Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Savings Challenge (And a Call to Action)

2016 is in full swing already!  I don't know about you, but I feel like January just flew by, and before we know it, February will be half over as well.

Now that life has settled from the holidays, I find comfort in the daily grind.  I have a pretty well-worn routine Monday through Friday, but I try to relax a little more on the weekends.  Life is sweet.

And yet, something is really bothering me and I need to get it off my chest.  Here goes...

I just read an article titled, "The U. S. May Be Even More Broke than You Think" written by Chris Matthews and it made my stomach turn.  Matthews states, "Critics of government spending often say that U.S. Government owes more than the total value of the gross domestic product, nearly 103%..."  Basically, our country is in debt, past our head, if you didn't notice.  It appears we are drowning in it.

For someone like me, in my 30's, that means I have to take matters into my own hands to ensure that my financial future is secure.  In 30 years, I will be surprised, shocked even, if Social Security even exists anymore (financial guru Dave Ramsey calls it "Social Insecurity", a name that seems quite fitting to me).  So that is not something I can count on to help me out in my future.

Not only that, but I don't want to place a heavy burden on my son (and any other future children) to have to take care to me and provide money for my monthly bills when I am no longer bringing in an income.

So, it seems my only option is to do things a little differently than our American government.  In fact, I need to do things a lot differently!  Pretty much the complete opposite.

1. My family and I need to live beneath our means.

2. Even though we are currently out of debt besides our home, we need to take measures to stay that way.

3. We need to continue saving for the future.

Which brings me to the real message of this post.  The beginning of 2016 seems like the perfect time to introduce the Savings Challenge.  I'm taking it this year and I hope you will too.  It's very simple, but it will help me and my family to meet our financial goals described above.  It will help you to save for whatever dreams you have for your own family or allow you to pay off debt faster.

Here is the 2016 Savings Challenge: Decide on and commit to trying out three different ways to save money this year.  Notice I didn't say new ways, because you might have a current way of saving money that really works for you.  That's great!  Keep up the good work!  I'm just asking you to add two more ways of saving money to your arsenal of personal finance knowledge.

Here are the 3 ways I've committed to saving this year:

1. I'm doing the 52 week money saving challenge.  Each week, I put the dollar amount away that matches the week of the year.  By the end of this year, I'll have saved $1378 just by doing this.  To see the break down of how this challenge works, click this link which will take you to another blog.

2.  I'm going to continue the piggy bank plan.  I have already been doing this with my son because it's a wonderful way to teach him to save money, even at the young age of 2.  I have an entire chapter dedicated to this method of saving in my book 8 (Really Creative) Ways to Save.  You can purchase it here.

3. I'm going to try out the percentage savings plan.  On this plan, I start by taking out 1% of my income and have it auto-deposited into my savings account.  After about 6 months, I'll change that percentage to 2% and keep going until I reach 10%.  This is another method that I detail in my book 8 (Really Creative) Ways to Save.

None of these are very complex, but they do require a commitment to start.  What are some ways that might work for you to begin to save?  Or perhaps you save money already, but you want to challenge yourself to have the best year of saving yet.  If you're short on ideas, I would love for you to check out my book 8 (Really Creative) Ways to Save.  Writing this book truly changed my life because I practiced each of the tips to help get our family out of debt.  The book is chock-full of savings tips that will actually get you excited to save.  I hope you'll check it out!

If you're up to join me for the Savings Challenge, please leave a comment below or comment on my Facebook post.

I believe together we can make this the best year of saving money yet, no government assistance required!

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