Which is More Fulfilling: Saving Money or Making Money?

A penny saved is a penny earned” is not my favorite cliche, but it does contain the two fundamental personal finance components within its seven words:

1. saving money

2. making money

At its simplest level, optimizing each is what personal finance is all about.

The other day, I was thinking about which I found more fulfilling (because personal finance bloggers are sick like that…).

And I had a hard time coming up with an answer.

Savings Vs. Earnings: Fulfilling in their Own Ways

earnings vs savingsEven though they have an equal effect on your bottom line, the thrill of the act, motivation behind it, and sense of fulfillment can be completely different from person to person.

Doing things like cutting your electric bill, saving money on your auto insurance policy, or switching to one of the most fuel efficient cars can be extremely rewarding, kind of like winning a game. Call it the “thrill of the hack”. There’s also a minimalist appeal to saving money.

On the earning side, getting paid to build something from scratch, close a big deal, or make someone’s life better can be extremely rewarding as well. It is a form of validation or appreciation for all of your hard work. Providing for your family? Even better. And when your own money starts making money for you? Hot damn!

Taken to Extremes

At extremes, a love (or addiction) for one or the other can seem obvious:

An individual who turns down an income in favor of full-time extreme couponing so that they can store 200 tubes of Crest toothpaste in their basement is probably more fulfilled by saving money than they are by making money.

An individual who consciously goes into a field of work with the intention of making a ton of money while sacrificing personal time, relationships, and health so that you can afford a lavish lifestyle is probably more fulfilled by making money than they are by saving money.

But for everyone else, it is probably not quite as clear.

Which is More Fulfilling to you: Making Money or Saving Money?

I had such a hard time deciding which was more fulfilling, I thought it would make for an interesting reader debate. So debate away!

  • Which do you think is more fulfilling? (take the poll below)
  • Why? (comments)

Which is more fulfilling to you?

View Results

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  1. Mike
    • Ryan @ LifeFreshOut
  2. Bichon Frise
  3. HP
  4. David
  5. David
  6. Nick
  7. Brett
    • Kellie D
  8. John @ Financial Planner Irvine
  9. Jason D

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