7 Rules for Saving Money: Your Path to Financial Freedom


Ben Franklin famously quipped that a penny saved is a penny earned. However, at the breakneck pace of today’s world, stopping to save even a penny can be tough to do. Time, unexpected situations, and even effort can be roadblocks on our road to financial freedom.

However, tough doesn’t mean impossible. So, in this post, I’m going to share with you seven rules for saving money that one day might save you. So, in the spirit of Ben Franklin and all our frugal founders throughout history, let’s begin with one.

Save vs Invest

This rule is obvious but rarely practiced. But before you beat yourself up, understand that it’s hard to practice in the first place.

With technology putting products at our fingertips 24 hours a day, the temptation to extend beyond our means is greater than it’s ever been.
Spend less than you make.

Spend less than you make.

So, how do we keep to this rule? Habits are the key to making any money rule stick, especially when it comes to spending.

To save with this rule, you start by spending less than you make on one payday. On the next payday, you spend even less than you did the previous payday. 

This creates a habit of not only spending less than you make but also spending less than you did the month prior. You can continue saving until you’re only spending what is necessary and saving the rest with ease.

Start with the end in mind.

Now it’s time to get creative. One of the most effective rules in money-saving is knowing why you’re saving in the first place and saving money. Establishing a target before you even establish the plan is a key to success. 

If you don’t know where you’re going, the money you are saving has no future. With no future, your money can easily find its way back into your present spending cycle, decimating your savings completely.

Understanding why you are saving and what you’re saving for gives you a clear motivation for continuing to build the money-saving habits these rules help you develop. If you know the life you’re working towards, you allow yourself to enjoy the process of getting there. 

For instance, let’s say you’re going on a big vacation next summer. That’s your goal. That’s what you’re saving up for. You’re going on this vacation as a celebration of your recent hard work and accomplishments. 

You deserve it, even though that trip is months away. You’re still excited every time you move money into the savings account you have dedicated to it. Because you know where you’re going and why you want to go there.

Know Your Savings Percentage

For all my math lovers, this rule is for you. And for those of us who may not be the best with numbers. I assure you that this rule isn’t complicated to understand or follow. A savings percentage is a way of gauging how well you’re doing with your savings across all your accounts. 

It’s calculated by taking the amount of money you saved across all your accounts and dividing it by your total income for the year. Multiplying the resulting number will give you the savings percentage.

For instance, if you save ten thousand dollars and your total income is one hundred thousand dollars, you will get point one. Which you then multiply by 100 to get a savings percentage of ten percent. You save ten percent of your total income. 

The importance of knowing your savings percentage is to track your progress. If you’re not saving at least 10 percent, you’re below the minimum. You’d need to save to effectively reach your money goals. 

The optimal number is 50, but don’t beat yourself up. If it takes time to get there or you never get there. Shoot for 10, and then incrementally grow over time. Keeping track of your savings percentage will give you a better understanding of what savings rules have been working. And which ones need more attention.

Save for a Rainy Day

We have heard about saving for a rainy day even before we had anything to save. It’s a money-saving rule that has been passed down through the ages. But it doesn’t always mean it’s heated. Anticipating the inevitable is one of the best money-saving rules you’ll ever learn. 

No, it doesn’t mean to be a Debbie Downer about everything and walk around with woe as my approach to money. But if you’ve lived life at all, you know that every day isn’t going to be a day you enjoy. 

By saving for a rainy day, you put aside enough money to ensure that if something does occur. You and your family can survive it financially while you deal with it on more serious levels. 

No one wants to be stressed about bills when a loved one needs to be comforted. No one wants to have to cancel plans because a pipe bursts unexpectedly.

Automate your savings

Automating your money has become a normalized way of navigating today’s world. It makes the process of moving money simpler and faster. In many cases, it offers a level of security we once didn’t have. 

The problem is that we tend to only automate our spending. We’re more than happy to have our Netflix or mortgage payments automatically taken out of our accounts each month. But we neglect to do the same for our spending. Getting rid of our money is automatic, but saving our money is left up to us to keep up with by ourselves.

I don’t know about you, but even my best efforts to not be distracted tend to fall short in this area. By automating your savings, you not only keep yourself from spending what you save. But you save before you can even think of what you’d possibly spend that money on. 

If you have any of your payments automated, you know that it’s a set-it-and-forget-it process. Once you sign up to agree to have the payments automatically taken out, you never think about it again.

Use credit cards as a convenience.

Credit is everywhere; nearly every store has some form of credit they are willing to offer you, and credit card offers fill our mailboxes year-round. You can escape credit usage; the trick to this rule is understanding what credit cards should and should not be used for. 

If you’re not good with money just yet, it wouldn’t be wise to max out credit cards. And carry balances over, racking up interest that can keep you in debt longer than you’d ever imagined.

In the case of those of us who are still figuring out how to balance expenses and savings, a credit card should go into our emergency category. Where it’s only used for a specific set of circumstances, and a limit as to how much we use is preset. 

And if you’re good with money and have no problems paying your balances before they are due, you should take the time to find credit cards. That will reward you for using them.

Especially in the cashback department. If you’re going to take on the responsibility of credit usage, you should be happy to reward yourself for proper usage via card perks. Credit is valuable, but only if used properly.

No one will care more about your money than you.

I know that this is more of a statement of fact than a rule to follow, but hear me out. I listed this as a rule because, like all rules you learn in life, it has to be internalized. Simply reading it or hearing it and going on about your day is no good. 

You have to make it a part of who you are and what you do. The fact is that you will never know anyone who will take your financial health to heart more than you.

Even the best-intentioned family and friends can’t fully grasp how important it is for you to be on this money-saving journey. So as you set out knowing that this is true, you take more responsibility for the success ahead. 

Let your family and friends help you celebrate your milestones along the way, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that anyone can walk this journey with you. Yes, you will undoubtedly get support and encouragement, and I want you to embrace it all.

But when it comes time to put the money where it needs to go, especially when you have to say no to yourself, it’s all on you. Understand this fact and formulate your plan so that this isolation is positive. 

Being the only person who will care about your money as deeply as you do gives you an advantage because you know that no moves can be made on your money without your involvement. You are now in control of your financial future; following these rules allows you to have a strong foundation to build from.

By adhering to these seven rules, you can pave the way to a more secure financial future. Remember, consistency and discipline are key. Stay focused on your goals, and you’ll find yourself closer to financial freedom with each passing day.

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