10 Ways to Live in the Present While Saving for the Future

10 Ways to Live in the Present While Saving for the Future

Written by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated June 5, 2017

Do you want to live your life on your own terms, without racking up credit card debt? There is a way you can live life to the absolute fullest, while still saving your money for the future. The secret is buying what you want, within reason, but in small amounts at specified times for specific reasons. Once in awhile, you should reward yourself and spend money on fun and amusing activities. Denying yourself basic life pleasures and having fun will cause you to feel like you’re missing out on life. It makes saving harder, more aggravating, and makes you less motivated to save. But, if you’re still enjoying life, achieving your goals, and spending small amounts of money on amusing activities, you will be more likely to save, as you will feel more satisfied and less restricted. Similar to a cheat day on a diet, you need a day to splurge when you’re budgeting. As long as you keep this limited to whatever best fits your finances and goals.  

Understand Your Cash Flow

In order to make financial decisions that will improve your present and future cash flow, it’s important to understand your current cash flow. Understanding your spending habits and patterns is crucial in order to realize what you’re wasting your money or where you can cut some expenses. For example, if you calculate that you’re spending $100 over your gas budget each month, you’ll more than likely be more conscious about cutting back on how much driving you do.

This process can apply to any of your expenses. Actually seeing where all your money is going can be a very powerful tool and maybe even the kick in the pants you need to get back on track. Go over your spending every week, as opposed to every month, in order to have a clearer picture in mind. It takes less time to review weekly expenses and easier to see where you overspend. Additionally, if you did overspend one week, you can catch your mistake early and offset it with the next week, whereas if you catch overspending after a month, it could potentially be much harder to offset the following month.

Learn how to save more and spend less on your own terms.

Decide in Advance What Your Future Financial Goals are

The clearer you are about what you will spend your money on, the easier it will be to make spending decisions that you won’t regret. If you plan, in advance, how you will spend your personal money, you will be happier with your choices because you’ll have had time to think them over. Once you set a goal and decide what you really want for your future, you can start making choices today that will help you get there. Once this goal or vision is in mind, it won’t feel like it’s a struggle to live in the present, because you know you’re working towards something big. You won’t feel deprived living in the present because you know your choices will be worth it in the long run. If you just bought impulsively all year without thinking of the end goal, you would be depriving yourself of what you really want. Take time and think about how you want to spend the money you’re saving now in the future. 

Set up Multiple Savings Accounts.

Another way to live presently while saving for the future is setting up multiple savings accounts with your bank so you can save money efficiently. We suggest that you have two basic savings accounts, one for emergencies and unexpected expenses and one for retirement. After that have as many additional accounts as you like, it all depends on how many financial goals you have.

For instance, if you dream of traveling across Europe next summer, set up a savings account for this specific goal and arrange automatic deposits. This allows you to see the progress you’re making, which will encourage you to save even more.  

The 10 things you need to stop buying right now, read here.

Save for Spontaneity

You can never plan what life is going to throw your way because we live in a world where anything can happen. Therefore, you should always be prepared to deal with spontaneous decisions you may be faced with. While the amount doesn’t have to be so big, it’s important that you save a certain amount of money each week to spend on fun and or spontaneous activities and events. Whether it’s having a memorable experience, lunches with friends, or local events and shows, you don’t want miss an opportunity just because you’re only focused on the future. When you save for the fun things in life, you can enjoy living in the present while not feeling deprived and not have to worry about jeopardizing your future goals.

Prioritize your Spending

With an allocated amount of money to spend on fun activities each month, in order not to feel so denied and confined with saving, it’s important to prioritize your spending. This means don’t spend your “fun money” on the same thing each week. If you’re spending this amount on a night out drinking one week, try to switch it up the next week and spend your money on something different, like going to see a movie you’ve been looking forward to. Spending your money on the same thing will get repetitive and not as amusing. Additionally, if you add new fun activities to your life, you won’t feel as restricted or denied. Just make sure to limit this to once a week or every two weeks or even once a month, depending on your goals.

Get into Frugal Hobbies

There are so many pleasurable and gratifying activities that you can do while spending little to no money. A sport, for instance, usually requires a ball and some energy. Go for a run, hike, or simply walk near your local park. Being outside is healthy for your mind and body, as being active in nature is proven to offer relief from negative thoughts or feelings. Go for a bike ride, practice yoga in the park, swim at your community swimming pool or play tennis if you own a tennis racket. No matter what the sport or activity is, the key is getting into the habit of enjoying small actions that don’t require a lot of money.

Want to get fit on a budget? Check out this article.

Cut Everything in Half

Now that you’re saving for the future and the present, it’s ok to go out and actually spend that money. You deserve it. But, you also need to be conscious of just how much you’re spending and to not go overboard. An easy way to do this is to cut everything in half. for example,  let’s say you go for sangria on a terrace this weekend, instead of having two drinks, have one. Similarly, if you’re shopping and see two bathing suits that you like, only buy one. Following this simple rule will cut your expenses in half and help you stay in control of your spending in a reasonable and realistic way.

Find Joy in Your Work

It may be hard to enjoy life in the moment when you despise your job and hate being at work. If you have the opportunity to engage in work that you genuinely enjoy doing, take it. If you’re stuck with your current job and can’t find any other opportunities, start a hobby on the side that could potentially lead to a business. If you’re a writer, start writing a blog, which can be done for free. If you enjoy making custom jewelry or designing clothes, get more serious about it and start innovating during your free time. Whatever the hobby is, if it can potentially lead to a moneymaking business, there is no harm in trying. Working at a job you love will help balance working today while saving for the future.

Make People a Priority

At times, you give the “things” in your life priority over the people in it. By things I mean clothes, cell phones, furniture, gadgets, and more. These all require spending money. However, making people a priority will cost you almost nothing and bring you closer to your friends and family. Make some time to visit friends, who you may not have seen in ages, or go visit your parents, and simply have a meaningful conversation with them. This doesn’t involve going out to eat dinner or to the movies, this means sitting in the backyard and exchanging thoughts over a cup of tea or coffee.  


One of the most rewarding acts a person can do is volunteering. While this doesn’t cost a dime, volunteering makes you feel extremely satisfied and fulfilled, something that money could never buy. With a sense of accomplishment, content, and pride, volunteering is beneficial for your mind and soul, and for your wallet.

Rating of 3/5 based on 4 votes.

Caitlin Wood is the Editor-in-Chief at Loans Canada and specializes in personal finance. She is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. Caitlin has covered various subjects such as debt, credit, and loans. Her work has been published on Zoocasa, GoDaddy, and deBanked. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security.

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