I save for a lot of things. My wife is actually the better saver because she has a lot of self-discipline. I helped set up our budget, but she is the one who makes it work. And, since I’ve been teaching yoga for several years, all of that has been going to savings too.
Although, I don’t know how to compare our savings to the norm. Dave Ramsey has percentages of your income that you should save for emergency funds and such. So we are probably on par with general recommendations. But maybe its better to not compare.
The key to saving for me is not being in debt. Any time you pay interest on a credit card, car payment, or store cards, you are losing money to someone else. The old idea of using credit to build a better credit rating is a crock. Its just an excuse to hold debt. I’ve heard of a guy who couldn’t get a loan because he didn’t have a credit rating. He paid for everything with cash and had no debt. Believe me, that’s a better way to live.
So, we have a vacation savings fund. And since we are relatively cheap about how we travel, we have a large excess there. We have a Christmas savings and that usually carries over. We just bought a new roof for $11,000 out of savings, and there is plenty left. If we need to buy a car, we could do it with cash, which is what we’ve done for past purchases. Now, you probably think we’re rich. By world’s standards, we probably are rich. But we have a median income by U.S. standards. Its just that we have become a lot wiser with age.
You need to have discipline to save. I was raised since childhood to give 10% to charity and pay yourself 10% (I’ll leave “charity” to your interpretation, but those in the know probably know what I mean). Currently, we have a lot of excess in “charity”. We are just waiting for the right cause. Its really nice to know that when there is a need, you can do something substantial for someone.
Don’t pay lip service to doing things for others. You need to actually do it. Measure in your own heart what that means. Do you really need that $5 cup of coffee or new pair of leggings? Or could you give that to someone who has real needs? Save to give. Save to live.