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“Save Your Money!” This was always the last phrase I heard from my Gram whenever I left her house. Save your money, I heard it until I was 40 years old.
The problem was, she never told me HOW to save my money. What does saving your money look like? How much money am I supposed to save? What account should I save it in?
Maybe she never told me because I never asked. Maybe I didn’t realize that I needed to ask HOW to save money.
As I look around at today’s society, and I read statistics (69%) that the average American has less than $1000 saved. I think to myself how did this happen? What were we not taught that our parents and their parents were taught?
Both sets of my grandparents had a significant savings account. Additionally, they had retirement accounts and they had pensions and they had social security. So when they retired they were able to leave their savings alone.
But if the average American doesn’t even have $1000 saved, there is definitely a disconnect between generations.
So what are we going to do about it?
There are financial teachers out there who teach various things. Dave Ramsey has his baby steps to financial freedom.
David Bach has his latte factor to help you identify where you are spending too much money.
Save Your Money
A few years ago, my husband went through the worst financial crisis of our lives. We hope and pray daily we don’t ever end up there again.
Since that financial bottom, we have learned how to save money. It was hard work. And it took a lot of time.
We started with $20 a pay period. It wasn’t much, but that was all we could afford.
Pretty soon that $20 grew and before we knew it we had saved $500 in a year. We knew that if our car broke down we had a little bit to pay for it.
What did finances look like for my Gram?
As I think about my Gram, she always paid with cash. I remember one day hanging out with her and she was switching handbags. As she was going through all the pockets of her bag, she would find cash. One pocket had $10, another $20 and then one had $100. She would gasp and say “Oh my goodness! Your Grandfather is going to be so mad!”
They made stuff by hand.
My Gram would make stuff. I would go “home” for lunch during the school day but my lunch home was my Gram’s. I remember walking in for lunch one day and she had the dining room table covered with brand new doll clothes that she had made for my Cabbage Patch doll. She was resourceful and made stuff by hand.
My Grandfather did too. He would make tables and chairs. Even though he was an accountant by trade, he still made stuff.
They lived a debt free life.
They owned everything. Their house was paid off. They owned it outright. The cars they drove were paid in full and they didn’t have credit card debt. If they used a credit card, they paid it off the same month.
They didn’t use their savings.
They lived on the income that came in from their pensions and social security. Their savings were “just in case.” They didn’t use it if they didn’t have to.
How do we apply these life lessons to our daily lives?
We make the decision we aren’t going to spend money. Decide that you want to change how you live and do it.
Living paycheck to paycheck is very stressful. Hoping you have enough money to cover all your bills is exhausting.
To get out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle, you have to have a plan. We developed a plan by deciding we were going to save $20 a pay period. It wasn’t much. But it helped us. Soon the money grew and we had saved $500 by the end of the year.
As our income grew, our saving increased. We remain consistent in saving money every pay period.
Additionally, we had a really tight grocery budget. We had a certain dollar amount we spent and that was it. If we didn’t have enough, we waited to purchase it until we had more money.
Take a moment right now and figure out a plan. Maybe it’s saving $10 a week, or paying off the credit card that only has a couple hundred on it, or paying a little extra on your car.
Maybe you need to increase your income. There are hundreds of ways to earn money these days. Some you can do right from your home, or you can drive your car and do them.
Have a savings goal.
Maybe have 2 savings goals, one for retirement and one for an emergency fund. One is tax deductible and one is not. We have both. We believe they are both equally important.
Whatever you decide to do, you need to take action. The sooner you decide to save money, the sooner you will be able to stop living paycheck to paycheck.
I am a firm believer in prayer. I believe when we ask for wisdom in what to change, we are given that wisdom. My challenge for you is to say a little prayer and ask God to help you save $20 this pay period.
My challenge for you is to take this to heart. You are able to save your money. Decide right now you are going to save $20 this pay period and the next one too! I want to hear from you too! So click my subscribe button to join my mailing list and tell me how you are saving money this week!
My Gram’s words, “Save YOUR MONEY!” Will be an echo in my heart until the day I die. I may not have understood when I was 20 how to save money, but now that I’m older, I totally understand and hope to be able to teach my children how to save money. Maybe when I’m old I’ll be saying to my grandkids, “Save Your Money!”
Stephanie Joseph has been blogging at Sticky Note Mom for 4 years. Before starting her blog she worked in the finance industry working on the floor of the Chicago Board of trade to working for major financial institutions with personal financial planning and the mortgage industry. Now she shares all she has learned about frugal living to help others learn how to stop spending and start saving more.