Saving money is tough. My work offers shares to the employees. I take advantage of this and use it as a savings/emergency fund. It’s a great way for me to pay off lump sums towards bills or entertainment. However, I do wish that I could just leave it alone and let it accumulate for my family’s future.
So how does one save money and pay down debt at the same time?
There are many at my work that use the funds from our shares/stocks and move it around into other stock. My knowledge of those markets is poor to say the least. My other fear is that I’ll take a few thousand dollars and lose it all on a gamble. Since I don’t play lotteries or go to the casino, gambling isn’t in my nature. So quick gains like that won’t happen for me. Even though I listen regularly to the Financial News, they say hindsight is 20/20. So how do I get my money to make me money?
I really despise having credit cards. There is no set interest rate. I’ve had cards at 12%, 18%, even as high as 28%. So for every $100 of accumulated debt I would be paying back $128 if I can’t pay off the entire balance for a year. This is the rut that most people fall into. You pay only part of it down, but the interest goes on top of the accumulated interest and debt. Making your debt grow. At first it starts off small, but then it can get overwhelming.
I got my first credit card in 1996 at age 20. It had an $800 limit. As soon as I got it in my possession, I used it. I bought a brand new Nintendo 64 and a bass guitar. I do not own either of those things anymore. It took me years to pay off that debt. But it started a cycle in my spending habits. Rack up debt, freak out about not having money, get a windfall of some sort, pay off debt, plan on never doing it again, get a new card, rack up debt… But why?
My wife and I try to teach our children abut saving money. They have each earned money and saved for months/years to get something they really wanted, then start the savings process all over again. But why can’t we follow our own advice? I really don’t know. Sometimes it’s just the convenience of pulling out a credit card to buy gas or groceries. Other times it’s the sudden unexpected cost of a repair or incidental. But rarely is it a spontaneous purchase of a luxury item. We save up for those.
But if saving for a new iPhone or TV is easy to do, why can’t we live without that for an extra year or two and get our finances in control? That seems to be the age old question. The balance of want vs need. The idea that life won’t really pass us by if we just wait a bit longer.
We’ll just keep trudging along, trying to gain a foothold in this crazy world, much like everyone else.