By Douglas DeMaio, IMCOM BambergApril 11, 2011
BAMBERG, Germany -- While the government shutdown was avoided April 8, it serves as a stark reminder for the need to save money for a rainy day.
"Everybody loves the sunshine and nice weather, but it does rain in our life," said Eugene Woods, a financial readiness program manager.
Saving money is an arduous task, Woods said, but being persistent and disciplined in saving money can allow people to overt financial calamity.
"In my briefing, I always tell Soldiers and family members that we save money for emergencies, but we don't do it well," he said. "Part of our budget should be putting money into emergency savings. I always say that long term savings is the most critical one. Long term is critical, but emergency is just as important."
Soldiers, family members and civilians anxiously awaited a political debate almost sparked a government shutdown, but people who have saved money over the years were financially prepared.
"The emergency fund prepares us for the unforeseeable event that impacts our livelihood in a negative way," Woods said.
Woods is optimistic that the financial readiness classes he provides to community members can help people cope with a situation that might be a financial burden.
"The finical readiness program is about awareness and education," he said. "We continue to encourage Soldiers, family members to do what they need to do and that is to put a small portion of their pay away."
"Start with $50 or $100 every two weeks and put it to the side and discipline yourself to do it," he said. "That's the key.
"Discipline. It works," he said.
Tracking finances, budgeting and saving spare change are all things that add up financially, Woods said.
"You would be surprised how much small change adds up," he said.
Woods said limiting small purchases is also a great way to save money.
"Watch what you are purchasing during the week during those small purchases," Woods said. "During the month, you spend more on small purchases during the weekday than during the weekend."
On weekends, people will spend large amounts of money, but are more thoughtful about large purchases, he said.
"If it's a need, justify it, but if it is just a want then make the sacrifice," Woods said. "What you will be doing is putting that money back (in your wallet) for a rainy day. Do what parents, teachers and advisers have been telling us all along. Practice what we preach by putting that small amount away for those rainy days."
"When you take those values and your kids see you doing that, then they will inherit those values," Woods said. "They will learn from those good practices you are doing."
Doing so might help people weather the next storm. People who are financially ill prepared for an emergency have options and resources to help endure a crisis.
Some financial institutions also offer short-term loans at a low interest rate.
Army Emergency Relief offers financial assistance to Soldiers. For more information about financial planning or AER, contact Army Community Service.