Guest Author - Jim Fortune
Growing up in New England during the 60s, I learned the lesson of saving a little each week to attain a specific goal. My mother took care of the finances around our house and everyone, including my father, often heard her say, "We do not have the money for that right now." When my Dad really wanted something, and Mom gave him the usual line, he would give me a wink and a smile and go about his way. Three months, six months, a year later, he would come home with whatever it was that "We did not have the money for that right now." on the back of his truck. "You got mom to give in?", I asked. "Nope. I paid cash for it."
When I was in the fifth grade, I wanted an English bike. It was a bike that had those skinny ties and brake levers on the handlebars, with a hard leather seat. I had been riding an old Columbia, fat tire bike since I could remember and I wanted a new bike like the other kids were getting. I knew that my mother would say, "We do not have the money for that right now." So I asked my dad about it and asked him to show me his secret for getting those things that mom would not allow any other way.
He told me he used a method that it was like the quarter saver that I used to use, only for adults. The quarter saver was a cardboard sheet that had holes drilled into it and a cardboard backing sheet and under each hole was a dollar amount. As you got quarters for doing chores, you would push a quarter into the hole on the quarter saver and as the holes became filled with quarters, under each one filled was a number starting with 25 cents. Then the next quarter filled, under that hole it said fifty cents. There four quarters on a row and there were ten rows. When the quarter saver was full we would go to the bank and put the money into the Christmas Club account. And we would get a new quarter saver.
My Dad's method turned out to be the local credit union. He and I opened a joint account together. The woman at the membership window asked me what my savings goal was. My Dad told me to tell her how much the English bike cost. The bike I wanted cost $75. "Why don't you open a $300 account?", she asked. She gave me a booklet like a payment booklet that had twenty-four coupons and each coupon had $12.50 printed on it. The coupons were numbered sequentially and it was preprinted like a deposit slip. I was to come in every two weeks with a coupon and $12.50. I asked my Dad how long before I could get the bike and he told me I would have to wait until I gave the woman coupon number 6.
I told my grandmother about the account and she and I went to the credit union with two coupons when I got my report card and it had very good grades. I did extra chores around the house and made the $12.50 for the coupon without any problem. My Dad told me that I could bring in more than two coupons a month if I made extra cash, which I did the second month. I got the bike and had extra money that I used for a saddlebag for the side and a light on front so I could ride in the dark.
Credit unions have different names for these accounts. One is a Christmas Club account. Another I have seen is a Vacation Cruise account. As a matter of fact, I will tell you about a Vacation Cruise account I helped four women set up a long time ago that worked out very well.
They probably have these accounts with various names where you live. They do not pay a lot of interest. But they help you to reach a savings goal and provide a way for you to accumulate cash for travel on a pain free basis.
Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.?
All the Best from Bella Online Budget Travel,
Budget Travel Editor