Cash-only spending, retirement vs. college account priorities and floorboard funds. Those tips --including a love-money tip from a church leader -- are on the list of "the most surprising financial advice you've ever received" featured in a past issue of Real Simple magazine.
Here's the list:
Coin Jar Wedding: In 24 months, one Real Simple reader (A. Villella of Virginia), collected enough coins "to pay for a nice chunk of my wedding." As such, Villella recommends saving loose change.
Love Money: During a pre-nuptial counseling, one pastor told a couple to keep a small box under their bed. Why? Answer: In order to deposit a dollar on each night of intimacy. With such fiscal planning, one married couple once purchased a luxury vacation with their collection of dollar bills in a box, the pastor explained. And since then, he has advised others to do the same.
Cash is King: Urged by her husband, S. Malone of Washington opted for cash-only spending patterns. "At first it was difficult, but it's been about four years now, and we're much happier for it," Malone wrote.
Retirement Planning Tops College Fund: A financial planner told J. Neiberg of New York to build a retirement fund before tackling the college fund. Here's why: "We could always borrow money to send our kids to college, but we couldn't borrow for retirement," Neiberg told the magazine.
Reality Check: One reader received valuable advice from her father, who was raised during the Depression. His wisdom: "If money is your only problem, it is not a problem, just an inconvenience." --H. Polonsky of New York. Those words have helped Polonsky to keep life into perspective.
Balanced Philosophy: One dad offered this rainy-day advice: save, save save, but his spouse told their child: "You only live once, so you might as well have a good time." In response, C. Furness of North Carolina adopted a financial plan that struck a balance between those extremes of parental advice.
Floorboard Funds: A trader at the Chicago Board of Trades offered his top tip to a friend. "He looked at me with a straight face and said: Put your money under the floorboards," said L. Yeandel of Tennessee.
Kiss-My-Posterior Money: A grandfather offered this tip to J. Gregory of Texas: "Always have some kiss-my-butt money in the bank." That emergency fund provides financial freedom when trouble strikes.
Frugal Duchess Red-Tag Reality: I think the best advice I received came after I posted about 'saving money" on a camera: How We Saved $375 on a Digital Camera. I boasted how we "saved" sooo much by purchasing a digital on sale.
But in response to my post Clever Dude said...
"I know this is semantics, but does spending to save money constitute true savings of money? After reading your purpose article for the experiment, I think you want to find ways to cut $2 a day out of your spending and put it in savings. Saving money by spending isn't quite the same. I would think saving means cutting things you're currently spending money on (e.g. cable bill, other subscriptions, groceries) rather than new things."
He was so right and I've really altered my opinion about sales. Consider this post: The Discount Party Dress: How I Cut Costs at Loehmann's Thanks Clever Dude!
Other advice from Real Simple readers:
1. Make one extra mortgage payment a year and save lots.
2. Consider long-term value. What matters most over the long-run: $200 for a clothing accessory vs. $200 stashed in a savings account?
3. "Spend extra money on making memories, not on material things."--From A. Pauli of Illinois.
4. Work an extra job to pay off a mortgage early.
Sharon Harvey Rosenberg is the author of The Frugal Duchess of South Beach: How to Live Well and Save Money... Anywhere!, which will be published in June of 2008 by DPL Press.