What makes saving money so difficult? After all, when you know money might be scarce tomorrow, saving today is the rational thing to do. Saving should be a priority especially for low-income people in countries with weak social safety nets. So it might seem as if saving should come naturally and feel satisfying. The reality, of course, is that saving is hard for people to do and often feels painful. Despite good intentions and common sense, people routinely end up spending more today than they should—and saving less. Why do people tend to behave irrationally about something as vitally important as saving?
Most clients of the microfinance institutions participating in OPTIX, a project managed by BFA, have small business or microloans and no active savings. Like so many other people, they have a hard time saving, even in small amounts. This does not mean they don’t want to save or don’t try to save. They—along with almost every other person on the planet—may simply suffer from cognitive and behavioral biases when it comes to putting money aside.