August 19, 2009

What are you saving for?

What are you saving for?

Perhaps to be perfectly grammatically correct, the question should be, "For what are you saving?" In any case, the emphasis is on the for. Please forgive any dangling participles, if that's what it is.

I've just read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, so I'm a bit more sensitive to abuses of the English language. If you're a Jane Austen fan, the book is hilarious. But I digress.

Although I haven't found my non-consumer lifestyle, and my previous nearly non-consumer lifestyle to be particularly difficult or full of deprivation, I think it's important to remember WHY we're living in this way, if it's by choice. For many people, a frugal lifestyle is not a choice but a necessity, because of limited income or extreme debt.

For those of you who live this lifestyle by choice, I'd love to know your reasons. Whether you're a non-consumer or a frugalista, or whether you proudly call yourself cheap, what are your reasons? Is it to lessen your carbon footprint, live a simpler and more meaningful life, not be a dupe to advertisers, or all of the above?

And if you're consciously trying to save, what are you saving for? A house? A car? A comfortable retirement? College for your kids or grandkids? A trip around the world?

My reasons for being frugal revolve around having the freedom to create my own life. I want to be able to do the work I love, and have time for things I care about, rather than essentially giving away my time in order to be paid a large salary to buy conveniences I need because I only have time to work. The vicious cycle of work and spend.

Now that I'm doing The Compact this year, I love that my choice is also helping me to create a simpler, more meaningful lifestyle on top of lessening my tread on the earth.

At this point, I'm not saving very much. It's more like I'm trying to learn to live on less so I don't need to earn as much. But what I do save is all about having the freedom to live the life I choose.

I love the idea of an ING account that lets you set up separate savings accounts for different goals: a vacation, college for your kids, retirement. Short term and long term mixed together in an organized fashion. I've always found that there is never any "extra" money for something, no matter how important it is. If you want to take that vacation, you have to start saving for it. And if you ever want to retire, you've got to start putting money away as soon as possible.

So, what are you saving for? I'd love to hear about it. What's your method for saving? Do you have an ING account or separate savings accounts for various goals? Please leave your thoughts in the Comments section.


The Frugalista Files said...

I'm just saving for security. I want to have my options open in life. I don't want money to ever be a barrier to reaching my goals.

Kim said...

I am saving for (in no particular order)...

Lot #5. I want to build a house on it in 5-10 years.
A share in a beach condo at the Landmark. But I need 3 others to go in on it with me.
A new small sedan, like a Kia type car. Since my commute is short, I'm going for small and cheap!

I keep the cash in my stock account, it earns more interest than my savings account. The three items come to $57,000, I am no where close :)

Leigh @ compactbydesign said...

I have a fear of "stuff". I'm really kind of an anti-pack rat. I am not a minimalist and our home is not sparse but clutter makes me crazy and shopping brings more "stuff" into the house. I joined the Compact to lessen the amount of things brought home by unnecessary shopping. I also believe there is an excess of goods already manufactured, if I can buy something used that's one less thing that needs to be made. Don't even get me started on all the useless or wasteful things that get made. (The 99cents store may be frugal but it sure ain't Compact!)

Frugalchick said...

I am saving for a home and hope to buy one in the next few months. The rental we have lived in the last couple of years doesn't have the space for planting a garden, taking in animals, etc. These are important things to us, and we want to have a home that will also bring bounty to others.

Living simply also forces me to focus on the smaller, more meaningful aspects of life, not the commmercials that blare louder than everything else. It's about choosing quality over quantity and feeling blessed rather than harried.

saymoi said...

Property taxes.

Kristine said...

I save each pay check for a vacation with my family at the beach. The money is deducted directly from my pay to a special account. I am getting ready to retire, am downsizing and find that "things" are no longer important- time and family are.

Angela said...

Frugalista Files- well said. I find that it's about priorities, rather than how much is in our bank account. For example, I've always made it a priority to travel, even when I didn't have a car or a stereo system. Most people would have said I couldn't "afford" it, but to me it was a higher priority. Thanks for coming by!

Kim- You know exactly what you're saving for, which I'll be will help you reach your goal. You'll be less tempted to spend on other things. Good luck! And thanks for commenting!

Leigh- I certainly agree that there's an excess of stuff already manufactured. I think the entire U.S. population could live 20 or 30 years with the stuff we already have. And designers like you could "repurpose" it so we wouldn't get bored...

Frugalchick- Thank you for your eloquent comment. I agree. And good luck with your new home! It sounds like it will be adding a lot to your lives with all your plans for it. I love your idea of a home as something that produces things to share with others rather than a place to make beautiful and show off.

Saymoi- Ah yes, the property taxes. We generally use our tax return for that purpose, but will come up a little short this year because of home repairs/improvement projects. The way I look at it is that I'm still much happier to be paying those taxes than rent on a place we don't own.

Kristine- Yes, the automatic deduction works great, and is the only way I finally started saving for retirement. And I share your belief that time and family are much more important than things.