Thoughts on Saving

16 Apr

I apologize in advance for the jumble of thoughts in this post.  It’s one of those times that I just want to get my thoughts out without caring too much about how the ideas flow…

It can be tough to start a new financial journey.  (Most of us) have grown up in a very consumerist society where it is expected that you’ll spend a majority of your money buying things.  If you don’t buy things, people will think that you don’t have enough money and will worry about you.

I was taking a mini road trip with my mom this weekend and we got on the subject of saving money.  I mentioned to her that I’d been reading a lot of financial blogs that discuss the idea of saving a large percentage of your money in order to “retire” at an earlier age.  I told her that saving 40% when you’re younger can allow you to retire way earlier than usual.  She looked at me and said, “well yeah, but it is almost impossible save 40% of your paycheck!”  I looked back at her (okay, glanced back at her; I was driving during this conversation) and said, “Mom, I save over 40% of my paycheck right now.  Does it look like I’m living super frugally?”

She admitted that I didn’t live my life like I was poor, so I suppose I got some of my point across and she now knows it is possible.

I think that I’ve been reading so many blogs that talk about a high savings rate that I’ve become immune to it.  40% in my head doesn’t even sound high (in fact, it’s probably on the verge of laughable in many extreme-early-retirement communities) but to the average American, it’s practically unattainable.

I’m not one for “bragging” about my life, so I find it hard to bring up my savings rate to friends and family in an effort to change their way of operating.  I think it may be hard for people to come to terms with this “extreme saving” concept*- their immediate reaction will probably be much like my mom’s; that it’s a fairly impossible goal.  I’m torn between WANTING to brag and teach everyone that they don’t need to buy so much crap, and just keeping quiet to keep the peace.

But it’s sad- I hate to see my family members struggling financially when they could just change their mindset and cut out their useless spending.

*again, “extreme savings” here used in comparison to the average American.  40% is not so impressive to most financially-independent bloggers ;)

Do you tell friends and family about your financial goals?  Do they understand, or do they think you’re crazy?  Is it even possible to bring this up without sounding judgmental about people’s spending habits?

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2 Responses to “Thoughts on Saving”

  1. poultryfactors June 13, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    I feel the same way! I started my blog because I felt like I couldn’t talk with most people about finances, and wondered if the blog would inspire more open conversation. I would say it has increased a little bit.

    To be honest, I think a lot of people feel sorry for themselves as if they fall below a minimum income threshold below which it is literally impossible to save money. I imagine that threshold exists (if not literally minimum wage), and wonder what the extreme early retirement folks would say about that. And then others feel sorry for themselves about all their student loans (which they signed up for, and not under duress!). I am using 40-50% of my income each month to pay off my loans, and will continue to save at that rate after. I have been itching to write a “why do people think life is so expensive” blog… -Vanessa

    • Ashley June 13, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

      Exactly why I wanted to start a blog as well! So difficult to talk about finances sometimes. That’s awesome how much you are putting towards student loans- I feel sad when I see my friends only paying the minimum amount each month towards their loans and I know they’re setting themselves up for decades of payments! Haha, I totally would read the “why do people think life is expensive” blog ;)

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