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Sound Mind Investing

Published since 1990, Sound Mind Investing is America's premier Christian financial newsletter.  Learn more about Christian investing and finances at the SMI Web site.

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How Your Savings Can Save You

By Austin Pryor
Sound Mind Investing

CBN.comIt is amazing how a little bit of money can add up quickly, particularly when you allow it to pile up instead of spending it unwisely. Check out these amazing tips from Sound Mind Investing. You might decide to skip your daily drive-thru cup of Joe, re-think that impulse purchase, and/or get your savings automated.

Changing a Habit

There is an aspect to your spending that you may never have thought of (and may not be able to get out of your mind once we put it there). Have you ever stopped to consider the potential "future value" of the money you spend today?

That is, if you were to save it rather than spend it, what would it be worth as you near retirement, say in 20 years?

For example, let's say you spend $7 each workday for lunch on the job. What if you decided to fast just once a week and save that $7 rather than spend it? You continue to do this once a week for twenty years. Invest it at 8 percent in your Roth IRA and it would grow to (drum roll) $17,959!

Surprised? We thought so.

Now, start applying that same logic to other adjustments you can make in your lifestyle. What if you could save $60 a month in gas and parking if you were to carpool or take the bus? You might be more inclined to endure the extra hassle when you realized you were going to have an extra $35,523 waiting for you down the road. And if you buy a latte every day at Starbuck’s, that’s a whopping $71,834 up in foam. Do all three – skip one lunch a week, carpool, and give up Starbuck’s – and you’ve got an extra $125,000! Think about it.

Eliminating Impulse Buying

You have to begin looking at impulse purchases as one of your most formidable foes in the battle to save more.

Impulse purchases usually violate the following rules for wise shopping: shopping around for the best buys, keeping tight control on the use of your credit card, buying only what you really need, buying what's practical, and checking carefully for quality.

Larry Burkett once suggested maintaining an "impulse list" that works like this:

  • Never buy anything unless you have budgeted for it. Instead, write it down on your impulse list.
  • Get at least three prices for the same item from different sources.
  • Wait at least 10 days to buy it.
  • Never have more than one item on your list.

Larry used this system, and wrote:

"I rarely buy anything on impulse. Do you know why? Because long before I have found two more prices on the first item, I find two more items I would rather have.

A person could easily go broke saving money on good buys. The only way to conquer the impulse is self-discipline. Without discipline, no budget will help. ‘For a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him' (2 Peter 2:19b)."

Surrendering to Automation

When it comes to saving, it's easy to rationalize putting it off until the next paycheck. So, it often helps to have some of your money put aside automatically before you have the opportunity to spend it.

Here's one way—use your local bank checking account for all salary and investment income deposits. Then, instruct your money fund organization to have a certain dollar amount (you decide how much) automatically transferred from your local bank to your money market mutual fund once or twice a month. Most funds typically accept transfers of $50 and up on either a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. It's easy, convenient, and offers some useful discipline.

Sound Mind Investing exists to help individuals understand and apply biblically-based principles for making spending and investing decisions in order that their future financial security would be strengthened, and their giving to worldwide missionary efforts for the cause of Christ would accelerate. In other words, we want to help you have more so that you can give more.

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