Want To Live Your Best Life? It Starts With Saving

Let’s get this out of the way first – saving your money is one of the best things you can do for yourself. And, the financial security that comes from learning to save your money means you’re able to pursue your passions, try new things, and jump on whatever adventure comes your way. So, why…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: December 12, 2020

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Let’s get this out of the way first – saving your money is one of the best things you can do for yourself. And, the financial security that comes from learning to save your money means you’re able to pursue your passions, try new things, and jump on whatever adventure comes your way.Let’s get this out of the way first – saving your money is one of the best things you can do for yourself. And, the financial security that comes from learning to save your money means you’re able to pursue your passions, try new things, and jump on whatever adventure comes your way.

So, why do some people think that if you live frugally and save your money, then your life must be boring?

Because that couldn’t be further from the truth!

On the other hand, many think that satisfaction and enjoyment only comes from spending money. Sure, money can help improve your life, but it’s not everything. And, if not managed well, it can lead to debt, stress, and more.

Still, there are situations when people can’t save and may have to live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. However, living a frugal life doesn’t just help you save your money, it can help you prepare for extraordinary circumstances that can lead to debt and a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle.

Learning how to save your money shouldn’t be what happens when you are out of options. It should be a lifelong practice that means you are prepared for the what-ifs, the emergencies, and a future free from the constraints of living a paycheck to paycheck life.

To me, this doesn’t sound boring, it sounds smart!

If you go through life with the mindset that money equals happiness and saving money is for boring people, just think of all the things you’ll miss out on.

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The negative assumptions of knowing how to save your money.

Saying that you are frugal can lead to a lot of negative assumptions. People may think you are cheap, boring, only eat rice and beans, have no hobbies, and that you’re missing out on life. Despite all of the negativity that comes from saying you’re frugal, it’s how I’ve chosen to live my life. Sure, I still have my splurges (living on a boat is not cheap, and I realize that), but I am very conscious about how I spend my money.

I don’t feel like I’m missing out on what life has to offer, and my life certainly isn’t boring! I know a lot of people that are choosing to live a more simple life by being frugal, and they are some of the best people I know.

Sadly, those negative assumptions and myths about frugality cause many people to avoid it all together.

And, for many people, it isn’t until they are much older that they realize how learning to save your money would have helped them for years to comes. They realize that they could have been more thoughtful about their purchases, saved more, and spent more time focusing on finding happiness through simplifying their lives.

However, by that age, it can often feel impossible to start saving money, earning more money, and investing.

There are many reasons to save money, and it’s never too late to start.

Here is why you should save your money.


You don’t need as much as you think.

The average home size in 1950 was less than 1,000 square feet. Fast forward to 2013, the average home size has increased to nearly 2,600 square feet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

And, the average household also has 300,000 items (not a typo).

People are buying bigger homes and filling them with more stuff than ever.

However, do we actually need all of that stuff?

Probably not.

Spending money on a bunch of unnecessary stuff does not mean that you will have a higher level of happiness than someone else.

I can’t even remember the last time I bought myself something that wasn’t boat or RV related. Over the years, I have realized that stuff does not make me happy, and that realization has saved me a boatload of money!

You really don’t need as much as you think you need. The best things in life will not make you broke.


Having a fun life doesn’t mean having an expensive life.

Here are a few myths I’ve heard from people who think learning to save your money means you’re having no fun:

  • “I can’t save money because that means I’ll just be eating rice and beans and sitting on my couch all day long.”
  • “That person is only able to save money because they have a boring life.”
  • “I’d rather enjoy my life now and worry about saving money when I’m old.”

These are not true, at all. You know what they say when a person complains about being bored – that they are actually a boring person.

If you think spending money rather than saving money will lead to happiness, then you need to change your mindset.

Life is all about a comfortable balance. You can save money, spend money, and have an enjoyable life. It’s not one or the other. And, really, it’s all about knowing what you can actually afford and thinking about whether buying something will actually benefit your life.

There are plenty of ways to live an awesome life while saving money. Yes, you can still see your friends, have fun with your loved ones, go on vacations, and more, all while staying on a realistic budget.

If I wanted, I could go out and spend more of my income, but I don’t feel the need to spend any more of my money than I already do. I purchase what I want and need, and I am very happy with the life I live. Being frugal is not forced upon me, and it’s become a natural part of my day-to-day life.

