This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Keesler Federal Credit Union. All opinions are 100% mine.
For decades, I had no motivation whatsoever to place money into savings. Zero. Zilch. My goal was to increase my income just so I could buy more stuff.
Inevitably, this attitude would land me in a heap of trouble because something would happen requiring a huge expense (I’m looking at you, minivan that just had new tires) and I would be broke.
You know what that means, right? Whipping out the credit card and landing myself deeper in debt. No thanks. Not going back to those old habits.
One day, I was chatting with a friend about his son and a conversation they had about money. He recalled telling his son, “If you always spend down to zero, you will never have any money.”
I felt like I had been slapped. As I recoiled and assured myself mentally that my friend was not speaking to me but telling me about a personal experience he had with his son, I let the truth of his statement settle into my brain and… it hurt. Because it’s totally true.
If you always spend down to zero, you will never have any money.
So, aside from wanting to spend without accountability, why was I so resistant to placing money in a savings account?
In part, I think my saving problem was simply I thought saving money was hard. In my head, I thought I had to start saving with a huge amount and invest in things like bonds and mutual funds. Shiver! My lack of experience had me fearful of the things I didn’t understand.
Now, I realize that saving money doesn’t have to be a BIG deal. Putting money aside can start with simple actions… natural motivations.
It’s so easy to go through that drive-thru on the way home from horseback riding lessons instead of planning ahead and putting dinner in the slow cooker. Or running out to buy new furniture because the latest hit designer show has you craving a more current look. After all, we live in a world where everyone gets instant gratification. There is no waiting for saving!
So, how can you overcome those temptations to spend instead of save?
Find your personal incentives for tucking money away into a savings account. Take a personal inventory and ask yourself, “What motivations do I have to save money?”
There are many motivations for saving money: an unexpected appliance dying, Christmas shopping without credit cards, college education, retirement… everything from BIG to small. So don’t make this harder than it needs to be. Just grab a piece of paper and a pen or open a new note on your phone and brainstorm a list of reasons you need and WANT to save.
To get you started, here are the top motivations for #WhyISave.
I don’t want to disrespect my parents in ANY way because I adore them. But they will tell you… My lack of financial sense was due in part to not seeing wise financial decisions made in my home as a child.
The truth is… A lot of the way kids view money is inherited from their parents.
One motivation I have to save money is because my kids are watching. If my husband and I don’t talk to them about saving money, they may never truly understand the concept of saving money.
Kids need to learn to save money because taking out a loan for everything isn’t possible. Kids need to learn to save money because there may be something in the future that they need to buy (car, college, house.)
Here’s a quick example of how we are teaching out children to save…
Right now my kids know we are going on a vacation in a few weeks. They are SUPER excited and have a long list of items to buy and activities to enjoy. Every time they would talk to me about vacation, I could practically hear my hard-earned money flying out the window.
I had to find a way that they could experience the feeling of what things cost. I know that sounds weird, but without their desires costing them something, they could not appreciate the sacrifices I was making to provide them with a dream vacation.
So, I created an incentive chart. They can earn extra money by doing extra chores and/or abiding within our family guidelines without being nagged. We are keeping a running tally of how much money they are saving and it will be placed on a gift card right before our trip.
While I could just hand them over money, it’s a learning concept for them to be able to work hard for the money that they earn. And save it for when they REALLY need it.
The next step will be taking our children to set up a savings account because I want them to discover the motivation that saving money helps you save money. (I know that reads funny but hang with me a second.)
There are two ways that placing money into savings helps me save money over the long haul:
Interest that works for you… not against you.
When you open a savings account at a reliable financial institution like Keesler Federal Credit Union, your money grows by accumulating interest. The more money you stash away into savings, the faster you see the reward of saving.
And think of it this way… Instead of paying interest on credit cards and loans, you gain interest on your money as it sits in the savings account. That’s a fabulous motivation!
But if you tend to be like me and watching that money as is sits becomes a temptation to spend, I want to share with you my savings hack.
Open a savings account in a place that is convenient… but not too convenient. Allow me to explain…
Keesler Federal Credit Union has branches in Jackson (Mississippi), New Orleans (Louisiana), and Mobile (Alabama) metro areas. That makes Keesler Federal easy to swing by to make a deposit. You can even open a savings account online. Easy, peasy.
And while Keesler Federal Credit Union offers a wide variety of personal banking solutions (checking accounts, auto loans, real estate investments, etc.), I do not want my accounts connected because it is way too convenient with online banking to transfer money from savings to checking… which defeats the purpose of saving money.
Cash is cheaper than credit.
The second way that saving money saves you money is a mind-blowing concept. Ready?
When you take out a loan, you are paying money (the bad kind of interest) on the money that you borrowed. Every credit card and loan costs you MORE than paying cash. (That “no interest, no payments for X days” campaign is a trap.)
And yes, I understand that some people this a little bit of debt is necessary. I am not judging at all. This is just a friendly reminder that one motivation to save money is that you actually save money!
When you tuck away money into a savings account, it allows you to pay cash for something, which means you are keeping more money in your pocket… which means you will save even more money in the future.
I don’t like to think of placing money in a savings account as an optional decision. It isn’t an area of our budget where I am willing to be lazy because the unexpected is always lurking.
Why is it that when I have just made a large non-essential purchase we end up with a large need a few days later?
True story… After Christmas I had some extra cash in the bank and decided to go shopping. We bought new clothes (which were somewhat needed because these kids keep growing!), some equipment for my business (which will end up being a tax deduction), and went out to eat. It was a full day of family fun that I totally rationalized away.
My husband dropped his laptop. Oh yes… he did. It was totally an accident but a tremendous problem since he uses that laptop for his side hustle and his clients depend on him being available and reliable.
If we had skipped the shopping spree, we could have bought him a brand new laptop. Instead, we traveled (begrudgingly) to our local Technology Store to pay for a costly repair.
Can you imagine how many times I kicked myself? Why didn’t I just stash that extra money into the savings account, removing it from temptation and saving it for a rainy day?
Stop thinking of placing money into a savings account as an optional item in your budget. And, please, stop thinking of the money you place in a savings account as extra money you can spend on frivolous whims. Save it for something truly unexpected.
If you stop to think about it, there are many motivations to save money.
I have told you #WhyISave:
- It’s an important concept to teach my kids;
- It helps us save money in the future; and,
- It is NOT optional because the unexpected is coming.
Now, it’s your turn! Share your motivation for saving money in the comments OR on Facebook and/or Instagram using the #WhyISave hashtag.
Then, join me in being inspired by others. Search the #WhyISave hashtag on your favorite social media platform and join the conversation.
Oh, and be sure to swing by and learn more about Keesler Federal Credit Union savings accounts.
Keesler Federal disclosures: membership and credit eligibility required, federally insured by NCUA
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