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How to Save

Written By: Dan Stanley  |  Posted: Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

We hear a little noise being made in our day about saving money. For many years it has been more talk about spending and getting good credit. Finally this borrowing and spending spree has begun to catch up with many people in our country. We are realizing we must retreat from borrowing and spending and return to saving and producing. Apparently it is working a little. Recently, I read that people's savings has risen somewhat since we entered our recent economic recession. Maybe they will begin to sell piggy banks again! How about pass book savings accounts? Forgive me for being so simple. I am not trying to think of our readers as naive. And I am sure many of you reading this already understand how to save. But for the sake of the need, and with the possibility some are reading this who need some help in taking steps to save, the following is written. If you need no help in saving money, then consider encouraging your children to begin to save. Show them how you did it, and get them going. Remind them often that more money is not the answer to money problems, especially debt. Rather, it is using the monies we have more wisely. One way to do this is to begin to save. In fact, my counsel to the indebted (especially if over their head in debt) is to first start saving! It is the best thing someone in debt can do. How much more is saving beneficial to those who are not behind on payments and in trouble with debt! Here are some steps to take to save:
First, start saving now. Don't wait until you can afford it. Savings will eventually enable you to afford it! Many will think they need to first pay off all of their debts. Wrong. Pay off your debts, yes, but don't wait to begin saving. You cannot start too soon.
Second, don't save too much. Many start too big, and before long have to cash it all in for an emergency. Better to save small amounts at the beginning. It can be as low as one dollar, or even less, a week. Save an amount that you can handle. Smaller is better at the beginning. Want proof? Piggy banks.
Third, let this initial savings be long term. It is money you are saving that is for way down the road. How far down the road? How about for when you are too old to work?! The other type of savings needed will be short term savings. That will come. But the best savings initially is that savings which is long term.
Fourth, put it in a place where it can't be spent. Do what you have to so that you cannot spend it. This savings is not for emergencies. If you are disciplined, or will discipline yourself, then it can be accessible. If not, put it where it can't be used. Make it as hard as possible to get to if you are inclined that way.
Fifth, remember savings are not investments. Investments are using what you have saved to gain increase from it. Savings is merely storing up what you have. "The wise man treasures up oil." Due to inflation it will be best to put it in a place where you can at least keep up with inflation. For many years, money markets or CD's did that. Presently that is not the case. That is why buying silver (poor man's gold) may be best to preserve what you are saving.
Sixth, feel free to add to the amount you have set to save. Maybe you are saving $25 per week and that is an amount that works for you without pressure. Good. But if you come across an extra $10 that you can put into your savings, do so. Few things are more encouraging to someone saving, especially at the beginning than to see how fast it can grow if more is added than planned. Unexpected monies come the way of most of us. Use some to add to your savings. The sum will grow amazingly fast relative to the amount you had planned.
Seventh, save before you spend! Make that a principle. My children are taught to earn, then give, then save and last to spend. No spending until first saving. Take out your savings before you pay any bills or spend any of the money you receive. It is the best way to ensure you save some of what you earn.
These are basic steps to saving. Financial bondage is awful, yet most Americans are living their lives in debt and with financial obligations that come from that debt. Freedom from debt and financial pressure is a wonderful freedom. Further, it is possible if you are wise. And the wisdom needed to be financially free is to stop borrowing and begin saving. Start saving today. Get your nest egg going. Use a literal piggy bank if needed! Don't allow it to be touched. Eventually you will become your own banker. And, after that, you will become the banker for other people for their good. You will, if you develop this habit correctly, get to the place where you will save up for what you want to buy. That may sound old fashioned (so is breathing and eating), but is best and works. And the way it works is for you and I to begin to save. Start today and experience the blessing of saving for what you buy and for having enough for "rainy days."

Dan Stanley is an owner and contributor to the Eau Claire Journal. He is the author of "Becoming Debt Free" and has pastored for thirty years. He and his wife Beth have ten children, four grandchildren and live in Eau Claire.

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