While I love dedicating time to curling up in my hammock with a book (like one of these five!), life is busy — and sometimes I need more bite-sized chunks of wisdom to get re-motivated during a long day. I’ve compiled a few of my favorite inspirational money quotes, savings quotes, and investment quotes for anyone else who needs occasional reminders of why you’re on this path.
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The desire for instant gratification is built into human DNA. It makes sense: throughout most of history, if we didn’t immediately take something we wanted, we might not get another chance. And then there’s the dopamine hit that comes from buying things, training you to feel that primal sense of reward. Cultivating the mental discipline to save is literally a battle against biology. That’s what makes it so rare and valuable. This is one of my favorite money motivation quotes, because if you can achieve control over your spending and finances, you’re changing how your brain works. In time, it becomes easier to apply this same discipline and order to other areas of your life.
I have a soft spot for Stoic philosophers, and I think this quote by Epictetus builds off the previous one perfectly. When you’re able to not only resist certain wants, but actually think about the idea of “want” differently, you’ll be better off both financially and mentally. Examine your state of mind when you notice a pull toward buying something. Consider: will it truly improve your life? How much use will you realistically get from it? How many hours of work (and thus, life) are represented in the price? This is not to say that you should give up everything that makes you happy — just that it’s worth being intentional and weighing the costs. Someone with few and well-considered wants will be able to retire or pursue their passions much earlier than someone who wants a lavish lifestyle. It’s simply a matter of priorities.
I’ve written before about how saving should be treated like any other necessary bill. (It’s always nice to have Warren Buffett money quotes agree with you!) The more automatic you can make this process, the easier it will be to maintain. Set up your company payroll to automatically contribute money to your 401(k). Dedicate a certain amount of money each month to your “emergency fund” savings account or your IRA, and set up a recurring transfer so it happens without your manual involvement.
I’ve fallen into this trap before, and I know I’m not alone. “It’s only $5” (or $20 or $10 or $1) is the death knell of a budget. Whether it’s stopping for coffee and a bagel every day, not bothering to cancel a subscription you no longer use, or making regular “small” splurges on forgettable items, it’s easy to skip over these when you’re doing the mental math to figure out why you don’t have any money left. If you’ve found yourself saying “I just don’t know where it goes,” there are holes in your ship.
While “live in the moment” and “carpe diem” might make more popular tattoos than long Aristotle money quotes, balance is crucial. This mentality is all about considering your future self. Think of that future self as someone you need to protect and care for, because the habits you build now are going to affect your life years from now. I’m sure Aristotle knew people who felt like they had to spend money as soon as they got it, but the key is thinking long-term.
To understand this financial quote, we need to talk about credit cards, since they are the mechanism that many people use to spend money they haven’t yet earned. Personally, I believe that credit cards are excellent tools (and I regularly use them to earn free travel), but the caveat is: only if you know how to use them. Unless it’s a true emergency, you should only be swiping your credit card if the money is already in your bank account. Not “I’ll have it next paycheck” or “my friend is paying me back on Monday.” Things happen. You don’t want to put yourself in a position where layoffs, delays, or flaky borrowers mean you can’t pay off your card. Don’t count on money until you have it. If the credit card makes you prone to impulse purchases, you’re better off without it. 2% cash back will get eaten up by the 20% interest you can incur by not paying on time.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping thrill ride, long-term investing isn’t it (at least until you torture yourself by checking your net worth during a temporary market crash). It’s more like a series of slow, steady mini-gratifications. Day traders pursue that adrenaline by gambling on individual stock picks, but their big wins are just as easily followed by big losses. Generally, the long-term, diversified, “boring” index funds will take you a lot further, with a lot less stress. (Wealthfront is my go-to for investing this way easily, though I also dedicate some fun money to riskier investments.)
Ultimately, this is what financial freedom means. It’s not sitting on a pile of money or owning a mansion and a collection of sports cars. The majority of people chasing financial independence are searching for a peaceful mind, the freedom to forge their own paths, and the confidence that they can handle life’s crises.
What are your favorite financial quotes on money, mindset, and freedom? Let me know in the comments.
Kate is a writer and editor who runs her content and editorial businesses remotely while globetrotting as a digital nomad. So far, her laptop has accompanied her to New Zealand, Asia, and around the U.S. (mostly thanks to credit card points). Years of research and ghostwriting on personal finance led her to the FI community and co-founding DollarSanity. In addition to traveling and outdoor adventure, Kate is passionate about financial literacy, compound interest, and pristine grammar.