Think about the concept of saving money. It is clearly a very good idea. It’s practical, logical, pragmatic, obvious, prudent, and in the bandwidth of common sense.
It is difficult to imagine that it is a bad idea to save money. Everyone knows that if you regularly save money, over time you will have a lot of it, and your financial future will be much more secure.
If all that is true, then how is it that so many people are so bad at saving money? Most of us know it is a good idea to adopt the habit of saving money, yet most of us have so much trouble getting started.
At the thought of saving money, most of us say something like this:
- “I don’t have any extra money to save.”
- “I can barely make my bills as it is.”
- “I live paycheck to paycheck, and there is nothing left over.”
- “I want to enjoy life, and after the bills, I have only a little left for fun.”
- “Life is so expensive, and the bills just keep coming.”
- “I should start saving money… and I will try to do it real soon.”
The result? We know it is important to save money… IT’S COMMON SENSE!
However, we generally stall on the habit, delude ourselves that we will do it soon,
AND END UP BROKE OR WITH SEVERE FINANCIAL PROBLEMS.
WHAT TO DO?
Here is a very persuasive and effective method to help you save money or help anyone else do the same thing. This is a particularly persuasive method to get your children to learn and to adopt this habit early in life!
Here is the method:
- Let’s say that I want to hire you to do some work for me. The work could be anything…
a. Help around the house
b. Organize the office
c. Detail the cars
d. Landscaping labor
e. Paint the house
2. I describe what I want from you outlining details and timeframe.
3. You agree that you are willing to do the work.
4. You think about what it will cost for me to pay you to do the work; you decide it will cost $1000.
5. I ask you, “How much will you charge me to do this work?”
6. You say to me, “One thousand dollars.”
7. I say to you, “I will pay you $900 right now up front. Will you do the job?”
8. Now, you will think about it for a moment, and what will you say?
9. You say, “OF COURSE I WILL DO IT!”
10. What may surprise you is to know that 99% of everyone will do it for 90% of the fee. I have been testing this example for many years and to date, I have yet to encounter anyone who says “NO” when asked if they will do the job for 90% of the fee. It appears that virtually everyone feels okay about taking 10% off the fee, particularly if they are going to get paid up front.
11. So, if this is true, and you are among the many people who are likely to do the job for 90% of the fee… THEN IF YOU KNOW YOU WILL DO THE JOB WITH 10% OFF, WHAT HAPPENS TO THE EXTRA 10%?
12. WELL, if you think about it for a minute, you might initially think you can spend it or… YOU CAN ROUTINELY TAKE 10% OFF EVERY PAYCHECK AND PUT IT AWAY IN SOME SAVINGS ACCOUNT! Because you would have done the job for 90% of the fee!
So, if you are trying to teach your children about some basic fiscal literacy and you want them to start early to adopt a habit of saving money… then you can walk them through this example of imagining that you are going to hire them. They want $100 or $1,000. You offer them 90% of the fee upfront; notice they will say YES! So, it is very difficult for them to say they are unable to save money when you help them realize that they would have done the job for 10% off.
Saving money is about attaching a habit to a common-sense idea.
It’s just like brushing your teeth. The common sense is that regular teeth brushing is a good idea, and when you are young, you do it enough so it becomes a habit. Therefore, when you begin the habit to pay yourself first (10% of every paycheck,) after a while it becomes standard operating procedure. Before you know it, you have a LOT of money saved up!
So, make a habit of saving 10% (or more) with every paycheck. Walk your children through the example and help them conclude that they would have done the job for 90% of the fee. When they admit it, it becomes very hard for them to pushback about saving money. It works!