Teaching the Value of Saving: The importance of 'Rainy Day' Funds

Retiring Tina

Teaching the Value of Saving: The importance of 'Rainy Day' Funds

Dec 16, 2016

Hubby and I have just returned from our annual Christmas shopping venture, one of the few times we actually go shopping together for a day.  My feet are killing me, but his don’t seem to be bothering him.  I guess that may be because he enjoys sitting on a bench and “people-watching” while I rummage through racks and displays and wait in lines to pay!  I understand that it can be somewhat entertaining … just to see some of the dress people will really wear to the mall!  I just can’t comprehend that house slippers and pajama pants coupled with a tee shirt or sweatshirt is appropriate wear for a shopping trip!  And what is with the boys wearing their pants with the “waist” around their thighs … they can hardly walk and have to grab them every step or two to keep them on at all, but who am I to judge?  I do remember how much my parents hated the boys wearing long hair and the girls wearing short skirts when I was in high school.  I think they wanted to cut the boys’ hair as bad as we sometimes want to pull their pants up!  Augghh!  Another sign we are becoming “the old people”!

While shopping, we received a call from our daughter stating they arrived home to find their furnace not working – right when it is turning really cold!  Thankfully, she and her husband have practiced the savings principle we instilled in our children when they were little, and so they have a “rainy day savings” with funds to use for the repair.  When our children were young, we taught them that whatever money they receive - gifts, allowance, or earnings – a portion would be deposited into their children’s account at Afena.  Of course the amounts were small when they were young, but as they got older they accumulated a nice little amount to translate into emergency funds when they moved out.  It is very rewarding to see the fruits of our labor because it wasn’t always easy.  Little ones sometimes fussed a bit about having to let go of some of their money, and as they got older, the resistance was more in the form of “but I really want that video game, CD, or outfit”.  Being consistent over time, they all learned that by saving they were still able to get the game, CD or outfit, just maybe not for a few weeks.  It was not until they were grown that they were glad we had enforced this practice, as it has become habit for all of them and they now really like having those reserves.  They tell us many of their friends are dependent on their parents whenever any unexpected cost comes up, and we certainly understand there are times when that is appropriate.  But we also have known some couples that helped their children until they themselves were bankrupt!

So glad our furnace is working and our home is cozy because now that we have carried in all of our packages, the wrapping party takes place. We get comfy clothes on, order a pizza and get started.  (I am saying “we”, but Hubby does more pizza eating than gift wrapping.  I enjoy his company while I wrap, and I learned many years ago that there was no point in nagging him to help wrap.  Besides, I am just enough of a perfectionist that I want them wrapped very neatly, so his wrapping did not usually suit me anyway and this way I avoid the urge to “fix” his wrapping job!) 

We still actually wrap the gifts for little ones so we can enjoy seeing them open them.  For the grownups, gift bags are one of my new best friends!  At a dollar store I can purchase gift bags and packages of tissue paper for $1.00 each and zip through the wrapping of adult gifts in no time!  I think my friend Marci, the “Suzy Homemaker” of my group of friends, is the only person I know who still wraps every gift and embellishes each with beautiful bows and ribbons … I don’t know how she does it, but I am no Marci!  Besides, if a gift is wrapped really beautifully, I almost feel bad unwrapping it!  Gift bags are just fine for me and I know they often get recycled several times making them a real bargain!

Well, my daughter just called and said the repairman is there fixing the furnace right now, so they won’t need to come to spend the night.  I assure her they would be welcome, but I am secretly glad as my feet are aching and all I want to do is get in the recliner and watch a movie with Hubby.  I think next year maybe I should sit and “people-watch” while Hubby fights the crowds … but I think we all know that is not happening!