Monday, August 3, 2015

Save Your Pennies and Your Dollars Will Take Care of Themselves

Advice for kids: Save Your Pennies!
Over the last few weeks, I've been speaking with my children about saving money and planning for the future.

When I was around 10-years-old, I remember my Uncle George telling me about an elderly woman who was in the same store as he who was buying a ring.  She was dressed nicely and wore expensive jewelry, so she was well to do according to my uncle's assessment.

The price tag on her jewelry purchase was $399.99.  When the clerk entered the amount into the cash register as $400 even, she stopped him because the price was wrong.

Uncle George was confused as to why she would object to rounding up to the next penny. He felt embarrassed not only for the cashier but also the woman who was squabbling over a single penny.  My uncle reached into his pocket and offered the lady some change, attempting to make peace about the situation.

"You don't understand, sir," the elderly lady explain. "I have the money, more than enough change of my own to cover the price.  This isn't about principle or feelings. This is about business. I didn't come in here all willy nilly to buy a ring on impulse. I have been eyeing this ring for more than six months. I knew the price and I planned accordingly."

"Yes ma'am, I can understand that," my uncle replied. "I didn't mean to offend you. I just wanted to hand you some change in case you are short."

"No sir, you didn't offend me," the elderly lady smiled in reply. "I'm trying to help you.  Here you are offering to give away your loose change to help a stranger out who doesn't need it.  I have what I have because I know the secret to wealth."

"There's a secret?" my uncle inquired.

"If you save your pennies, your dollars will take care of themselves," the elderly lady answered with a grin.

After the cashier corrected the price and the lady left the store with her purchase, Uncle George reflected on what she meant. The answer seems simple on the surface, every one hundred pennies saved is a dollar, so if you save every penny you can at every opportunity, it will add up to more over time.

As I explained this to my kids, I took it a step further. When your mind is set to thrifty mode because you are watching your pennies, it allows you to save even more money that you can invest into products of quality that will not simply break after having them for a month. Replacing stuff that wears out quickly will cost you more in the long run always.

Also, if you are watching your pennies, it will help eliminate impulse buying and thus buyers remorse. Buyers remorse will cause depression and people tend to spend money when they feel unhappy.  After a while, they can become addicted to impulse buying and the cycle of having to spend more wasteful money leading to more buyers remorse.

I wish I would have had the opportunity to have sat down with this woman. Her simple five-minute exchange with my uncle not only changed his life but those he shared the wisdom she imparted to him, like myself.


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