At The Globe and Mail's financial boot camp, we deprogram people caught in the cult of overspending.
Boot camp aims to turn people with all kinds of money challenges into personal finance warriors (check it out here). Here, we work on the discipline of saving to meet your goals and obligations rather than falling back on borrowing. Let's look at 25 reasons for people of all ages to save.
1. A home down payment
If you're in your 20s or early 30s and aspire to buy a first home, this savings goal will be all you can handle.
2. Replace the next big component that fails in your house
Have a 20-year-old furnace? Shingles starting to curl at the edges on your roof? Replacement time is coming. Be ready with cash in hand.
3. Your next home renovation
Price it out and see whether you can cover the cost by saving money over time rather than by dipping into your line of credit.
4. A special assessment at your condo
Just google "condo special assessment" to get an idea of how common – and large – these costs can be.
5. Summer camp for your children
Sleepover camp is really expensive. Save for it year-round.
6. Your kid's college or university education
Save your children from student-debt purgatory. It's real and it can last for 10 years after graduation, assuming a young person finds a decent job quickly.
7. To help your kids after graduation
Ask around – a lot of parents of recent grads are helping with costs such as rent and cell phone bills.
8. To help your kids buy a home
Many parents put great importance on their kids owning a home. I'm not sure why, but there it is.
10. One great family vacation
Consider this – modest family vacations from year to year and one spectacular trip when your kids are old enough to appreciate it. You're investing in great memories here.
11. Periodic adult vacations
A trip away from the kids now and then is no indulgence. You need it.
12. A surprise car repair
You thought your transmission was just a little wonky. Your mechanic says it's toast.
13. Your next car
Estimate when it will be time to get a new car or truck and start putting money away for a down payment a year or two in advance. The more you save, the less you'll be pulled toward those dumb car loans of six years and more.
14. Braces for your kids
Brace yourself – this can cost thousands. If you're lucky, you may get some help from your workplace benefits plan.
15. Hockey equipment for your kids
After suiting up my 17-year-old son, I can tell you that a savings plan for hockey equipment is never a bad idea. Even if you buy used.
16. To move out of your parents' place if you're a recent grad
You'll need first and last months' rent, plus a cushion to cover you in case you're working on contract and have to wait a couple of months between jobs.
17. A wedding, honeymoon and an engagement ring
Please tell me you're not planning to borrow money for any of these.
18. Top up your maternity or paternity leave benefits
Unless your employer tops you up, and not a lot do, then you'll find it a stretch to get by on maternity and parental benefits paid through employment insurance.
19. Buy one great suit
An investment in looking your best when it counts.
20. Your 25th or 50th wedding anniversary
My fellow husbands know what I'm talking about. Don't blow this one.
21. To help aged parents with health issues
Find out now if there's a shortfall between what they have and what they'll need for home care or an assisted living centre.
22. The down payment on an investment property
Some people prefer to invest in property rather than stocks and bonds. Build a down-payment fund and wait for housing prices to fall. It's starting to happen in Calgary.
23. A sabbatical year
Save a chunk of your salary for a few years to pay for a year away to clear your mind.
24. An upgrade to your education or training
Think an MBA or other degree would enhance your earnings prospects? Start saving now to sign up in a few years.
25. A modest indulgence
A nice dinner at a restaurant not located in a big-box retail complex. Live a little.