Why I am Naturally Frugal

by David Ning · 4 comments


Our family lives in plenty of luxury but people who really know our situation sees me as someone who’s fairly frugal. “Why do you sacrifice to save when you can afford more?” is a question my friends often ask me. It’s a pretty pointed question, but what they really want to know is how they can will themselves to save more since putting money away seems like such a negative. Do you see saving money as a sacrifice too and want to know why I do it naturally?

Alliant Credit Union is running a contest where they are asking participants to share their smartest financial decision. As one of the largest credit unions in the country, Alliant knows what smart money choices can do in people’s lives and they are willing to give everybody a chance to win $5,000 to share their story. Perhaps my submission will shed light on why I save.

My Smartest Financial Decision

I count the lucky stars often, because one fortunate decision changed my financial life forever. You see, I was extremely close to pulling the trigger on a dream home right before the Great Recession, but I backed out at the last minute because something didn’t seem right at the time.

I was doing fairly well in a sales position back then and earning a high salary, so it seemed natural to look for a home when my wife and I were getting ready to tie the knot. We toured many homes, but there was one particular property we fell in love with. The location was great, the interior was amazing and even the numbers looked right. We went to a meeting to put in an offer, but a voice in my head just kept telling me not to move forward at the time. Thinking back, it was probably all the online commentary I’ve read of the gigantic housing bubble brewing that led to us walking away that day and disappointing everyone. I felt pretty deflated for a while, but the house prices soon crashed, which saved us a six figure sum.

The savings is only the tip of the iceberg though. Not buying at the top of the market is life altering in and of itself, but not having that big mortgage was critical in my decision to seize an opportunity to quit the day job and take a substantial pay cut to start a business shortly after saying no to the dream home. My job was very stressful and just not something I loved to do, but I would never have had the guts to give up the high earnings if I had huge monthly payments to make.

Fast forward close to ten years and I love my work running MoneyNing.com. I have a relatively flexible schedule, helping people become more astute with their money. The work is fulfilling and I’m also making more than I ever have in that sales position.

No one could have predicted how my life would have turned out just because I walked away from a decision to buy my dream home, but this is by far the smartest financial decision I’ve made.

Everyone Can Benefit from Saving More

Being frugal not only changed my life, but my family’s as well. Instead of needing that second paycheck, my wife can stay home and spend more time with our kids. Instead of having a job that requires constant traveling, I too can work mostly from home and be with our children often.

Being frugal is money in the bank, but in my case, the value goes far beyond dollar signs. The good news is that my situation is far from unique. A padded nest egg not only allows for more spending later but it can also provide peace of mind. At the end of the day, the best thing money can buy is freedom.

On the other hand, getting free money is another great way to buy just a bit more freedom. What is your smartest financial decision? Share it with Alliant here and you could win $5,000.

Share your story now before you forget later!

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  • Phil says:

    I bought a house before the crash. I still made money on it 4 years later when I sold it. I also bought stock every month from 2009 to today. In fact, I increased my monthly buy. It made me an extra $250,000 by 2017. You aren’t preaching frugality, only market timing, and market timing has been proven not to work. All your “intuition” about the market having a bubble in 2009, and that you knew it, is BS.

  • Anders says:

    Thanks for sharing David!

    Our family is rather frugal too, partly by training and partly by nature. Much like Ms. Frugal Asian Finance, I grew up in a low-income family so money was never that abundant. Of course, when I started making my own money I needed to learn how to budget because I noticed that lifestyle inflation began to hit.

    Nowadays, we’re frugal both for the sake of saving money and for the sake of saving the environment. It’s a win-win for us and our future generations.

  • steveark says:

    My wife and I are also naturally frugal but it does cause problems in one small area. Birthday and Christmas gifts! Not that we are too tight to buy them but it is the fact that neither me nor dear wife ever really want anything. So if the kids want ideas we just don’t have any. I honestly don’t buy anything except to replace things that break and she is about the same. When you are content with what you have it is murder to think up an idea for a gift for yourself. We are financially independent and both retired early so money is no object but still, we have everything we want already. Guess that doesn’t even qualify as a first world problem.

  • Thank you for sharing your story! I’m glad you didn’t pull the trigger on the house. All the reading and research you did on the housing bubble paid off!

    Mr. FAF and I are also very frugal. It’s mainly because we grew up in low-income families where we saw how hard our parents worked to make and save money. We forego a lot of fun stuff in life to save money, but frugality has also opened up so many options and opportunities for us. =)

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