Image: Money jar © Big Cheese Photo, PictureQuest

Saving is a simple concept: It's money we put aside for when we need it. Most people believe saving is a good idea, yet few actually manage to save enough. According to an August study by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, personal savings constitute a mere 3.7% of disposable personal income.

There are plenty of excuses for not saving enough. Here are some of the most common ones, and what you can do to overcome them:

'I've never been able to save'

If you think you're unable to save, you'll likely sabotage your attempts at saving. The first step is to change your mindset and truly believe you have the ability to save money.

'I don't make enough to save'

Yes, it is harder to save when you don't make much money. But unless you don't have enough for a modest place to live and basic food, you probably have the ability to save a few dollars each month. Look to cut out small expenses, like lottery tickets and convenience-store soft drinks first. You may be surprised by how much you can save.

'I have too many debts to be able to save'

This is typically based on a falsehood, because systematically paying off debt is saving. As the amount you owe goes down, so does the amount of interest you pay each month. So as you lower your debts, you're putting yourself on a better financial footing. The real trick is in not taking on new debt.

'I don't know anything about money'

Add up your bills and your income so you know how much money is left over to be saved. Often people who say they're not smart enough to track their debt believe there's some big secret to saving money. There isn't.

'I don't have the willpower to save'

There's likely some truth to this for everyone. Few people demonstrate willpower to cut discretionary spending at every opportunity. But even people who are dealing with addictive spending behaviors can identify when they're most vulnerable. They can then dvelop tools and habits to bolster their willpower for those situations. Even if it takes professional help, saying that you can't overcome spending shouldn't be your final answer.

'No one can save in this economy'

It's true that it's harder to save when wages are down and prices are up. But any change in income or expenses is a signal to review your budget and make appropriate changes. If you wait for times to get better, you might never think there's a good time to begin saving money.

'Prices are rising too fast for me to save'

Rising prices may mean you have to adjust the amount you save each month, but that's no excuse to stop saving entirely. On the contrary. When prices are rising, you have an even greater need to sock away money, so you're capable of handling a surprise spike in a monthly bill or two. One of the biggest reasons for saving money is so you're not derailed by the unexpected.

'My spouse makes it impossible to save'

True, it's easier to save when both partners participate. It's also true that if left unchecked, a spending partner will sink a saving one. Don't let that happen to you. If your partner is unwilling to save, separate your finances. When your partner's finances crack, you'll be glad that you managed to save some money for both of you.

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