Principles, attitude to save

Yofur Money

May 13, 2007|By Humberto Cruz | Humberto Cruz,Tribune Media Services

The secrets of saving boil down to three basic principles and an attitude.

Here are the principles to use:

You won't miss money you don't see.

Small amounts add up to big amounts over time.

If you lived without it before, you can live without it now.

The attitude:

Make savings a fun game and play to win.

I've garnered these conclusions from the many ideas you keep sending for saving and building an emergency fund. As part of its "America Saves" campaign, the Consumer Federation of America has invited readers to submit savings tips (e-mail Nancy Register at and send me a copy).

The first two principles account for two perennial favorites: having money automatically deducted for savings from your paycheck or checking account, and putting loose change in a jar and depositing the money in a savings account when the jar is full.

But many of you submitted ideas that illustrate principle No. 3, as well as a winning savings attitude.

From Robin Cohen of White Plains, N.Y.: "As a teacher, I pay union dues the first eight paychecks of the school year. As a single mother with two school-age kids, I was able to fund my 403(b) this way, [depositing an amount equal to the union dues] without feeling the pinch."

From Rose Stuart of Wingdale, N.Y.: "After buying and changing an average of 60 diapers a week for two years, I understand every parent longs for the day their child is potty-trained. I suggest when that glorious day arrives, parents take the $800 a year they might have spent on diapers and save it. After saving diaper money for 15 years, they will have a nice, fat nest egg to crack for their child's college tuition."

From Anne Atheling of Boston: "When I paid off my mortgage last December, I decided to save the monthly mortgage payment in my credit union `emergency' account. The savings are piling up nicely."

From Jim Tawney of Uniontown, Ohio: "Five years ago, I decided to mow my own grass rather than pay someone $30 per mowing. Every time I mowed, I put the $30 into a savings account. There is more than $5,000 in that account now. Last summer, I gave myself a `raise' and started putting in $35 for each mowing."

From Robert Kuehl of Menomonee Falls, Wis.: "For consumers who are paying off a loan involving fixed payments, such as school loans or auto loans, after making the last payment consider putting into savings all or part of the monthly payment that now no longer needs to be paid."

Humberto Cruz writes for Tribune Media Services.

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