How to save more, spend less

We need to follow some basic guidelines. Here are just a few:

Pay tithing. Financial experts, not of our faith, note that those who give to charity will manage their money better than those who do not.- Keep records of where your money goes. Consider how much you make a year and how much of it you kept for yourself.

Determine the difference between needs and wants. Families need to work together to assure that needs come out of the budget first. Wants can be prioritized. When shopping, in addition to asking, "Do I need it or how badly do I want it?" ask "Where will I put it? What will I have to get rid of to make room for it?" "What real pleasure will I gain from it?" and "Where will it end up?"

Understand the value of savings. For example, $1,200 saved per year at 5 percent compounded annually will equal $6,962 after five years. Save with a goal in mind. There are two types of savings: deferred spending, which is saving for interest-free future purchases; and long-time investment savings, with which your money works for you. If you are not saving, you are not managing your money, just spending it.

Shop for credit. Use credit only when necessary. One credit card is enough, and care should be taken to assure low interest rates.

Understand the purpose of marketing. Art, design and psychology are skillfully used. Today's advertising is often directed at the youth with the idea that if the kids want it, you'll be pressured to buy. Remember that the more you buy the richer the manufacturer or seller becomes.

Shop as seldom as possible. Shop with a list or an item in mind. Look for the most value for your money. - Marilyn J. Lybbert, Sandy, Utah

What we did:

Make a budget

Here are a few ideas that may be helpful:

Make a budget. The best way to start is planning the expenses you are going to have. This can be done monthly. It's easier if you group your expenses according to your necessities. For example, food could include milk, eggs, meat, bread, etc.

Keep a record of your expenses. There is no need for very complicated records, but you should have the date and kind of expense.

Compare the original budget with the real expenses. Analyze the differences between what you planned to spend and what you did. Change the amounts for next month's budget. You have to maintain priorities. - Tirso Serrano Torres, Apizaco, Mexico

Live below means

Pay your tithing.

Live below your means.

Pay off 100 percent of balances on credit cards.

Use savings coupons for groceries.

Look for sales.

Have a budget and follow it.

Avoid impulse purchases and things you don't need.

Avoid risky investments.

Save money on medical costs by staying in good physical shape; exercise.

Maintain adequate insurance to protect against calamities. - Richard L. Ricks, Spring, Texas

Pay tithing

The payment of a full and honest tithe increases our ability to manage money and to become more content and grateful with what we have. My wife and I have come to recognize that money management contentment and gratitude in financial aspects are direct blessings that are associated with the law of tithing. The payment of tithing will indeed help one to save money and spend less. - Brent Craven, Layton, Utah

Avoid unjustifiable debt

Learn to use funds wisely. Recycling brings monetary return. And you can use empty bottles for water storage. Don't throw left-over food away. It can be added to other menus.

When shopping, have a list of things you need to buy. Buy those things that you need, not what you just like.

To save on electricity, turn off lights.

Put one-eighth of your salary in the bank. Think as if you're paying off a debt.

Avoid unjustifiable debt. Those burdened with too many installment payments are not financially secure. - Roselyn S. Batolina, Silay, Philippines

Project expenses

There is only one word, of six letters, to help us save more and spend less: budget.

The first step to assembling a budget is to take stock of all the expenses you have made over the past two months. List them all in chronological order. If you don't have this record, start keeping it. Don't hide anything from yourself or your spouse.

Project what your expenses are going to be over the next two months. Then add in everything you know you will pay, deposit or be billed for. Examples include tithing, rent or mortgage, auto payments, savings deposits, credit card payments, groceries, condo assessments, clothing, restaurants, movies. Include the total balance owing on credit accounts, even if it must be in a separate column. Put a date on every expense and add line items for income you expect to receive. Mentally, count the interest that is being charged to you as an expense.

Then, remember and practice the following:

Pay tithes and offerings to connect with the Lord's power.

Save 5 to 10 percent of your income for a day rainier than today.

Spend on preventive medical procedures.

Pay your financial obligations.

In addition, put a mental padlock on credit cards. They serve only a convenience, and they are not money. - Eric Jarvi, Provo, Utah

Use and reuse

I can save more and spend less by reusing things. I don't have to spend all my money on things I don't need, such as junk food, games, etc. - Chris Rollins, Elfrida, Ariz.

Direct deposit

We find it very beneficial to have my husband's paycheck directly deposited into his 401K, checking, and three savings accounts. We have worked up a budget on the money left over, and we never miss the other money.

The checking account pays all regular bills. We find that taking a bill, such as the mortgage payment at $800 a month times 12 months divided by the number of paychecks equals $370 per paycheck. This is earmarked for our mortgage payment. We do this with all our bills and add a few dollars because prices keep going up. We can now pay cash for Christmas, food, mortgage, all taxes, insurances, etc., because the money is already there. - Pauline W. Marble, Herriman, Utah

How to checklist:

1 Pay tithing; this increases ability to manage money.

2 Make, keep budget; distinguish between wants, needs.

3 Live below means; limit use of credit cards, avoid debt.

4 Avoid impulse buying; keep record of expenses.

Write to us:

March 14 "How to make the Sabbath more meaningful."

March 21 "How to rear children in light and truth."

March 28 "How to begin family history research."

April 4 "How to use general conference messages to solve personal, family problems."

April 18 "How to help an overly dependent friend."

April 25 "How to plan an inexpensive family vacation."

Also interested in letters on these topics: "How to supplement your regular income," "How to build a strong work ethic in children," "How to avoid greed," "How to be more resilient in day-to-day life."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2524 or use internet E-mail: Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

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