Crawling Into Savings

 A Day in the Life of Mrs.Wow

The other day I witnessed something really cool.

I was in the middle of re-evaluating one of my kiddos, when all of the sudden she started crawling.  It was the very first time she had ever moved forward on her hands and knees (something her mother had been waiting patiently for a few months for this to happen).  Immediately, her mother and I erupted with delight. I’m sure the clapping and cheering was heard blocks away.

For that moment the world stopped, this child had just reached a pivotal milestone in her life.  Her mother was absolutely overcome with emotion, smiling from ear to ear.  And, quite honestly, I was absolutely honored to have witnessed it.

Now for the parents out there, I’m sure this joy resonates with you.  It’s a pretty cool thing to watch as your child learns a new skill, especially something that is so critical to their development. While I am not a parent at the current moment, I have been lucky enough to get to see the attainment of these major milestones because of my line of work.  And over the years, I’ve come to recognize the value in something so small, yet so imperative.

So what’s the big deal about crawling anyway?

To Crawl or Not to Crawl

In my eyes, crawling is one of the most important, if not the most important milestone for a child to master.  In a nut shell, crawling promotes:

  • development of strength in the arms, legs and core
  • coordination between the upper and lower extremities, as well as the right and left side of the body
  • stimulation of different textures and the development of the arches and web space in the hands
  • improved power and stability of muscles needed for breathing, talking and eating
  • increased motor planning, problem solving, spatial awareness and visual skills

All of these are necessary for further development as a child continues to grow throughout his or her lifespan.

A child who does not crawl may encounter challenges later in life like difficulty with walking, running, jumping, riding a bike or other gross motor activities.  It can also lead to difficulty with handwriting, reading, problem solving, driving and the list goes on and on.

Needless to say, crawling is important.  I understand that there are some professionals out there who feel crawling can be skipped with no long-term effects.  I will happily agree to disagree with them on this one.

This guy knows a thing or two about crawling

Ok so what?

By now I’m sure most of you are wondering where I am going with this.

Upon reflection of watching my client reach this milestone and embark on her new way of exploring the world, it got me thinking.

If crawling is the one central skill needed for the acquisition of so many other skills, what is the one crucial skill needed to attain financial independence?

There are many ways to reach financial independence, i.e. side hustles, investing, and real estate, but what’s the one essential skill necessary to begin?

In my mind, it all boils down to the ability to save money.

And by saving money, I’m not just talking about coupon clipping.  I’m implying the act of actually acquiring money, of growing the gap between expenses and income.

As the saying goes, you have to crawl before you walk. In other words, you need to save money before you can begin to navigate the simple path to wealth (shoutout to Jim!).

Our SPTW book collection!

This skill is so important that without it, none of the other things would matter.

All the side hustles in the world, wouldn’t matter if you couldn’t save any of the money brought in.  Investing wouldn’t be a thing, because you would’t have any money to invest in the first place.  And real estate… well, you get the picture.

Learning to squirrel away money is the utmost vital skill necessary in order to set yourself up for financial success.

Just imagine the sunflower seeds were benjamins

A Waffle Friend

This simple skill really hit home when I was discussing finances with a friend.  Although, he was making a good income, he was not paying attention to where his money was going.  He mentioned that he was drowning in debt, but didn’t really know what to do.  He felt stuck.

Rather than blurt out everything I knew in regards to money and overflowing his inbox with stellar posts on the subject, I encouraged him to start small and begin tracking his money.

Once he had identified what he was spending on, he could start cutting his expenses and begin hoarding saving his hard earned dollar bills.  Essentially, I was gently nudging him from his comfortable sitting position into crawling and thus, setting in motion the financial catalyst.

We now meet monthly to check in with each other and set-up financial goals for the next month.  I have started introducing him to different ways to cut expenses, how to pay off debt, and how to begin investing.

He’s helped me set up a few financial goals to further challenge myself and is holding me accountable.

He is starting to crawl on his financial journey. He will be running in no time.

