Why Save Rather Than Spend?
“SAVING is a bore,” many say. “Buying clothes, electronic gadgets, and such things is fun.”
Whether you have been affected by the decline in the world’s economy or not, you can benefit from considering ways you can save as well as ways you can spend wisely. Note the advice of an authoritative source that has helped millions of people through the centuries to cope with their financial problems.
Three Ancient Wise Sayings
In one of his parables, Jesus of Nazareth pointed to an important financial principle. In it a master admonished his servant: “You ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.” (Matthew 25:27, New American Standard Bible) What Jesus said then has special relevance today. Let’s consider why.
In recent times in some countries, the interest earned in about ten years exceeded the original amount of money invested. Although today not many banks offer such attractive interest rates and interest on investments is not always as high as investors hoped it would be, it is wise to have savings on hand for emergencies.
The Bible highlights that fact, saying: “Wisdom is for a protection the same as money is.” (Ecclesiastes 7:12) But money cannot protect you if you have not saved any! “Let each of you,” the Bible encourages, “set something aside in store as he may be prospering.”—1 Corinthians 16:2.
How You Can Save
First, before buying an expensive item, consider whether it is really necessary.
Second, if you need something, search for new items that are on sale or for good used items. Espen and Janne, who are parents living in Norway, needed a carriage for their baby boy, Daniel. They bought an almost new one for half price. “When Daniel outgrows it,” Espen says, “I’m sure we will be able to sell it for a good price.” But he warns: “Looking for good deals can take a lot of time.”a
Third, don’t be impulsive; sleep on the matter. If you still feel that the item is vital, you may consider looking for something similar in a discount or secondhand shop. Also, you can often save money if you do not feel compelled to buy popular name brands. Further, rather than buy the latest styles of children’s clothes at expensive stores, why not use hand-me-downs?
Similarly, a new mother may consider using cloth diapers that can be washed. The book Budgeting—Personal Spending and Money Management a Key to Weathering the Storm, by Denise Chambers, states: “Disposable diapers will cost you about $2,000 or more for 2 years. Cloth diapers . . . $300-500 over those same 2 years.” She added: “Modern cloth diapers are so much easier to use and you’ll benefit the planet too!”
Fourth, consider that it usually costs less to buy ingredients and cook meals than it does to eat out. If you have school-age children, why not teach them to prepare sandwiches instead of giving them money to buy more expensive food? And rather than buying expensive beverages, drink water instead. It is much healthier and easier on your pocketbook.
Not long ago families had their own vegetable gardens. Have you considered growing some of your own food? Many, including those living in apartments or small houses, have an area they can use for gardening. You may be amazed at how much food a person can grow in a limited amount of soil!
Consider further: If you need to have a cell phone, can you use it for emergencies only and pay in advance for a limited amount of calling time? Or if you have a clothes dryer, have you thought about limiting its use? Perhaps you can hang some of your wash—or, at times, even all of it—on a clothesline. You might also be able to limit your use of air conditioners and heaters. Before switching on such devices, ask yourself, ‘Is the weather really that extreme?’ You might also talk to others to learn how they limit the use of electricity.
It is also helpful to open a savings account. In addition, Hilton, a volunteer worker in South Africa, explains: “It’s wise not to have all your ‘eggs in one basket.’ At times, banks and financial institutions fail. We have had that experience.” So wisely select a bank where your savings are guaranteed by the government in the event of bank failure.
How to Get Out of Debt
First, try to pay more than the minimum monthly amount required on each bill, credit card, or other commitment.
Second, concentrate initially on paying the debt that carries the highest interest.
Third, curb your spending habits. This is especially important.
Have you been enticed by seductive advertising? Danny, a family man in Sweden, admits that he has. He had a good business but had to sell it to pay off his credit-card debt. He learned a lesson and is now in control of his money. He gives this advice: “Beware of greed. Find contentment by living within your means.”
Few people are in a position to pay the full price of a house or an apartment. So, many buy a house by obtaining a loan from a bank. The monthly sum they pay to the bank for this loan can be viewed as rent for a house. But when they have paid back the loan over an extended period, they own the house!
Many people also find it helpful to take out a loan to purchase a fuel-efficient motor vehicle. By paying off the loan as quickly as possible, the car turns into a valuable asset, another form of saved money.b Some have found it wise to buy a used car that is in good condition and has relatively few miles on it. Others save money by using public transportation or even riding a bicycle.
Whatever the case, be modest and realistic about what you buy, and make your decisions carefully. Being a carefree spender can become addictive and can lead to heartache. So work on being a cautious and prudent spender, which can put you in a position to enjoy lasting happiness.
Further, to be a happy saver, you must know how to manage your money. That is the subject of the next article.
a To be sure that you are not buying stolen goods, it is wise to get a receipt with the seller’s name and address.
b Bear in mind that if you lose your income and are unable to make your payments, you may lose the house or the car and all the money you have paid up to that point.
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WAYS TO SAVE MONEY
Search for items on sale
Buy clothes from discount or secondhand stores
Teach your children to prepare food
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Lower food costs by growing a small vegetable garden. Save money by drying laundry outside