David Ning is like a household name for readers and fans of personal finance website Wisebread — one of the site’s most popular contributors, he also runs his own “Moneyning” blog. Through his insightful tips and musings on frugality, investing and money management basics, Ning helps people quantify their savings big time … but the advice he gives is invaluably priceless. His personal finance story is part of Go Banking Rates’ Financial Literacy movement.
Many people feel that being frugal is all about sacrificing, but having low expenses is one of the most freeing experience you can ever have. Living frugally literally changed my life. In fact, and this sounds ironic, not spending much allowed me a chance to spend so much more. Let me explain …
You see, I’ve always been a saver. So even when I was making six figures in a sales position, I never lived a good life like many of my colleagues. Instead of buying expensive bottles of wine, I was perfectly happy ordering tap water. Instead of pricey watches, I used the funds to open an online savings account. And instead of stressing out over needing to make that commission check and then find time to get a massage, I started a hobby website during my free time.
Through the process of growing the readership of my site, it quickly became clear to me that I could actually try turning this into a business. I juggled time between my day job and my side hustle, but there never seemed to be enough time to accomplish everything I wanted to do for both lines of work. I knew there was a decision to make: forget about my site and turn my full attention back to the sales position, or quit my job and work on my site full time.
I’m sure you can guess the route I took, but I only had the courage to make the leap because my expenses were extremely low. If I never had a savings cushion, I would never be able to afford my lifestyle to give entrepreneurship a try. If I had a huge mortgage and car payment, I would never be able to quit my day job. If all I was worrying about was giving up a luxurious lifestyle, I would never be able to focus solely on growing my business.
Fast forward to this day, and I’m well on the way to financial independence. My business is doing well, and I can afford to splurge a little when I choose to. Instead of being away from home half the week, every week to see potential clients, I work at home and can spend time with my wife. We also have a 2-year-old daughter, and I would have probably missed many important moments in her life if I was still working for someone else.
I’m truly blessed, and it was only because I was always frugal. People ask me all the time why they should make the sacrifice for the future, and I always go back to my story. You never know when opportunity comes knocking, but you have to be prepared or you cannot take advantage. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever become a business owner, but I’m grateful I am one today.
Live frugally, as you never know where it may take you.
This article is part of the Go Banking Rates Financial Literacy Movement, helping Americans get smarter and grow richer. Take our credit card quiz to test how knowledgeable you are!