Will Your Frugal Ways Ever Make You Wealthy?

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Are you a pretty frugal person? If you aren’t spending much money, where are you putting the extra? Are you throwing it into your savings account? The retirement fund? Or, are you putting it toward some outstanding debts? Whatever the case may be, do you ever wonder where your frugal life will take you?

Does Wealth Come From Frugality?

Have you ever taken a drive to the rich part of town? Here in West Michigan, all of the wealthy people own property on the water. A couple of days a year, I’ll dust off my bicycle and pedal along the shoreline to look at the houses that are far out of my reach today. There are a multitude of million dollar properties on that route, and I have recently asked myself, “Is my frugal lifestyle going to allow me to purchase one of these properties someday?” Or, maybe a better question would be, “Are these people wealthy because they’ve been frugal all their lives?”

For some, sure, they’re probably 60+ years old and they’ve finally amassed enough wealth to purchase one of those mammoth houses on the water, but I would say that for most of those homes were not purchased simply because they saved their pennies all of their lives.

“Many wealthy people are frugal, but just because you’re frugal doesn’t mean that you’ll be wealthy”

Do you like the quote? I’d like to tell you that I got it from a very prestigious financial writer, but quite honestly, I just made it up. It makes perfect sense though doesn’t it? The book, “The Millionaire Next Door” states that most wealthy people with a net worth of $10 million or more are very frugal at heart. When they started making bank back in the day, they just decided not to increase their lifestyle. Rather, they invested their surplus into the market or other business ventures. Their frugality allowed them to become wealthy.

This may sound like anyone that’s frugal will be rich, but that’s just simply not true! If you hardly make any money to begin with, there isn’t much money that can be saved, and therefore, not much money will be earned from that small surplus in your lifetime. If you are frugal and can increase your savings from $50 to $200 a month, that’s all well and good, but you won’t be buying a $2 million dollar mansion with your frugality!

How to Become Wealthy

If I continue to work my day job and never received another increase in pay, I could get through life just fine. I may even be able to buy a little cabin up north and a boat to relax on, but I don’t think a mansion would be in my future either (when I say mansion, I just mean ridiculous wealth, whatever it may be that you’d like to spend your money on). So if that is my goal, how do I need to alter my lifestyle today to earn my wealth in the future?

Start Your Own Business

What is your plan? Do you currently work a job that allows for very little surplus? Maybe you’ll need to start a side-business for some additional revenue. Just think, you could start a small business for practically nothing and earn an additional $1,000-$2,000 per month. Within just 3 or 4 years, you could be investing in your first rental property for cash! Keep reinvesting your earnings into more properties, and your total business equity could grow into $1 million in just 15 years!

Frugality and the development of an additional income is key to become wealthy. Do you have a plan for your future wealth?

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Money

Derek

AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

34 Comments

  1. Being frugal never makes you wealthy, it will just allow you to save a bit more than what you are already doing. It’s always important to spend as much as needed.

    • I agree Neel. Saving money will only get you so far. Thanks for the comment!

  2. In my opinion, extremes are rarely effective or sustainable in the long-term.

    Extremely frugality may work for a while- if you’re paying off debt, saving money for a specific purpose (to pay cash for a new car, vacation, etc.) but it’s not going to make you rich.

    The goal should be balance. A comfortable amount of frugality combined with consistent saving, working to increase income, creating multiple income streams and regular investing will get you there much faster over time.
    Dave Hilton recently posted..Will I See You At FINCON12?!?!

    • Good point Dave. One can be extremely frugal for the short term, but for the long-term it’s definitely difficult to maintain, and sometimes it’s just plain unhealthy!

  3. No, my frugal ways won’t make me wealthy. The best it can do is keep me out of debt, live simply but comfortably, and have sufficient funds to tide us over when we retire. That is good enough for me and hubby.
    Amy Turner recently posted..Compound Interest: Split Personality

    • Great point Amy. I’m glad that you and your husband are content in your situation. Trying to acquire millions of dollars can often be unhealthy.

    • That is the way to wealth for sure! Reduce your expenses and increase your earnings. Based on your previous comments here Lance, I bet that you’re well on your way to creating wealth in the near future!

  4. I think it depends on your definition of wealth. I know frugal people who live in very modest homes, make an average salary, but have very low debt. They most likely have lots in reserve, but you wouldn’t necessarily look at them and think they are weatlty, and they like it that way. If you want the million dollar house, then unless you are a trust funder, I think multiple streams of income and making smart spending decisions is key. I really like your quote!
    Kim@EyesontheDollar recently posted..Does Credit Card Debt Have You Stuck?

    • You speak a lot of truth Kim! For me, my definition of wealth would be no debt, a large passive income, and no need for a job.

      Oh, and thanks for the compliments on the quote! 🙂

  5. I don’t consider myself frugal. I just spend consciously. Especially in the last 4 months. I started investing and have done nicely. I opened up a new site and made my first 2 dollars. :). I spend when I need to. I spend occasionally when I want to and I never get in my wife’s way.
    Jai Catalano recently posted..Portrait Inspiration Needs Your Help

    • It sounds like you have made a lot of progress in the last 4 months Jai. Congrats and keep up the awesome work!

  6. My husband’s friend is a guy that lives in a decrepit 1940s government brick and drives an old pickup. He also owns close to 2 sections of pasture land that he has leased out. The other day he was griping about his grand kids and the trust he has set up to save on taxes when he goes. Turns out he also has several million dollars in investments. You’d never know it.

