When I’m talking to someone my age (who is making at least a moderate amount of money) about saving money, a common response I get is that they don’t really see the point or feel motivated to save — because they don’t feel hopeful for the future.
Sometimes this lack of hope is related to the climate crisis. Sometimes it’s the political landscape. Sometimes it’s because of the constant clickbait and memes telling them that buying a house or retiring just isn’t possible for their generation – even if they are making a solid income.
And usually, it’s a combination of all three.
I get it. It can be hard to feel particularly hopeful about the future right now. But that’s all the more reason to work towards building your nest egg.
If you find yourself in the camp of not feeling motivated to save for the future because you’re not sure there is even going to be a future, I’m hoping this post will give you a few reasons to change your mindset.
1. More Money, Less Stress
This can feel like a “no shit, Sherlock” moment, but stick with me.
If the constant breaking news alerts on your phone are already stressing you out enough, you might as well do what you can to eliminate any unnecessary financial stress. Work within your circle of control.
Money alone definitely doesn’t buy happiness. There are plenty of miserable billionaires and millionaires out there. But having just enough money can help you feel confident building the life you really want. This alone can help give you a little boost of hope by simply not feeling stuck or out of control.
When you have financial breathing room, you feel less stressed. Financial stress is heavy and can take a brutal toll on our mental health and relationships, making our now even more stressful, while the future feels tenuous at best.
When I first was learning more about personal finance and beginning to pay down our debts and save a little bit of money, we immediately noticed how much making even just a little bit of progress helped alleviate a significant amount of stress. Experiencing this stress relief was one of the primary reasons I stayed motivated on my financial goals.
I also noticed that when I had a littel bit of money saved up, I felt less compelled to spend on discretionary (ahem, stress-shopping) purchases. So much of our spending on things, clothes, and food is emotional spending fueled by the stress or overwhelm we feel.
By creating more space between what you earn and what you spend, you’ll create a good safety net that will break you out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle and have you well-prepared to handle the next big expense that comes your way.
2. You Can Use Your Savings to Change Your Life (for the Better)
Keep up the savings and put your money to work for you, and that cushion will turn into a small mountain of money quicker than you think – trust me. One of the things that can make us feel exceptionally hopeless is the feeling of being stuck and not having options.
Having a small pile of money gives you more options. There’s no doubt about it. It puts you in the driver’s seat. And it doesn’t take a million dollars to feel like you have capacity to change your life for the better.
Ever dreamt of moving to a new state? Having a couple months’ worth of expenses saved may give you the courage you need to pick up and move.
Thought of quitting your job and growing your side hustle passion project into a full-time gig? Or even just quitting to find a less depressing job? Having a couple of months of expenses saved helps with that, too.
When Cassie and I were in debt, we were forced to make reactive decisions that didn’t align with building the life we wanted to live. Instead, all of our decisions were made for financial reasons.
Since turning things around and building up our savings, we’ve been able to make some pretty big decisions that have improved our life. Notably, Cassie quitting her salaried job to work for herself and build her own business, and my decision to take three months off this past year.
Instead of the lack of money making decisions for us, being in control of our money gives us the freedom to make decisions for ourselves.
Save enough and invest it wisely and working itself becomes optional. When I learned about FIRE and realized that being financially independent at a relatively young age was possible I felt like I could take a huge breath of relief.
I don’t know about you, but that alone made me feel more hopeful for the future. It showed me there was an option other than working nonstop for 45 years — and I knew immediately I wanted that alternative. Buying my time is way more important to me than buying whatever miscellaneous thing I find at Target this week that I’ll probably forget about in a month.
3. Cutting Back Lets You Give Back
When you have more breathing room in your own budget, you can use some of that extra cash to give back to causes that are important to you, help those directly in your network or community, and invest in ideas that you think will make our future a brighter, less scary place.
Being financially secure opens up so many more opportunities for generosity and allows you to give without adding to your stress. Financially supporting the work you think is important, or funding the ideas and communities you want to see more of in this world can also ensure you are tapped into a community focused on possible solutions to the problems we face rather than just the problems themselves – which in turn can help us all feel a bit more hopeful.
4. Less Spending = Less Resource Consumption
If you are particularly worried about the climate crisis and environmental degradation, then saving money can be a big win-win scenario. By designing your life to be more sustainable, you should be inherently spending less.
There are countless examples of how the more frugal option is also the more sustainable option and vice-versa, like:
- Buying used items
- Borrowing items from others before buying something new
- Eating less meat
- Walking, biking, or using public transportation
- Living in a smaller house and adjustin the temperature to conserve energy
But most importantly, it’s just…not buying the things. It’s choosing to consume less.
We recently did a no-spend month – you can read about the results here – and out of everything we stopped ourselves from buying that month, we only went back and bought two (an airfryer and some silicone meal prep cubes). All of those other potential purchases weren’t necessary, but if we would have made them we would have spent an extra $1,000 and consumed that much more resources.
5. Find Joy and Connection in the Slow Down
Cutting my own spending taught me a lot of lessons about the joys of simpler living that have greatly benefited me in more ways than padding my bank account. Many of the things I did originally to save money, I now do just because I enjoy them more than the alternative.
I’m a pretty extroverted and social person. I used to accept pretty much any invite to grab a drink or dinner that came my way. This meant we had a pretty busy schedule and were spending a good chunk of money going out with friends.
Now, I say yes to fewer invitations. Being more intentional with my social calendar freed up my schedule for a nice slower pace and has created space for deeper connections. Now, we tend to have more casual hangouts at our house and in our backyard that lend themselves to more genuine conversation and friend time. I much prefer a fireside conversation and board games than straining to hear each other over a loud crowd and paying $14 per cocktail.
In a similar vein, when trying to save money, your quickest way to make progress is to cook more at home. I find that when we are sticking to our meal plans and cooking our own food, I feel so much better physically and mentally. I’m eating healthier foods, am less likely to skip lunch at work, and enjoy the act of cooking.
Even when I’m tired and don’t feel like starting, once I pour myself a drink, put some music on and start chopping up vegetables, I immediately am glad I decided to cook. It’s a good way to wind down from work, and it’s fun and tasty!
So, that’s it. Five reasons why I think you should save, even when you don’t feel very hopeful about the future. Decrease your stress, increase your options, contribute to solutions, consume less, and slow down. I bet if you make some changes now, you may even find yourself growing a little hopeful after all.