who I’ve been going to for years even though she is expensive. I’m terrified someone elsewhere will give me a mullet!! 🙂 I think change is a very persona experience, and if you don’t really have the deep motivation to do so you probably won’t. For me, saying no to going with friends was easy peasy, but for someone else it might not be. So that’s what I think it boils down to.

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      I certainly think the 2 can be linked together. I understand the need/want to keep things that are important to us and I think without that we all might just go a little crazy, but iPhones, expensive hair cuts can’t be the default(meaning everything is costly rather than the couple items you mentioned here) when getting ahead, it’s savings that needs to be the default.

      Mullet’s are coming back, maybe you bring it to the beach?!

  • It’s funny because I’m the complete opposite. I’m more scared to spend money!! I think I have a slight panic attack the odd time my total purchase runs into the hundreds. I love saving money: I consider a way to challenge myself and an addiction. I actually brag to people how much I saved. I like how on my bill at one of the grocery stores I shop at tells me at the end my savings percentage wise and as a number.

    I am cognizant of the fact that not everyone is naturally hardwired to save. Some people find spending money quite therapeutic.Social media encourages us to share and yet we only share what we spend. I only use social media for blogging purposes because I’m pretty sure I would just end up getting jealous and annoyed with everyone showing off what they bought and where they went on vacation. It may even promote “Keeping Up with the Joneses” or Keeping up with the people and their latest iphoneses” (Haha).
    Karen recently posted…Women Into Investing Part II: PF BloggersMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Love that you love to save money! I think everything media encourages us to spend money and share each trip, big expenditures, etc I don’t know who these Joneses characters are but I don’t like them one bit!

Trackbacks & Pings

  • Weekend Reading - Tawcan :

    […] Steven asks why are we scared to save money?  I think people who aren’t savers are just afraid to change their […]

    3 years ago
  • Digit Free Money Saving Tool #MoneySavingWeek | Even Steven Money :

    […] I was on the fence about signing up for Digit and it scared me a little which led me to this blog post about being afraid to save money.  Then I researched the crap out of Digit and came back finding […]

    3 years ago

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge