How I made saving a priority
Quick ways to make your saving automatic and seamless
At 4 years old, I made my first piggy banks out of small vitamin bottles. My parents instructed my brother and me to label one for our tithe, one for our savings and one for our spending money.
Our parents gave us $1 of allowance in dimes. We were taught to place one dime in our tithe bank, one dime in our savings bank and the remaining eight dimes could go into any bank we wanted – usually the spending bank. We often added extra to the tithe bank, too, since we thought giving to the Sunday school collection was very exciting!
As I grew older, I continued to follow these basic principles. Right now, this allows me to pursue my passion of orphan care, and I look forward to being able to live wisely in retirement – all because my parents instilled in me the principles of generosity and saving from a young age.
How did I do it?
Used my employer 401(k) contribution matchWhen I started my first job after college as a teller at a local bank, my employer offered the option to send part of my salary toward a 401(k) where they matched up to 5 percent of contributions.
At first, I was nervous to set up the contribution because I still had college and car loans to pay back, plus I wasn’t earning very much. But I saw the benefit of having those additional savings from my employer, so I decided to try it for at least a year.
I stayed with the program, and at the end of my three years with that company, I had saved nearly $5,000 – which seemed like a lot of money in light of my tiny salary and frugal budget! After leaving the company, I rolled over my 401(k) into a mutual fund IRA and within a few years, that $5,000 had doubled and continues to grow.
Slowly increased my 401(k) contributionsThese days, I contribute more than the minimum required to receive my employer’s match. I raised my contributions slowly over time and realized I didn’t notice the difference in my monthly budget.
One ideal time to upgrade retirement contributions is when a wage increase occurs. Since the contributions come directly out of each paycheck before the money ends up in the bank, I don’t notice this money is “missing.”
Scheduled to split my paycheck into bank accounts for specific usesI automate my saving by having my paycheck sorted into several savings accounts – half goes to my main spending account, and the rest is divided into savings accounts (also called club accounts) earmarked for tithing, short-term savings and long-term savings.
This way I’m safely setting aside money for these specific needs and am not tempted to spend these funds on other items. Just like with the vitamin bottle piggy banks, I know exactly how much I have for my tithe and for my expenses.
Even while I pay the bills and save for my goals, I am able to be a cheerful giver. I actually like to see the offering plate headed toward me at church! Since I have my tithe account filled directly from my paycheck, I don’t have to worry about where that money is going to be found in my budget.
When I talk to my friends about their saving, I encourage them to find ways to make their tithing and retirement saving automatic. It is never too late – or too early – to incorporate wise financial practices!
Even small amounts add up quickly, especially when made consistently, and they will make a difference.
To view our articles from our Women and Money series, visit the Everence articles and stories page, and select the topic "Women and Money”.