Should You Spend All Your Money When You’re Young?

Should You Spend All Your Money When You're Young Picture“You’re young, why don’t you just enjoy your money now?”

This is something I have heard quite a bit.

Sometimes when I tell someone that we try to save more than 50% of our monthly income, I am asked why we would want to do that.

Most of the time, they think we eat Ramen noodles everyday and that I must hate my life because I like to save our money. However, I think it’s possible to both save money and enjoy your life, but not everyone I talk to thinks the same way.

Here are some of the reasons I have heard for why you should spend all your money when you’re young (in italics):

  • You can start saving later. – I have heard this quite a bit. Why should I wait to save later though when I know I can start saving now?
  • You won’t enjoy your money when you’re old. – I’m not sure how I feel about this. Yes, I could spend all my money right now, but is having more material things something that I actually care about?
  • Bad things are less likely to happen now. – Bad things can still happen though! What if I can no longer work one day, a medical issue arises, or something else bad happens?
  • You have others to fall back on when you’re young. – I don’t have others to fall back on, and even if I did, why would I spend all my money just to mooch off of others?

Below are my reasons for why I think you should start saving now.


You can still enjoy your life and save money at the same time.

I don’t know why some people equate saving money to hating your life. I save money and I love my life. I used to spend all my money and I definitely was not happier then.

If you think you cannot be happy unless you spend all of your money, then you may need to access what the problem is. Does buying things actually make you happier? Do you feel happy for a second and then you’re down again so you feel like you need to keep buying things?

You might think – oh well I don’t make enough money to enjoy life and save money at the same time. Well, why is that?

You might need to create a budget, work to eliminate your debt, start being more frugal, work towards making extra money, and so on. But, it can be done!

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Saving even just a little bit can add up.

I have heard people say that they don’t save money because they don’t think it will amount to anything, so instead they just spend all their money each month and live paycheck to paycheck instead.

Why would you spend just to spend? Come on!

Even just $50 or $100 each month can add up. No need to buy things that you don’t care for just because the money is there.

Compound interest is your friend. The money that you save now can earn interest and equal a much greater amount when you are ready to retire.

Here is an excerpt from Get Rich Slowly’s article The Extraordinary Power of Compound Interest:

“For example, if 20-year-old Britney makes a one-time $5,000 contribution to her Roth IRA and earns an average 8% annual return, and if she never touches the money, that $5,000 will grow to $160,000 by the time she retires at age 65. But if she waits until she’s my age (39) to make her single investment, that $5,000 would only grow to $40,000. Time is the primary ingredient to the magic that is compounding.”


What if an emergency happens?

Many people (especially young people) like to believe that they are invincible and that bad circumstances will never come into their lives. While I do think that being positive about life is great, you should also be prepared for what life throws at you.

You never know if you may lose a job (no matter how stable you think a job is, it can happen), a medical condition arises, something happens to your home, and so on.

Anything can happen, and it might strike when you are young. What would you do if that were to happen?

Saving when you’re young can take the stress out because you will be more prepared for it.

What do you think? Should you spend all your money when you’re young? 



  1. says

    I totally disagree with those people. I think when we’re young it’s even more important to save money because we tend to have fewer responsibilities. Later when we’re old we can reap what we sow so we don’t have to stress out about money anymore and can actually enjoy our life.

  2. says

    I’m completely agree with this post, unluckily I undesrstood the importance to have a good financial life when I was 27 , now I am wquiet good but is never too soon to start to think about future, and having a budget doesn’t means to have a poor life!!!
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  3. says

    I think for us a lot of saving has come down to the fact that we didn’t want to increase our lifestyle when our income more than doubled. We were saving before that too, but not nearly to the same percentage. The main reason for not wanting to increase our lifestyle was because it’s too hard to step back after that’s happened and “drop down” to a cheaper one.
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  4. says

    I think it’s important to put it in perspective when you say you save 50% of your income. I only say this because you publicize your income, but saving 50% of your income when you have already paid off all your student loans and your income is in excess of 10k a month is different than, say, saving 50% of your income when you pay student loans and make 1/3 of that a month. Either way, though, I do disagree with the notion that you should spend money when you’re young instead of save it.

  5. says

    I would definitely say save for the future but also live in the present. Ex, Some people get a $600,000++ mortgage in their youth and give up any semblance of a normal life to pay that mortgage down. We should enjoy every moment and every decade of our life. Traveling with you’re 25 is different from traveling when you’re 55, doesn’t matter about your health, you’re also a different person mentally. Not better or worse, just different. Because we made a lot of good decisions in our twenties and saved, I was able to be a stay at home mom. That said, I wish I consciously saved more and spent more if that makes sense, not letting money fritter away on this and that.

