Author Topic: Being just as content with less  (Read 3341 times)

EconDiva

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Being just as content with less
« on: November 24, 2016, 11:29:16 AM »
I think I may be struggling just a tad with keeping lifestyle inflation at bay, and with keeping decisions in line with my financial goals.

To give two examples:

I'm moving soon and will (a) need to rent a new place, and (b) likely buy a new (used) car (currently don't own a car).

Regarding point a:
My max budget is $1200 for rent.  I have found a place that fits pretty much everything I want and it's right at $1200.  However, I started looking some more and found 1 or 2 places I don't particularly like so much (mainly because the location isn't near everything I like to do)...however the price is closer to $900.  I feel like if were truly badass I'd only look at the $900 places period. 

Regarding point b:
I won't be in a rush to buy another car but I likely will have to buy one at some point.  I am thinking $5-$6K budget-wise.  I was dead set on getting a Honda Accord like this:
https://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/cto/5876939795.html

...but then started looking around more and thought to myself, "Why buy an Accord when I can get this for the same budget?":
https://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/cto/5855364253.html

Now, I've only ever bought used cars cash and I've never owned a luxury vehicle.  I also will be working from home so don't plan on driving much at all so I know what's most important is that the car is safe, will last a long time and is a great value for what I end up paying for it.  It's not important that it be a 'nicer' car.



So.  I'm saying all of this to ask if anyone has struggled with making the right decisions to stay in line with their mustachian goals of spending less?  How do you deal?

I will say that overall I am used to doing this but lately it's been harder and the only reason I can of why it is harder is because 5 years ago I was making about half of what I make today.  Most people know me as being the more 'frugal one' and I never thought I would struggle with lifestyle creep or anything like that. 

Le Poisson

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Re: Being just as content with less
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2016, 11:40:06 AM »
Every day.

I mean, there will always be wants. And you will always have things you can kick your own butt for not having played better, but there will also always be spots where you've been all that and 4 bags of chips. Or 5. Or 750. Soon you learn that you find more joy in celebrating those wins, and then something weird happens... you kick your own butt even more... and you celebrate more as you realize just how much you are being marketed that you are refusing - and buying.

And the whole time you are kicking/celebrating, your net worth is growing. The real celebration here is that you recognize the flaw in your thinking - and that will hold you back from spending unnecessarily. Once you can pick out a need from a want from marketing, you are a winner. Once you act on it, you are Mustachian.

GetItRight

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Re: Being just as content with less
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2016, 11:45:42 AM »
A: I'll pay more for a place to live with room for me to do want at home and is reasonably close to the thing I like to do, namely a body of water and twisty back roads. I generally don't go out much so don't spend much on that sort of thing. The area I live in is terribly overpopulated so it's often an exercise in frustration to go anywhere or do anything. So on this note I might opt to spend more depending on costs in the area, but your requirements in a home may be different than mine.

B: Think TCO. While I would never own a fancy new expensive foreign car like either option you presented, the Honda will have a much lower TCO than the BMW, even if you do all maintenance and repairs yourself. There's also the additional labor time for the BMW, if you DIY.

Generally I try to keep a less is more mindset. I don't buy things that I don't intend to keep for a very long time and I don't buy non-consumable things that depreciate in value.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Being just as content with less
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2016, 12:22:58 PM »
I'm not a 'car' guy, but that BMW is nice. I think setting out your priorities will be helpful - is it to have the largest networth possible? Or is it to have the most fun getting there? Is it to consume less stuff? Or enjoy the stuff you do consume more?

Once these questions are answered, it may become more clear if a BMW is a better choice than an Accord, assuming price is the same.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Being just as content with less
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2016, 12:40:43 PM »
So.  I'm saying all of this to ask if anyone has struggled with making the right decisions to stay in line with their mustachian goals of spending less?  How do you deal?

First thing I do is make a plan. There is no way to gauge performance unless you have something to gauge it against. Then I monitor how I am doing. Armed with that knowledge I can make useful decision. For example if I am consistently hitting my 40% after tax savings goal spending $1200/month for the apartment I want is a reasonable choice. If on the other hand. I'm regularly only hitting a 35% savings rate I'd be inclined to look at those $900/month places a bit more closely.

