When I hear what most people tell me about saving money for the future, I want to slap them. How am I supposed to save for the future when I can barely make ends meet? I am in a recession and while small tips here and there can help me save a shekel or two, I cannot change how I am living – I live at what I consider a minimum for myself (certainly less than I ever did in my entire life).
The people telling me to save always quote Hillel’s famous line to inspire me, “if not now, when?”
I think that is a fair question. If I can’t save now, then when can I? Or better yet, how much money do I have to make in order to follow a budget and save?
The fist step is to write up a budget, including the amount to put into savings (I use a reverse budgeting system). But if your income does not meet your budget, then you have to either make more money or cut back on expenses. Have a goal. Have a target amount of income and once you make this amount, live by your budget and start to put money into savings.
The targeted amount cannot just be some dream amount you hope to get years in the future; it must be a realistic amount within your grasp that you can possibly reach in the coming months.
Let say that Bob makes ₪ 6,000 and is barely making ends meet. Once he makes the target amount of ₪ 7,000 he can start thinking about saving for the future. But how will he make it there? Either he has to get another job, or his spouse has to get another job. If these two things cannot happen, then he must make his budget smaller. If this does not work out in the long run, then Bob must move or do something else entirely, because he cannot continue on the road he is on.
It’s hard to tell people save for the future during the current economic climate, but by setting a goal, a Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound goal, then you’re going in the right direction.
In the meantime, the two best ways to save money are:
(1) continue to change your shopping habits to try to save and
(2) involve yourself in the world of budgeting. Many Jews learn Chafetz Chaim because by concerning one’s self with the laws of gossip, one is more likely to be aware and avoid speaking gossip himself.
PS – for those interested, here is another good article about reverse budgeting