Why do we save? Is it just to have savings? Is there a specific goal or goals for our savings? Is it just a pile of money that makes us feel safe? How has your savings evolved over the years? Have you always been a saver? Or have you never been a saver? Do you wish you could save more or are you content with what you have? Do you feel anxious when you take a big chunk out of your savings? Do you have 1 savings account or several that reflect a goodly number of goals?
Maybe I should answer all of those questions myself starting with...
Why do I save?
My reasons for saving have evolved over my lifetime. I started earning money at the age of 12 (picking strawberries, cucumbers, rhubarb, raspberries, babysitting, working on a tobacco farm etc) and I saved most of my earnings. I bought/made my own clothing, records, candy, makeup, hobbies etc and paid for my first trip (Yugoslavia) when I was in high school(about $450.00 in total). What an incredible experience that was!
|In the hotel dining room - Split, Yugoslavia|
In my family you saved up for what you wanted and my dad had a real aversion to debt. I remember clearly how happy he was when he paid off the house - the mortgage payment was $25 a month!! Can you imagine!
Then after highschool I used my savings to buy a used Datsun for $1,000 which I used to drive back and forth to my first REAL job as a bank teller and because I didn't make a lot ($6250/year) I didn't save a lot but I did save. Being a bank teller was actually a good first job as I gained a lot of knowledge about money and opened my first RRSP.
I must confess I do like to maintain a certain level of savings and always have- it does help me to feel secure. There was a period of time when I first had Kazi and we were living on one income which changed from month to month (occasional teaching) and other than RRSPs my savings were pretty non-existent. That was a very scary time and lasted for 7 years when I applied for and got a permanent contract! Happy days!!
After 2 years of occasional teaching I cashed in my two little life insurance policies and my RRSPs, borrowed a little from my dad for moving expenses and lawyer's fees in order to purchase the condo we still live in. We were really living on the edge then! But each year I put the maximum into my RRSP even if I had to borrow the money and once I got a permanent contract (at age 43!!!) my income gradually increased and I became more solvent.
After her dancing days ended I put the money aside to help Kazi with tuition costs and into saving for retirement. I used a line of credit to purchase the trailer we enjoyed for several years and to help pay for the house in PEI. I don't own either of those properties anymore and my savings now helps me to travel and maintain my home. I have zero debt. I have another pension starting in June which will help fund more trips. I'll always keep a certain amount in savings "just because" but the rest I will enjoy.
Saving for big ticket items is important but it's also important that some savings is spent on joyful things which differs from person to person.
What would you joyfully spend your savings on??