The Crawling Conclusion

For a child who is just learning to crawl, their world suddenly opens up.  They are quickly inundated with new experiences and learning opportunities.  Like crawling, learning the simple skill of saving money, allows us to explore new opportunities.  It gives us options.  It allows us to take some chances.

While there are many complicated methods in order to reach financial independence, sometimes we need to embrace the simplest of skills and reflect on what started us on this path in the first place.

How did you first start crawling your way to financial independence? Any advice for my friend as he begins his journey?

 

26 Comments

  • Dads Dollars Debts December 20, 2017 at 4:36 am

    I didn’t learn to crawl out of debt until I was 34… Likily by the time I was 37 I was a master….it is funny how so few of us pay attention to our financial well being. I suspect it is because the marketers have done such a good job in making us think we need to remain in debt.

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW December 20, 2017 at 10:43 am

      I also think that people who make a decent income do not think that they need to pay attention to their money (or at least do not think it is that important and would rather spend their time thinking about other things). But society and marketing have not made it easy either.

      Reply
  • Fritz @ TheRetirementManifesto December 20, 2017 at 4:58 am

    Good analogy. I was fortunate to have a Dad who instilled strong principles of personal finance in my life. When I started at my first “real” job (Age 22, and only a month out of college), I set up my 401(k) before my first paycheck, and I’ve never looked back.

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW December 20, 2017 at 10:44 am

      That’s awesome that your dad didn’t waste any time in setting you up. Definitely makes a difference to start early!

      Reply
  • Mrs. Groovy December 20, 2017 at 7:57 am

    We didn’t learn to save until our 40s. The best method was to automate. That’s where I’d suggest anyone start, with as little or as much as they can. It’s one of those “just do it” things. Force yourself to start and don’t give it another thought until you realize you don’t miss the money. Then increase savings.

    When we were hiking in Montana, one stretch was so icy that if I hadn’t crawled I would have been in deep doo-doo. Sometimes you gotta crawl instead of walk (climb, run, race, etc). I didn’t care that I looked stupid. It’s better than falling off a mountain (cliff? financial cliff? — I’m stretching).
    Mrs. Groovy recently posted…See You in 2018

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW December 20, 2017 at 10:47 am

      Great advice! I will bring up automation at our next meeting. And I like where you are going with this. I feel that whenever you are in a predicament or maybe feeling stagnate it is important to consider crawling again to at least attempt to make headway, however small or silly it looks. There is no need to fall off a cliff, financial or not.

      Reply
      • Sara December 28, 2017 at 12:54 pm

        Yes, an example of going back to crawling is that I sometimes have to stop using my credit card for a little while and use cash until I get back into the groove of not overspending. After a little time crawling I am ready to be responsible with my credit card again.

        Reply
        • Mrs WoW December 28, 2017 at 4:47 pm

          Oh, I like that. It’s not just that we learn to crawl and then never go back. Sometimes we need to go back to the basics, to get us back on the right foot.

          Reply
      • Ella Rose January 23, 2018 at 7:49 am

        I second the notion of automating savings. I’d never done it before but had heard about it everywhere! Finally I just started with a small amount from every weekly paycheck five months ago. When I got my debt paid off, I doubled the amount transferred from my checking to savings accounts on paydays.. and haven’t missed a penny. It’s now a game for me to see if I can add more to the weekly savings transfer and see if I even notice the lower amount I have to spend on expenses for the month.

        Reply
        • Mrs WoW January 24, 2018 at 7:18 am

          Yes, that is such a great idea. If you never see it, you will never miss it and by making it a game, it makes it even more fun!

          Reply
  • FIRECracker December 20, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Love the “learning to crawl” analogy! Everyone has to start somewhere. That’s true for side projects/passion projects as well as investing.

    We learned about investing soon after we started working, but didn’t solidify our knowledge until 2008. That was a HUGE learning curve for everyone, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger 🙂 And then after that, we had to start learning how to crawl again when we wrote a children’s book. Life is one long learning process, and I look forward to all the opportunities to crawl, over and over again (though I’ll probably bitch and complain way more than I should the entire time)

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW December 20, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      Spot on point FC! Life really is one long learning process and in order to get anywhere you have to start small before you can get your wings and fly!

