Saving is essential

Published 10:50 pm Thursday, March 26, 2009

I read recently that the number of Americans who are saving money has increased drastically.

This is just one of those common sense things, but despite the condition of the economy, deliberately saving money is essential to living these days. Of course, deliberately is the only way it can be done, right?

You can explain to your kids the benefits of savings all you want, and that is definitely a good thing to do, but I believe they have to realize it for themselves before the message truly hits home.

I am embarrassed to say that I was not setting aside any money to save before September of last year. Since then, I have been surprised at the amount I have been able to save. Anyone who doesn’t do this sets himself up for financial ruin.

It takes discipline to save money, and some people learn this the hard way. Anyone who has literally lived from paycheck to paycheck knows it’s no fun. You have to look at a large part of your money and imagine it as padding. If there is no padding, there won’t be anything to fall back on in times of trouble.

I like the idea of “paying yourself.” For instance, when you finish paying off a debt, you can keep “paying” it every month, only instead of paying someone else, you place it into your own account.

I can see, however, that it would be hard to work up to this if you were deep in debt. I am no financial guru, but I have come to some important realizations lately.

We could all do better when it comes to living within our means. If we really did that all the time, we could save money, lose weight, and do a lot of other beneficial things for ourselves and our families.