Thanks to Sarah Titus of Saving Money Never Goes Out of Style for this great guest post!
The day after I turned 16, I got my first job. I worked at a fast food place in southern Cali. The only reason I wanted a job, is so that I could buy the things I wanted. I wanted nice clothes, fancy body washes, special shampoo’s, and my family was just too poor to afford them.
From a very young age, I worked for everything I got. Maybe you are the same way. You work hard to provide for your family, whether it’s a traditional job or working at home as a stay-at-home-mom, you work hard. And you may even have nice things, like I did.
Every decision I made was based on the world view that I was young and free and independent. I worked hard for shampoo. I worked for soap. When you put it like that, it seems rather foolish to me now.
Now, I’m a person who gets soap, shampoo, body washes all free. There is, actually, very little I pay for.
I still work hard, but I don’t do it for soap. I work hard for my kids, my family, my life.
Over the years, my money saving priorities have changed based on my age and world views and what I deem important. I’ve grown up. I no longer care if I have the newest and most beautiful scent of body wash on the planet. I care more about having a quality body wash. One that works well. I used to spend my money on fast food. Completely temporal. Something that I’d never have anything to show for it. Now, I’m a lot more careful. I don’t go out to eat at fast food places. If I’m going to splurge, it’ll be something worth-while.
Fast food and keeping up with the Jones’ are the perfect way to zap your savings account quick!
As time goes on, you begin to start thinking about your future. You think about a house and how you can own it outright in 30 years. You start thinking about that really cute car you want and instead, you opt for the practical minivan.
In life, as it happens to everyone, we grow up. Some things that were important to us are no longer important, yet other things we didn’t even think about, like life insurance, renters insurance, or a retirement fund, are now at the forefront of our minds.
Whether you are young or old or somewhere in between, the truth is that you HAVE TO think about your future. While it’s okay to spend on things that are futile and temporal, there’s a certain point in our lives where we need to think about what will become of us in the future.
If you are driving in a car, you scan the road ahead of you. It’s smart. It will help you prevent an accident.
The same is true with money. YOU KNOW that certain birthdays will come up every year. Christmas happens every year in my town. That 6 month car insurance policy does eventually end. If you live in the high mountains like I do now, snow tires are a must. Every year, the same things happen. We must scan the road ahead for those things.
Too often, we get complacent. We feel like we can’t get ahead. We’re just spinning our wheels. You have to get out of that mindset, that world view. You have to get un-stuck. It doesn’t matter if you have pennies to your name or you’re trying to support a family of 3 on only $18,000/year, everyone can find an extra $20/month to invest in those things. Saving just $20/month is $240 a year and doesn’t include bonuses from work, income tax refunds, etc.
The problem is that when we have a little bit of extra money to our name, it burns a hole in our pockets. We want to spend it. But, the wise planner waits, like playing Jinga with your kids. You KNOW the building is going to fall down, but you try to do everything in your power to get it to fall on someone else’s turn! That’s life, right. YOU want to have a savings account, YOU don’t want those wooden pieces to fall on you. You want to have a plan.
It starts with $20/month. Think you can’t get anywhere with that? 4 years ago, I started that plan myself. I started squirreling away everything I could. Little by little I dug myself out of debt into freedom. I have no debt right now (even my car is paid for). In fact, I’ve saved up so much that my income could completely stop for an entire year and my way of living would still be set! THAT’S financial freedom. THAT’S peace!
Why do I have that? Because I took those baby steps. Start with $20/month. If you are consistent and do your best, you have no idea where you could be 4 years from now!
How has your world view changed over the years and how has it affected your money saving ability and more importantly, your savings account?
Sarah is a stay-at-home mom of two wonderful children. Her passion is showing other women in practical ways, how to quit the 9-5 and be able to be home with their little ones as well. From homeless to well-off, this single debt-free mom is most known for her ability to lived on $18k/year for several years. Sarah loves encouraging others that dreams do come true if they are willing to consistently work for it. Follow her blog: Saving Money Never Goes Out of Style.
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