It wasn't possible for me to save for retirement other than the occasional $10 or $20 until I was about 35. I had a very low paying job, was paying off a small school loan, and put everything into mortgage payments and fixing up a small house. A time of serious fugal living. Then the divorce came. Once back on my feet with a (little) better paying job and a new wife who had similar financial philosophy we started serious saving. Enough so that we both retired a couple of years early and should easily be financially stable with money left over for a nice inheritance.
If I could I would have saved from the start as my Dad suggested. The frugal living experience would not have changed but I would have been able to retire much earlier if I wanted to.