Save. Spend. Splurge.

The money mindset and traits of self-made millionaires

So Over Debt had a guest post that listed out traits of millionaires:

  1. Millionaires Possess Self-Motivation and Drive
  2. Millionaires Save Their Money
  3. Millionaires Invest in the Stock Market
  4. Millionaires Are Frugal With Their Money, and More Frugal With Their Time

They have self motivation and drive

While I like reading these posts to see how I benchmark against these self-made folk, I am always cautious to point out that you don’t always have to be an entrepreneur to make money and/or become a millionaire.

Anyone in any kind of job, can have “self motivation and drive”, it isn’t just business owners.

I know this sounds odd coming from a self-employed person, but I honestly believe I would act the same in either setting — I’d probably just have more of an incentive to make my own business grow better and faster than someone else’s 😉

Also, not all business owners become millionaires. I think the stats are that 90% of new businesses fail before their first year is up.

Food for thought.

They save their money

If they didn’t, how would they become rich?

The article points out that they save about $39,000 a year.

Again, I’d like to point out that they make a damn good income to be able to save that much a month.

We should also consider that this means they save $3250 net a month, which is guesstimated at $6500 gross earnings a month.

Then if you think about their living expenses on top of that, they must earn at least another $4000 gross ($2000 net) to cover what they spend.

In total, their earnings are about $10,500 a month to net $5250, assuming they spend $2000 on expenses each month, to be able to save $3250 every month.

Not everyone makes that kind of money, but everyone CAN set their own savings goals based on their own personal net income each month.

I personally set a goal like that for myself — I net about $7500 a month, and I’m aiming to save 50% to 75% of it ($3750 – $5625), or as much as possible.

I always play around with the budgets and I estimate “what if” scenarios so that I can estimate how far I can go and how much slack I have to still be able to meet my goals.


They invest in the stock market

The article makes a point that they invest during and after a recession (e.g. 2008).

I’ve done something similar, putting most of my cash reserves (emergency fund) into the stock market. I’ve seen some decent returns as a result, and I am optimistic the market will continue to pick up.

They’re frugal with their money and their time

I don’t think that they’re Trent Hamm (of The Simple Dollar) frugal, but they do watch their expenses closely by making sure their food budget doesn’t spiral into the thousands.

My idea of being frugal is watching what I spend each month but not beating myself up over losing 2 seconds of oven heat and wasting $0.02 a minute.

The only things I do that would be remotely frugal, are things that I do because it’s the healthier and better choice for me, not because it’s cheaper.

List of “frugal” things I do, but not just because of what it costs me:

  • No dryer sheets — Did you know that they have animal fat in them to give that silky feel?
  • No detergent — I don’t see the difference with or without, and I think the harsh chemicals weaken the fabrics
  • No hair dye — The chemicals are awful and they burn my skin
  • No hair products — Except for shampoo (without it, my hair produces a lot of dandruff)
  • No nail products — Short, clean, trimmed; I don’t need polish or anything fancy on them
  • Haircuts twice a year — Am trying to grow my hair longer and it doesn’t really get wonky
  • No perfumes — Tried, but then my skin started reacting to it & bugs were biting me

I have yet to think of a word for that — I am partial to: “being spending-conscious” rather than “frugal“, because I don’t really think that I’d qualify to be able to hang with that crowd.


For instance, I know when I get crazy in my spending and I have to rein myself in, but I also remind myself that I do save a big chunk of my net income and I am more than financially stable for my age.

They also don’t seem to watch a lot of TV (pointless?) and I only watch TV if I’m about to fall asleep and I need something to numb my brain.

I will however, admit to watching a LOT of TV shows, but I choose WHEN to watch them (as purchased iTunes episodes for instance, or streaming them online) rather than having the TV schedule define my life and staying up until 10 p.m. just so I can watch ‘Castle’.

If that’s what millionaires do, then we’re on the same page!

Are you acting like a millionaire?


  • maria@moneyprinciple

    Scoring pretty well on all except the frugality point – I have difficult relationship with this one (I bake; I like getting value for money but driving two hours to save 10 cents is not my kind of thing). Asa to saving $39,000 per year it is not that impossible at a certain stage in life (we paid off $157,000 of debt in three years so if one turns this the other way around…).

  • Sheryl @ Cdn Dream at 45

    Do you think your stance on hair dye will change as you age? (You still are quite young). I’m 41 and have not colored my hair, in fact, almost been flaunting how few greys I have.
    However, the greys are getting more numerous, and they are making me feel a little old, so I’m thinking about taking the plunge.
    How do you think you will handle the silver highlights when they happen?

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I think my stance MIGHT CHANGE when I get older.

      However, my mother didn’t dye her hair until she was in her late 40s, and started to get a few greys. It was at that point she dyed her hair all the time, and then she got cancer, the type that is linked to hair dye.

      I think I’ll just rock the few greys I have. I really don’t want to take such risks with my health just for vanity. Perhaps my stance will change when they start multiplying all over my head, but it makes me so nervous thinking about it, particularly that my mom got the (eerie) exact cancer linked to hair dying.

      • MelD

        My grey has become my “silver lining” – I quit colouring to save myself from the chemicals and the cost, as well as the hassle of having to go ever more frequently. At only 48, my environment is raising their eyebrows when they see me these days, but I will not be swayed… another couple of months to finish growing out (iron grey, not white, yet!) and then I will be happy and grow my hair a bit longer, too.
        SOmeone did tell me last week that it actually looks quite “fetching”, so I was pleased with that compliment on my silver temples!!

  • PK

    I dunno my friend, I come here for the advice on how to make my own soap. Again, I’m looking for a good line on a lye supply – my guy is getting too expensive. Any leads?

  • anna

    I love that cream and pink dress! I’m the same way with hair cuts and hair products – I like some pricey shampoo/conditioner, though, but I water it down and make it last. I’m aiming to lead a more frugal lifestyle and learning to invest and save, so I suppose it’s a start!

  • American Debt Project

    It’s nice to see these and they make sense to me, I am on top of all of these, except with the stock market. I am only investing in retirement accounts, and need to move into individual investing as well. When the debt is gone this summer, I have set a number for myself of minimum savings each month. After a month or two, that cash is going to start going into investing.


    I think that the #1 thing that people don’t have a sense of urgency about or place enough importance on is time. Being frugal with your time is so important. Or rather, spending your time where it really counts is the most important thing you can do for your life and the lives of those you love.

    I am curious. Do you know about how much electricity it saves to not dry your clothes?

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I’ve never bothered to find the stats on saving electricity by avoiding the dryer but that’s because I just don’t pay the $1.50 for the dryer in the building 🙂 I am sure the stats are out there somewhere!

  • Erin @ Red Debted Stepchild

    I’m curious about the “no laundry detergent” thing. How do you clean your clothes? I honestly don’t anyone who doesn’t use laundry detergent!

    Also…lusting over those dresses :).

  • AdinaJ

    They only save about $39,000 a year? I thought it would be … more. Are they already millionaires at that point, or is that during their wealth accumulation phase?
    I think I have found a new benchmark for myself, LOL!

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    Great post. As we’re pretty new into our journey out of debt, I love learning more about what to do and what not to do. Your list of frugal things you do sounds a lot like ours, and ours too is based on what’s best for the family. Also, it saves us money on healthcare, I believe, by not exposing our bodies to so much chemical stuff. We are all in all pretty healthy.

  • Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle

    I don’t use a dryer because it is hard on clothing and the electricity bill. I hang everything.

    I have to hang everything inside because pollen gets on clothing hung outside and it aggravates my allergies.

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