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Say Enough to Save Enough

Lost time is never found again. —  Benjamin Franklin

How many times have you shrugged off when someone talked about doing what you love? It’s easier said than done, right? What’s stopping you to quit doing the work you abhor? The truth is painful — you haven’t saved enough!

Americans are saving only 3.7% of their disposable personal income while more corporations are abandoning their pension plans.

While our omnipotent government can’t even balance its budget, burden is on you to think about your own retirement.

I realized the importance to say ‘Enough’ in order to save enough while talking to a friend who thought that the notion of pursuing what you love to do jibes well with those who want to write about it — to sell pipe dreams to the world!

As I dug deeper into his mindset, it became abundantly clear to me that he lives paycheck to paycheck despite earning salary that puts him into the top 10% income earners in this country.

Most people keep doing work they  hate to do just to keep their ends meet year after year without having any clue about how to come out of this vicious circle.

This is an epidemic that takes more toll on our society, yet we don’t hear anything about it in the mainstream media.

The simple way to say Enough

It may sound oxymoronic, but start viewing every spend not with the currency you use to pay for it; rather, start viewing every spend with the ‘hours of life energy required’ for the spend. You may say, “that’s same as what you make hourly”. You are correct, but it’s more than that.

Let’s assume that you want to buy a brand new car for $50,000 just because you deserve it. Fine. Now think that by borrowing money that you don’t have, you will end up paying $70,000 or more. If you are making $100,000 a year, you are going to spend more than 2000 hours of your life energy to just pay for that car — that’s more than one year worth of freedom you are sacrificing for your new lifeless car that occupies your garage. Instead, if you delay your gratification a bit and save $500 every month, you can buy a used car with cash without sacrificing a year of your life energy.

As a fun exercise, I asked my friend — who thinks that he can’t save enough because life sucks — to make a list of all of his possessions in a spreadsheet and sort them by their monetary value along with life energy spent for each possession. Next, I asked him if he can either eliminate those possessions that he has no need for or replace those that are essential with delaying gratification and less expensive version so that he can save more money and life energy.

In few months, he started saving more than he ever imagined he can. So, as an added fun exercise, he also started keeping track of savings not just in simple dollar figure but also in the life energy saved. I now see him as a different person who views life more from the perspective of financial freedom and happiness.

If you ever hear someone saying that they can’t save enough, you can help by encouraging them to leave no stone unturned to retrospect their lives. It’s okay to have past full of mistakes as long as you have audacity to view all your possessions with life energy you spent to own them.

 My First Podcast

Few weeks back, I received an email from Brandon who runs MadFientist blog. His blog is all about ways to explore financial freedom. As it turned out, my dear friend Jim encouraged Brandon to invite me for a podcast.

I had fun speaking with Brandon about my life. My deep gratitude to Jim for believing in me and to Brandon for considering me worthy for the podcast interview.



Early Retirement: It’s Not As Risky As You Might Think @ Financial Samurai

5 Reason I am Buying Less for My Kids this Christmas @ Modest Money

Financial Lessons from Clark W. Griswold @ Eyes On the Dollar

Wealth Building Gift For You @ Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance  (I highly recommend her tip # 19)

Photo by: Cakes by Aundron, Alan Van Roemburg

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Comments (21)

That is a wonderful way to look at spending and something I have tried hard to do this past year. I’m very tired of working to make payments and have made changes to get out of that cycle. Thanks for the mention. I hope you had a wonderful holiday.

Merry Christmas, Kim!

When I thought about the hours spent working at McDonald’s for $3.25/hr, I stopped spending on EVERYTHING, literally.

Hope you had a good holiday Shilpan!


I admire you for what you have achieved in such a young age, Sam!

It was my pleasure, Shilpan! Your wisdom, sound advice, and inspiring story made for an excellent interview.

I really enjoyed speaking with you so thank you again for taking part in the podcast!

I really enjoyed talking with you, Brandon!!

I began thinking like this about 10-11 years ago. Every now and again, I get off track and have to remind myself of the hours of work necessary to purchase item X.

PS: I used to be in the mindset of not being able to save anything even though I was in the top 15% of income across the country. I was at 10%, but will be closer to 16%-17% with this coming year hopefully. Only time will tell. :-)

Great post Shilpan!

Thanks for the visit, Chris!

Well done Shilpan. This is a great paradigm shift from the way we normally approach this topic.

Yes, it allows us to be aware about life energy required for each spend. It’s easier to restrain when you know that you will need to work ‘X’ number of hours or even days to own a possession.

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[…] Say Enough to Save Enough Lost time is never found again. —  Benjamin Franklin How many times have you shrugged off when someone talked about doing what you love? It's easier said than done, right? What's stopping you to quit doing the work you abhor? The truth is painful — you haven't… Read more […]

Great interview, Shilpan….

We just got back from our holiday travels so I only got to listen to it last night. Didn’t disappoint!

Yours is an inspirational story and I enjoyed hearing it in your own words. I even listened with my coffee in hand.

Not quite the same as having coffee with you, but it’ll do till you make it up here to NH or I there to Atlanta.

Happy New Year!

Jim, my interview was made possible by your kind recommendation. So, big thank to you my friend. And, definitely, I will await a day to have a cup of coffee with you, my friend.

you’re welcome, but I did it for purely selfish reasons.

I wanted to hear what you had to say.

[…] Say Enough to Save Enough on Street Smart Finance […]

[…] Say Enough to Save Enough by Street Smart Finance […]

[…] Say Enough to Save Enough Lost time is never found again. —  Benjamin Franklin How many times have you shrugged off when someone talked about doing what you love? It's easier said than done, right? What's stopping you to quit doing the work you abhor? The truth is painful — you haven't… Read more […]

By the looks of things. Somebody has made their money alright.

[…] great way to rally nation’s squanderers is to blame savers for their plight. Waah! The word “normally” struck my eyes. The mere insinuation that a […]