Excuses, Excuses, EXCUSES!

Get Savvy About Your Money Now

    Stuck with lots of debt and little savings? It's easy to find excuses that let you off the hook to change your situation, but it's only a temporary reprieve. One excuse just leads to another and another and eventually to a way of life. Maybe it's time to dump your excuses.

Excuse: I don't have time to learn to manage my money.
    We all have time to do what matters most to us. It makes no sense for you to work as hard as you do, only to end up with no solid assets to show for it.

"It takes time to get a spending
plan just right, so be patient,
and don't give up."

Excuse: I can't stick with a budget.
    Perhaps you've been trying to cram yourself into a budget that doesn't fit. Here's the way to create a plan that will fit you perfectly: For the next 30 days, keep a written record of every dime you spend. At the end of the month, categorize your spending, and come up with a total spent for each category. Then multiply those categories by 12 to get a rough estimate of what you will spend in a year if you keep it up. You'll see immediately where you need to make adjustments. Look for ways to reduce every area of spending by a little bit. Continue to track spending, adjusting where necessary to get it below your income. It takes time to get a spending plan just right, so be patient, and don't give up.

Excuse: This purchase will add only a small amount to my credit card balance. I owe so much now anyway that this small amount won't matter.
That $50 outfit, when added to a typical credit card balance of $1,000, immediately turns into a $106 outfit when you add in the interest. It also adds a full three months to the time it will take to repay the balance. Keep it up and you never will get out of debt.

Excuse: I only can save $10 a week, and that's not enough to do anything.
Are you kidding? Weekly deposits of $10, added systematically to an account with an average return of 6 percent, will grow to $7,118 in 10 years. Depositing $10 a week is significant. Just imagine if you could double that. Sure, rates aren't at that level right now, but they'll come back. Get started saving now so you will be able to benefit from the next upturn in the economy.

Excuse: I don't earn enough to participate in my employer's retirement plan.
    Do you earn enough to turn down a raise and a tax deduction? That's what you're doing if your employer offers a tax-deferred retirement plan and you don't participate. The money put into this kind of plan is free of current taxes, and most employers match at least part. That's like getting a tax-free raise.

Mary Hunt is the founder of DebtProofLiving.com and author of 17 books, including "Debt-Proof Living." You can e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or write to in care of this magazine at Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 22521, Hilton Head Island, SC 29925.

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