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The Savings Game

September 14, 2022

As I type this, the smell of rain is coming through the screen door. I love rain, and I don't get enough of it living in Arizona. A few years back, I decided to celebrate rain by literally saving for a rainy day by putting a dollar away every time it rains. (I hate snow, but I still put a dollar away for it also.) With today's rain, I have $206. It's not a fortune, but it will help in a pinch.

Saving money isn't easy, and with deposits being electronic and debit cards and PayPal, one seldom actually handles cash. Through the years, I have begun playing a savings game. I find reasons to put money aside for various things. Some are "wants" and a few are "in case of." I find fun or practical reasons to save. All of the appliances in my home are in working order at present, but eventually my washer and/or drier will need replacing, and the hot water heater waits until a cold winter day to go out. For every load of laundry I do, I put a dollar away. I also save every time I use the oven. I don't know when I will need them, but the balance is climbing. I may not have enough to cover the entire cost, but I can put a dent in it.

My sister told me that she saves every $5.00 bill she gets in change. Shortly after she began doing this, she had a flat tire. She had the $200 she needed in fives. She laughed and said that she stopped by the bank first and exchanged them for larger bills, because she thought it would be weird to count out that many fives. I've started saving fives also, and they add up quickly.

Of course none of this works if you don't carry or use cash. I go to the ATM and get cash knowing that part of it will end up being saved.

On our ninth anniversary, my husband, Chuck and I, decided to save all of our dimes and use what we saved as our date money for our tenth anniversary. I have the amount we saved somewhere in some journal, but I remember how fun it was to put away the dimes and then to see how far we could make them go on our anniversary. We did this again on our 24th anniversary, saving quarters until our 25th. Every dime and quarter reminded us of our love.

I used to put a dollar away for every 100 pages I read so that I could buy books. This didn't work so well as I was never patient enough to wait until I had enough saved. If I want a book, I want a book. That, and Amazon makes "Buy now with 1-Click" entirely too easy.

My granddaughter, Berlin, is in first grade. I want to take her to Berlin as a high school graduation present. This gives me a lot of time to save. Every time the city Berlin is in the news or I receive a postcard from there or from her, a dollar gets added to the fund. And there is some sort of law that states that once you become aware of something (like Berlin), you will notice it more often. I started an Africa fund to use to go and see my husband in Ghana. It is surprising how many times Ghana is now mentioned and how often the Toto song "Africa" plays.

I've saved for shoes and art and stationery. I'm not sure what else I'll want in the future, but making myself save or "earn" the money keeps me from compulsive shopping. It gives me a lot of time to decide if I really want or need something. And when I do have enough to purchase the item of desire, it feels great to pay in cash, even if I am counting in fives.

(I might even save my Hamiltons until I can see Hamilton.)

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