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 Texas : Features : Columns : Along the Way with Britt

ESSAY ON SAVINGS

by Britt Towery

One of my pronounced faults (some reader's responses suggest my opinion writing is the greater fault) is my inability to save money. I would not classify myself as a spendthrift and I absolutely hate "shopping," but we do have a lot of stuff around the house we don't need. I have no idea who would buy so many dust-catchers. I wonder where it came from?

According to surveys, saving money is not one of Americans' best traits. According to the Christian Science Monitor I have plenty of company. They report that Americans' personal savings fell to -0.5 percent last year. This is the first year since the Great Depression that the savings rate has been this negative.

Consumption has become the great American sport. I can remember when credit was offered just for homes and cars. There is plenty of blame to go around, Madison Avenue advertising, the cruel invention of credit cards, but the real culprit is as Pogo so famously said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us!"

A Survey of Consumer Finances from 2001 to 2004, only 41 percent of Americans save regularly. Three-quarters of households carry debt. Credit card carriers have an average $8,000 debt. Fewer are paying the monthly balance. Result? More outrageous interest on the balance. That was once known as usury.

It is a proven fact that I spend more with a credit card than if I used cash. Credit card dealers have all kinds of tricky ideas up their sleeves. Why does my bank debit card have a Visa logo on it?. Just another way for Visa to make another dollar.

We have become a throw-away-and-buy-another society. Repair shops are as rare as hen's teeth today. Much of the world knows how to repair even a simple dish or bowl (that does not leak and looks neat) or make a bicycle run so well it is passed from generation to generation. They are not consumed by consumptionitis.

As a working teenager I purchased a War Bond, ten cents a stamp until the $18.00 War Bond booklet was full. A few years later I had all of $25. Which in the 1940s would go farther than a hundred today. What should have been my seed money for a savings account, burned holes in my pocket. Such separation between me and the green has been that way ever since.

Possibly a factor that helped us spend less after our 1950 wedding, was the yet-to-be invented credit card. The credit card racket began with a Diners Card. Since we ate out very little, that card was not necessary. And the cheap Fast Food joints were not yet the mainstream of America's diet.

Having spent this essay on the situation, it is time to give some helpful hints to saving. There are oddles of ways to spend less and save money. I have only one suggestion. It is a hint even columnist Heloise, famous for hints has not printed. Out of my trunks of stuff there are years of old calendars. Never realized I was saving money while saving calendars.

Here is my hint on saving more money: Save your old wall calendars. If you still have calendars for the year 1993, you are in luck. This year, 2010, is the very same as 1993.

To be pound wise, dig through your old calendars and if you see one that has January First on a Saturday as does 2005, yank it out and hold it for use next year, 2011. You will be glad you did.


Copyright Britt Towery
Along the Way with Britt
1-16-10 Column
Britt Towery, humorist and columnist lives in San Angelo
Email: bet@suddenlink.net

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Books by Britt Towery

Christianity in today's China
By Britt Towery
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