Save Up to Buy New Things

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Want something? Save up for it. It’s an old tradition that still has value.

Save Up to Buy New Things - Want something? Save up for it. It's an old tradition that still has value.

In our old credit-spending days, I was hesitant to spend my own money. I worried that something would happen, something urgent, and we’d need our money for that. But, for some reason, I had no qualms about spending someone else’s money.

That’s weird, especially since interests rates were, and continue to be, so high. The math does not compute to buy something, carry a balance, and then pay the interest on the thing that could be as frivolous as a mocha.

Anyway, I was a foolish girl. I read through a 20-year old journal recently and found myself constantly shaking my head. Sigh.

So, we’ve been talking about ways to get a better handle on your finances. If you’re not there yet, it’s okay. It’s not about your character, who you are deep down inside. But, your life will be much more pleasant and carefree if you get your financial house in order. Take it from a “more mature” mom. 😉

Save Up to Buy New Things - Want something? Save up for it. It's an old tradition that still has value.

Original image credit: Niksin used with permission via this license, text has been added. Changes to the photo are not endorsed by the photographer.

Steps to Better Finances

We’ve talked about these steps to better finances:

1. Stop using credit.

2. Set a budget.

3. Build an emergency fund.

4. Spend less than you make.

5. Pay off debts.

Today, I want to encourage you to save.

Save? Save what?

I don’t mean go shop a sale and save a few bucks off those jeans. I don’t mean use a coupon and get fifty cents off your soda pop this week. Those are definitely good things to do. IF you really need jeans and soda pop.

I’m talking about saving money in the bank. Or an envelope. Or under your mattress.

I’m talking about building a reserve from which to buy the things that you want that aren’t part of the monthly budget.

  • Want to go on vacation? Start putting aside funds to do that.
  • See a dress you really like? If clothing isn’t already a regular part of your budget, start saving some money so you can get that dress. Chances are if you wait a few weeks to save up, it will be on clearance and you’ll get it cheaper than you would today.
  • Want to buy a new TV? Then start trimming in other areas so you can get one.

This sounds really simplistic. It is. But, it’s frustrating as all get out if your income isn’t big enough to help you get that thing when you want it.

Save Up to Buy New Things - Want something? Save up for it. It's an old tradition that still has value.

It’s a totally old fashioned idea, but it is a good one. Consider these strategies for saving:

1. Open a separate account for your savings; don’t get the ATM card. Leave the money inaccessible during off-business hours. Make it harder to spend.

2. Start socking away spare change.

3. Set a goal. It could be as simple as “all spare change goes towards this account” or divert $25 each week or month to your savings account.

4. Save any unexpected income (bonuses, gifts, refunds).

5. Be determined to reach your goal. Find ways to remind yourself of the thing that you’re saving for.

What have YOU saved up for? How did it work for you?

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  1. Capital One 360 (formerly ING) is a free online bank account that is fantastic for this sort of thing. You open an account with them and then you can create as many sub accounts as you wish. We don’t have a mortgage and so we have to pay our property taxes ourselves and living in NY, that’s pretty much the price of an inexpensive car every year! So we have a taxes account where we put money in each month so we can pay the ridiculously high taxes without taking too much of a hit. I also knew I needed new tires so started putting away money when I could and I finally had enough in there to get the new tires just before they were getting too low to use. I have another account for the kids’ sleep away camp, an emergency fund, accounts for each person to put their birthday money in and I can create an account easily whenever I want. Each account, no matter how small, receives interest (not a lot but hey, at least they give you SOMETHING) and it takes a few days to transfer the money out of that account into your bank account so it is definitely not going to be drained for “whim” purchases. I can HIGHLY recommend them! Oh and sometimes they have deals where you can get $50 for signing up with them so check it out and see if they have anything like that going on now too!

    1. Oh and I forgot to say that you can set up automatic transfers with Capital One 360 as well so we have that for a Christmas club. The rest of the accounts are not automatic because there are times our income is unreliable and I want the control to be able to put in the funds when we have it but the Christmas club is a non-negotiable. I always make sure I have enough to go in there. What a blessing at Christmas time to have money even if money is very tight! Half of it always goes towards gifts and the other half goes towards something for the house that we need. 🙂

  2. We saved up for a long time for a much needed new couch. Yes, we had to work hard and be patient, but we appreciate our couch so much more knowing that we were financially wise with our purchase. For us, we enjoy what we do buy so much more when we know that we bought it responsibly. Love these posts! Thanks.

  3. We do what a few others have mentioned with regard to Christmas savings. In addition to that, we have money that is automatically transferred to dedicated savings accounts for: property taxes, fun money, bulk meat purchases from a local farm, and our emergency fund. These transfers have become “committed expenses” in our budget. It really helps us stay on track!

    1. Alison we also have several automatic transfers each payday — retirement, Christmas fund and emergency fund. Since these occur before we receive our paychecks they are not part of our take home pay, We have to make a special trip to the bank to spend out of these accounts.

  4. Last night, we decided that we’re going to take our tax refund next year (we didn’t mean to have one, but moving/self employment taxes/new employment taxes got all messed up with automatic tax payments) and buy ourselves a chest freezer! It’s not a necessity by any means, but I would like one for freezer cooking variety. Our current freezer (side by side) is small, so we only have about 4 kinds of meals at any one time.
    So we’re waiting. And letting the government save for us, apparently. 🙂

  5. Jessica- We do Dave Ramsey too and save up for purchases we want to make. I had a “friend” tell me one time that maybe if I put away $5/month, I could buy a new toaster in a year. She was criticizing our budget methods and it hurt to hear her say that but that is exactly the kind of thing we do. I recently found out that she is going through a divorce and money is one of the major reasons. They were overspending and using credit cards and it finally caught up with them. It hurts my heart to see the pain that their family is going through that could have been avoided. We could see it coming and spoke to them about DR several times during their marriage to no avail but I wish it had made a difference. Thanks for this series, maybe it will help save someone some pain.

  6. While banks no longer advertise Christmas accounts, we have a savings account dedicated for Christmas expenses. We have money automatically transferred into this account each month. Therefore, when the holidays role around we are prepared to pay cash for everything from gifts to the big holiday meal. Knowing that on January 1 you will have zero Christmas debt to pay off makes the holiday gifts, meals and special family outings much more enjoyable.

    1. Janet, we do this too. It always makes me shake my head when I see friends and family scrambling to come up with the money for Christmas. They knew all year long that Christmas is Dec. 25th, so why didn’t they save something? Too much stress for me! Even if it’s old fashioned, I’ll take my Christmas account any day!