Here’s the scenario:
You can’t get ahead. Your job sucks and you can’t quit because you need the money. You can’t seem to save any money because there’s always something to spend your money on. When you do save a bit of money, it’s not enough to do anything cool. You see your friends having fun on social media while you’re stuck staying in. It feels like you’re never going to have any money in the bank.
I constantly hear from readers who can’t catch a break. I hear you. We’ve all been at the bottom of the mountain. The climb feels like it’s never going to end. You’re dying to see that view from the top. I wanted to write something for everyone that’s struggling out there. It’s tempting to just share motivational quotes on your social media accounts all day. The challenge lies in actually trying to do something to fix your situation.
What do you do when it feels like you’re never going to have any money in your bank account?
Understand that the most successful people out there are a mess.
I used to think that everyone else had it together. Then I starting meeting people in person who I admired. I was always pleasantly surprised by how they didn’t have everything figured out 100% of the time. They make plenty of mistakes just like the rest of us.
I totally see how you could think that your “successful” friends have it together. They don’t. Nobody has it together. We’re all pretty much clueless and winging it as we go.
Tim Ferriss really struck a chord with me with this quote in his post on productivity:
“And when — despite your best efforts — you feel like you’re losing at the game of life, remember: Even the best of the best feel this way sometimes.”
You’re not alone in your struggles. Others out there are going through something similar. Just because people aren’t posting about their struggles on social media it doesn’t mean that they aren’t going through them.
Full disclosure: I don’t know what’s going on at all. I’ve purchased rental properties, written books, and gone on trips without having anything figured out. You just learn on the job.
Change how you think about personal finance.
You don’t have to be some nerd who got bullied in high school to be into personal finance. Money management isn’t about saying NO to everything. This doesn’t have to be a boring topic. You don’t have to understand financial literacy, how the stock market works, and what a balance sheet is to have money in your bank account.
I treat my finances the same way I do my fitness. I find little tricks that will help me get to where I want to be without missing out on the fun. With fitness, I use intermittent fasting to get in shape. With personal finance, I pay myself first and automatically put my money away so that I don’t have to think about my finances 24/7.
[I created the YOLO System so that you don’t feel guilty about spending money.]
“How did you save up for that trip?”
I asked my friend this because I just couldn’t figured out how he saved enough money for a trip. I was 17 and excited about going away. I just automatically assumed that I couldn’t afford the trip.
You can start small. When I was 18 I started putting away $25 bi-weekly into bonds (I found a form for an automatic withdrawal). Then I increased this to $50. The account now has over $12,000 in it. I touched this account once in 2009 when I needed money for college. I’ve left it ever since. I try to forget that it even exists.
I realize that this is boring.
Nobody wants to hear the story about the guy that saved up $50 here and there. I get it. However, you have to start somewhere.
You’re not going to invent the next Facebook. You’re not going to hit it big with the next big idea. Don’t let that stop you. Start small and take it from there.
Get a quick win.
Go after a quick win. Make something happen. Feel that rush of being successful. Boost your confidence. Build some momentum for yourself.
What are examples of quick wins?
- Find a paid freelancing client.
- Finally launch your first blog.
- Save $1,000 or even $100 by cutting something out (your eHarmony profile that you don’t use anymore because you’re on Tinder).
- Go for the sale on your newest product (Matt started making tables).
- Get a deal on your cell phone plan.
- Find a cheaper gym membership.
- Put an extra $50 towards your debt every week.
- Cook a meal once in a while (good for your social life too).
Get that quick win and use that momentum to take you to the next win. You’re never going to save $10,000 in one short or build an empire overnight. You’re always better off starting with the quick wins and going from there.
“Building alibis with which to explain failure is a natural pastime. The habit is as old as the human race, and is fatal to success!” — Napolean Hill
This is the most important lesson in anything. You have to hold yourself accountable.
I used to blame everyone but myself when I didn’t get the results that I wanted with Studenomics. I was writing things that people didn’t care about. When I started actually listening to the readers, I figured out what I do had to do differently.
Everything in your life is on you. It’s a lot easier to start saving money if you accept that you’re in charge of your finances. You don’t have to wait for someone to give you permission.
You have no money because you never made personal finance a priority. That’s okay. You can start today.
I’m not here to lecture you because you already know that you need to stop complaining. This is another friendly reminder.
I often stop and correct myself when I’m complaining about something. It’s too easy to blame someone else for our troubles or to get upset about something.
The truth is that nobody wants to hear about your excuses. Maybe one day you can write an autobiography and list everything that went wrong for you in your life. Then people might care.
Don’t compare yourself to your most successful friends.
“We’re all, for the most part, pretty average people. But it’s the extremes that get all of the publicity.” — Mark Manson
I’m all for being competitive. You just can’t compare yourself to those who have been working harder than you this whole time. You shouldn’t look at the outliers and get depressed. We all have a friend with a ridiculous success story. You should be happy for them. You should also understand that they may have had a unique natural talent or born with the right genetics. This is life.
You also have to understand that we all have different talents. Some are more athletically gifted while others rely more on their social skills. You don’t have the same skills as your friends and that’s fine.
On that note…
Don’t get upset about the results you didn’t get with the work you didn’t do.
I just want to remind you that you can change everything moving forward. If you didn’t put the work in previously, it’s time to start doing so. The world doesn’t owe you anything. You can start saving up right now. You can start paying off your debt moving forward. You can still work on that book idea.
When I failed to get in shape in early-2015 before a big wrestling show it was because I didn’t train as hard as I should’ve. I also cheated on my diet. I tried blaming the world and my genetics. Suddenly, when I started cooking my own meals in 2016, my genetics got better.
Pick one goal.
What’s your main goal? What do you want to accomplish?
What do you you want to do?
You have to pick one specific goal. Many readers have used The Cancun Technique to start saving money because they figured out that they needed a specific goal to set them in the right direction.
I’m not going to waste your time with a boring dissertation on SMART goal setting. The point of this all is that we need specific goals or we’re never going to care about saving money. Most of us don’t save for the sake of saving.
While we’re at it, check out this episode of Studenomics TV where we discuss how you can fix a spending problem…
Stop worrying about stuff that doesn’t matter.
We constantly worry about stuff that doesn’t matter. We get caught up in debates and stressful arguments over things that have zero real impact on our lives.
The examples are always pretty similar:
- That girl hasn’t texted you back and it’s keeping you up at night
- There’s a new video game coming out and you can’t get anything done at work.
- Some government conspiracy theory video comes out and now you’re arguing with people online.
- Someone says something on social media that offends you.
There’s always something to get distracted with.
The biggest thing that you need to stop worrying about is conspiracy theories. The world isn’t out to get you. Nobody has it out for you. Don’t worry about the government putting chips into your brain.
If you feel like you’re never going to have any money in the bank, please remember that you’re not alone. We’ve all been through this same process. I used to HATE saving money as a teenager. Once you find some goals, get some quick wins, and get into the habit of starting small, everything will be fine and you can go back to liking food pictures on Instagram without feeling guilty about your finances.
“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven’t.” – Thomas Edison