Author Topic: Tell me your success stories of converting SO to frugal ways  (Read 5791 times)

lise

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Tell me your success stories of converting SO to frugal ways
« on: March 14, 2015, 02:36:02 PM »
I'm fairly new here so this may have been covered in the past posts. 
I see plenty of posts of people "complaining" about SO not being frugal, or SO is is great because they are "now" frugal, but haven't seen how you got there.

I'm interesting in hearing how people successfully got on the same page with a SO on frugal living, when that SO wasn't frugal to begin with. 

anon-e-mouse

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Re: Tell me your success stories of converting SO to frugal ways
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2015, 04:23:10 PM »
I have awoken a monster.....
When trying to be as anti-mustachian as possible, I decided to see where in our budget I could scrounge up money for a pricey object.
What ended up happening is now I scour the bowels of the internets looking at ways to be smarter with money and my wife flat out kicks my ass at being frugal....
Now that I mentioned the R word, she's on a rampage cutting budgets, destroying our debt, and keeping my grubby hands out of the financial cookie jar.

I have no choice but to be FI in about 8-10 years with no pricey RV rotting in our driveway.
.... but I guess a million bucks will help ease the pain.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Tell me your success stories of converting SO to frugal ways
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2015, 04:44:20 PM »
I like to think that I saved us thousands in gasoline, brakes, and general wear & tear, the day I pointed out the possibility of coasting in a car. Before that she was pretty much always accelerating or braking. Yay to 38 MPG!

lizzie

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Re: Tell me your success stories of converting SO to frugal ways
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2015, 06:44:20 PM »
I'm copying this from a post I wrote in another thread:

1. The most important step I took was figuring out some financial goals, creating a plan for getting us there, and making a spreadsheet to show how it would work. I showed it to DH as part of a "date night" we set aside for the purpose. I explained about the safe withdrawal rate and the amount that I thought we could save by the time our DDs graduate from college (in about 8 years). With the spreadsheet, he could really see what we needed to do to get to where we want to be. I think a lightbulb went on for him at that moment, although it was still really the beginning of the process.

2.  The main focus of the financial plan involved automatic deposits into investment accounts. I didn't focus so much on budgeting or cutting back in specific areas. Instead I showed how much we'd have to live on overall aside from what we'd be stashing away. Focusing on individual things, like cutting this or that area of spending, just caused DH to feel like I was trying to take things away. Also, automatic investing takes away the temptation DH has to spend $ on stuff just because $ is sitting around in the checking account. So rather than me having to be the scold, there's just a natural limit on our budget.

3. After I got DH on board with this new plan, then I started looking for ways to cut fat out of our budget. (Signing up for Mint helped with this.) I think this helped because rather than feeling like something was being taken away, it felt like we were adding $ to our budget by identifying where $ was going to waste and recapturing it.

I'm still in this process and taking it pretty slow. So, for example, about three months after I presented my plan and we started the automatic investing, I started talking about switching to Republic Wireless. DH was very skeptical at first—he loved Verizon and his iPhone —but the 30-day trial period won him over. I promised him that if he didn't like it we could switch back. While he still says he liked his iPhone better, he's happy with his new phone and realizes it would be ridiculous to go back to spending hundreds a month.  He even recently decided all on his own to switch from the $40/month plan to the $25/plan, and he says he's perfectly happy with it. This is huge because getting the latest tech toy with all the bells and whistles used to be one of his things.

4. If you can, try to let some little things/small luxuries go. For example, my DH and DDs love them some Starbucks and it's something they kind of bond over. I know DH has been making an effort not to go so often so when they do I just bite my tongue.

So, for us, I think taking it slow and having defined goals are key. Before when I used to talk about cutting back, I think DH got nervous that I wanted to go to extremes, and he didn't see the point—he was one of those people who would say "we work hard so we should enjoy ourselves." Now I think he understands that we can make some pretty easy changes and still live luxurious lives, AND have a realistic goal of retiring while we're still young enough to enjoy it. So now he'll voluntarily suggest ways to save money, because he's gotten out of that mindset of feeling like he's depriving himself by doing so. Instead, it feels good to not spend excess money now, and I think that positive reinforcement will just lead us to want to keep going down the path of frugality.

All of this is not to say there haven't been any bumps in the road. Christmas was kinda tough, and in retrospect I wish I had just let some things go re: spendy presents he wanted to get some of his family members.

I should add that we were in a pretty good position to start with. We both make good incomes, have always maxed out our retirement accounts, and have never carried any debt other than our mortgage, which we recently paid off. So we didn't have that far to go.

lise

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Re: Tell me your success stories of converting SO to frugal ways
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2015, 12:10:49 PM »
Thanks @Lizze!

Very helpful.  Yeah, I need to be gentle ... that's hard for me ;-)

Write Thyme

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Re: Tell me your success stories of converting SO to frugal ways
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2015, 10:40:35 AM »
Lead by example. My husband was amazed at how much was in savings after I started "taking control" of the "budget."

One year I made him set aside some of his tip money, and he was pleasantly surprised by how much was saved up to take a vacation. Then again to help tide us over when I was on maternity leave. Then again to cover the cost of the electrician when our power meter died.

I also told him about specific and attainable money goals, and how once we reach these goals we can have way more flexibility with jobs and such.

Kaspian

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Re: Tell me your success stories of converting SO to frugal ways
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2015, 12:04:46 PM »
Though I'm single, I've read many times that attaining early FI without having your partner onboard is almost impossible.  "Millionaire Next Door" has about a half-dozen pages dedicated to the subject.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Tell me your success stories of converting SO to frugal ways
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2015, 12:25:32 PM »
I've been getting my SO slowly on board over the past year or so.

I've always been naturally frugal, she would on rare occasion poke fun at my frugality and even call me the C word.

