Tuesday Tip Jar: How to Save Money When You Suck at Saving Money

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One of the problems is that the money is so damn accessible now. I’m old enough to remember pre-internet life where if you wanted to put money into savings you had to physically drive your car to a bank and deposit it with a paper deposit slip. Usually while someone stood next to you smoking a cigarette and talking about the latest episode of Magnum PI. If you wanted to withdraw from your savings, you got back into your Trans-Am, popped in an REO Speedwagon cassette, and drove back to the same bank where you filled out a withdrawal slip and took your money out.

Starting Credit Card Debt (01.01.19): $126,310.77
Current Credit Card Debt: $109,570.87
Total Paid Off: $16,739.90
Income Going to Savings: 2%

[06.27.19 Update] – Just got an email from Marcus saying my new APY is 2.15% and not the 2.25% called out when I wrote the post below. Make sure you check their site for the latest rates before signing up.

I suck at saving money. Growing up I lived in a household where if we made $15 bucks that month, we spent $15 bucks that month. If we made $1500 bucks that month, rather than just spending the $15 that we managed to get by on the month before, we instead spent all $1500. My family didn’t really save money, and for the past 25 years, I haven’t really saved money either.

One thing I want to be clear about is that I do have some money in a 401k account. On this blog I often talk about having zero money in savings, but when I say that I’m referring to my standard savings account.

Part of the problem for me was always ease of access to my savings. I’d put $500 in savings and tell myself I was NEVER going to touch that money unless it was due to some unforeseen emergency. Two weeks later AC/DC would announce a world tour and I’d think, “Well I need to see them. They are getting pretty old, and this will probably be their last tour. This really is basically an emergency.”

Once at the show, I’d buy a t-shirt, food, pay for parking, and of course buy a pair of those light up plastic devil horns to wear. Can’t be the only one in the crowd without plastic devil horns on after all.

So I’d pull that $500 bucks right back out, and have it all spent in a matter of two weeks. The next month I’d start all over again, each time finding some kind of “emergency” to spend things on.

One of the problems is that the money is so damn accessible now. I’m old enough to remember pre-internet life where if you wanted to put money into savings you had to physically drive your car to a bank and deposit it with a paper deposit slip. Usually while someone stood next to you smoking a cigarette and talking about the latest episode of Magnum PI. If you wanted to withdraw from your savings, you got back into your Trans-Am, popped in an REO Speedwagon cassette, and drove back to the same bank where you filled out a withdrawal slip and took your money out.

In other words, it took a fair amount of work to get your money in and out of savings, and thus once it was in, it tended to stay there.Read More »