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?
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.
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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