No Spend Challenge

Save today, for tomorrow: Day 6

Yesterday was a pretty successful day.  I did have to spend $5.95 to mail off some paperwork for a 401k.  Which even though I spent a little money, I will save a lot in the long run when it gets rolled over into an IRA instead of paying the penalties by cashing it out.  So I’d say that’s a win for me!

It’s so important to plan for the future.  What is everyone planning on doing with the money they are saving?  I hope some of you are planning on saving it for the future.  Saving for a trip or to buy something that you really need (like a new appliance) is a great accomplishment but how many of you actually put money away for the future?

At a very young age my parents taught me the value behind working for your money and then saving a portion of it for the future.  The most important thing I can remember my parents teaching me is “pay yourself first”.  Even if it is only $20 a week, or even a month, always set something aside for the future.  At every job that I have ever worked at, if the company offered a 401k or some sort of savings account (employee priced stocks or HSA) I always took advatange of it.  And if the company matched contributions, I always put in the max that I could for them to match.  That’s FREE money.  I was always so surprised and saddend by how many people didn’t do this.  And most of the time I feel it is a lack of education.  No one has ever taken the time to explain how these accounts work or why it is important to have them.  I applaud the larger companies that I have worked for, because most of them had an HR department that was  willing and/or required to explain these benefits to their employees.  But when it comes right down to it, it is up to the individual to educate themselves and plan for their future.

Although we don’t plan on having children, I think one of the most important things that a parent can teach a child is the concept of money and to take pride in working to earn things.  We are in an age of entitlement right now, which shows me parents are lacking when it comes to educating their children about how money really works.  It literally doesn’t grow on trees and sometimes we can’t always afford to get what we really want.

Once I was old enough to work, I opened a savings and checking account.  I paid for my first car myself.  The insurance and gas too!  My parents never helped me or paid for anything, unless it was a gift.  I also learned the importance of establishing good credit.  I have never had a co-signer on any large purchases (cars or homes).  And you know what?  I have come to appreciate all those items way more then if they were just given to me.  I value them more because I worked to earn them.  I took care of them and keep them in good condition because it was my hard work and savings that paid for them.

Look at larger purchases as investments.  Very rarely do people keep the same car or live in the same house for the majority of their lives.  (Some people can and do, but over all I do not see that as the trend).  So it is important to take care of these things so that when the day comes to sell them or trade them in, they will still have value.  I am not saying to not “live” in your house or “enjoy” driving your car, but make sure to perform general upkeep and maintenance to help retain equity.  Not to mention, if you can afford it, always pay a little extra a month to your car loans and mortgages.  Even if it is just $20-$50 a month.  Doing that can take months to years off of your term of your loan and it builds equity even faster.

I hope I have inspired some of you to invest in yourselves and your future!  And if you are a parent, I think there is no better time then during this challenge to start teaching your children about money.

Now onto day six of The No Spend Challenge.  Back to the kitchen we go!  I can’t say that we will be able to partake in this part of the challenge.  I only wish I had that many vegan friends to share meals with!  I will say though, the last place I worked there were a couple other people with similar diets.  And when someone would make or try something new, they would bring in enough to share with the others.  This was always exciting and if we liked the meals we could exchange the recipes as well.  So maybe if you don’t know your neighbors or don’t have a big family, you could branch out to your co-workers?  Maybe each person could bring in a homemade meal for lunch on an assigned day of the week?  That way each person would only have to make one meal for lunch each week.

As always, I look forward to reading about your ideas and successes with today’s challenge.

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