Saving is not a 'nice-to-have' - MoneySense

Saving is not a ‘nice-to-have’

Made a budget? Set aside money for savings? Constantly transferring those savings back to your chequing account to cover your overspending? It’s an old story.


People have all kinds of reasons and excuses for not saving money. And then there are the people who act like they’re saving, only to end up tapping those savings to cover their butts.

From the tired mommies and daddies who can’t find the energy to create a meal, to the fun-loving singles who can’t say “no” to an outing with their buds, people have a b’zillion excuses for why they’ll tap their savings. “I didn’t expect…”, “I work hard…”, and “I didn’t think…” are some of the words that start those excuses.

Back at the beginning of the summer a report came out that pegged Canada’s household debt at a record $1.5 trillion, or over $176,000 for an average family of four. I was horrified that despite everything going on south of the border, Canadians were digging their holes deeper and deeper. People’s responses: “But that includes mortgages, right? So that’s not so bad.”

See, we can justify anything. We’ll set a budget for food and when we go over we’ll blame rising costs. We’ll set a budget for transportation and when we go over we’ll site the record-high costs of gas and the increases in insurance premiums. And then there are the people who just will not give up their bad habits, no matter the cost.

Hey, if you aren’t saving, regardless of what your excuse may be, you’re an idiot. Yes, houses cost a lot of money, but you don’t have to own THAT house if doing so means you make yourself house poor. And you may need a car to get to and from work, but you don’t have to own a car that’s gobbling up more than its share of your budget.

Saving shouldn’t be the thing that gets eliminated from a budget because you don’t have enough money. Saving isn’t a nice-to-have. It’s a must-have if you expect to be able to deal with emergencies, cope with life’s curveballs, or eat more than ramen noodles and tomato soup when you retire.