Author Topic: What about when money "does" by happiness?  (Read 2592 times)

Villanelle

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What about when money "does" by happiness?
« on: July 25, 2019, 11:47:12 AM »
I have considered posting this for several days but hesitated. 

It's very clear to me that "mustachianism" means different things to different people.  For some, it's primarily environmental. For others, it's about minimalism, or simply a means to get to FIRE, or to live an examined life.  I supposed that if I had to nutshell it, for me it is a combination of a means to get to FIRE (or at least FI) and a focus on spending in ways that TRULY make me happy, as opposed to mindless spending or doing what most people do simply because that seems like the way to live.

We've recently made a major move (from an asian country/culture, back to the USofA) after nearly a decade of being overseas (Asia and Europe).  We are in a place we've never lived before, living in an incredible location, chosen primarily because it allowed us to easily have 1 car (which is not driven most days) and for my spouse to have a very short commute in an area known for nightmare commutes.  I can walk to grocery stores and bike to just about anything I might need. 

Moving here, we wanted to explore our new 'hood and we were living in tiny vacation rentals, without much kitchen and with few supplies (spices, pantry staples, etc.) while we waited to received our stuff.  We ate out, at lot.

We have our stuff now, and we are still eating out (hello, hedonistic adaptation).  And frankly, it truly IS making me happier.  I've always hated cooking.  HATED.  I feel this wonderful lightness on days I know we are going to eat out, or if I'd planned to cook and DH suggesting going out instead, a weight is very much lifted.  And I love being part of our little community, chatting with neighbors and getting to know the people and places around me, and being part of this awesome little town.  (Certainly I can and am doing this in ways other than just eating out!, but it's one spoke in that wheel for me.)

I'd also vowed to get back to writing (which may be something I try to monetize eventually, but that's definitely not the primary point), and while I didn't have a desk (I need a dedicated space or I won't focus), I let myself go to a coffee shop a few times a week to write, which sets me back $3-$6 while I sit for several hours and do my thing.

Our lifestyle here is like something out of a dream.  I walk around in a happy daze.  I am not sure I have EVER been this content.  It's like I finally found a life that fits like a bespoke suit.  I'm just really, really fucking happy.

We can definitely afford this.  Unlike most here, I'm not an obsessive tracker, but we are on track to be set up for fat FIRE long before DH is actually ready to retire (thanks to lots of savings/investing, and a military pension that will be enough for chubby, if not completely fat, FIRE in and of itself).  So this money is probably just less we will have to leave to charity when we die (no kids).   But it runs contrary to what I thought was important and what I thought I should be doing.  But when I take the time to examine things, I truly believe this spending is making me happier.  And isn't that the point--to spend money where it actually buys a better (better=happier, maybe?) life, instead of just throwing money around hoping something makes us feel better? 

I guess I'm struggling with feeling like ZOMG! I'm a wasteful fancypants, but also feeling like, in this case, it turns out that this money does buy happiness, and isn't that money well spent?



JestJes

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2019, 12:18:22 PM »
Our lifestyle here is like something out of a dream.  I walk around in a happy daze.  I am not sure I have EVER been this content.  It's like I finally found a life that fits like a bespoke suit.  I'm just really, really fucking happy.

We can definitely afford this.


Dude, do it then! To me FIRE is about living the life you love apologetically. It seems you guys are set for like so you are free to live the life you love.

The only small caveat I would add is to keep a journal of how you are feeling and generally how happy you are. If you find that after 6 months of living like this, you are not as happy then you know you are getting on that hedonic treadmill. If you are, then keep living the life you love. Also if the writing is never monetized, who cares? You can put something into the world only for the joy of doing so and the hope to inspire others. This is what your FI has bought you. Time to enjoy it.

socaso

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2019, 02:20:07 PM »
This doesn't sound terrible. You don't mention how expensive your eating out is but assuming the restaurants are reasonable then you can probably afford it. I did the math and if you go to a coffee shop 3x per week at $6 a trip that's still less than $1000 per year. If these two things are your only indulgences and you have no debt I don't see that this is so bad. You are enjoying it now so have fun. After a while it will lose its novelty and maybe you will start researching things like getting a desk in your home and easy meal prep ideas. I think as long as you are doing it because you enjoy it and not just doing it mindlessly then you are spending money on worthwhile things.

slappy

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2019, 02:24:17 PM »
Well I have never believed that money cannot buy happiness. I think to a certain extent, it certainly can. Or at least buy things that make you happy. I guess it is different for everyone, but it seems like the point of money is to make your life better/happier. Certainly having a lack of money leads to a less happy existence.

