April 1, 2023

Why Saving is Hard and How Friends Can Make it Easier


I have a confession to make. I am a terrible saver. Call me frivolous if you will but unless my money is safely locked away, I spend it. I lack the discipline to save up for bigger projects and I end up spending my money on smaller things I haven’t budgeted for. At the bar, I’ll get the next round. Then I’ll get the sneakers on Instagram. Then, two croissants because I want to try both.

The next thing I know, I am struggling to make my money last until the end of the month. And yes, I have read Atomic Habits and Rich Dad Poor Dad so I am painfully aware that this is all very unhealthy.

It’s not that I am unwilling to save, I am. I have clear goals. I want to save. I’m always trying and always failing.

Maybe you are one of those people who can’t relate, but I doubt it! 😅 Most of us have a problem when it comes to money. Mine is probably worse though and this might have started when I was young. I broke open my piggy bank when I was six years old so I could buy chocolate for Pete’s sake!

But I might not be entirely to blame. The world, it seems, is designed to tempt me into spending. For instance, social media is full of messages that encourage me to splurge while easing my guilt over waste and debt.

All those YouTubers spending obscene amounts on food for mukbangs and Shein clothing hauls. Then there are meme-able moments like ‘’I’ve been broke before and didn’t die’’, or ‘’money comes and money goes’’. Companies also get you buying with tactics like ‘limited edition only’ and discounts, that are not really discounted.

Mobile banking does not make anything easier. Electronic payment is accepted for virtually everything. Once when I tried it, there was the option of locking my savings. If I withdrew, the money would be wired after two days and hopefully, by then, I would have gotten over the desire to buy. But I soon figured out a loophole. If I withdrew money right before I slept, they would send it by morning. So that did not work!

I thought things would be different when I started as a freshman, with a new bank account. I was set to save and become a responsible young adult. The lies we tell ourselves. Alongside my ID I now had a new sleek card from the bank. And I’ll tell you for a fact; there’s nothing better than handing out the card after buying a coffee you don’t need that much, then getting it back intact from the smiling cashier as if nothing has happened. You don’t even feel the difference until you check your balance.

Ultimately though, at some point, one has to take responsibility for their own affairs. I think I have found my answer; group savings. A few of my colleagues and I started a savings group a couple of months ago. The idea is really simple, you get together with your buddies, create a shared savings pot, agree to make regular contributions, and hold each other to account. In our group, we put money aside on a monthly basis so that we can loan each other money when we need it. This has been working well for me.

It makes me more disciplined since I am accountable to my friends. There is also the social strength I feel, in that I am a part of something bigger than myself. Whenever we fund a friend to meet a need, I feel like I am a part of the solution. On top of that, it’s way more fun and saving doesn’t feel like such hard work. This gives me the satisfaction of knowing that even while I work on other money management methods, I have some money safely kept somewhere and I can access it on a rainy day.

I have not figured it all out yet so I won’t preach, but what I can tell you is what has worked for me and group saving is it! I might not be quite where I want to be yet but I feel more stable with my new approach to saving and look forward to trying out others. After all, a journey of a thousand miles starts with but a single step.

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