Most financial experts recommend that everyone should make a regular habit of saving 5% of their income. A goal for savings should be to accumulate enough savings to cover 3 -6 months of living expenses as a cushion for periods of unemployment due to layoffs and extended illness.
For those who are struggling financially and are unable to meet current expenses, savings is not an option at present. Everyone else should make a goal to save at least a small amount out of each paycheck and to increase that amount as circumstances allow.
Getting into the savings habit can be difficult, so I offer the following steps to assist in getting started on a regular, steady savings plan.
Tips for Developing a Savings Plan
1) Acknowledge that God’s word tells us that it is wise to save in the good times for lean times.
Proverbs 6:6-8 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
Proverbs 21:20 The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.
Story of Joseph in Egypt: Genesis 41: 29 – 36Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon. And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.”
2) Develop a system for putting money directly into savings.
a. Use a company payroll automatic savings deposit, if possible. This puts the money directly into savings before you receive it.
b. Set up an automatic bank transfer from your checking account to your savings account.
c. Write your savings account a check just as if it were a creditor.
3) When an existing debt is paid off, allocate any extra money toward the next largest debt. When all consumer debt is paid off, then reallocate that money to savings.
4) Set goals for which you are saving, such as a new couch or a vacation. Having a goal for savings will keep you focused and less likely to fritter money away on things that are not truly needed. This money should be in addition to your long-term savings for ’emergencies.’
5) Use the money savings tips provided in an early blog to reduce expenses and have more money to put into savings.