Saving Money versus Avoiding Spending
I won’t count the number of times I use the phrase “save money” on this site, when in reality, I’m not saving a single penny at all. In fact, my whole Ways to Save Money series is named completely wrong. So what should it be called?
Ways to Avoid Spending Money
But that phrase doesn’t roll off the tongue like “Ways to Save Money”, does it? But why even comment on the difference? Simply put, it’s just a different use of the language, right?
What is “Saving Money”?
Basically, saving money means to stash it away somewhere. Kind of like saving acorns before winter. When people say “I saved money on this sale”, I doubt they actually went to the store to deposit money into their savings account.
Rather, they should have said “I avoided spending more money than…at this sale“. In place of “…”, you can insert other phrases like
- “other shoppers” or
- “the manufacturer’s suggested retail price” or
- “what the store wanted” or
- “what I initially expected to spend”
When you avoid spending money, that’s not saving money unless you stretch the meaning to say “I saved my money from falling into the hands of the evil salesperson or corporate giant”, much like you would save a damsel in distress or your toast from falling buttered side down. And perhaps that’s what people, including myself, really mean by “saving money”.
Will I change my writing?
I don’t know a single personal finance blogger, or even any financial writer, who uses the phrase “spending avoidance” over “saving money”, and I have no intention of correcting myself unless I’m consciously thinking of the difference at the time I write an article.
So what’s the point of this whole article? I don’t know, maybe an English lesson? Maybe just to make sure you, the reader, is aware of the difference between material gains in your savings account versus immaterial “savings” over what you spent and what you could have, but didn’t, spend.