Neal Boortz provides an interesting way to save money as he criticizes opposition to ANWR:
Senator John Kerry was speaking yesterday in opposition to President Bush’s idea of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). He spouted the same objection we have heard from so many others (including our lovely Belinda); that being that the oil we receive from ANWR would only amount to about two percent of the oil we import from foreign sources.
The message here is that two percent just isn’t meaningful. It’s not important. It’s not enough to worry about.
This “two percent is meaningless” nonsense is dangerous. This is the attitude that has brought us a huge federal government, runaway federal spending, massive personal debt and reduced personal savings.
Two percent counts. It counts a lot more than most of us realize.
Take a look at your credit card debt. Are you like most Americans who carry about $5000 to $6000 and more in credit card debt? If you happen to save all of your credit card statements, go back and look at how you got to where you are. Look at the charges. You will find that the bulk of your credit card debt is built on charges of less than $120. You have $25 here for a fill-up at the Quick Trip. $30 over there for lunch. Then there?s that $55 for a new shirt. All of those charge amounts are far less than two percent of your overall credit card bill — but they add up to a debt nightmare that you’re trying to control.
Ditto for government spending. The same politicians who are telling you that two percent would mean nothing when it comes to our dependence on foreign oil will also tell you that a two percent increase or decrease means nothing when it comes to federal spending. What if we had managed to cut actual government spending by 2% per year for the last ten years? Is there anyone among you who believes that our politicians couldn?t find the savings out there to cut the budget by 2% per year? Just two measly cents on the dollar? Come on! John Kerry is telling us that 2% is nothing! If a 2% cut in dependence on foreign oil would be meaningless, then surely a 2% cut in government spending would be no big deal!
The truth? If these politicians had been cutting our federal budget by 2% a year for ten years the total savings would have amounted to over 18%. Make these cuts for about eleven years and we’ve reduced federal spending by one-fifth. That, my friends, is significant — and it was built on 2% per year. That same 2% figure that ANWR drilling opponents tells us is meaningless.
The point here is that small amounts add up to big amounts. I know that sounds absurdly simple — but there is one way to show you just how significant small amounts can be. It’s called my “Dollar Bill Savings Plan.”
Here’s the deal. Let’s say you are living from paycheck to paycheck. You have no savings plan because you just flat can afford to save anything. You need every penny you earn just to cover your basic expenses. You’re struggling to get ahead — and talk of saving money is futile right now.
Nope. You’re wrong. I’ll prove it to you. Just give me one month and I can prove to you that every dollar makes a difference — and no matter how tight things are, you can save money.
It’s simple. Don’t spend dollar bills. That’s all you have to do. Don’t spend dollar bills. When you leave home in the morning all you have in your pocket is fives, tens, twenties, fifties, hundreds — and loose change. No dollar bills. When you stop off for that cup of coffee in the morning you pay with loose change or a five. If you pay with a five and you get, say, $3.80 in change, the three dollar bills go into your back pocket. You can’t spend them. The change? Fine. But not the three dollar bills. You say you can’t afford to put those three dollar bills away? Fine! Then don’t buy the coffee. You don’t need it anyway.
The same thing for lunch. The tab is $16.00. Leave those dollar bills alone — pay with a twenty. That four bucks you get in change? Into your pocket. You can add a tip to the tab if you want — it’s part of the same transaction — but any dollar bills you receive in change go into that back pocket.
When you get home at the end of the day the dollar bills go into a can, a jar, under your mattress — whatever.
At the end of four weeks I want you to pull those dollars out and count them. I guarantee you that you will have saved much more money over the course of that month than you would have ever dreamed possible — and you will have done it without any material change in your day-to-day lifestyle. AND you did it in small increments. One dollar at a time.
The lesson? Large amounts, be they big savings in government spending or big reductions in our dependence on foreign oil, come from small amounts; small amounts like that 2% drop in dependence on oil imports that John Kerry [thinks] is so insignificant.
I haven’t thought of saving my singles before (I already leave my loose change at home in a jar, and add whatever change I have in my pocket to the jar at the end of each day). I’ll give it a try and let you know what the outcome is after a month. If the small-amount principle can work for the little guy, then it can be applied to bigger entities, such as the guv’mint.