God teaches us savings through the instinctual habits of the ant. According to Proverbs 6:6-8, it tells us to “Go to the ant….consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” You may asking how can ant teach us wisdom? Ants have an instinctual drive to store up food in the time of harvest for a day ahead when no food or not enough food can be found. God has equipped ants with the knowledge of saving in order to preserve them and supply their needs.
In much the same way, we need to understand the discipline of saving. The fact that something has been set aside for a future need can keep us from a financial death. Life hands us unexpected expenses all the time. We never know when we’ll have that unexpected car repair, house repair, or minor emergency. But to develop a habit of placing money aside gives us a storehouse from which to pull from in time of need.
According to Crown Ministries, at least 5 percent of one’s income – after essential bills like taxes- should be set aside for a future need. To get into the habit of putting something from every paycheck into a savings account is a sure way to develop the habit of disciplined savings. Even small amounts, such as five dollars per check, can grow and accumulate. But be realistic with your income and don’t allow yourself to skimp on what you can save, while at the same time savings should not come before meeting your other obligations timely and effectively.
Although there are many types of savings vehicles, there are two general groups of savings to consider. Everyone needs to have an emergency fund with the sole purpose of being dipped into when there is a current need and perpetually being funded on a regular basis. These accounts are savings accounts at a bank or credit union, or a money market mutual fund account. The monies in these accounts should be liquid and be assessable without penalties and with no time lag in retrieving the funds.
If the balance of an account of this type grows beyond what one would need in an emergency fund, then any excess can put into an account of the second type which is a long- term savings fund. Sample uses for these types of accounts would be college savings accounts, retirement accounts, certificates of deposit or monies ear-marked for other long range goals or needs. Having multiple savings plans is certainly fine, provided that an emergency fund is funded first and consistently.
When we’re intentional about saving, God is intentional about blessing. We learn to keep our eyes on Him and trust Him at His word. God doesn’t want us to be reliant upon men for our help, but on him. When we change our habits and allow him to bless our efforts, not only do our finances change, but so does our life. A true transformation arises when we learn and exercise the discipline of saving in our daily life. Learn from some of God’s smallest creatures, the ant. Store in summer and gather at harvest, and your needs will be supplied.
Crown Ministries, “The Need for Emergency Savings”, www.crown.org/Library/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleID=566, (accessed 4/2/2010).