Thursday, January 9, 2014

Day 9: Saving For a Rainy Day...

entire series here
The first year we were married, we went to see a financial planner. April 15 had passed, we'd filed our taxes, and I found out that my husband owed thousands of dollars in back taxes.


Our marriage (obviously) survived that blow. But, we needed a plan to get out of debt and to be financially solvent.

A friend recommended his financial planner, and we figured it couldn't hurt to meet with him. Well, it may not have hurt, but it certainly wasn't the most pleasant meeting ever.

We were self-employed. We had tax debt. We had no health insurance. We had no insurance period. We had no money. We had no thoughts for retirement. We were pretty much a walking financial disaster-except that we had no credit card debt. Thank you, Lord, for silver linings!

Our financial advisor put together a 10-tiered 5 year plan. It incorporated everything you could think of on the financial front-including investments and insurance. It was daunting. It looked impossible.

He made us take the first two steps. Pay off the IRS. And start saving.

"But", we protested, "how can we save? We don't have money to save! We can't afford to save!"

I will never forget his succinct answer to us. "You can't afford NOT to save."

I have said it to many other friends, and it I will say it to you today...You can't afford NOT to save either.

We started very modestly building a nest egg. And as we watched it grow, saving became a kind of game. How much can we put away? We had X amount withdrawn automatically from our checking account every month. We treated it like a regular bill.

After a couple years we had enough money to put a downpayment on a house. And then to buy a car with cash. And then take a 2 week trip to England as a couple. And then to buy a truck. And then a mini van. And then to go on a family trip to Indonesia and Japan.

All with cash. All without going into debt. All while leaving some leftover money in the account.

Saving money is all about delayed gratification. It is making a choice to go without something today in order to have something else in the future.

Saving is addicting. Cheap thrills...

My happy/full life challenge for you today, this 9th day of our 31 Days Series, is to make a habit of saving money.

Choose the amount you want to save-be it $10 or $100 or $1000 or $____ a month.

Decide what you will give up to make it possible to save-be it a meal out, or cable television or....

Have that amount automatically withdrawn from your checking account every month, and put into another savings account. We like Capital One 360 accounts. They pay interest, though not tons. Plus it is online, so the money is available, but not readily available.

Save with a purpose in mind. Vacation. Down payment. New vehicle. Retirement. Braces for kids. House project. Save for Christmas gifts next year. Save for a rainy day. Save for a sunny day in Aruba.


How will you take steps today to make saving money one of your habits?

My friend Amanda, and her husband Daniel, have written about their journey out of debt. They have a lot of practical tips. Check them out (here.)

And, my friend Jen has written several posts lately on finances. Her latest was Making Goals that Make Cents.