I Can Do More to Save Money…And You Can Too!

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Please welcome Jacob Merkley to the blog today.

My wife, daughter, and I spent the tail end of December and beginning part of January staying with my in-laws. It was great to spend the holidays with family and I walked away having learned a very valuable financial lesson, one that I most certainly wasn’t planning on learning.

My in-laws are very well off. And when I say “well off”, I mean that they live in the richest part of our city, have a mansion for a home, a $150,000 boat, a few cars that total over $200,000 combined, and an investment portfolio that I can only dream of. They definitely have a few million to their names.

Previous to this trip, I had never stayed with my in-laws before and I guess you could say that my eyes were opened as to how they got to where they are financially. I had always chalked it up to their ability to make money, but I learned that it had nothing to do with how much they made.

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The big earth shattering discovery that I made was that my mother and father-in law were both “freaks” (for lack of a better word) when it came to their money… in a good way of course.
I made this discovery from a few experiences that included the following:

1. My mother-in-law shrieked when she didn’t get her weekly grocery ads in the mail. I was later present at the grocery store when she purchased $300 of groceries for only $130 using ad matching.

2. My father-in-law asked my mother-in-law a number of times for her receipts so that he could make sure the check-book was balanced and analyze their spending patterns for the month.

3. My father-in-law asked his personal IT guy to find a more cost effective way to put together his entertainment center (FYI, the speakers for this entertainment center cost over $22,000).

After making this discovery, I realized the valuable financial lesson that I can do more to save money! If my multi-millionaire in-laws were still trying to cut costs by ad matching and analyzing their spending habits…then I could be doing that too. It got me thinking…what else could I do to save more money?

How about you? What can you start doing (or stop doing) to help you start saving more money?

Take a few minutes and make some goals. You too can apply this valuable lesson to your own life…there is always more that you can do to save money. Become a SUPERSAVER, and just like my in-laws, you’ll be one step closer to achieving your financial goals!

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Additional Ways to Save

Thanks Jacob for sharing your personal story and motivation for saving more this year. I couldn’t agree more that living below your means and a consistent approach to saving is the best way to build wealth no matter what your income.

Here are some additional ways I like to save money.

Pay Yourself First – Before you pay your bills, buy food, etc., make sure you are setting aside of portion of your income to save. Put the money in a savings account, 401K or IRA.

Automated Your Savings – Don’t let your saving be forgotten or skipped over, automated it to insure it’s consistently happening week after week or monthly. We also use a tool like Digit to help increase our saving rate.

Learn from Others – Just as Jacob’s in-laws were a great example and motivator for his family to do more when it came to their savings, there are several other great examples to take lead from. I often try and emulate other successful people. In the book “The Millionaire Next Door” there are countless example of how everyday people obtained millionaire net worth’s by following the live below your mean philosophy.

Having a successful saving plan is a key to building wealth. Avoiding debt allows you to have the available money to save. These needs to be coupled with having an overall budget and plan for your money. Following these basic core financial principles will give you the foundation to obtain whatever your goals may be.

What ways do you save money? Do you track your savings rate?

21 thoughts on “I Can Do More to Save Money…And You Can Too!”

  1. Love the graphic!

    I think that having your goals in sight (we want to stay semi-retired if we can and travel a bit) is a big motivator to keep our finances in check. And watching each other’s spending helps too…Jon’s way more frugal than I am so I feel indulgent if I spend a lot on myself. I didn’t feel that way before we started tracking, but I also didn’t realize how much of my spending was for just me instead of us.

    • Thanks Emily. You are absolutely right…goals are such a big deal when it comes to money! Thanks for the positive feedback on the infographic!

  2. Great little infographic there! I think we are all quick to judge the poor AND the rich, thinking something up in our minds about how they must be living their life. Although you can learn something from it, the only person who can control your spending and savings is YOU!

    • You are right Tonya. I definitely had been a bit judgemental towards my in-laws until I discovered their secret to success. Thanks for reading.

  3. I looooove hearing about rich people who stick to prudent financial decisions. It just goes to show that you can build wealth by being reasonable. However, I’d argue that a $22,000 stereo system is unreasonable and there are more frugal alternatives, but I digress.

    We’re taking the Frugalwoods Uber Frugal Month challenge and were stuck in an expense-cutting rut at the end of December. We felt there was ABSOLUTELY nowhere else to cut in the budget.

    As it turns out, we were wrong. We’ve lowered our meal costs by sticking to smarter grocery planning and our “Other” expenses by keeping a tight hold on the pocketbook.

    • I raised an eyebrow when I heard the cost of the stereo system too, but again we do not have their entire financial picture, so tough to pass judgement. 🙂

      Continue success on you frugal challenge!

    • Nice job with finding additional ways to cut expenses! You make a great point about the $22,000 speaker. But the more I think about it, $22,000 is a small percentage of their annual budget/income that I can’t blame him for wanting what he wants! He definitely has saved for years to be at a point in life where he could do that comfortably.

      It will be a great day when I am at that point too! Thanks for reading.

  4. Since I’ve been going through a no spend month, I’ve realized I can save more than I had been, if I pay more attention. The same thing happened when I signed up for Digit – I thought I was saving all I could, but I was wrong. Some great lessons here! Thanks Jacob and Brian!

  5. I love hearing about Jacob’s mother-in-law shrieking when her coupons didn’t arrive in the mail. That reminds me of how crazy I get when I can’t find a discount code (I know there’s one out there or there wouldn’t be a box for inserting one) when I shop on line.

    • Mrs. Groovy – thanks for reading. We all hate to lose the opportunity to save money. I think I was mostly surprised, since I had never heard my mother-in-law shriek like that before! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I’ve been “shrieking” myself because the last several weeks there were no ads in my paper, so I can definitely understand. Since I’m not really in an earning phase at this point, saving money is even more important. I don’t track my savings rate, but I do track all my expenses very, very carefully to analyze what I can cut or reduce to create more savings. It’s nice to see that Jacob’s in-laws haven’t stopped saving just because they’re “well off” now.

  7. Where I used to live in Virginia, Warren Buffett’s sister would fly into the local airport. She is taken care of thanks to her big brother but she is as frugal as all can be though still too. I remember the local newspaper did an article and said she still collected aluminum cans to recycle and get cash back.

    While I like saving money as much as the next person, I quit collecting garbage bags of aluminum cans 15 years ago when I only got a few bucks for it. Now I just put them in the recycling bin and let the county/ disposal agency collect the money instead.

    It goes to show that the wealthy can save it just as well as they can spend it.

  8. The savings rate drop from 1975 vs. 2016 floored me! Wow, we really have made a colossal mess of things. We spent years not saving ANY of our money. Now that we’ve made savings a habit, life is SO much more peaceful. Even though we’re not quite to debt free yet, it feels great knowing we’ve got that buffer in savings to cover any unexpecteds. Great post!

    • Laurie – you are right! Life is definitely more peaceful when you save money. There’s just something about having that peace of mind that you can cover your ongoing expenses AND something major if anything goes bad. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. I’m pretty sure Jacob’s mother in law is my wife’s long lost mother 🙂 My wife gets so mad if the circular doesn’t come on time because she is trying to plan out her week on how she needs to grocery shop and who has sales. He is amazing when it comes to shopping sales.

    On top of that we know that we have a 65% savings rate and we are currently trying to move it up to 70% for 2017. But that last 5% has been stubborn.

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