Interview with a Savings Expert - David Ning

Have you ever read a personal finance tip and thought to yourself, “I can do that?” When is the last time you actually did? Well, there’s one blog that prides itself on “Taking action from common sense knowledge”  – MoneyNing.com.

This frugal blog helps people move past common misconceptions about money management and  build a solid financial foundation at all stages of life. Please welcome MoneyNing founder and proud father, David Ning, as he sheds light on how to take personal responsibility over your finances.

You were blogging long before you founded MoneyNing in 2007. What inspired you to focus on personal finances?

Ha, the real reason is pretty boring. I was researching on how to grow a site at the beginning of my blogging career, and everyone urged me to focus on one topic. I thought long and hard about what I was interested in, and money matters always came up. Hence MoneyNing.com was born :)

Your site description states, “There’s really two basic goals in building a solid net worth – make more income and save more of it. The good news is that you already know and probably try to do this on a consistent basis. Now, it’s time to learn how to maximize your efforts and channel your desire of reaching financial freedom into results.” I couldn’t agree more. How does the site help people achieve this?

We believe that building wealth isn’t just about sacrificing. By reminding our readers that they can build wealth, live a frugal life and be happy at the same time, they can get fired up about improving their financial situation. It gets them spending just that much more time reading on the topic, which only helps them lead a better life.

If there was one lesson you could teach people to help them gain control over their personal finances, what would it be?

To appreciate their future self just as much as the present one!

In addition to practical lessons teaching your readers how to save money, you’re a proud dad. Congratulations! At what age do you think it’s important for a parent to start teaching his or her child about money?

I really think this depends on the child. I involve my children whenever they can understand aspects of how money works in the modern society. My daughter is 3 and a half, but we are teaching her the need to pay for everything we buy at the store. She also knows that money is consumed, and needs to be replenished through “working.” When she can grasp the idea more clearly, we will let her know how much each item costs and how much we have to work to pay for specific items. The quick answer of when to teach children about money is “as soon as possible,” but this is really a life long process!

Can you share one way that you have been able to effectively teach your daughter about living frugally?

She is way too young to completely understand the beauty of living frugally, but we try to prepare her by letting her know that she cannot always buy new toys and forget about all the wonderful ones she already owns. Often, we are able to find new ways to play with the same toy, and have even more fun than just getting new ones and then tossing them aside for every newer toys!

I remember growing up and always wanting a new pair of Nike’s for basketball season, but they were always too expensive – my parents only gave me a certain budget when shopping. Do you have any advice for parents wrestling with trying to balance their budget and kids expectations?

I think an allowance is a great idea. Let the child figure out where to spend the money, because that’s a skill all of us need to master. The key for parents is to try our best not to dictate what’s important or not important once we let them have control.

You must have read thousands of expert savings tips over the years. Can you recall one expert way people can save that most online coupon users don’t already know?

I’m sure someone is bound to already know every tip I can think of, but I will say this – you save money when you actually put the tactics you know into practice. How much effort are you willing to put into saving money? A little bit here, a little bit there, give it some time for the interest to compound and you will be looking at a substantial sum. It’s really that simple. You just need some patience.

The Internet sometimes feels like the Wild West of online shopping. There seems to be a new site, app, or blog popping up intending to help save you money everyday. Where do you see the future of frugal living headed?

There sure are a ton of new technologies that are trying to help us save. What I like about the internet is that it’s making frugal living a celebrated concept because it’s connecting so many of the frugal-minded folks together. We no longer feel alone because many of us are surrounded by people who bought into the concept of consumerism.

What are a few of your favorite frugal blogs (outside of MoneyNing) where you go to learn about the latest trends in saving money and shopping online?

I love reading MrMoneyMustache.com, because reading his articles often inspires me to think about my own situation and how I can make it more fulfilling.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share with our readers. Would you like to share any last words of advice?

People often associate frugal living with sacrificing, but what you don’t spend is really just saved to be used later by your future self. Where’s the sacrifice? The even better news is that people will often learn to live on less but be just as happy. In effect, living frugally allows you to create more freedom and happiness without giving anything up. Before you just brush it off as something you cannot do, give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Like this interview? Check out the rest of our Interview with a Savings Expert series. Have a question for an expert or someone you want to see interviewed? Tweet your suggestions with #SavingsExperts to @CouponPal!

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