Same goes for the car choice.

Personally my goal is not to spend as little as possible. I have some expensive hobbies I enjoy. I'm okay spending some money on those hobbies as long as I am meeting my financial goals. If I am not meeting my goals I'll start cutting back on my non-essential expenses until I am back on track.

Choices

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Re: Being just as content with less
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2016, 08:54:12 PM »
The BMW makes me cringe. My husband has had his (bought used) for 10 years, and EVERYTHING about it costs 3-4 times as much as my Toyota. The tires are insane, and those are meant to wear out every couple of years. An oil change is > $100. He can't even install a new battery himself because it will mess up the computer somehow. He has to take it to a shop for every little thing, and some shops won't work on BMWs so it's a giant pain in the rear.
They are fun to drive, I'll give you that, but is it worth the extra $$$ and hassle?

snogirl

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Re: Being just as content with less
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2016, 09:30:44 PM »
Anyone I knew who had a BMW used never kept it. Big $$$ to fix. If you want a used car that's a little more sportiness, I'd opt for a 'S' pkg Toyota Corolla or Camry. Maybe Honda has a sport line as well. Their Preludes use to be the bomb.

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EconDiva

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Re: Being just as content with less
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2016, 10:04:14 PM »
The BMW makes me cringe. My husband has had his (bought used) for 10 years, and EVERYTHING about it costs 3-4 times as much as my Toyota. The tires are insane, and those are meant to wear out every couple of years. An oil change is > $100. He can't even install a new battery himself because it will mess up the computer somehow. He has to take it to a shop for every little thing, and some shops won't work on BMWs so it's a giant pain in the rear.
They are fun to drive, I'll give you that, but is it worth the extra $$$ and hassle?

$100+ oil changes??

No...that is definitely not worth it to me :(

EconDiva

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Re: Being just as content with less
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2016, 10:06:12 PM »
Anyone I knew who had a BMW used never kept it. Big $$$ to fix. If you want a used car that's a little more sportiness, I'd opt for a 'S' pkg Toyota Corolla or Camry. Maybe Honda has a sport line as well. Their Preludes use to be the bomb.

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I like the 2008-2010 or so Accord Coupes for a more updated sporty style.  I guess I'm an Accord kinda gal...at least they hold their value pretty well.  Not as cheap as I would have hoped though.

mozar

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Re: Being just as content with less
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2016, 11:09:34 AM »
IF your goal is to retire asap, there are some opportunities to be truly badass. You could try living 20 minutes from marta. Where I live once you get a mile from the metro prices start to go down. Or you could live next to a frequent bus stop. I don't think you truly need to buy a car. If you spent 100 a month on zipcar that is 1200 a year instead of 5k upfront plus gas, maintenance and insurance. Where I live is really extreme.  I live in the suburbs  (think Brookhaven ). And I have a 3 bedroom house for 1200 and I rent out out a room to a tenant. I could get a studio dowtown for 2500 a month.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2016, 11:11:50 AM by mozar »

Linea_Norway

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Re: Being just as content with less
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2016, 11:42:20 AM »
You made a budget. Therefore you are willing to pay for the place that fills up your entire budget for housing. That is not very badass if there are cheaper options available. Same with a car. Any reliable car should do, thus buy the cheapest and not the coolest.
As MMM often says, forget about budgets and rather think that spending any money hurts. Anything you can save, is added to your index funds or paying off your debts.
It all depends and your priorities. Is a car worth having to work e.g. several months longer?

Cassie

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Re: Being just as content with less
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2016, 12:10:39 PM »
I had a Volvo once and all the repairs were horribly expensive. Never again!   I would pay more to live where I want but not for the car.

GetItRight

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Re: Being just as content with less
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2016, 12:22:23 PM »
forget about budgets and rather think that spending any money hurts. Anything you can save, is added to your index funds or paying off your debts.
It all depends and your priorities.

This is what I do, just try to minimize spending and don't worry about a budget. I track everything in Mint so I see the trends and if something is creeping up I make sure it's justified or reign it in. I'm beginning to realize I'm not "poor", or not as poor as I was a couple years ago but I spend like I'm poor.

