The Wide Spectrum of Saving Money

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If you choose to be less dependent on a job, having a big debt to pay off or have a specific goal you have to save money for, you want to put some money away every week, month or year. Saving money is and has always been a wide spectrum of all kinds of opinions and methods. Especially in the FIRE community.

And we all know, money can make a difference in your life. Even a huge one if you let it. We are all searching for ways to invest, pay off more debt or build up wealth. It can make life easier, it can give us the rest we desperately need, or it can speed up the process to fulfill our dreams.

The focus lays foremost on the money part, but what happens when that focus shifts from working on your money goals, towards working on your life goals…?


As it comes to building wealth, in the Personal Finance community, there are two sides:

 Reduce spending (and save a butt load of money)

Boosting income  (and save a butt load of money)

A common question is, what side to choose? And the answer is: neither and both

If you’re focused on reducing spending, there are numerous ways on how you can do it. You could cut your cable, eat less expensive, buy second-hand items or grow your own vegetables for example.

The same goes for boosting income. You could find a side hustle, blog for money, invest in assets with a strong cash flow, build on your professional career (and promotions) or sell your home grown vegetables online.

In the end, everything you have left after spending, are your savings. It’s up to you what you will use it for.

No matter how you do it, the focus will be on increasing the gap between what comes in and what you spend.

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Most journeys in the blogosphere start with getting your finances in order. You start tracking what you spend every month, and can easily spot a few things where you think, why on earth do I spend so much on late/clothes/movies?

If you reach a comfortable level of living, this could mean you would want to maintain that same level after you reach financial independence. It’s all about finding the balance between income and spending. And once you have found your lifestyle level you’re comfortable with, lock your spending level. And focus more on growing your income.

This just isn’t the way for everybody. To me, in all honesty, there is more to life than having the money part being my biggest priority.

Quote-Divnomics  

We have been tracking our money going out, and still, do. I just don’t do much with the insights it gives me. I’ve started budgeting, it wasn’t our thing. I’m tracking our dividend income, and write reports on it every month on this blog. It motivates me but doesn’t feed to my purpose in life.

What we did notice, however, is while our initial focus was only on reducing our spending. The last year or so, it shifted more heavily towards building income streams. Not only because we think it will give us more return in the long run, but because we like the things we do and it provides us with a second or third income stream. We do those things, blogging/investing/hustling because we like doing so. And we want to do much more of this because we like it. We want to craft our lives around the things we love doing. I don’t like waiting for the moment until I get there… Why should I? If I can make a living from doing what I love?

If you like to focus on reducing your cost by watching pennies and looking at debt as a bad thing… Our mindsets are not alike. And that’s perfectly fine.

Paying off debt brings a lot of comfort and security. For many, it’s a perfect fit to their risk appetite. For us, it’s one of the only options we have left to reduce our spendings. Instead, we chose to further increase our debt so we can buy more rental properties and stocks. We have a rather high risk/reward tolerance and our strategy is about investing in income producing assets. Which is also why we chose to invest, instead of paying down our mortgage. Additional we try to focus on our career path and making it the best we could.

How you should do this, depends on your own personal situation and your risk/reward tolerance. Only you can decide what this should be. And how far you’re willing to go.

My focus and mindset are constantly shifting. I don’t feel connected to the uber frugal way of living, and I’ve realized I’m ok with our current spending level. And when we do earn more money, we might spend a bit more. But as long as our income is sufficient, and we have enough left over to invest, who cares?

I don’t know what I will do when I’m financially independent. I won’t stop trying to achieve it. But in the meantime, I want to get the most out of what life can offer me. Time is the only non-refundable asset.

