On several occasions I’ve had one of my children say something like, “Dad, how can I earn $20 today?”

That question is typically followed by me asking, “Why? What do you need it for?”

Then a very important item is mentioned, like a new toy at the store, to which I sometimes reply, “Remember when you spent $20 last week on something?”

Probably everyone has engaged in this type of conversation at home. The lack of discipline in saving money is a big problem in our society. We are driven by consumerism, which is a belief that we should purchase the things we want right away, and not by saving our money. Sometimes procrastination can be our friend while other times it is our enemy.

For example, some people work better under pressure. They might wait till the last minute and then crank out a really great term paper. However, it is impossible to wait till the last minute to prepare for retirement. That is a journey that must be started early and with some planning.

Retirement is the stage of life where you leave work and have full control over your schedule. You can choose to use your time as you desire. How cool is that?

A general guideline is that when you earn a dollar, 10% of it should go into some form of long-term savings. Many people also allocate 10% to their church for tithing. If you are saving for something specific, you may need to deny yourself some of the things you want today so you can achieve your goals.

Discuss: What are some other things that should be financially planned for in advance through self-denial?

Some answers may include:

  • College
  • Car
  • House
  • Family or personal vacation

Discuss: Do you have any personal goals you are saving up for? Do we as a family have any goals we are saving up for by denying ourselves frivolous spending now?

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About the author : Oak Norton

Father of 5 children, husband to 1 amazingly patient woman, entrepreneur, and education advocate.

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