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TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Tess Vigeland: Here’s the thing about personal finance: It’s not always about fixing money mistakes. There are success stories, folks who have saved buckets and buckets of cash. They’ve stretched their income, paid off a mortgage, retired with millions in investment accounts and funded college accounts. How they do it?
Here’s one story from Lake Oswego, Ore.
Nicole Elovitz: My is Nicole Elovitz, and I have to tell you, I am the greatest saver that I know. Money is something that you can hold onto and that it’s much easier to hold onto your own than it is to get someone to give you theirs.
So when I receive my paycheck and my husband receives his, we place a large percent of that income into a separate checking account that is specifically for saving. It’s about 20 percent of the total that we bring home, and then there’s another 15 or so percent that goes towards other buckets of needs that we have. For instance, our daughter’s college education, a vacation fund.
Right now, in our vacation fund, we’ve got about $4,000 saved. In regards to my education fund for college, we put away about $300 every month and we have saved thousands for her education. We’ve got a great budget system set up, but it doesn’t mean we’re not having fun. We’ve got an entertainment fund. That covers dining out and it covers going to the movies, things like that. And that’s about $400 a month.
But that’s not even the personal spending that my husband and I can do. I make sure that each of us have $100 in cash. You can do whatever you want with yours. My husband tends to buy lunch with his on a daily basis, but I, instead, tend to save mine so that I, in turn, can buy something larger. And the funny thing is is that my husband will look where I keep this little wad of cash, and he’ll say, “How come you have so much and I have so little?” And I’ll say, “Because mine doesn’t disappear on a daily basis. Yours does.”
Vigeland: So do you think you are a better saver than Nicole? We’re starting a new segment on Marketplace Money, calling the saving superstars among you. Listen up, we want to talk dollars and cents: What’s your strategy? And what can we learn from you? Just go to Marketplace.org and click on the saving superstars link.