  6. says

    Absolutely not and those people who say that, have a misery wants company complex. I think we all are born with certain traits, saving for me is spending money now, but it also makes me happy / secure. They are also suggesting that you save too much (50%) aka you live poorly because they do not know the income you make. Someone living off 2 grand a month is very different than someone making 8 grand a month. One is left with 1 grand while the other has 4 grand to live off. It all depends on the income, plus I feel we all should save a % on any income level.
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  7. says

    I just have to shake my head when I hear things like this. Would I love to live it up now? Sure I would, but I don’t want to live in my car when I’m old. It’s all about perspective and I believe you can definitely save now and still enjoy life. We do it and are just fine. Beyond that, there are just too many unknowns to not save now.
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  8. Noelle says

    Some very good points Michelle.

    I’d have to say though, saving money actually increases my life happiness. Knowing that I am saving for a better future and for things I truly care about is much more fulfilling than a new wardrobe or car. One of the main arguments for saving instead of spending is that the money will be there when you really need or want it, and you now have the means to take on greater opportunities (travel, experiences, time off for family, etc.)

  9. says

    I am with you on this! I’m not a fan of mindless spending and never have been. I would much rather have access to savings in case I needed it. Living paycheck to paycheck is too stressful in my opinion. I would equate that with hating your life over saving! Saving means you actually care about your future.
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  10. Kathy says

    I suspect people who tell you these things are those who have not saved anything themselves and they need to feel that everyone else should be just like them. It makes them feel better about their own failure. It makes them feel normal. Just follow your own path. You can still enjoy some of your money while saving the rest. And maybe in the meantime, you’ll influence someone to do what you do instead of the “normal” thing to do.

  11. says

    Spending all your money vs. spending into debt is different. I feel like I’m spending all my money in my 20’s, but it’s certainly not all on “enjoying” it — this stupid MBA is taking everything!! haha

    While I have set money aside for retirement, ultimately I’m doing another round in the realm of negative networth, but I’ve stopped spending. There’s no vacations or nice clothes or going out happening here, even though I’m young. I think spending yourself to zero is one thing, but spending yourself into a deep hole because you’ll “pay it off later” is the really dangerous thing.

    • says

      Yes, there has to be some sort of balance, and it is possible to save money and have a great life! I think most of us PF bloggers are perfect examples that it IS possible :)

  12. says

    I know people who barely save any of their income. The worst part is that they are very close to retirement age. They then have to sit and calculate how much they will have in their retirement fund in about 2 years time and how much they can claim from the government.

    These same people try to label me as a capitalist and opportunist because I try to save money and invest. I do this so that I do not put my family and myself in a situation like that.

    I also think that people are generally a bit silently jealous if you treat your money more “better” than they do because they see that you will be better of than they are.

  13. says

    I definitely agree that it’s important to save money when you are young. I wish I would have followed that advice better! The hard part for many people though is that they don’t have control of their money. When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, and someone tells you that you should be saving 10% or more, it seems impossible. You feel like you’d have to sacrifice an enormous amount to reach that goal. Once you get control of your money though, you realize how much money you’re wasting that does nothing to improve your life. Suddenly, saving 10%, 20%, even 50%, seems like no big deal. You’re using your money more efficiently, getting more out of today, and saving for tomorrow. That’s where I am now; I wasted so much money for 10+ years, and it did nothing to add value to the present or future! It seems so odd to me now that I’m living better on less, and creating a better future. And I’m still early in the process, with a little bit of student loans and a car loan to pay off. But the progress is so much quicker now!

    • says

      I’m with you Cindy. We don’t spend anywhere near the amount that we used to, and we have a much better life right now. Proof that you don’t need to spend all your money in order to enjoy life.

  14. says

    Spend some but not all because when your young there is compounding interest you can take advantage of. I remember when i was young and spent all my savings since childhood on video games as a reward to myself for finishing college. If i only spent half of that and put the other half on mutual fund. By now it would have contributed to my retirement option later on. That was about 8 years ago.
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  15. says

    Definitely need to do both. Spend some, and save some.

    Personally, I’ve learned my lesson, perhaps too well, and save or invest the majority of my net income.

    However, I also carve out 5% of my net every month for fun. Life is short, the future is uncertain. Live to be 150, or die today, no one knows what the future holds, so it’s best to make the most of every day.

    Or in the spirit of Shangri La – “moderation in all things”… including moderation.
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  16. says

    I grew up with pretty poor parents, who relied on welfare my entire childhood. Because I have no financial safety net with them, I am pretty conscious of saving and ensuring my butt is covered for emergencies. I’m just starting my 6 month safety net then I’d like to increase it to a year’s worth of living expenses to just hold onto… just… in case! If you fail to prepare you’re preparing to fail. That counts for finances too.

  17. says

    We have so many more expenses now that we’re older (more children, less free time!). I’m glad we put ourselves on good financial ground when we were young.


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