In this final post from our Financial Literacy Month special series on the Four Pillars of Financial Health, we’re talking about saving. It’s the most important part of your budget. Saving isn’t entirely without its challenges but it’s a necessity. Without savings, even the best-functioning budget is far more frail than it appears. A budget without savings is a house made out of straw instead of a house made out of bricks. If one big, bad life event comes along, it’ll blow your house down.
Sort of on that note, the economy is tough these days. We’re earning less as things are costing more. Some folks would argue that makes it harder to save money. I would say that makes it all the more important that we save.
I tend to write my posts in generalities. It’s a purposeful choice based on the fact that financial situations vary greatly from person to person. There are countless different factors that go into one’s financial health, from different incomes to different bills to different lifestyles to different financial personalities and more. That’s a huge part of why I base much of my counseling philosophy on the importance of values and goals– because each person is going to value different things and be seeking out different goals (and a huge part of why financial counseling, as a whole, can be valuable– because it takes something general and helps it become specific.)
But I’ve been thinking that, this week, I should post something a little more concrete. This week, I’m going to outline a pretty specific saving strategy that, if followed, can help you to meet your values and goals and can help you experience the joy of seeing your money grow towards meeting those values and goals. This week, we’re going to be talking about sub-accounts.
Discipline often sounds like an ugly word. According to dictionary.com, there are a few different definitions for discipline. I think most people think of it as “punishment inflicted by way of correction and training,” but in this context, it’s definitely more appropriately either “activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill,” or “behavior and order maintained by training and control.” Whichever definition you think fits best, Discipline and making choices to help you stick to your budget is critical to your financial health.
A budget as a plan is meaningless without action. Really, it’s just a list of numbers on a page. What makes a budget come alive and work for us is the choices that we make to adhere to those numbers.
I love my job. I really do. After having been through serious financial issues, myself, I know how life-changing it can be to make it through to the other side with a skill-set (and attitude) in place capable of creating a better financial life. I got serious help from someone when fixing my issues and I will forever be grateful for it. So, I love having the opportunity now to try and help others.
But working as a Financial Wellness Advocate has been an eye-opening experience for me over the past couple of years. It’s interesting to be on this side of things. I know what it was like for me when I was making changes. I was highly motivated. I had goals I wanted to meet. I had debt I wanted to be rid of as fast as I could muster. Working in another industry as an independent sub-contractor in those days, I had taxes I needed to get under control for the coming year. Because those things were meaningful to me, it was easy for me to get on board with doing what needed to be done to fix my financial life. I embraced doing things a better way, knowing that it would lead me directly to my desired outcomes. If only it were that simple for all of us all of the time…