John Bullis: Getting three bangs out of a dollar

I have a favorite story about "Three bangs (benefits) out of a dollar." There are three bangs, or good results, you can get out of a dollar. Howard Hughes only got two of the three bangs. We hope you get all three.

The first "bang" out of a dollar is when you earn it - it gives a sense of accomplishment.

The second "bang" out of a dollar is when you save it - it gives a sense of security.

The third, best and biggest "bang" out of a dollar is when you spend it - it gives a sense of enjoyment.

A recent article in Financial Planning pointed out some differences between "savers" and "spenders."

"Spenders" consistently spend a little more than their income. That leads to financial problems in the long run. It reduces the quality of life in retirement.

"Savers" consistently spend less than their income. That leads to financial benefits and a better quality of life in retirement.

"Savers" don't shop when depressed to avoid buying things they don't really want or need. Some use a three day rule - they don't buy something until they have thought about it for three days. That helps avoid the impulse purchase they can regret in the long run.

On the other hand "Spenders" are more likely to make a purchase decision on a major item quickly. They pull out the credit card and then try to pay it off over many months, in some cases, many years.

It is not easy to change behavior as an adult. If we haven't learned to save in our early years, it is difficult to change our behavior as an adult. If you can teach your children to save a little, consistently, they will be more likely to save as adults.

However, it is possible to learn to get the third bang out of the dollar by spending carefully.

It is not too late to change our spending habits. Many have done that by putting the credit cards in the freezer. That way they have to take a little time before using a credit card for a discretionary purchase.

The other extreme to be avoided is the compulsive saver who misses out on enjoying life.

The "balance" between over-spending or over-saving is not easy to maintain. However, it can be done in a reasonable way.

I hope you get all three bangs out of the dollar.

According to Bebe Moore Campbell, "It is no disgrace to start over or to begin anew."

• John Bullis is a certified public accountant, personal financial specialist and certified senior adviser serving Carson City for 45 years. He is founder emeritus of Bullis and Company CPAs, LLC.


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