Think You Are Saving?

There is a certain time honored formula for getting ahead in life: get a good education, find a career you have passion for, get a good job, work hard, save money and invest it.

Lots of us have heard this formula or something like it. We know there are certain steps we have to take in order to advance in life. Many of us think we have a good handle on following these steps. But do we really?

I suspect one area in which many of us could do better at is saving money. We live during a time when marketers are skilled at making us believe we need things we really do not. The greater our perceived needs the more money we spend. Axiomatically, the more money we spend the less money we save.

It is interesting to look at the ways in which people perceive they are saving money. Imagine the individual who sees himself as frugal because he buys a famous designer sport shirt, on sale, “saving” 20%. Compared to the normal price, he is saving money. However, what if he decided to buy a shirt and simply sought quality, without a well known name attached? Do you think he would save more than 20%?

People spend money on all sorts of things and that is fine. Once basic biological needs are covered, we enter into the realm of desire. When considering this, it is worth remembering that every mind is a universe unto itself. What is necessary to one person is superfluous to someone else.

At issue here is not that we should alter our spending patterns on the basis of someone else’s priorities. Instead, we should order our priorities and follow those. When we do, however, it might make sense, from time to time, to ask ourselves if we are good at saving. We might be surprised at how we answer that question, particularly if we bother to analyze our actions.

Image: Stuart Miles /

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