"Living on, on dreams and SpagettiOs"   Martina McBride, "This One's for the Girls"

Nearly every financial advisor out there, from Suze Orman to Dave Ramsey to your parents, have stressed the importance of an emergency fund.  Three to six months of income in a savings account, easily accessible.

But for young folks getting out into the real world, it's not easily built up.  Suddenly there are bills and housing to pay, and groceries.  Suddenly there are deductions for taxes from their paychecks.  Like Jennifer Aniston's character Rachel said on the sitcom Friends, "Who's FICA? Why is he getting all my money?"

It's actually easier to fall behind and be in financial trouble.  Been there, done that, hated every minute of it.

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Credit: marchmeena29, Getty Images, TSM Media Center

My Wake-up Call to Save

I will remember the moment for life.  Working for minimum wage at a bank processing center, I walked around the building on break to wake up, and I worried over my finances and falling behind.  Mind wandering on thoughts, I walked past my car, when I thought "Y'know, I'll have to replace that car someday.  I should start saving money for that."  I walked around the building again and thought "This car will need repairs eventually; better start saving for that."  Another lap and "Christmas is coming.  Should start saving for that."

I returned to work and wrote a list of things I should save money for, and that list had about a dozen items.

The next day I kept some envelopes in the glove box of the car.  On break I walked by the car, took a dollar out of my wallet and put it in a random envelope.  That was my silly start to a savings plan.

I kept cash in a hiding spot in the car to pay for gas.  Treated my own car like a taxi.  $1 per short car trip.  A quarter per mile for longer trips.  Paid for fuel and repairs.

Small change in a dish was saved for my child's future college education.

This savings plan evolved over the years into an allocation of funds from each paycheck into about twenty purposes, in one bank account and documented in a personal record.  I use this practice to this day.

Credit: Tero Vesalainen, Getty Images, TSM Media Center
Credit: Tero Vesalainen, Getty Images, TSM Media Center

A Young Lady almost Burst into Tears on Me

Later when I worked in a human service agency, I interviewed a young woman and during the visit she teared up.  Suppressing the emotions welling up, she revealed that she spent months saving up $500 from her wages.

She had to replace tires on her car.  Months of saving evaporated in an hour.

This was heartbreaking, very discouraging.  But the savings served the purpose: paying for an emergency and keeping her mobile and working.  After all, what would happen if she didn't have the savings and she had to replace a tire?  What then?

Hits against the savings are likely and they do sting.  With time and persistence, the balance will return and continue growing.

What's the Best Way to Save?

Honestly, I think the best for each person and family is the style they think about and put into action.  There's a plethora of savings suggestions out there.  Pick the tips out there you like and can do.  Make your plan your own.

That's not to say you can't have any fun.  In time you can and should spend some for a treat, be it ice cream or clothing or a road trip.  Please just be mindful of how much to spend and then retain the rest in your available savings.

One more thing.  We all heard that saying.  Money can't buy Happiness.  Maybe can rent it for a while.  But Money can provide Security, and that can be the first steps towards Happiness.

Go get 'em, Tiger.  I'm rooting for You.

Do You Have some Helpful Saving Ideas?

Let's hear 'em.  What practices worked for you?  Please email and share at travis.lee@townsquaremedia.com.

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