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Do You Save With a Specific Goal in Mind?

I became interested in money at a very young age. When I was little I remember watching my father roll coins into those stiff paper tubes. He kept his coins in an old cheese curls can and I remember how excited I would get when he pulled the can out of the closet to begin his counting process. When I was old enough to count he would let me create little piles of coins equaling fifty cents or one dollar depending on what type of coin he was rolling.


I learned quite quickly to covet the all mighty coin and my mom helped me grow quite a collection of them. My mom was one of those women who carried an extremely large purse. She had a ton of pocketbooks in her closet and every so often she’d switch from carrying one bag to carrying another. One day I helped her switch purses and realized there was a ton of lose change hanging out in the bottom of her bag. I remember counting the coins and asking her if I could keep them. Of course, without hesitation she said yes.

Even as a small child I knew I was on to something. From that point on I constantly asked my mom for the coins I found in the bottom of her purse. Of course, every week without hesitation my mom permitted me to count and keep them.

To this day my brother believes I netted quite a bit of money from those old pocketbooks. I actually have no idea how much I found, but it’s not inconceivable to think the total might have added up to a few hundred dollars.

I know my brother feels robbed, but in truth he never thought to ask for that money and if he did he would’ve spent it in a heartbeat. I on the other hand would immediately roll the coins, write the amount on the outside of the wrapper and stow them away in a hidden place where my brother couldn’t find them and ask for a loan.

My brother and I had one big difference when it came to money. He always saved with a specific goal in mind. In the beginning he wanted new toys or games, then records, cassettes or CDs. As soon as he reached the magic number for whatever an item cost he went out and spent his money.

I on the other hand saved my money with absolutely no goal in mind. The more money I found or earned the bigger I wanted the total to grow. For me the goal was simply adding more money to the pot. The larger the total became the happier it made me.

As an adult I still feel the same way. Luckily my husband and I are similar in this regard. Neither one of us has any problem putting money in the bank without knowing how it will be spent. In fact, I wonder if we would have saved as much money if we had specific goals in mind. Would we spend money faster if we already had a vision of how we wanted to spend it?

What do you think? Do you save with a specific goal in mind or do you just save for the sake of saving and do you think your overall savings is larger or smaller as a result of the way you focus on saving?

Ella

Wednesday 15th of February 2012

I think I am more the type of person who need a goal. But teh goal can be to reach a net worth of US$100.000 which is not a goal of spending the money on something in particular.

Cindy Brick

Tuesday 14th of February 2012

Boy, am I the only one who is wondering what your brother's financial behavior is like as an adult?? Please write a companion post on this!

My brother was the keep-it-til-it-rots type. His room was full of moldy candy squirreled away from Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the meantime, he wanted me to share my candy with him!

But we were both raised to be frugal. I will save up for a goal -- but we'll also take one of those 'take a year to pay' promotions. And we'll deliberately schedule payments so we don't owe an extra cent at the end. Works just as well, provided you make the payments.

Latest post: http://www.myretirementblog.com/how-much-do-i-really-need-to-retire.html

Jennifer

Monday 13th of February 2012

this is so true!I find that when we have no goal we end up getting nowhere fast. We "had the goal" to just save as much money as possible and spend as little as possible for 3 months at the end of last year and we ended up doing worse than we normally do. Now we are refocused and have a specific goal we are working towards (braces for my daughter) that we are making great progress on.

One Frugal Girl

Monday 30th of January 2012

@ Little Miss Moneybags - I agree with watching that balance grow!

@Mariza - I guess I could say that I have a similar goal. The goal of watching my total grow to a specific number.

Mariza

Sunday 29th of January 2012

How wonderful! I hope my daughters are like you when they grow up! I always saved with a goal in mind. My goal was what I wanted to buy with it.Now I have a goal of the amount of money that I want to have in the bank, but just to see that amount, not to really spend it. I don't have anything I feel I need to buy. I just want to see that number. After I get to that number, then I'll decide if I keep going or if I do something with it.