Small Changes Don’t Really Help

Over the years I’ve found myself, both here and in my real life, telling people with financial problems that small changes will help. I’ve told people that, “If you just stop eating out,” or “Stop spending on magazines at the grocery store,” or “Save $10 per pay period,” you can really help your financial situation. Other financial gurus pitch the same thing. I used to think this was good advice. After all, any amount of money you can save is a help, right? Recently I’ve given this some thought and I’ve about decided to change my tune. I’m not sure that little changes really help all that much for most people.

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11 Responses to Small Changes Don’t Really Help

  1. Leigh says:

    If someone truly believes all they have to do is cut the Starbuck’s habit and they’ll retire with millions, than there’s really no hope. I suggest we stop trying to spoon feed them and just let Darwin thin the herd. Moo.

  2. PatientSaver says:

    If you spend all your time and energy doing “little” things to save money, you’ll have no energy left for the bigger things that count so much more.

    So start with stuff like refinancing your mortgage or shopping around for car or homeowners insurance and forget about clipping .25 coupons if you’re not in the habit of doing so.

    Priorities!

  3. Andrea Guennewig says:

    I completely agree. Cutting the occasional latte won’t help individuals in the long run. What needs to happen is a re-evaluation of current expenses as they are now. Pay your bills and debt re-payments first. What’s left over is what you can spend on groceries, gas, dining out, etc. If that isn’t enough, request more hours or get a second job. Both are not easy, but they are necessary to getting ahead. It can be a long road…

  4. Allison says:

    I agree with Leigh. Although I’m not sure what cows have to do with that…

  5. Maybe the mantra should change to ‘one small step at a time’.

    Small steps can add up to big things, but basic math will tell you a big problem needs a big fix. You can’t get a big fix from one small step, you need lots of them. just not necessarily all at once.

    Sometimes I think the old Tortoise and Hare story is more useful for adults than kids. Kids while they are impatient, are generally more willing to do a little bit and come back later to do more, adults have a ‘you must finish it all right now-or don’t bother’ mentality.

  6. Rachel McTague says:

    The problem for many people is that they say, well I saved $10 with grocery coupons and $15 on the electric bill this month, so I have an extra $25 dollars (TO SPEND)…..

  7. larabelle says:

    I agree with Rachel people do save an extra $25 dollars just to spend and then they wonder why they are still in debt. Drastic circumstances (high debt) require drastic actions (extreme actions to delete debt).

  8. Jimmy says:

    Who cares about debt, corporations don’t pay their debts, the Govt. doesn’t pay their debts, why should you pay your debts? They can’t us all, just rack up as much debt as you can and don’t pay a dime, they can’t do crap to you.

  9. Rick says:

    Small steps may help you from racking up additional debt, but it takes major steps to start paying it back.

  10. Jo/GaelicWench says:

    We are a society of immediate gratification. It’s like we have to have it yesterday. Stop the lattes, the lunches out and watch yourself get richer. You can’t see immediate results with moves such as this, but it helps as a start-up point. They’re called baby steps.

    I tend to think that slow and steady wins the race, although a major step with refinancing one’s mortgage, as long as the savings are $200 and above can truly be a big boon for one’s budget. The caveat is that it won’t do any good if the savings aren’t reinvested somewhere else, such as paying down a car payment, put in retirement, set aside for any up and coming major purchase.

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