      Reply
  • Accidental FIRE December 20, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    I like the comparison, very nice. When I try to communicate it to my friends, instead of saying “save” I sometimes feel the need to break it down – spend less than you make, and save the difference. Without that, nothing can happen. Adding in the “spend less than you make” part helps them get the concept.

    And congrats on the young’un crawling!!

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW December 20, 2017 at 7:09 pm

      Breaking it down for people can make all the difference. Just think, move one hand, then one leg, the other hand, then the other leg i.e. spend less, make more, save and invest the rest, simple!

      Reply
  • Joe December 21, 2017 at 10:00 am

    I agree. The first step is saving. It’s not that difficult and the earlier you start, the better off you’ll be.
    My family didn’t have much money when I was young so I knew about saving and living frugally. Fortunately, the habit continued when I started making good income.

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW December 21, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      That’s awesome that you acquired that mindset at a young age. I think a lot of people regret not starting sooner. Thanks for stopping by RB40!

      Reply
  • wendy December 21, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Love your analogy (just not the actual caterpillars – bad experience with gypsy moth caterpillars as a child)… I automated my savings, albeit at lower than 50% level, early on… it was the lifestyle/spending creep that took me a (long) while to figure out
    Now I’m two years into my crawl and figure I’m about toddling around now, trying to play with matches and run with scissors whilst juggling…
    Best wishes to you both for your holidays and 2018!

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW December 21, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      This guy is a monarch caterpillar. We have a bunch of milkweeds in our yard and apparently that’s the plant they eat. Had 25 cats just the other day, but I think the birds figured out they’re hiding spots! Hope you are doing well Wendy, happy holidays!

      Reply
  • Mr. Groovy December 21, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    “Like crawling, learning the simple skill of saving money, allows us to explore new opportunities. It gives us options. It allows us to take some chances.”

    I love it, Mrs. WoW. I started to crawl in 2003 when Mrs. Groovy and I first began to track our spending. It is truly amazing what saving opportunities become available when you know where your money is going. Thank you for sharing the glories of crawling. And thank you for sharing that beautiful story about your young patient. It made my day. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
    Mr. Groovy recently posted…See You in 2018

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW December 21, 2017 at 5:59 pm

      It is so important to know where you money is going and then stop it from going to useless places. Glad you enjoyed the story, the beauty of my job is that I get to see this on a regular basis. It always makes my day as well. Happy holidays to you and Mrs.G!

      Reply
  • Mr. Tako December 21, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    You think crawling is awesome… wait until they take a shit in the toilet by themselves the first time. That’s like a miracle from heaven when the light of God shines on you.

    It’s that good.

    Now, if only I had a financial equivalent for it…. then I’d have a really awesome post idea.
    Mr. Tako recently posted…Let Your Best Investments Run

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW December 21, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      I can only imagine! Putting my thinking cap on now, I’ll let you know if I come up with anything.

      Reply
  • Jane Murguia December 23, 2017 at 3:03 am

    Admittedly, I’m still learning to crawl. I hope I get better at it.
    Jane Murguia recently posted…Matched betting for full time Mums – this is NOT gambling!

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW December 23, 2017 at 8:34 am

      We all have to start somewhere. You’ll get there, I’m sure of it!!

      Reply
  • Cubert December 23, 2017 at 4:19 am

    Fun! I remember when our twins first started acquiring this crucial skill. The boy always had a bit of an edge on his sister with these early milestones, but now at four, she’s emerged as the superior monkey.
    Agree with the analogy here. We had to make sure we had our act together on the fundamentals before we branched out to become real estate investors / landlords. It’d be pretty challenging to take that on while being irresponsible with the rest of our finances.

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW December 23, 2017 at 8:38 am

      A saying that is thrown around the therapy world is that “sooner doesn’t mean smarter”. Many people think that kids who crawl/walk/talk sooner are just smarter in general, and that is not true.

      Having a solid foundation is the most imperative thing. With a good baseline, you can go anywhere. Without one, you will always be struggling.

      Reply

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