As is evident in all of my posts, I’m a big-time believer that even we nonprofit workers need to be putting aside a generous amount of money for retirement, for college and wedding costs of our children, for our own Mercy Mound and so on.
Putting aside enough money on less income
While we need to be saving as much as or more than the average American, we generally have to do so on a much more modest income. Though some of us clearly need to be asking for a boost in our paychecks, we’ll never be able to earn like Joe American. That’s okay. The sense of pleasure we have at serving people and the Lord is like an annual bonus!
Spending less is more valuable than income
However, having a limited income means we’ve got to spend less. Saving $10 at a discount grocery store is actually more valuable than getting $10 more in income. Why? It’s not taxed! Choosing not to by a new pair of sandals is like finding money, and the country where you live can’t tax it, the U.S. can’t tax it as income, you won’t have social security taxes added to it and there’s not even any sales tax or value-added tax tacked on to it (has anyone ever figured out what that “added value” is that we’re getting?).
One of the easiest ways of earning by not spending is to simply realize…
It doesn’t hurt to ask
Knowing that my foreign car insurance was due to be paid in a few weeks, I wrote a polite email to an independent insurance agent who works with lots of insurers if we should be looking for a better deal than what was being offered in the generic renewal. We checked a couple of insurers but the price I was getting was better, so we got my existing insurer on the line and ask if they could reduce the price at all. Within hours I received an email giving me more than a 40% reduction in my already excellent price. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Ok, so some of us live in the Wild West of pricing where prices are made up and negotiated on all the time. It works overseas in some places, but…
Does it work “back home”?
Yes, it often does!
I changed the web hosting for this website this week. (If you want to help me pay for that, click on some of my affiliate links on the tools page. I often get a kickback which helps me pay these out-of-pocket costs.) Before signing a 3-year contract for well over $200, I got on their online chat and asked, “Hey, do you have any discounts for me today if I sign up?” He received approval from his manager to give me a 15% off code that saved me $30.
Some elderly supporters of ours recently told me how they’d put three bills in their personal “paid” stack instead of in their “to-be-paid” stack. Because of the oversight, they owed three billing companies about $25 each. I urged them to make three phone calls, to apologize for their mistake and to ask if there was any way the fee could be removed in this case. Yep, you’re right. They got all of their $75 back, because they were encouraged to ask.
Next on my to-do list is to call my credit card company where my annual fee is coming due soon. I’m going to ask them if they can give me another year free. Hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask!