Don’t Confuse Spending Less with Saving (Spending Less isn’t Saving)

in Spending

I actually borrowed this idea from Spending Less is Not the Same as Saving . It is an excellent point that needs to be reinforced (i.e. spending less isn’t saving).

If I go out and buy a new car and I manage to talk $2500 off the sticker price of the car, I have not saved anything, I have simply spent less money. I have argued about the semantics of money. Saving and spending less are not synonymous (i.e. spending less isn’t saving).

Please don’t think I am saying you shouldn’t try to get a deal, or that spending less is terrible, however, it is not to be confused with saving. In the above example I didn’t save $2500. I had spent a large amount of money (or incurred a large amount of debt), but that money is not saved.

Spending less is not savings
Am I missing something here?

What is Saving ?

Saving is putting money aside to grow and maybe use at a later date like:

  • Putting money in your TFSA , so that it can grow without tax implications
  • Depositing money in your RRSP, for your retirement
  • Saving money in your child’s RESP or RDSP
  • etc., etc., etc.,

Spending less can lead to you saving money by putting the unspent money somewhere to grow, however, you still spent money to get there. In fact in most cases to save money, you have to spend less, but that does not mean they are the same thing, it’s more like One Thing Leads to Another (to quote the Fixx).

Pet Peeves

What drives me crazy is hearing friends say:

  • I saved so much money buying that leather sofa
  • The savings on leasing the Van over buying it was too good to turn down
  • I got some big savings at the Boxing Day Sales

No, you SPENT less money, you didn’t save anything. I realize I am simply arguing semantics but it is something that irks me, does it bug you?


  • Matt December 17, 2013, 7:33 PM

    That`s a pretty big semantic but a very important one. I think it goes back to how people look at spending in general, I am becoming convinced they don`t understand how rampant consumerism is.

  • Sheryl (Cdn Gwen) December 18, 2012, 11:49 AM

    I was thinking the other day about writing a blog post about this same idea. I was thinking about the saying “You have to spend money to save money”, and that saving no longer means keeping your money. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

  • Mark Foster December 17, 2012, 8:35 AM

    It hasn’t… but I am sure it will now.

    • bigcajunman December 17, 2012, 9:16 AM

      Hmmm… me wonders if that was a bit of sarcasm? Hmmm….


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