In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has. –Proverbs 21:20
Saving money is not a matter of math. You will not save money when you get that next raise. You will not save money when that car is paid off. You will not save money when the kids are grown. You will only save money when it becomes an emotional priority.
We all know we need to save, but most people don't save like they know they need to save. Why? Because they have competing goals. The goal to save isn't a high enough priority to delay that purchase of the pizza, DVD player, new computer, or china cabinet. So we purchase, buy, consume all our dollars away or, worse yet, go into debt to buy these things. That debt means monthly payments that control our paychecks and make us say things like, "We just don't make enough to save any money!" Wrong, wrong, wrong! We do make enough to save money; we just aren't willing to quit spoiling ourselves with our little projects or pleasures to have enough left to save. I don't care what you make—you can save money. It just has to become a big enough priority to you.
If a doctor told you that your child was dying and could only be saved with a $15,000 operation that your insurance would not cover and could only be performed nine months from today, could you save $15,000? Yes! Of course you could! You would sell things, you would stop any spending that wasn't required to survive, and you would take two extra jobs. For that short nine months, you would become a saving madman (or madwoman). You would give up virtually anything to accomplish that $15,000 goal. Saving would become a priority.
The secret to saving? Focused emotion. The secret to saving money is to make it a priority, and that is done only when you get some healthy anger or fear and then focus that emotion on your personal decisions. Harnessing that emotion will make you move yourself to the top of your creditor list. Then ask yourself, "Which bill is the most important? After tithing, who should I pay first this month?" The answer is you! Until you pay God first, then yourself, then everyone and everything else, you will never save money.
The advertisers and marketing community are affecting our emotions every day and taking every dollar we have by making us see our wants as needs. It is time for this to stop! Emotions make great slaves, but they are lousy masters. No matter how educated or sophisticated we are, if we are not saving all we should be, we are being ruled by emotions, not harnessing them as financial planning slaves.
So whether you are saving for college tuition, a trip to the family reunion, new school clothes for little Bobby or Sally, or anything else, start saving now! It's never too late!