Sometimes, it’s the people you least expect that have saved more money than those you would have expected. Case in point, the other day my husband and I were at our bank. One of the branches we visit is inside a grocery store. I had walked up to the ATM to deposit a check and my husband soon approached me to wait. As he was waiting, he peered over the shoulder of a man sitting next to me at a computer checking his account. My husband is sometimes a little nosy, he just sort of glanced at the gentleman’s balance nonchalantly. To his great surprise, his balance showed close to $200,000!
Why was my husband surprised? The man, checking his balance, looked a little on the scruffy side. He was wearing a well-worn backpack, looked like he needed a haircut, and maybe he hadn’t showered in a few days. Of course, I could be describing someone who just got back from a hiking or camping trip. However, my husband was clearly surprised at his appearance and the amount of money in his account. The two, at least to him, didn’t make sense.
As my husband and I continued to shop, the bank in the grocery store comes in handy, I described how I’ve read about plenty of people who live frugally and save money. These people don’t spend frivolously on their appearance, so therefore, have more money saved in the bank. Most of the time, it’s the people who are flashy who have the least. There are plenty of people in Los Angeles “living the illusion.” They drive used Mercedes Benz’s, wear fake Rolex’s, then drive home to a studio apartment in a shady-area of town.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the people who live modestly. They live in a fixer-upper of a house in a very middle-class neighborhood, have one or two older vehicles that work well enough to get them to and from their work, and mow their own lawns on the weekends, preferring to keep that additional $100 in the bank. These are the people we can learn from. As my husband and I make our way towards our own financial freedom, we have learned many things the hard way: by screwing up and then having to peddle back on track. But, we can learn a lot from those that have persevered and found ways to live frugally and save money. Here are just a few things I have learned reading other frugal-minded blogs or from people I personally know:
- Make a budget and stick to it: The key to making the other points work!
- Put aside some money for savings the moment you get paid: I’m working on my 10% rule- I receive a check, 10% goes in our savings account.
- Pay down your debt: Make a plan and get rid of that debt! Once it’s paid off, use your credit cards minimally or not at all.
- Keep track of your expenses: Use a check register or software program to track your spending. Without this, the budget really doesn’t work.
- Save for retirement: I’m just getting to this area. I’m looking into Roth IRA’s, but haven’t committed to this yet. Soon, I tell ya, soon.