Consumer debt has become a huge and growing problem in our society today. Access to credit cards, the use of debit cards and the constant media push of buy now and pay later has enslaved the average North American household. I’m a major fan of having fun and enjoying the good things in life and the results of our hard work. But in order to achieve the healthy balance of enjoying life now and looking after the future and our responsibilities we need to try something different.
The first step is to set a goal for something you want. A new, big, flat screen TV; a winter vacation; a makeover for a room in your house; work on the car, etc. Whatever that you want.
The second is to put yourself on a cash diet for all your incidentals like coffee, eating out, gas, and any other small purchases. At the beginning of the week go to the ‘instabroke’ machine aka ATM or even go into the bank and speak to a real live teller, and take out your weekly allotment of cash. After that leave your plastic, debit, and credit cards in your wallet, or better yet, leave them at home. You can’t use them if they aren’t easily accessible.
Third, pay for everything using only bills. At the end of the day put all your change into a jar you have labeled with a picture of your future purchase. If your dream is to go to Hawaii, get a 52 inch plasma TV, get a new mountain bike or anything else that puts your heart all a flutter. Put a picture on the jar and let the spare change add up. Twoonies, Loonies, Quarters, Dimes, and Nickels add up very quickly when we aren’t paying attention.
Once a month add up the money in the jar and see just how much you are putting away. If you wish, you can then deposit this money back into a separate bank savings account (one that doesn’t charge you fees and pays you at least a small amount of interest and doesn’t have a minimal balance required in order to earn interest) so that your money is safe and growing at least a teeny bit.
In a very short period of time you will find this very simple, painless act of saving fun and enjoyable. For added motivation you might want to create a chart (example: a thermometer) that shows your financial progress towards your goal. It is amazing how excited you can get just seeing yourself getting closer to your reward.
Start today and see how quickly you can go from squirreling spare change away to enjoying the fruits of efforts.
“If saving money is wrong, I don’t want to be right.”