Why we save aggressively

We save aggressively and live simply. People often associate frugality with austerity or ‘missing out’ but there’s freedom in having solid finances. We’ve had an unusually expensive year this year to date but are powering through what would see many “typical” American families accruing considerable debt.

This post isn’t meant to brag, but hopefully to inspire.

Maria earns good money, which definitely helps. We’re above the median household income but nowhere near six figures. We put enough of that income into tax-advantaged accounts that we have zero federal income tax liability each year.

We did $2,000 in repairs to my car. We bought a car for Maria for a little over $4,000 in cash. That car unfortunately may need a transmission rebuild (we’ll know soon) for $2,500-$2,600, but we can (just barely) pay for that out of what’s left in savings.

We spent several thousand dollars on the homestead this year between constructing the raised beds, bringing in soil, buying perennial plants, and setting up our animals.

We grow some of our own food but still spend an awful lot on what we can’t grow. Food is important to us. To paraphrase Joel Salatin, you are only as healthy as the life energy that you consume. I source as many ingredients as possible from local farms, and with the rest of our food dollars I try to support sustainable practices as best as I can through the veil of the supermarket.

With all this, we were still able to pre-pay a considerable amount of our existing debt. We save aggressively as a way to “spend” on our future selves. We give a gift to our 40, 50, 60 year-old selves that hopefully one day in the not-too-distant future we will be financially independent and able to live the homesteading life we truly desire without a need for Maria’s income.

Do you save aggressively? What difficult situations have made you thankful that you did?


5 Comments on “Why we save aggressively”

  1. In my marriage, no, because my spouse wasn’t supportive of delayed gratification. Now that I am on my own–well, “save aggressively” looks different when your kids are on reduced lunch. I have $1700 cash and counting, which is more than a lot of people with two or three times my income can say–that particular cash is earmarked for renting an apartment when my house sells and for paying off my lawyer, but I should be able to add a couple hundred this month and eventually I’ll get some momentum. I like knowing that if my kid conks his head on the playground and needs stitches, I won’t have to ask for a payment plan. Been there.

  2. robmunich says:

    My approach is a bit different. I stopped working a few years ago and the wife is fast approaching pension age so rather saving aggressively I instead focused on reducing our costs. We bought a nice property in a low cost of living area with the intention of retiring there. We got lucky in that my wife works remotely and we were able to move there. Just moving from rent to a mortgage saved us nearly a 1000€ a month. Even better in 4 years the mortgage is gone!

    • David says:

      It’s all about cashflow, so yeah cost reduction is very important. We’re interested in homesteading for the lifestyle of it and the ethics surrounding it but acquiring a landbase where we can produce more of what we consume, and therefore spend less in cash, is another huge aspect.

      I know a number of homesteaders who live really well with very little cash income.

  3. Jay says:

    Its all about tradeoffs for us. We both work full time and have the kids in a lot of things, so sometimes the added expense of convenience is overpowering. It doesnt always align with my frugal values but sometimes you have to pick your battles as they say. Overall we are fairly frugal still.

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