Personal Savings

contributed by Penny

For anyone who has a hard time saving for big purchases, here's how I have done it for 43 years. And I'm still doing it this way!

When first married, my husband and I were students on a limited income. We were lucky to live just a block away from a good laundromat. I did the wash once or twice a week. We began saving our change right after the honeymoon. Seven months later, we were able to purchase our first washing machine. (I worked part-time on campus.)

As soon as we got our washing machine, I saved the amount that I used to spend at the laundromat in a big jar right on top of the washing machine. (I even wrapped the jar in opaque paper and wrote "Laundry money" on it so we couldn't see how much we had.) From then on, we would empty the change jar every year and put the money into a one-year CD, building it up each year and buying first a dryer, then a freezer, and even a car this way. Yup, even a car. We were very lucky as we received enough wedding checks to buy our first car for cash ($3500!) just before we were married. We kept that car for six years, putting aside "car money" in a new car CD each year. I have continued this method of saving for major expenses all of my life and have been fortunate enough to have enough money put aside to buy new appliances when needed, including a new furnace and air conditioner. It is kind of like doing a "Reserve Study" to determine what your large expenses are going to be and figuring the life of those items. Then it is easy to figure out how much you have to put aside each year for each item. Please note that these CDs are to cover only replacement costs and do not include repair and maintenance costs.

I highly recommend this method. It is not hard and it feels so good to have the money when you need it, all in a specific CD that you have just for that replacement.

I just bought a new car for cash that I had saved over 16 years. I bought a 1986 Honda Accord in late 1985 for cash and saved $169 per month for four years. Then, as the car was still in great shape, I reduced that to $150 for 2 years. I had saved the original purchase price of the car in six years. The car was still in great shape so I dropped the car savings to $100 a month and reevaluated each year. I am still driving that 1986 Honda. It is still running well and looks pretty good for its age. Now I also have a van for fun trips and am starting my saving program for the next car. Try it. You'll like it.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it to

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