Michael on September 3rd, 2008
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In honor of the kick-off of the NFL season, here are five ways that saving is like football:

1.  Rooting for a loser and choosing to save are decisions that aren’t about today.

They’re about loyalty to your principles, enabling you to enjoy the future even more — whether that be a Super Bowl Championship (finally!) or the achievement of genuine financial independence.

2. Never throw good money in after bad.

The front-office of a lousy (but wise) football team makes moves that are explicitly not designed to maximize this year’s performance. Rather, they look to remove higher-priced experienced players and gain inexpensive young players who are more likely to be around when the team is good enough to compete with the best in the league.  Smart savers don’t buy dessert at a restaurant where the main course didn’t live up to expectations hoping the experience improves.  Instead, they go get ice cream elsewhere. In doing so, they probably save a few bucks and, at the same time, get a new venue.

3.   Don’t play a game you know you can’t win.

Lousy football teams don’t even play the game the same way that contending football teams do. Poor teams know they can’t compete straight-up, so they’re more likely to attempt trick plays and gimmicks.  When you have friends who have a lot more financial resources (or at least they appear to), don’t readily and repetitively agree to meet them for dinner at a really expensive place of their choosing.  Instead, play a different game.  Meet for dessert, a movie, or invite them over to your place.

4. Focus on value received, not on dollars spent.

The best teams in the league often don’t have the highest payrolls.  Instead, they get the most value from the dollars they spend on player salaries.  This means that some players knowingly take less than they could get elsewhere (For example, in the case of the New England Patriots last year: Tom Brady and Randy Moss.), while other players choose to leave these competitive teams to pursue the biggest contract possible.  When you save, you make several conscious decisions each day to maximize the value you receive from every dollar you spend.  That’s not being cheap, it’s being fiscally responsible.

5.  It sucks to be new.

Expansion teams nearly almost finish last. The odds are completely against them, as their teams are almost entirely comprised of other team’s cast-offs.  Yet, for the players who would otherwise not be in the league but for the increased number of roster spots and the fans who root for the new team in their city, excitement is everywhere.  Likewise, when you get your first real job and start to make some real money, you are – and should be – thrilled.  But when it comes to how much money you’ll actually have at the beginning, it sucks.  But it’s not forever.  Just ask the Jacksonville Jaguars, who made it to the AFC Conference Championships in only their second year.

Now if we could only get someone to scream every Friday night at 9PM Eastern: Are you ready for some saving?

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How else is football like saving?

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