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Are you sabotaging your savings?

By Shannyn Allan · Bankrate.com
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Posted: 7 am ET

You start out every month with good intentions, hoping to save more. But something always derails your righteous path to financial freedom and independence.

If you are struggling to stay on the right path financially, you may be a victim of one of these six financial saboteurs:

1. Your goals are unrealistic, unfamiliar or 'unfun'

To have any financial success -- from budgeting to saving or spending less -- we often approach our goals like an angry totalitarian. In other words, "It's all or nothing, baby!"

But honestly, it's not. You set yourself up for failure when setting goals so far beyond your reach. Re-evaluate your goals to make sure you can hit small milestones regularly and that you can (somewhat) enjoy the process.

2. You blame yourself for your past mistakes

Don't beat yourself up over past mistakes. Realize that a debt-ridden past provided you with the information needed to spot your problem behavior so you can move forward.

Beating yourself up keeps you in the past, instead of moving you toward a financially savvy future.

3. You are hanging out with the wrong crowd

Peer pressure may have gotten you in trouble at 16. Today, that peer pressure is just as strong when you drop a paycheck on a fun night out of overpriced cocktails. Such things happen when friends aren't aligned with your saving goals.

You don't have to drop your high-priced friends, but be aware of how their influence impacts your spending choices.

4.  You are procrastinating

The longer you keep your head in the sand about your financial situation, the more opportunities you miss. Remember this equation: interest on money + time = success.

Go over debts and see which have the highest interest rate. Pay them off first. Also, make sure you are putting away money each month into a savings account with a high interest rate.

Check Bankrate to find better rates on checking or savings accounts.

5. You insist money management has to be difficult

Make your good habits automatic. Set up an automatic deposit to a savings account during each pay period. Establish a Roth individual retirement account with automatic payments.

When good habits occur automatically, you can't talk yourself out of them. Chances are it will be so easy you will forget about the extra money stashed away. That can give you a nice surprise when you check your account down the road.

6. You are secretly hoping for a miracle

Again and again, I see people fall victim to the hope that someone will save them financially. Don't let that be you!

It is tempting to hope that a rich unknown relative will leave you a hefty inheritance, or that Mr. or Mrs. Right will also be a trust-fund baby. But even if that happens, wouldn't the windfall be better as a boost, not a life preserver? After all, you may drown financially while waiting.

Shannyn blogs at FrugalBeautiful.com about topics such as finance, frugality and saving money for the new generation. Find her on Twitter @FrugalBeautiful

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