On Saving Money and Spreading Manure

As you may know, the mission of this blog is to discover ways to save time and money every day. You help me by sending me your great tips, tricks and ideas—I help you by boiling it all down for you here. That answers the “what,” but what about the “why”?

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Why should anyone be concerned about saving money? Have you ever thought about that? Why do you want to save money? Who cares?

While you’re pondering that for yourself, I thought I’d share with you the ultimate reason that saving money is so important to me, personally.

But first let’s define terms.

“Saving money” has two definitions, which some people use interchangeably:

1) Spending less than I would have because an item is on sale or it’s a particularly good deal as in, “Wow, I just saved $37 on these really cute boots that were regularly priced $225 but we on sale for just $188!”

2) Accumulating money in a safe place as in, “I save $100 a month by having it automatically transferred to my savings account.” 

Technically, unless you take that $37 you “saved” on the boots and stash it away into a place where you keep it so you don’t spend it, you’re not really saving anything. You just spending less than you would have if those boots had not been on sale.

So, why do I save money? I see it as a tiered proposition. First my goal is to spend less than I earn so that I have money to save for these purposes:

  • To fund my own emergencies
  • To prepare for the future when I will no longer have an active income
  • To give as much as I can

There it is. Those are the reasons I look for every possible way to save as much money as I can. I guess you could say that I look for ways to save so I really can save.

Author Bruce Larson once said,

“Money is another pair of hands to heal and feed and bless the desperate families of the earth. In other words, money is my other self. Money can go where I do not have time to go, where I do not have a passport to go. My money can go in my place and heal and bless and feed and help. A man’s money is an extension of himself.”

That’s true of your money only if you’re willing to part with it. Or as Thornton Wilder put it,

“Money is like manure. If you let it pile up, it just smells. But if you spread it around, you can encourage things to grow.”

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I have no idea how many of my readers have taken to making their own laundry detergent, which by the way is better than any name brand laundry product I know of and a whole lot cheaper, too! It must be tens of thousands given the feedback I’ve received. Those of you who do this are saving at the very least about $.20 with each load of laundry. Sounds like peanuts, doesn’t it? Just two wo thin dimes.

Do a rough calculation to see how many loads of laundry go through your washer every week. For me it’s least five, or $.20 x 5 = $1.00. Multiply that amount by 52 (my case: $1 x 52 = $52). That’s respectable, but doesn’t make any of us gasp.

Now, let’s say that 10,000 readers are making their own laundry detergent, each of them not spending $52 each year as they once did on a commercial detergent: $52 x 10,000 = $520,000. I knew the answer but still that makes me gasp.

My point? Never underestimate the power of saving money—both in spending less, stashing it into a safe place in order to spread it around to do good in the world.

Question: What does “saving money” mean to you?

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10 replies
  1. eveh
    eveh says:

    Peace of mind is what it means to me. We have all our bills paid off. We never had much debt. Just our home and medical. We are blessed to owe no one. I keep two funds goings. One I label emergency. One is for Hurricane. We need money for hotel, gas and food for a few days. Here on the Gulf Coast, it is not if but when on that. We had to dip into emergency for car problems and vet bills but each time I double down to bring it back.

    Reply
  2. Patricia Goff
    Patricia Goff says:

    I do surveys and get paid by amazon money (have 300 there at the moment) and paypal (have 50 there right now) but I never know how to make it go the furtherest. I did buy most of my Christmas presents there and I buy my paper products when they are on sale so I use some of the monies but I don’t really know what else to buy on amazon. I use paypal to buy things like clothes for the grand kids among other things. This doesn’t help me save money to fix my roof though. Without those funds I would be barely making it with us having one job and two grandkids and two disabled brothers so it is hard to save money. I should have a few thousand from income tax but will need about another thousand or two to save. I have all but one credit card paid off and I am slowly (thought I make more than the minimum payment) paying it off and haven’t used a credit card to pay for anything in years. I love getting tips from you and I really love your recipes. Thank you for all your advice over the years.

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt
      Mary Hunt says:

      Patricia … You’re doing great! Keep it up. My thought on that Amazon paycheck you get for online work would be a great “Gifts” account. Then determine how much money you are spending now on gifts outside of your online accounts and transfer that right into your “new roof” account. The secret is to never allow yourself to see that amount of credit in your Amazon account as found money you can just blow for fun and frivolity. Maybe you could create a Gifts 2016 spreadsheet. Allow for any baby showers or weddings you see in your future; birthday gifts, anniversary and Christmas. You may be able to fund all of that in six months. Then for the last half of the year see that money as the funding for things you need for your household. You can buy almost anything on Amazon these days. Of course you need to be a careful shopper. Many things on Amazon are much cheaper (at times … the prices change often) that you can find in a walk-in store. But some are outrageously expensive. You have to know your prices!

      Reply
  3. Beck
    Beck says:

    Don’t count on Medicaid helping in your old age either -one should save to be able to pay for care when one becomes disabled and elderly. I have to care for my elderly mom because she has no money left after being in the nursing home 21 months she ran out of money. Medicaid won’t approve her so now we are stuck with her. It is a very unpleasant situation as all she does is complain and was not the nicest parent growing up so it’s a hard pill to swallow. We have been turned down over and over from Medicaid and hearings nothing seems to get done it is almost like they do anything they can to turn down having to pay. She blew a lot of her money on clothing, going to Florida every winter and so forth. Now the kids have to pay the price.

    Reply
    • Patricia Goff
      Patricia Goff says:

      I used to work for Medicaid. She should be eligible unless she owns a house or has money set aside. Make sure she has life insurance to help you with the burial expenses. That is one thing you are allowed to still have here. In Europe if you are on state aid you are not allowed life insurance. They make you cancel it and if they find out that you had some when you die the state takes it all. Luckily my father has a policy on my mother that will help us bury her. When she gets to old to live alone I will have to bring her to the states. Since she has some of my fathers retirement it will be easy to get her a visa because she has her own income. I have already checked into it.
      I am sorry you are having so many problems with your mother. The elderly are hard to take care of sometimes but you will be blessed many times over for it. She is lucky to have you.

      Reply
    • Mary Hunt
      Mary Hunt says:

      I’m sorry to hear that you feel you are stuck with your mother. I think maybe you are missing something here. She was turned down because she has assets greater than the limits on Medicaid. She does have Medicare, correct? You need to discuss with her how to liquidate her assets to provide a better level of care in her sunset years. It might be good to remember that one day you will be someone’s elderly mother. I do applaud you for caring for her and hope you can figure out a better situation for both of you.

      Reply
      • Beck
        Beck says:

        We have been to two lawyers over it her property is in a trust with 7 other people it was supposed to be protected and was done over 20 years ago. The Medicaid office was counting farm income that is used to pay taxes and insurance on the farm. We have property up for sale now because of this mess. I think we will have to contact our state representative or someone else higher up because the people that work at the Medicaid office don’t seem to understand the law or the trust.
        When you are abused as a child the last thing you want to do is take care of that parent. We are obeying the Commandment to honor though it is very hard on all of us. When you take care of someone who is insulting and constantly complains on top of abusive you feel stuck… Yes she has Medicare but that didn’t even pay for rehab for a broken bone and couldn’t walk.. which is another reason her money didn’t last. If I live long enough to be someone’s elderly mother I certainly won’t act like her.

  4. Chris
    Chris says:

    It means not giving into every whim to spend money, whether or not I actually need the item. I have relatives living on $1200 a month now because they never learned how to save. They are one step away from a major disaster at all times. Too much stress! Putting money away means I can live my life stress free, not having to think or worry about what will happen in the future!

    Reply

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