    • Wow. That’s crazy when you find out that seemingly poverty-stricken people are actually millionaires. Would you consider him a wealthy guy?

  7. Definitely wealthy, there are plenty of people in Mcmansions driving new cars who look richer but owe more than they own. Personally, I think he should have enjoyed his money a little more. Elderly and terminal, his grand kids can hardly wait until he kicks it. They will probably squander most of it even though they might never have to work again if they were more careful.

    • True true. If you only focus on saving all your life, chances are that you’ll live comfortably, but you’ll never have true wealth.

  8. I like your quote as well. Squeezer’s comment is awesome too! It is really what you choose to do with your time when you aren’t doing your typical job. Like others have commented, it is a matter of what the definition of wealthy is. I agree with you about no debt and passive income. I believe the no debt part can be a matter of frugality, while the passive income one is a matter of creativity.

    • Thanks for the comment Kevin! Passive income certainly does take some creative thinking and hard work! Maybe that’s why so few people do it! Saving, on the other hand, is an easy concept and can be practiced by many.

  9. I agree that frugality won’t make you wealthy, but the wealthy who are frugal protect their money more than the wealthy who increase their lifestyle so much that they sometimes even end up declaring bankruptcy. I think it’s all about doing whatever you can with the money you earn – pay off debt, save for retirement, and plan for the future. Rather than chasing wealth, chase a positive financial future.
    Shannon-ReadyForZero recently posted..Weekly Shout Outs: Back to School Edition

    • Great comment Shannon. I agree 100%. Those that earn a heep of money, but spend it all, are often worse off than those that barely get by! Chasing a positive financial future is definitely the way to go. 🙂

  10. I’ve recently thought about this very topic. We are saving a ton of money but the two jobs I have are not putting me in a position to make much since I am paid well under the average starting salary for a dietitian and don’t even get 40 hours a week between the two. I need to start brewing some ideas for side hustle…or a new job altogether!
    Jessica @ Budget For Health recently posted..Happy 25th birthday to my love

    • Crazy isn’t it? It’s not that we get more greedy and want more money, we just (at some point) come to the realization that our net worth will continue to grow at a very slow rate if we never increase our income. I’m sure you’ll come up with a great side hussle. Your website is a great start! Keep that up and you’ll be earning at least a thousand bucks a month in the near future. Trust me. If you ever have any questions about earning an income, feel free to ask me. 🙂

  11. It is all about perception of wealth. I think there is no relationship between frugality and wealth.
    Also you should define wealth to yourself honestly. What makes you feel wealthy?
    It is not about what makes others think that you are wealthy but it is about your own self reflection.
    No doubt we should all be frugal but to become wealthy we should do what we love the most and believe me – it is the hardest job ever.
    Canadian Mortgage recently posted..50 Types of Mortgages – and growing…

    • For myself, wealth means time and money. I’d have a passive income that required very little effort from myself. I’m definitely getting there with my online ventures and it feels great!

    • Very true SFH! Someone could earn $500,000 a year, but if they spend $510,000, they’re still going backwards and definitely not approaching what it means to be wealthy.

  12. I suppose if you are not frugal to some degree, then by definition, you will spend all your income, and so no matter how much money you earn, you will never become wealthy.

    Every activity comes with costs and benefits, and frugality is no exception. It seems smart to make sure you are frugal in situations where a small amount of your time and a large amount of money are involved. Examples might be refinancing your mortgage or getting multiple estimates for replacing your roof.

    The less money and more time at stake, the less enthustiac I become. I see people suggesting a lot of activity that takes quite a bit of time to save one dollar. If you obsess and do a whole lot of such activity, you could end up spending all your time running around saving a few bucks, which is no way to live.
    S. B. @ Save Invest Give recently posted..Why Saving Money Lists Aren’t Helpful

    • Good point. If you continually spend everything you earn, then you’ll never sock money away, and therefore you’ll never acquire wealth. Thanks for the comment SB!

  13. I think you have to maximize several wealth building strategies. you can’t just “save” your way to riches. Getting out of debt is only one issue to deal with. You need to be creative and use some of your great hidden intelligence to create new income streams. When someone obsesses on getting out of debt, but isn’t also investing, they may be missing out of some significant years that their portfolio needs in order to take advantage of compound interest.
    Carla recently posted..10 Quick ways to reduce your Bills:

    • Great comment Carla! You’re absolutely right. If your only focus is saving, you’ll most likely never be rich. Instead, it’s best to focus on both frugality and increasing your income!

  14. My wife and I have been trying to adopt a more frugal life-style, and in addition increase our income at the same time. I work two jobs and she works part-time, and I have multiple blogs which after a year are finally starting to generate some positive cash flow. It amazes me how many people think they can start a blog and have overnight success, so if they don’t make money the first month they give up. That isn’t the way to get ahead, most certainly. But, most importantly, one should have an emergency cash stash to take care of those things that will pop up unexpectedly, because they most certainly will.
    John Fisher recently posted..Frugal Kitchen Tips Reviews

    • Ha, I thought I could have overnight success with my blog! I thought Google Analytics was just going to bring home the bacon! Ha, but alas, it didn’t (and still really doesn’t now that I think about it). While I was hoping that I’d be successful in the short term, I did have long-term goals that I stuck to. I think it’s all worked out pretty well! Congrats on your success too!


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