Then a little under a year ago I convinced her to open up a Roth IRA. She is very enthusiastic seeing the value of the account go up, she loves that she can't touch it on a whim. One day she was excitedly showing me her balance on betterment and I showed her a glimpse of my personal capital dashboard. I have only been working full time for ~4 years at this point never making more than $50k/yr gross. A six figure net worth amazed her. I showed her MMM and explained that this is the reason I think purchases through and don't spend blindly on impulse purchases.

Suddenly I notice she is way more conscious of how she is spending her money, talking about looking for a better job, and warming up to the idea of FIRE in 12-17 years.

Still a long way to go from an income standpoint as she makes $20k/yr but the frugal fire has been sparked.   

Gimesalot

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Re: Tell me your success stories of converting SO to frugal ways
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2015, 03:11:36 PM »
It has taken me a long time to get my DH on board.  Here are some steps that I took:

1.  I always kept my money separate but always mentioned that the money I was saving was intended for both of us.  I made sure I maxed out every account I could and did the best to invest our money.

2.  I avoided as much debt as possible.  I paid down most of my student loans.  I paid off my car, while saving to pay cash for a new one.  I slowly climbed my way out and stared having a ton of spare cash.

3.  Because of the money I had saved, we made it through bouts of unemployment completely unfazed.  It got to the point that the only emergencies we have, are the ones that can't be solved by money.

4.  I got fired, found MMM, and started talking about FIRE.  I put my money where my mouth is, and started improving my life.  I started cooking at home, exercising, and learning new skills.

In the end, he noticed and began making changes on his own.  I have always been in the lead, but he has started following me more and more.  Now, when I get frustrated and want to take an expensive short-cut, he will often help keep me frugal!

Cressida

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Re: Tell me your success stories of converting SO to frugal ways
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2015, 05:18:32 PM »
It's definitely a slow process. The first thing I did was to spend a few months painstakingly logging our income and saving and expenses. Then I showed DH the calculations, which showed that at our current levels of spending and income, we wouldn't be able to retire until something like $2.5M and in our 70s. That definitely got his attention, but even so, it took months of leading by example and a slow but steady stream of MMM posts (forwarded by me) to get him more on board.

I myself read the entire MMM blog and was still only 90% convinced immediately afterward. I thought, surely this is way too optimistic and I'd feel deprived if I tried it. I think you need to actually live the lifestyle for a little while before you truly get it, that no, you won't feel deprived.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Tell me your success stories of converting SO to frugal ways
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2015, 06:52:31 PM »
It's definitely a slow process. The first thing I did was to spend a few months painstakingly logging our income and saving and expenses. Then I showed DH the calculations, which showed that at our current levels of spending and income, we wouldn't be able to retire until something like $2.5M and in our 70s. That definitely got his attention, but even so, it took months of leading by example and a slow but steady stream of MMM posts (forwarded by me) to get him more on board.

I myself read the entire MMM blog and was still only 90% convinced immediately afterward. I thought, surely this is way too optimistic and I'd feel deprived if I tried it. I think you need to actually live the lifestyle for a little while before you truly get it, that no, you won't feel deprived.

 Have you shown him a new FIRE date that will be reasonable to attain? Maybe if he sees how small changes shaved years off his career he will be willing to make bigger ones.

DSKla

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Re: Tell me your success stories of converting SO to frugal ways
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2015, 07:02:50 PM »
After a few money arguments, I realized with both of our INTJ personalities, the best wY to convert her was to say nothing and make no effort to convince her. She is resistant to anyone telling her what to do. So I just live the example, and she is noticing and following along on her own.

It's an ongoing process, but I think it's working better than when I tried to talk about it specifically. In just a few months she has saved over $6k of her own money as a result. She's too competitive to let me outdo her.

Cressida

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Re: Tell me your success stories of converting SO to frugal ways
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2015, 07:31:10 PM »
It's definitely a slow process. The first thing I did was to spend a few months painstakingly logging our income and saving and expenses. Then I showed DH the calculations, which showed that at our current levels of spending and income, we wouldn't be able to retire until something like $2.5M and in our 70s. That definitely got his attention, but even so, it took months of leading by example and a slow but steady stream of MMM posts (forwarded by me) to get him more on board.

I myself read the entire MMM blog and was still only 90% convinced immediately afterward. I thought, surely this is way too optimistic and I'd feel deprived if I tried it. I think you need to actually live the lifestyle for a little while before you truly get it, that no, you won't feel deprived.

 Have you shown him a new FIRE date that will be reasonable to attain? Maybe if he sees how small changes shaved years off his career he will be willing to make bigger ones.

Oh, yeah, when I showed him the 30-year outcome, I also worked up pro formas for increased income or decreased spending, to show how much more powerful the latter was. And, now that he's made some changes (a lot of changes, really), our FI date is more like 2020 if we stick with it. He has access to my monster spreadsheet, so he must know that.

But I should have been clearer about the outcome. He's not fully on board with the concept, and it took him a long time to get where he is now, but it's MUCH better. I honestly can't BELIEVE how much we used to spend. It was nuts. So, don't give up, OP.

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Re: Tell me your success stories of converting SO to frugal ways
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2015, 01:28:18 AM »
Convincing your spouse can be a pain in the ass. How about just learning about it (and living it) cause you enjoy it, and it'll probably rub off on him. My spouse knows I'm enthusiastic about making dinner for $1/serving, so when he comes home with a great deal from the grocery store, he sees it makes me happy (happier than spending money to buy me flowers). I'm excited about maxing my Roth, so when he wants to save money too (vs spend), I'm enthusiastic about it. Just start with that... it's not necessary for them to understand all the details (especially if it's something you're interested in on your own.)