Unfortunately, most people in America are not consistent savers. Look at the graph below. It’s shocking! Americans saved an average of 10.8 percent of their income in 1984. By 2006, their rate of saving had fallen to a negative 1 percent, the lowest savings rate in the past seventy-three years!
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce
The Bible encourages us to save: “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets” (Proverbs 21:20, tlb). God commends the ant for saving. “Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer” (Proverbs 30:24-25, niv). We need to think like ants! Even though they are small, they save. You may not be in a position to save a lot right now, but begin the habit even if it is only a few dollars a week.
Joseph saved during “seven years of great abundance” (Genesis 41:29) in order to survive during “seven years of famine” (Genesis 41:30). That’s what savings is all about: not spending today so that you will have something to spend in the future. Most people are poor savers because they don’t see the value in practicing self-denial. Our culture screams that we deserve to get what we want, when we want it—and usually that’s right now!
The most effective way to save is to make it automatic. When you receive income, the first thing you should do with the money should be a gift to the Lord, and the second should go to savings. An automatic payroll deduction is even a better way to save. Some people save their tax refunds or bonuses. Remember this: if you immediately save, you’ll save more.
The Bible doesn’t teach an amount to be saved. We recommend saving ten percent of your income. This may not be possible initially. But begin the habit of saving—even if it’s only a dollar a month.