The Frugal Living Commencement Speech I'd Give to My Younger Self


Dear Younger Me,

Congratulations on your graduation! You have worked hard and deserve a huge high five. Take some time to enjoy this moment, because pretty soon, real life is going to come at you like a train hauling nitroglycerin.

But don't worry. You're prepared for this. You've got a good amount of life experience that will help you, and you have a good head on your shoulders. (You're also very handsome, and I wish I still had the hair that you currently have.)

I'm going to give you some advice on how you can build a great life. If you do these things, your life will turn out great. Perhaps even better than mine. (Not sure if that's possible, since I am you and you are me. But whatever.) (See also: 7 Career Tips You Wish You Could Give Your Younger Self)

Save Money

First, I strongly suggest you go make some money and then save it. Get a job, preferably doing something you enjoy. And pack your lunch. (Big money saver.)

Work hard at your job, learn some skills. Maybe even get a second job. Get a paycheck. Take that paycheck and resist every urge to spend it.

Okay, you'll want to spend some of it. Having friends is important. Go to concerts, go to ballgames, maybe even take a trip to Europe. But be smart. Don't spend money you don't have. Credit cards are your enemy. Fend off debt like a knight fending off a band of grim warriors.


Learn how to invest. Familiarize yourself with the stock market and things like 401Ks and a Roth IRA. Put a little money in now. Then a little more. Then a little more. Understand that money you save now will have tons of time to grow, so that when you're older like me, you'll have a lot more in the bank. Because let me tell you something… you will need that money.

Fall in Love

Find a good partner. Listen to her, because she's probably smarter and more sensible than you are. Experience life with her. Cook her some eggplant parmesan once in awhile, because that is her favorite. Don't get mad when she insists on using a coupon for everything. Promise her a great trip every summer. Take her to ballparks, to the beach, to Europe, if you can afford it.

But again: don't spend money you don't have.

Prepare for the Worst

You're going to lose your job at least once, maybe twice. And you're gonna need a new roof on that house you bought. And your cars will both have 140,000 miles on them at some point. And your heat pump is going to cut out during the Blizzard of 2016 (so maybe get it replaced before then).

Educate Your Kids

One day, you won't be a kid anymore and you'll have kids of your own. Love those kids. Spoil them, but not with money or possessions. Spoil them with education. Teach them about the world. Teach them how to take care of themselves and other people. Never let them say the words, "I can't."

And again… save your money. Because kids are not cheap! I cannot stress this enough.

There's so much else I can tell you, but most of it you'll have to figure out on your own. I do suggest you call your folks on a regular basis. Read some books. Find a charity you like and give generously. Stay off of Facebook. (You'll find out what that is.) Eat healthy. Exercise.

You'll figure it out. I'm sure you'll do great. I have faith in you.

Best wishes,

Future You

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Guest's picture

I love this! Right on point. Wish someone said this to me many years ago.