By living a frugal life, you are most likely making do with what you have and buying and using quality items that will last. Less physical clutter means a simpler life you can truly enjoy.

Material items do not always equal happiness. Sometimes they just add stress, debt, and more. Think about it – the more stuff you have, the more likely that something will break, something will get lost or tossed to the side, and so on.

When we were spending more due to lifestyle inflation, we realized we weren’t really appreciating the things we were purchasing.

We were buying things, not enjoying them, and we were being a little lazy because we weren’t in the right mindset. I didn’t like feeling that way because I felt wasteful and even guilty about how I was spending my money and time.

By living frugally, as in being thoughtful about your purchases and being careful to save your money, you will find that you enjoy what you have even more. Wouldn’t you rather enjoy each meal you eat, each item you buy, and more? Appreciating the little things can be a great feeling.


Compound interest is a powerful thing.

Learning how to save your money is a wonderful thing, especially if you start investing. When it comes to investing, time is on your side because of the powerful impact of compound interest.

Compound interest is one important reason for why you should start saving money as early as you can.

To put it simply, compound interest is when your interest is earning interest. This can then turn the amount of money you have saved into a much larger amount years later.

Side note: I recommend you check out Personal Capital if you are interested in gaining control of your financial situation. Personal Capital is similar to Mint.com, but much better. Personal Capital is free and it allows you to aggregate your financial accounts so that you can easily see your whole financial situation, including investments.


There’s no need to just waste money.

There is no reason to spend all of your money just because you are able to. In my opinion, finding ways to save money will bring you greater security and peace of mind.

I’ve heard of people say, “well, I only have $20 left in my bank account, I might as well go out to eat.”

If you decided to save your money rather than spend the last bits of it until your next paycheck, you will be on the road to saving more in the long run, meaning you can start to break free from a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle.

Even if you are only able to save a small amount, that is much better than not saving anything.

Like I said above, time and compound interest are both on your side, and this can turn the small amount of money you have saved into a much larger amount.

Related: 16 Alternatives To Cable TV That WILL Save You Money


Everyone is different.

What someone wants to do to save money (as long as it’s legal) shouldn’t bother you. If someone wants to eat rice and beans so that they can retire earlier, then who are you to tell them it’s not worth it?

One of the most amazing things about life is that everyone is different. If everyone lived the exact same life – well, that would just be really boring.

People can be so judgmental at times. People say crazy things about my life all the time, like I’m crazy to live in an RV or boat even though I make $100,000 a month (hint: I don’t live on a boat to save money) and even that I shouldn’t be allowed to save money. Judging someone for the choices they make, ones that aren’t negatively affecting others, is just crazy to me. Let people do whatever they want, and if they want to save money, then who cares?

Just because someone is frugal, it doesn’t mean they hate their life. If you think that, then you probably have some misconceptions about life and personal finance.

Perhaps, you don’t know how to enjoy life without spending a lot of money?

If you took a step back and realized that everyone is different, you might be surprised how much better you’ll live without all of that negativity.


The less money you spend, the less you need.

By spending less money, you’ll decrease the amount of money you need in the future. This includes money for emergency funds, retirement, and more.

This will help you build your emergency fund quicker and reach retirement sooner.

Just think about it: If you are already living a frugal lifestyle, then you will be used to living on less in the future. This means your retirement savings doesn’t need to be as large, which means it may be easier to reach that savings goal.

Also, if you spend less money, you probably won’t need as much in your emergency fund, which can also help you fund that sooner!

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the personal savings rate in the United States has averaged around 5% in the past year, and averaged 8.33% from 1959 until 2016.

Mr. Money Mustache has a great graphic in his blog post The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement that shows you how your savings rate can dramatically impact when you’ll retire. For example:

  • With only the 5% savings rate mentioned above, it would take you 66 working years until you reached retirement.
  • A 25% savings rate means it would take you 32 working years to retire.
  • A 50% savings rate means it would take you 17 working years to retire.
  • A 75% savings rate means it would take you 7 working years to retire.

So, by saving more of your money, you are likely to retire sooner. Sounds amazing, right?


There’s no guarantee that you’ll always have that income stream.

Time and time again, I hear from people that say they don’t need to save money because they have a job.

Yes, there are tons of jobs and your income potential is pretty much unlimited. However, you never know how long you’ll be making money or how long that job will last.

