One of the few pluses of my new job is the effect it’s having on my waistline. Since the first of end of June, I’ve lost 25 pounds.
Kind of like saving money, losing weight is quite simple on the surface. To lose weight I worked out more (mostly at work though) while cutting back my fast food intake and increasing my fruit and vegetable intake. Combining those 2 things is pretty much all I did and I lost 25 pounds. It was pretty easy actually.
I’m sure I’m not the first one to make this comparison, but saving money is a lot like losing weight. On the surface, saving money is incredibly easy. One only has to spend less than what they earn. That surplus is savings. Ridiculously simple, right?
Losing weight and saving money are two things that seem incredibly simple on the surface. Yet, for the most part, people aren’t very good at both. Countless New Year’s Resolutions have failed. Countless books have been sold in both genres, yet people still struggle with the concepts.
One thing people do wrong, in my opinion, is focus too much on the short term. How many dieters have abandoned their quest to lose weight after just a couple of bad meals? How many aspiring debt cutters have given up thanks to some sort of emergency that eats up their potential savings for this month? Our continued short term focus causes us to get discouraged once a minor bump in the road is hit. Perhaps this is human nature; or perhaps it’s an error on our part.
For this reason, I don’t recommend people have a budget. Real life is much more complicated than a spreadsheet or a bunch of jars with cash in them. I don’t even have time to update my blog anymore, where am I going to find time to make a budget and track my spending? When is anyone going to have time to do that?
This is why I recommend the Wealthy Barber’s pay yourself first approach. I understand the downfalls of picking a number out of mid air to save. Every person needs to figure out what percentage is the best for them, and then do it. With the money coming off the top, this can create a situation where the saver barely misses the money.
The other thing they need to do is either take this money to pay off debt or use it to invest. The key is to put the new savings to work somewhere where the funds aren’t easily available. If it’s going to pay down a credit card, then that credit card needs to be cut up. If the savings are going toward investing, then perhaps they need to be dollar cost averaged into an investment. By keeping the funds not available, one is better setting themselves up for success.
And to further illustrate my point, David Chilton is on The Lang and O’Leary exchange right now. So, yeah, pretty sure I’m right.