29 Jul Save: That rainy day will surely come
When my husband and I had our first child, he was at the very beginning of graduate school. I had worked up to my daughter’s birth, and then chose to stay home with her full-time. Needless to say, there was not a lot of money coming in. However, my father had always taught me the importance of saving for a rainy day. We opened a savings account for our daughter with five dollars, and whenever we could afford to put another five dollars into her account we did. By the time my husband finished graduate school and got his first job, we decided to regularly put ten dollars into my daughter’s savings account. We began doing that with our own savings account as well. It wasn’t much, but it was a start.
After a while, my husband received a raise. Whenever he got a raise, we would raise the amount of money we would put into savings. The first few years were a challenge financially. My hand often shook as I deducted money for the payment of bills from an already small paycheck, but we still decided to stay up on our savings and live within our means. A couple of more children came along, and we opened savings accounts for them as well.
When my second child was in kindergarten, she required an orthodontic device for her mouth. It had taken us nearly six years to accumulate $500 in her account. The bill from the orthodontist was $475. I had no idea how we were going to pay that bill until I remembered we had a savings account for her. That thought flooded my mind with relief. We paid the bill, and even though her savings account was now a minute $25, we were still thankful that we could pay the bill.
Nearly three years later, this same child required surgery on her eye. Again we were fearful. We didn’t know how we would be able to meet our deductible and pay for the surgery. Again I remembered her savings. It didn’t cover all of the deductible, but it did cover most of it, and we were quickly able to pay for the remainder of her surgery.
Fast forward now 18 years. The other day, I took my oldest child to her first apartment. I paid for the deposit on her room, and in two weeks, I will need to pay tuition for her first semester of college. Over the course of 18 years, we will be able to pay for all of this without touching our checking account because we have saved enough money to do this. It is a great relief to be able to pay these bills, but the reason we are able to, is because we always saved money. Because my daughter has a part-time job, she will be able to meet some of her financial needs, which will make her savings for college last longer.
Once one of my divorced friends told me that she didn’t have enough money to put anything in savings for her children. I asked her, “Why don’t you start small, like $5.” I told her that is how we started, and that even though it didn’t seem like a lot, it added up. I said, “If anything, at the end of one year, you will have saved $60. In five years, $300. It adds up, and every little bit helps.” About a year later, she told me that she had followed my financial advice. She had decided to put away $10 a month for one of her children, and was amazed at how wonderful it was when he had to pay a fee to participate in school orchestra, and she had the money ready to pay out of her savings for him.
Savings offers such peace of mind. Often we think we don’t have the money to put in savings, but even if you were to clear out the change from your purse or wallet at the end of every week, and put it in a jar, you’d be surprised at how much money you would accumulate and save.