A lot of people think, “But, I enjoy my job!”

While it’s great that you enjoy your job, you should still learn to save your money. Too many people think they can work forever because they love their job.

However, what happens when you can no longer work? You don’t know what the future will bring – you may encounter a medical problem, a serious life event, you may hate your job 20 years from now, and so on.

Nothing is guaranteed.

So, instead of spending every last penny that you have, you should find ways to save more money.


The best things in life are free.

Stop for a second and think about your life. Do you have a friend you can count on? A family member who cares for you? A significant other to share your life with? Did a stranger hold the door open or offer you a smile? None of those things cost a dime.

Even if you just have one of these, you are still experiencing the happiness in life that comes free of charge.

There are so many free things in life to enjoy!

There are libraries, parks, free concerts, music on the radio, and more.

Living a frugal life means you are taking advantage of what’s already around you. For some, this can be a hard mindset to get into, but when you realize you already have the most important things in life, you will realize that money isn’t the be all end all.

Do you think that your life will be horrible if you save your money rather than spend it all? Do you think there can be a healthy balance of saving money and enjoying life?

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Ánna

    Well, my life is kind of dull and meaningless. I have a low income due to sickness compensation.
    Raised my daughter alone, she now is living her own life.
    I never had the possibility to save.
    The last cuple of years I have saved what I can, and yes I am cheap and boring, eat a lot of rice and beans. Have no hobbies and are missing out of life..
    In 4 years I will have an even lower income, so I am kind of terrified and try to save my but of until then.
    So, my reality is that I am poor and don t have much of a life. That s a fact.
    Even though blog after blog says that you don t have to have a shitty life if you are frugal and save your money, that is not the case for me.
    Just an exampel, my food can cost max 100 dollars every month, that is my budget. No meat, it s all beens. And so on.

    1. Can you hike, go for a walk, explore free events in your area?

  2. Nice post once again Michelle.

    My savings rate has been the main key to my financial turnaround from a very messy divorce when I had a negative net worth about to turn 40.

    Because I increased my savings rate (last couple of years I calculated it at over 70%) I have done a dramatic turnaround and now set myself up (I’m probably lean FIRE right now at 47 but I’m shooting for fatFire by 53-55).

    Compound interest is an amazing thing and you can be on the wrong end of the equation as a borrower or on the right end as a lender having money work for you.

    And for every $10k/yr you can cut down your living expenses decreases the nest egg you need by $250k given the 4% rule.

    1. Sounds like you are doing well. Great job!

  3. This is a great post Michelle! When I talk to people about saving money and living a frugal life I hear the same thing “well you must live a boring life” or “why save now just to have money when you are old” or “you’re young, live your life”. haha, I hear it all the time. Saving isn’t about deprivation, it is about planning for a financially solid future and frugality isn’t about being “cheap” it is about getting only what makes you happy and finding ways to get that same level of happiness cheaper. If more people realized this then we would all be better off. All it takes is some careful planning to find what you really need and want and to get rid of all the clutter in your life, then save and invest.

  4. Great post! I definitely believe in saving as much as I can 🙂

  5. I love this. I live very frugally and I love my life. I don’t live on beans and rice – though I do eat it once in a while because, it’s so delicious! 🙂 I get so tired of people feeling sorry for me because i don’t make a huge income. I have so much to be thankful for and I feel very blessed.

  6. Ann Marie Witt

    Love the beginning of this blog post. You presented a different point of view which is very convincing!

  7. YESSS! Life is so much less stressful as a saver.

  8. Hey Michelle! I really enjoyed this post, because I get countless questions on whether I feel “deprived” or whether I find my life to be “sad” or “boring”. (I don’t! Not at all.)

    The past year has been the most frugal period of my 25-year life. I put away 75% of my $2,800-a-month corporate job salary. And it’s because I find pleasure in the simple things. Like hiking in the woods, running by the beach, reading a good book, publishing a good blog post. And of course, scoring cheap $0.50 second-hand DVDs to watch at home instead of going to the cinema. I must say that it’s been the most insightful year of my life, and I’ve learnt that I need so much less than I originally thought.

    I work a full-time job and multiple side hustles, which allow me to save around $40,000 a year. I’m aiming to have saved up a total of $150,000 in my bank account within the next 2 years. After which, I will quit my silly corporate job, and start chasing my dreams. You’re very right, Michelle. Without the habit of saving, I would never be able to quit my job. I would never be able to pursue my passions full-time. I would have spent the rest of my life slogging it out at a job I really dislike.

