Are you a saver or a spender?

Saving money is not easy for most of us.

Are you a saver or are you a spender? The psychology of how people make spending and saving decisions is very complicated. Behavioral Economists have researched this topic, learning that our brain is intrinsically wired to make it much easier for humans to spend than to save. For most of us, we get much more satisfaction out of spending than out of saving. Saving is just not as exciting as spending money.

According to Annamaria Lusardi, an Economist at George Washington University, 40 percent of American families could not come up with $2,000 within 30 days if there was an emergency such as a major car repair.

Do you want to save money? Most of us would probably say yes. More importantly, why do you want to save money? There are many reasons to try to save money including: to have an emergency fund, to make a major purchase, to pay for your children’s college education, to take a vacation, to invest for retirement or many other reasons.

Some keys to successful saving include:

  • Use direct deposit for your income.
  • Pay your bills on time to avoid late fees.
  • Stick to your spending plan/budget and resist unnecessary spending.
  • Avoid check-cashing or rent-to-own stores because of their high interest rates.
  • Take advantage of special savings (like holiday or vacation accounts) at your financial institution.

If you would like to evaluate your current financial situation, Michigan State University Extension has a survey to help you assess your current finances. It will also provide feedback of how you might improve your financial situation.

For more information on saving and other money topics, visit MIMoneyHealth.org or contact your local MSU Extension office.

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