Are You Working Too Hard At Saving Money?

Copyright © 2006-2007 Darlene Arechederra
You work hard for your money. And chances are, you work even harder to "save" some of that money. But what happens when a year later you're not any closer to achieving your savings goal?

That's exactly what happened to Heather. See if you can relate to her experience during rush hour on a sweltering, humid evening not too long ago...

...Heather dragged her tired body from the passenger seat of the tow truck, relieved when her heels hit the surface of her driveway. A few minutes more and she could soak up the air conditioning inside and worry about how to get to work tomorrow.

Heather handed over her credit card information, hoping the driver would be quick about it. She'd dearly love to step away from these diesel fumes. The humidity alone made it difficult to breathe, and she was exhausted. What a day it had been!

But, at least she was finally home - three hours and $65 later. How could she have known the transmission would call it quits right in the middle of rush hour? Her mechanic had been warning her for months now. She'd hoped it would hold out until she had money for the repair work. But it certainly hadn't worked out that way.

As it stood now, Heather had no money for a transmission, whether used or new. She couldn't afford new car payments, either. And, she'd been using her credit card more and more lately.

She'd certainly worked hard to save money over the past 12 months. She'd brought her lunch to work each and every day. She'd cut out all long-distance calling, as well as reduced her overall spending. She'd found more ways to save, absorbing every article and newsletter she could get her hands on. By her estimate, she had saved close to $3,000 just in the past year.

All that Work -- for Nothing?

But, where in the world was the $3000 Heather had worked so hard to save? It wasn't in her checkbook today, when she truly needed it. And she knew without looking that it wasn't in her savings account.

Unfortunately, the "Money Sponge" had been visiting Heather's checkbook while she went about the business of living. This meant that, while she was so busy working hard to save more money, her money was quietly and steadily being absorbed by the Money Sponge.

Heather's $3000 wasn't taken out of circulation, put into a savings account, or otherwise tucked away. It was left high and dry, totally defenseless in her checkbook. Bite by bite, the Money Sponge absorbed it, and there is now no evidence that Heather saved that $3000.

She'd needed that money urgently today, but it simply wasn't there. It slowly got spent on other things. She had no idea what those things were, but tonight she's feeling that she's no better off than a year ago.

All that work for nothing!

The True Secret to Getting Ahead

Though she was discouraged, Heather learned a valuable lesson that day. She must put up "all" money she saves. If she doesn't, she'll continue to work hard at "saving" yet never really get ahead.

If the money will not be there when she needs it, why is Heather working so hard to save it? And, how long will she stay motivated if she never sees the 'fruits' of her labor?

Heather learned another great lesson as well. She discovered that, if she doesn't begin putting up the "smaller" amounts of money she's saved, chances are she'll never put up any "larger" amounts. That day simply won't arrive. Small truly is better than nothing.

Now, the Money Sponge is sitting there quietly, comfortably settled in for the years ahead. But Heather will win this battle, hands down.

How about you? Has the Money Sponge been visiting you lately? Why not cut off its supply by deciding exactly "how" you'll tuck away that little bit of money, even if only $5 at a time.

You work too hard for your money, and you use a lot of energy to avoid spending it. Why not take it out of circulation - and celebrate each time you move a bit closer to your goal!

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