The Strange Secret to Saving
by Dave Ramsey
In the late 1950s, a man by the name of Earl Nightingale recorded the first positive thinking seminar on audio. This was, of course, an LP record and the title was, “The Strangest Secret.” It was the first motivational recording to sell over one million copies, and was the start of the modern self-help movement.
I heard “The Strangest Secret” many years after it was first recorded, when I was only 12 years old, and it had a great impact on my life. The secret? You become what you think about. Jesus said, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
The proof is common sense; you will harvest what you plant. I have applied this principle to my life in many areas and I have observed it unfold in others as we do financial counseling with them. I hear statements like, “we just can’t find the money to save!”
What I have discovered is that saving money is not a matter of math. You will not save money when you get that next raise, you will not save money when that car is paid off, you will not save money when the kids are grown. You will only save money when it becomes an emotional priority.
Another statement Mr. Nightingale made is, “virtually any goal can be accomplished, but the desire for the goal is not nearly as important as what you are willing to give up to achieve the goal.” We all know we need to save, but most people don’t save like they know they need to. Why? Because they have competing goals.
The goal to save isn’t a high enough priority to delay that purchase of the pizza, or the DVD player, or the new computer, or the china cabinet. So we purchase, buy, consume all our dollars away or, worse yet, go into debt to buy these things. That debt means monthly payments that control our paycheck and makes us say things like, “we just don’t make enough to save any money.”
Wrong, wrong, wrong!!! We DO make enough to save money, we just weren’t willing to quit spoiling ourselves with our little projects, or pleasures, or wants to have enough left to save. I don’t care what you make, you can save money. It just has to become a big enough priority to you.
If a doctor examined your child then told you that your child was dying and could only be saved with a $15,000 operation which your insurance would not cover and could only be performed nine months from today, could you save $15,000? The answer is yes! Of course you could!
You would sell things to get rid of payments, you would stop any spending that wasn’t required to survive, and you would take two extra jobs. For that short nine months, you could and would become a saving mad man (or woman). Saving that $15,000 would become a goal that you would give up virtually anything to accomplish. SAVING WOULD BECOME A PRIORITY.
The strangest secret to saving? FOCUSED EMOTION. The secret to saving money is to make it a priority and that is done ONLY when you get some healthy anger or fear and focus that on your personal decisions. Harnessing that emotion will make you move yourself to the top of your creditor list. Then ask yourself, “which bill is the most important. Who should I pay first this month?” The answer is, ME!
Until you pay God first, then you, THEN everyone and everything else, you will never save money. You must be mad about it! Sick of it! Never going to be in a position of financial insecurity again! Then you will save and not until then. The advertisers and marketing community are affecting our emotions every day and taking every dollar we have by making us see our WANTS as NEEDS. It is time for this to stop.
Emotions make great slaves, but they are lousy masters. No matter how educated or sophisticated you are, if you are not saving all you should be, you are being ruled by emotions, not harnessing them as financial planning slaves. Focused, healthy anger or fear will work FOR you.
Light dispersed throughout a room merely lights the room, but it turns into a laser that can cut steel when it becomes focused. Make saving your new focus. Make saving your new priority. Consciously decide you are willing to give up everything, but your giving to God, in order to save.
Pay yourself first. Until you make saving an emotional priority, you will never achieve real Financial Peace. “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” Proverbs 21:20