Thursday, March 25, 2010

Living UNDER your means - part 3

Warning.  For some reason the writing of this post struck an emotional cord in me.  I considered not even posting it.  Upon consideration I decided that those who are In The Trenches needed to hear it.  So if you are looking for something lighter you might want to start with Living UNDER your means - part 3 the other version that is below.  This one's from the heart....

The subject is SAVINGS. I have struggled with this post in my mind for almost two weeks. How can you tell people who are already cutting back, paying off debt, possibly losing their homes and fending off creditors to start a savings plan? The first response would be “You’ve got to be kidding!” The more I pondered it the more I realized that this really must be our first step and not the last. Until we can start living UNDER our means and have the disciple of SAVING we are never going to make progress. Even if we could be 100% out of debt tomorrow the car could break down and if we have no money set aside we will go right back in the ditch.

I further contemplated that the banks have been playing the tune for a long time and we have been dancing the dance. They said get a credit card and go for a vacation and we did. They said they would save us money with balance transfers and loan consolidations and we lined up to get it done. They said they had a great new mortgage product with low interest rates called an ARM and we bought it. We trusted our expert financial advisors to look out for our best interests and now we are struggling. Now the tune has changed to pay back, pay back, pay back and we are still struggling to keep up the dance. We didn’t realize that all the while we were playing musical chairs and the music was about to stop and we would be left without a seat.
So here we are. And, it’s time to start savings. My dad had a little figurine that said something to the effect that things were bad and someone told him “Cheer up, things could get worse” So, he cheered up. And, sure enough things got worse. I got mad at that figurine one day and smashed it to pieces. The point being, we cannot wait until things get better to start saving. The recommended amount to save is 10% of our take home income. It’s a good goal to set but it may take a while to get there.  Beginning to save is one of the most important ways to turn this around and start controlling your own money again.

This month we can save more than we saved last month. If you weren’t able to save anything last month than you can only improve. This month save something. If only $20.

I know that I am writing to a very targeted group right now and many of you can’t relate to what I am saying. But, I know you are out there and I now shed tears for you. But you can do it. $20 bucks. Set it aside on your next payday. And, if you can hold onto it for a month feel free to write me so I can congratulate you. You are the people I write this blog for. You know why I call it In The Trenches.

I’ll write more on the subject of savings in the future but today I want to start with those to whom $20 is a big accomplishment. If you are not one of these people you probably know someone who is, they may just not have told you. So please pass the word along.

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