When I was a young and stoopid 20-something, I lived life by the seat of my britches.
I saved some money but not a lot and it was never consistent.
There were also times when that savings ran dry, which eventually bit me in the arse because I hadn’t established a habit of regular saving.
At that time, I had a decent paying job but kept spending money I didn’t have, went into debt (big time), and never thought about the future.
Plus, stuff kept coming up that “got in the way” of saving money (i.e. fun stuff). The truth was I didn’t want to save money consistently, so I didn’t.
Eventually, I was laid off from my job because the company lost most of its major customers. All the sudden, I had no income and lots of debt to pay off.
I had to sell my expensive car, get a roommate (who turned out to be an unruly and emotionally out-of-control person), default on some of my debt (which led to a huge tax liability no one told me about until it was too late), and buy a beater car at a price which was probably too high at loan terms which were very unfavorable to me in an economic climate where being desperate was the kiss of death and opportunists lurked around every corner (and I found all of them).
I learned the hard way: the best time to save money was when I didn’t need it.
Had I saved money instead of racking up a bunch of debt, I would have had more control over my life.
I could have walked into unemployment with a fat stack of cash and set my own terms. I could have (probably) avoided taking on a crazy roommate. I could have avoided an insane tax bill, and I could have gotten the job I really wanted instead of settling for a shady employer (who was later arrested for embezzlement of funds held in trust).
To any onlooker, I’m sure it looked like I was just down on my luck. And I could have rationalized it away like… “oh woe is me. How could I ever have seen this coming? It’s not my fault. What was I supposed to do? …”
Reality is, that disaster was years in the making.
Only that if you be crunched for moolah and time, and if you’ve painted yourself into a corner, then nothing I say here (or elsewhere) will help you.
The best time to save money is when you don’t need it.
And so it is.