    I guess you can say that saving money really saved my life. 🙂 Great post, wonderful message. Thank you, Michelle.

  9. Leon

    Alot of people run the track of achievement and status symbols thinking it is the path to fulfillment.

    Beyond providing for our basic needs and the occasional splurge if you can afford it, I think money is a tool for increasing our impact in the world.

    Our mindset towards money determines our quality of life. I know families who are struggling but live a life of generosity and abundance. At the same time, I know people who are doing well for themselves but feel miserable because they compare themselves to everyone else.

    You can be frugal out of scarcity and need. Or you can be frugal out of abundance realizing that you can find satisfaction with things that don’t require money. But when you are living in poverty it is not easy at all to adopt the latter mindset…

  10. Love this, and I love what you said about a frugal life doesn’t mean a boring life. I find so many free events in my area, and my husband and I both save diligently. Saving money is SO important.

  11. Kris

    I recalled after paying off the last of my debt, student loans, and had this plan of saving and wondered if I would enjoy saving all this money but limiting myself to going out to eat, eliminating cable TV and trimming my cell phone plan. But it turns out I am enjoying saving more than spending money. I have discovered my love to the library and enjoying walking around my neighborhood. Simple things like this have not saving help me save money but also enjoying the resources that are available for free.

    1. I really need to check out the library. I haven’t been to one in forever since we’ve been traveling full-time.

  12. Love this post 🙂

    I like the expression, “the more stuff you own, the more it owns you.”

    I find that so true trying to manage a busy household with three young kids. There is no need to spend money on more STUFF!!

  13. Sara @ Budget & Bliss

    This is a great post Michelle. I find the Financial Independence community interesting and the knowledge that your savings rate plays such a huge impact on your financial future and retirement. I know Dave Ramsey preaches 15% for retirement but I truly believe we all need to be doing more than that. We can enjoy life on so much less than we are currently spending and it would bring us to a point of retirement much sooner. While retirement may not be the next best step for everyone saving money is important no matter where you are in your financial journey.

  14. Janet

    I love this post and I couldn’t agree more with “the less you spend, the less you need.” Ever since I decided to do my Master studies abroad I really had to cut down on my spending and basically all my monthly expenses are now just essential things I need to survive + another say $100 for entertainment. I have some friends who love to brag about how much money they spend on new clothes and vacations and whatnot, but it really doesn’t impress me. I am more impressed by someone who spends less than I do!

  15. Caroline

    Love this post! My experience with frugality has been that it’s FUN learning how to maximize savings and lifestyle at the same time. For instance, I’m trying to fill my house and yard with beautiful trees and gardens. I’ve taken some hand me down plants from friends, or almost dead plants from Home Depot for a couple of bucks (I find that the drought tolerant ones will usually bounce back). Most of my trees were bought at half price at the end of the season.
    Next year, I plan to start a food garden, and I’m busy saving seeds this summer to see if I can sprout them next year…
    I feel that it’s exhilarating to buck the system that says you have to spend a lot of money to live a beautiful and luxurious life!

  16. Lydia

    Loved this post! I’ve always been a “saver” which has definitely paid off (like living on my savings for my first two years of college). I have found that searching for cheaper ways to do everyday things encourages creativity and “thinking outside the box”. While some people may be judgemental, others are inspired by a new approach to these things (like cooking).

    For the most part, I live a frugal life but always splurge on trips or experiences. Life certainly does not need to be boring!

  17. Somchai

    I make 7000 a month in income from passive investment. I don’t have to do any work. So i have nothing but free time.
    Yet I am bored out of my mind and I have zero savings.

    I’m 35 years old. I don’t drink or smoke. I spend all my money buying stuff or traveling around because i’m bored all day and night. I never save because staying in my condo all day is excruciatingly boring and i feel like i’m wasting my life. 24 hours in a room is brutal. It’s like being in prison.

    I live in a third world country with no parks or libraries. Even our sidewalks are impassable because street vendors and cars use them selfishly. So you can’t talk a walk unless you go to the mall, which costs money.

    What’s your advice for me?

      1. Somchai

        Because i’m from a third world country and developed countries don’t let us in.