Or more accurately; saving is being boring.
I'd hardly get many likes instagramming myself sewing holes in my socks so they last longer...or making long sleeve shirts into short sleeve (I have pointy elbows) or turning jeans into shorts. But it's one of the many unglamorous habits you might have if you save. And a little secret; I've come to love all these little unglamorous habits because I believe what's in the future is worth it.
Plot twist: I don't actually think saving is boring; I think it's fun. Who doesn't like more money? And for most folks starting out, if you want to save more money, spending less will net more gains than trying earning more (everyone can cut something). It's fun because subtle changes in behaviour and expectation can make huge life choices easier, allow you to take mini retirements or live debt and credit free. Saving is a means to freedom. I've found that shifts in my perspective mean that cutting costs and working to save a higher percentage of my income don't really feel like I'm missing out.
Why is saving boring though?
- It's a little boring to always eat in before you meet friends so you don't eat out.
- It's a little boring having soft drinks when your friends are drinking expensive cocktails
- It's a little boring to ride your motorbike smoothly and sensibly to get great MPG rather than racing around all the time (I still race around, but only on the best of roads)
- It's a little boring to stick to your shopping list and not impulse buy on your food shop
- It's a little boring to downsize to a more budget brand rather than upgrade to a more exclusive brand
- It's a little boring to realise that what you have is plenty and to make do for a while longer
- It's a little boring to only buy new shoes when needed, and not whenever you want
- It's a little boring to wait a week before committing to an online purchase
- It's a little boring to unsub from online discount emails
- It's a little boring to scour discount shops to find the same items but cheaper
I don't find any of the above boring. They're satisfying and rewarding in their own way. By eating at home before meeting friends, I might discover new recipes that I enjoy cooking and eating.
Equally, I might go out with friends and just order something small to fill me up rather than eating more than I need because I'm socialising.
With saving I think generally everyone (almost) can cut something. It's not about cutting everything back you possibly could (unless you prefer to do so) but about having an unbalanced life. You might reduce the cost of 75% of what you do, but 25% of your activities or hobbies you don't cut as severely if at all.
I generally accept the costs associated with motorcycling because I really enjoy it (it's had a hugely positive impact in my life), but I'm happy to eat cheaply and use budget hygiene products for the most part and to make many other cost savings. If I wanted to cut the cost of motorcycling further then I could. Usually there is always a way to save a little more and I've found that sometimes a downsize on paper doesn't really affect the experience all that much.
Basically saving is about smart, but uneventful choices and happens mostly in the minutiae of life.
I've been reading a lot about budgeting, saving and investing lately. I'm considering writing about those topics and my own experiences more frequently. I notice that many of the blogs I've encountered are US based, and equally they all tend to be (what I would consider) higher earners, with more assets or capital behind them. The rules of saving smartly I believe are pretty much universal; but it might be nice to have a more 'down to earth' point of view.
I'm sure there are many UK based personal-finance blogs, and in my ignorance I haven't found them yet. But as many people have noted on the blogs I'm frequenting; the more financially well off people tend to be the ones more open to discussing money, either with friends or internet wide and therefore they understand things better and achieve more success.
But where do you start if you're earning below the average salary, with no side gigs or existing home to rent out? With the basics I suppose. I'll leave this topic of thought for another time. This is meant to be a design blog afterall ;)
Hope you're having a great week,