Del Griffith

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Re: Being just as content with less
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2016, 12:37:28 PM »
As mentioned by another poster, I think it comes down to what is a priority to you. No one else can determine that but you. When it came to house shopping, I referred to myself as Goldilocks. I knew what I wanted and it had to be in a few blocks radius. Some people would've thought I was crazy for being so picky, but I knew if I settled for somewhere else, I'd regret it. So I waited and waited until a fixer upper came on the market in that area (bless my DH's good-sported heart). If location is important to you and it falls within your budget, that place would get my vote. Cars, I care less about and therefore would go with the less costly but still reliable option.

For me, that rationale applies to pretty much everything. There isn't much stuff I want, so I know when I do feel strongly one way or the other about something, I should listen to it. Ultimately, I think it boils down to what is most important to you.

EconDiva

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Re: Being just as content with less
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2016, 10:13:10 AM »
IF your goal is to retire asap, there are some opportunities to be truly badass. You could try living 20 minutes from marta. Where I live once you get a mile from the metro prices start to go down. Or you could live next to a frequent bus stop. I don't think you truly need to buy a car. If you spent 100 a month on zipcar that is 1200 a year instead of 5k upfront plus gas, maintenance and insurance. Where I live is really extreme.  I live in the suburbs  (think Brookhaven ). And I have a 3 bedroom house for 1200 and I rent out out a room to a tenant. I could get a studio dowtown for 2500 a month.

I actually don't think there 'are' any frequent bus stops in Atlanta, are there?  I was on another forum where we were discussing whether or not I should even get a car and many were advising against going without one because of how the public transit system in Atlanta is unreliable.  I wonder if it's changed much since I've been gone though.  I do however think I could still go without one...at least for a while since I'll be working from home. 

I just need to pick an area where I'm within walking distance to the things I do most.  That's what I'm trying to do right now is narrow down the place based on the best location closest to grocery, etc.

EconDiva

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Re: Being just as content with less
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2016, 10:27:48 AM »
You made a budget. Therefore you are willing to pay for the place that fills up your entire budget for housing. That is not very badass if there are cheaper options available. Same with a car. Any reliable car should do, thus buy the cheapest and not the coolest.
As MMM often says, forget about budgets and rather think that spending any money hurts. Anything you can save, is added to your index funds or paying off your debts.
It all depends and your priorities. Is a car worth having to work e.g. several months longer?

Originally my budget was $1000 but I had so much trouble finding a place I liked for that much that was in a location very close to things I do/places I tend to frequent a lot.  I thought finding a place under 1K would be easy but rental prices in Atlanta have shot up since I've been gone. 

Anywho, I am willing to go without a car.  I prefer it actually.  I am trying to be careful about moving further (farther?) out and then spending more time and money getting around.  I think I'm being a little pickier about the living situation as I will now also be working in the same place I live so I better like it.  I will try to look harder for a cheaper place...maybe there's an area I haven't checked out that would be cheaper but just as good of a fit....

EconDiva

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Re: Being just as content with less
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2016, 10:46:22 AM »
So.  I'm saying all of this to ask if anyone has struggled with making the right decisions to stay in line with their mustachian goals of spending less?  How do you deal?

First thing I do is make a plan. There is no way to gauge performance unless you have something to gauge it against. Then I monitor how I am doing. Armed with that knowledge I can make useful decision. For example if I am consistently hitting my 40% after tax savings goal spending $1200/month for the apartment I want is a reasonable choice. If on the other hand. I'm regularly only hitting a 35% savings rate I'd be inclined to look at those $900/month places a bit more closely.

Same goes for the car choice.

Personally my goal is not to spend as little as possible. I have some expensive hobbies I enjoy. I'm okay spending some money on those hobbies as long as I am meeting my financial goals. If I am not meeting my goals I'll start cutting back on my non-essential expenses until I am back on track.

I can relate to this.  Part of why I'm moving is to keep the salary I make with my current employer but reduce expenses by going back to a place with a lower cost of living than where I am now.  Plus I won't have to fly home for holidays, events, etc anymore because I'll already be back home.  So more than a few financial benefits surrounding this decision to move back.

I agree with the thought I should perhaps focus on my goals first and adjust based on if I'm meeting those or not so I'm going to reframe my thought process around this.