It’s more than a month since my last post and it was not because I was making a list of my New Year’s resolution. In fact, I haven’t even stated any goals for this year. I ordered a weekly planner and it has not arrived yet. It’s hard to plan without a paper planner. I use the smart phone calendar only for dentist appointments and such. For extensive planning, I prefer paper. For several years now, one of my goals was “Do not buy a new car this year”. Thanks to that, my car is now approaching it’s 10th year of existence.

Every little decision we make on money affects our future. I’ve met very few savers in my life, but the ones that saved the most almost always are financially successful. They may not be rich, but they don’t need to be because they optimize the use of their money. Some of their sound money decisions are:

—Bought a basic reliable car with no bells and whistles and kept it for 7-15 years.

—Bought a used reliable brand car and keep it for years.

—Expenses were closely tracked to ensure no wasted expenditures.

I remember back in the 80s when Savings Bonds yielded 8% interest. I didn’t think it was great because if you buy a car, the interest is between 12-25%. But these days, if any company offers a return of 8% a year, it’s considered a good investment. So what’s my point? It pays to be aware of the current yield of bonds, stocks, gold, silver, etc. The knowledge would be very significant in future investments. Do not be swayed by the latest trend in investments especially if you know nothing about the thing you want to invest in.

How about real estate? During the last crash, we were leery about buying because 1) we didn’t have cash for downpayment, and 2) there’s no telling when the market will stop going down. But when the Great Recession happened in 2008, many homes and properties were sold at a bargain from 2008 all the way to 2014. It involved a lot of work but many prospered from it. The lesson is this: when there’s a hard downturn on the economy, it is the best time to invest in real estate because they could be bought at bargain prices.

But how do we build up cash? Here’s my suggestion: From the gross income, we must tithe. All of our assets belongs to God so giving a little back is more than just saying thank you. I won’t discuss it extensively because it’s something that needs to be researched to fully understand. After tithing, keep some money for savings. Some people save 1% and some save 70% (of net income). I would say save at least 10-20% Ideally, 50-70% is the best. What’s left is what’s used for expenses. Impossible to do? There’s thousands doing this.

Saving can remove many stresses in our lives. If the car needs a new radiator, it’s easy to pay for it without getting a loan. In some years, medical expenses can be high. Having savings take away the stress of worrying where to find the funds. The habit of saving money then becomes a lifestyle. The more you save, the less you desire to buy things (half of which are unnecessary).

How about that? Let’s join the Saver’s club.