Thursday, April 24, 2008

Freedom Finances: Save

My first savings account was seeded by the sale of a baby lamb. I was only 6 and had hand-raised the lamb from spring until fall, when it was sold.

“The money is for your college account,” my mother explained.

That was my first taste of savings accounts. Over the years, I watched my parents sock away every extra cent stoking their dream of ownership. We were farmers and so I had opportunity to raise many more animals over the years, funneling the income into my college account. I earned an English degree with the help of bottle calves.

“Treat your savings account like a bill,” my father told me many times. “Pay it with every other bill at the beginning of the month.”

Debbie commented last week on the value of a savings account. She called it an emergency account. I agree, although I might call it a dream account as well. Having a savings account prevents panic debt – that debt we incur because something new and unexpected hits us.

There’s freedom in planning ahead and setting aside. My parents bought their farm when I was 13 and had it paid off in 10 years. I went to college and came out with enough money to buy a new stereo system.

You can start now. Open the account and decide what you owe it each month. Pay that bill like any other, and consider it spent. It’s gone, no longer available to you except for pre-planned purposes.

Remember the ant from Proverbs:

yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.

Prov 6:8


Maxine said...

This is such a good post, Kathy. My mom taught me very young the value of saving. I like it that your dad taught you to treat your savings account like every other bill. I always took that money out of pay to savings when cashing the check--never took it home with me. It's so sad how we live in debt these days. A savings account helps to prevent this, as you said.

Debbie said...

I read recently that in America, only 2-5% of us regularily save, and it is usually less than 5% of their take-home pay. In Japan, however, over 75% of their population saves regularily, and it is close to 30% of their income. I wonder how differently our country (and yes, even our economy) would be if more worked at our savings and striving to be out of debt.