Once upon a time, (at least 10 years ago ) you had to go to the bank to open an account for savings. And then you had to remember to put the savings in there on a regular basis, which was always the bit that never happened.
Today, there are marvellous tools which can insulate you from life’s ups and downs. You need to learn to use them though. Like the exercise machine under the bed, if you don’t actually use it, you won’t get the results.
So let’s talk internet banking. Most banks nowadays will allow you to create online a separate bank account. This is like a little pocket, where you can stash cash, but much safer than under the bed, if only because no-one else in the family can raid it for lolly money. My version of the online account won’t allow me to transfer money directly out of it. The amount has to be transferred into the main account before I can use it to pay bills. But with internet banking, that bit is easy too.
Currently I have 3 of these. One is defunct with a very small balance. One is holding renovation money and the cash the insurance gave us for the fence with the neighbour which is STILL not up, but that’s a whole other story…
The account I really want to talk about today is the children’s fund. I started this account originally because we were very very poor and were living hand to mouth. My son got all the usual ailments of childhood, and so I stashed $50 in an account so that I would have the money to go to the doctor if I needed to, irrelevant of how close it was to pay day.
Once our circumstances changed, I started stashing money away by having any government payments paid directly into that account. Even $10 a fortnight quickly adds up.
These days I can set up an automatic transfer with my internet banking so that as our pay comes in, the money goes directly into the account. At the moment, the amount is $25 per week, but as my child grows, that will of course increase. The point about this account is that it is then used for those expenses that come up at inconvenient times. My boy tends to wear holes in his shoes. Of course, I never know about this until the shoe practically falls off his foot, and then we need to make a quick trip to the shops so that he has footwear for school the next day.
Recently, he managed to lose his jumper, so again, we made a quick trip downtown and fixed the problem. I paid for the purchases out of his account, so it made no difference to our family budget which is quite tight at the minute.
I have also used this account to pay for birthday presents, christmas presents, school photos and school uniforms. It allows you to take advantage of specials when they happen, and pay early to get discounts. If the balance gets too high, (above about $500) I use the money to retire any debt. In a real emergency, this money can be used to make a mortgage payment, or an electricity bill. After all, this benefits your children as well.
But most of the time, the balance just accumulates, and when you need money for clothes or shoes, a new bike or a school excursion, it will be sitting there, no matter if your pay has all gone on other things.
It’s worked well for me for years. Give it a try.
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