Not Saving At a Greater Rate than Ever

We Americans are bent on spending and that is supposed to be a good thing. It drives our economy. When spending is down the outlook is bleak. When it’s up, economic-types are giddy with joy. And now it seems our spending is too much of a good thing because Americans on average are saving only a pittance, while more than half are saving nothing at all. In fact, those Americans are not saving at a greater rate than they  have not saved in the past 74 years and I mean to the tune of negative 1%.

I understand -30 F. with wind chill factor . But -1% savings? I’m no math wizard but that sounds like a person robs bank and then fails to save any of the loot. Apparently it means you don’t save money you never had in the first place. Or you spend all you have plus the money you had managed to save.


Whatever the terminology and statistics that back it up, failing to save is at the least stupid and at the most quite dangerous. I know, we live in a world with plenty of plastic and big companies telling us not to worry about emergencies. That’s why God created credit cards we’re told–to be there when things go wrong and we’ve failed to prepare adequately.

Yeah, right. And I’m Snow White.

The only reason that credit card issuers want us to believe we need credit cards just in case of emergency is because it stands to make them very rich when we buy into it. If we depend on them rather than our self-sufficiency, they get insanely rich.

So, you can’t afford to save? Then you can’t afford to eat or drive to work or buy stuff for your kids or do any of the other things with your money that you are doing. 

Saving isn’t optional in my world. It’s mandatory. It takes character, commitment and courage to save money. Spending everything you have now plus what you think you might have in the future is a crazy way to live

Believe it or not you can open a savings account at an online bank like or with one dollar. Ditto for, quite possibly the most fun place to save money. These savings banks have no minimum requirements and no fees. You should do this. Then you should add a dollar tomorrow and the next day, too. And five bucks on payday. And ten bucks the following week. Soon you’ll be addicted to saving. Not a bad condition provided you are paying your bills.

We get into financial difficulty one dollar at a time … that’s the same way to get out. A little bit at a time, consistently, without fail. Knowing you have money put aside changes your attitude. It quiets your desires to always have more. It makes you content to live frugally.

A dollar here, five dollars there … consistently, not matter what … it all adds up.

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8 replies
  1. RJ
    RJ says:

    I’ve been banking with Smarty Pig for over four years. You have one account and set up ‘goals’ (simply sub accounts, giving you flexibility). Am now retired and have only two goals that are drafted from my checking account monthly — one for the annual vet bills and one for the annual insurance bills. Both are set to be ‘complete’ the month before the bills come due.

    However my auto insurance and some of my vet bills are semi annual. So as soon as I close a goal at the end of the month and the money is in my checking account, I immediately open new goals and fund them with the full amount that I will need in six months. The goals are complete but I leave them open – and they earn more interest than my credit union pays and if I did need them, I can get the money but it’s not as simple as making a transfer between credit union accounts.

    The nice thing is that I don’t have to be concerned about remembering to transfer money, it’s done in auto draft mode. However you can set up a goal and not set up an auto draft. I did that when I was employed and used that one to save my overtime. I was paid bi weekly and when I got my pay stub, if I had any overtime pay, I would tell Pig to draft my checking account for the ‘extra money’.

    I like that I can set up the day of the month I want my account drafted for the savings since my income doesn’t come on the same date each month, so I set up the drafts to savings when I want them and as often as I want.

    You are not required to close and transfer a goal when the goal is reached – you can leave it and it continues to earn interest until you close the goal. I had several goals that were open for two or more years, until I needed the money.

  2. trying to save
    trying to save says:

    It appears to me that SmartyPig is rewarding a person more for spending what they have saved than for saving it in the first place. Seems backwards to me~

  3. Barbaric Bird
    Barbaric Bird says:

    One reason that people don’t save is that bank interest rates are extremely low. While doing taxes I was shocked to find that we earned a little less than $20 on $50k in savings at our credit union.

  4. Michael Ferrari
    Michael Ferrari says:

    It does not cost any money to use SmartyPig. A minimum deposit of $10 is required to start and maintain a savings goal. Thanks! (Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig founder)

  5. Toast Points
    Toast Points says:

    Washington Post had a really stupid story this week on a DC area family that couldn’t make it on $90,000 per year. It was hard to know who was dumber — the writers/editors or the over-spending family with its big sense of entitlement on their cell phones, iPads, televisions in every room, etc.

  6. Patricia Fadden Rimkunas
    Patricia Fadden Rimkunas says:

    You are right in what you say Mary but unfortunately it isn’t just us who are overspending. It’s our federal, state and local governments too, taxing us more than ever.


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