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28 thoughts on “The Wide Spectrum of Saving Money

  1. Saving more money or spending more time on boosting your income both have great effect on your finances. But you can overdo both and that’s when it starts to have negative effect on your happiness.
    There are things I love to do which I would never give up for more money. How empty your life would be without seeing the world? Could you say no to your child for taking her to Disneyland? Doesn’t it feel good to sit out in the garden with a nice bottle of wine after a long week? You can go extremely frugal, but if you don’t enjoy your life meanwhile, what’s the point?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think this is great! Every individual and family needs to figure out the best path for them. For some, extreme frugality is incredibly enjoyable. For others, a moderate spending level with high savings is just as enjoyable. It just depends on each scenario and the people involved! Thank you for sharing this today, I enjoy reading about how other bloggers approach their finances and their quest for FI 🙂
    ~Mrs. Adventure Rich

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    • Thanks for stopping by! It will be different for everybody, this is how we approach it. Love how everybody has their own view on handling money, FI and life in general!

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  3. Hey Divnomics,

    interesting thoughts, tx for sharing. There are a lot of ways when it comes to saving and investing for sure. I started tracking all my expenses with an app and it helps me staying focused and disciplined. For me the money i get from work is still the primary source for my investments. Because of that the savings rate is what matters most for me right now. I need ammunition to buy more dividend stocks. – I like your “aggressive” approach towards income and debt. There are situations where debt makes a lot of sense and if a crash or a significant market correction occurs and top blue chip stocks are on sale i’ll take my cash reserve and finance some more through debt. If i have to pay about 3% in interest and collect 6% in safe dividends it’s a good deal…

    Best Regards,
    DividendSolutions

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    • Hi DividendSolutions, thanks for stopping by. We don’t avoid debt, you should just use it to the best you can and while it’s within a safe margin. It’s indeed great to see more money coming in and because of that being able to invest even more.

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  4. Good read! My wife and I see our savings rate (we tend to increase over time) and the compound effect as powerful instruments to shape our (financial) life. We pursue Financial Independence and are very likely to achieve that goal in less than a decade and already now we see tremendous benefits of our down to earth lifestyle. We value freedom and time much higher than things and of course we just love to put money to work for us. I feel much less stressed at my job knowing that I won’t have do work that many years and feel great comfort that my dividend machine is working and growing for me 24/7. And slowly, but steadily it is gaining steam until our passive income stream will overtake our spendings.
    Cheers

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    • Thanks! It’s great that although you haven’t reached FI yet, you can already see the benefits in your day-to-day life. Besides the money, this is what is really powerful about the FI mindset!

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  5. The graph is very powerful. It tells a nice story: find a spending level that makes you happy and that is below your income (this is a challenge, I know. You need to avoid deprivation) Try to keep it that way while your salary increases.

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  6. For us, we have tried to not increase our spending as our salaries have increased. It has gone up some, but not enough to cause concern. We try to increase our savings by 1.5% or more per year.

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  7. So great you’ve figured out what works best for you! I’m one that wants to avoid debt, yet we are currently in the process of securing a mortgage for our first rental property, yikes! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  8. I’m with you, there’s only so much I’m willing to reduce my spending by. I want to live comfortably and that’s more important to me than cutting out every possible luxury. I’m at a point where my budget is stable and I’m saving an amount that I’m happy with, if my income goes up I’ll be able to increase that even more.

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  9. There are people who are happy frugal and others who are miserable frugal. Yes, saving for financial independence is the goal but one still has to enjoy life while on the journey.

    Financial Shaper has a great point about being less stressed at work knowing that he’ll be able to leave his job before long. Combining the reduced stress with a few indulgences can make the journey to FI a good one.

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  10. Great article.I have done both methodologies as well. For reducing expenses, my wife and I focus on eliminating recurring costs that we feel don’t provide value that justifies the expenses. Over the last few years we have cut cable, reduced how much we eat out (mostly b/c of laziness), we sold our motorcycles which we weren’t riding much anymore, etc. All these things eat away at our income and we have been able to boost our savings rate by cuttings costs that no longer provide us the same value they once did.

    We are also always aiming to increase our earning potential through pay increases, switching jobs, side hustles, and our investments.

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