My husband had lunch with a neighbor last week. He is wealthy and is using his wealth to educate people on how to grow their money. He said, “Thousands of dollars flow through our hands during our lives, whether we flip hamburgers for a living, or are doctors, and very few manage to save any of it.”
I have been reading, The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel. It’s an excellent read. The whole point of his book is that you don’t have to be an expert at making spreadsheets or understand complex algorithms of the stock market in order to do well with money. It matters more what we do than how smart we are. He gives story after story of very smart, rich people who become greedy or careless with the wealth they have and then they lose it all by breaking the law or spending if away foolishly. Here is one of my favorite quotes:
“Savings can be created by spending less. You can spend less if you desire less. And you will desire less if you care less about what others think of you.”
We can work to spend less and desire less, and not care what people think of us knowing we are being good stewards of our future selves. Here is a good example of that.
I like to pursue the r/Frugal thread at reddit.com. I was so touched by this post.
“Dyed and fixed our badly stained, faded and fraying towels with patchwork bias binding from old clothing and scrap material and I love them more than ever!”
“What???!!!” I know. Someone went to all of that trouble? Yes. She or he took their old towels, dyed them to refresh their color, and then bound the edges with binding.
This is one way to hold on to our money, and to save. This is their way.
What I love is how thrilled they were with their creativity, and they will get a little rush every time they use or see those towels. Saving money doesn’t have to be painful. It can give us big, happy feelings of meaning, like we can shape our future lives.
We can say, “I don’t have time to do stuff like that! Just go buy new towels for goodness sake!” I don’t know what this person does for a living, but they are trying to hang on to their money, not let it slip through their fingers and never see it again.
What do I do to save money?
I use budgeting software, Everydollar, to keep track of what we are spending. It keeps the reins on me for sure.
We clean our own house. My husband manages some Roombas we bought, and I do the bathrooms and kitchen.
We do our own yard work.
I do a lot of cooking and meals.
I do my own pedicures.
I iron my own clothes instead of sending them to a dry cleaners.
I drive a car that is eleven years old.
Why? Why am I so mindful? Why does it make me feel so happy when I can stop some of our money sliding through my fingers? Because of this quote from The Psychology of Money:
“The ability to do what you want, when you want, with who you want, for as long as you want, is priceless. It is the highest dividend money pays.“
What are some of those priceless “abilities” that saving money affords?
Not having to go into work every day,
Not feeling stressed over bills,
Not being consumed by the desire to shop, shop, shop–
Retiring younger than we thought we could, and
Having a cushion of savings to give us space and peace in our lives.
I want that freedom, and I want my children to understand that tradeoff as well. It’s an uphill battle to fight materialism and consumerism in our culture. When my daughter’s ’94 Toyota finally needed a repair that would cost more than the car was worth, she upgraded to a nicer car, paying cash. I was so thrilled! No $563.00 car payment for her– that is the average amount that American’s are paying in 2021, it says at lending tree.com.
Saving our money gives us a host of options, especially in uncertain times. Figure out what seems reasonable to start saving, and our creative juices will start flowing. Our children will see our good example of desiring less, and saving more. It’s a great way to live!