I love your description of your life. I want to be your neighbor!

Rdy2Fire

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2019, 02:35:04 PM »
Villanelle

This sounds awesome and makes me happy for you. I don't plan of really changing my lifestyle much but I am new to all this, I eat out a few times a week with friends and although I don't think money buys happiness what it does buy is freedom so enjoy it!

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2019, 03:16:53 PM »
You are very possibly paying on eating out the same or less than a lot of people pay in transport - cars, fuel, plane tickets, and so on - and with far less damage to the environment.  And you seem clear you can afford it, so go you.

Eating in does not have to involve much in the way of cooking these days: putting together a salad in summer should be relatively unstressful, as should a soup along with some great bread and cheese in winter.  Maybe you can work out what for you are the worst aspects of cooking and then find ways around them?  Including DH doing it sometimes?  But if not, carry on eating out and exercise your frugality muscles in other ways.

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2019, 03:40:02 PM »
...I've always hated cooking.  HATED.  I feel this wonderful lightness on days I know we are going to eat out, or if I'd planned to cook and DH suggesting going out instead, a weight is very much lifted...

Our lifestyle here is like something out of a dream.  I walk around in a happy daze.  I am not sure I have EVER been this content.  It's like I finally found a life that fits like a bespoke suit.  I'm just really, really fucking happy.

We can definitely afford this...But it runs contrary to what I thought was important and what I thought I should be doing...

I guess I'm struggling with feeling like ZOMG! I'm a wasteful fancypants


(tongue in cheek) Obviously, the problem here is sexism. Just assign hubby the cooking chores. If he suggests eating out, all guilt accrues to him! Then you swirl your fancypants coffee and begin some pleasant writing...

Villanelle

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2019, 05:33:04 PM »
...I've always hated cooking.  HATED.  I feel this wonderful lightness on days I know we are going to eat out, or if I'd planned to cook and DH suggesting going out instead, a weight is very much lifted...

Our lifestyle here is like something out of a dream.  I walk around in a happy daze.  I am not sure I have EVER been this content.  It's like I finally found a life that fits like a bespoke suit.  I'm just really, really fucking happy.

We can definitely afford this...But it runs contrary to what I thought was important and what I thought I should be doing...

I guess I'm struggling with feeling like ZOMG! I'm a wasteful fancypants


(tongue in cheek) Obviously, the problem here is sexism. Just assign hubby the cooking chores. If he suggests eating out, all guilt accrues to him! Then you swirl your fancypants coffee and begin some pleasant writing...

If I wasn't currently not working (for pay) while he was, I would definitely push more of it onto his plate.  As it is, he does still sometimes cook because he knows how much I hate it, and I feel pretty guilty about that!

Rosy

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2019, 06:09:29 PM »
Isn't this what Fi is in a nutshell? Lucky you to have "fat" everything!
I think I may have just slightly turned green:).

There are two little beach towns nearby that I visit on a given Tuesday or Sunday Morning - mostly because of their outdoor market, but also because people actually walk or bike the streets and know each other and stop to chat.
They are in different directions but the same distance and its fun to go because it reminds me a bit of the places in Europe I used to frequent.
Strangely enough one of these beach towns just happens to have the best selection of finance-money books - at their library.

My guilty pleasure involves the coffee shop at Barnes and Noble - it makes me happy to buy a book or two and hang out a long while.
If they had Coldstone Ice Cream I'd be in Seventh Heaven:).

I do love to cook so there is that, but we go out to eat 3-4 times a month often for family birthdays or a steak place since I don't do steak:).

So yeah there are plenty of times money does buy happiness and while I'm not anywhere near your "fat"ness:) - come Jan 2020 I can see myself buying plenty of happiness.
So go on with your FI self and enjoy what you worked to achieve - you made it - now it is indeed your time to enjoy it.

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2019, 06:32:23 PM »
To my mind, the point is to get free of the "ever more work to support ever more consumption" spiral. It's not to deny yourself stuff that you can easily afford. If I were firing fat, instead of lean -- and if I could do it without getting stout again (doubtful!) -- I'd be going to restaurants all the time. Of the various things I gave up when going Mustachian, the only one I really still miss is eating breakfast in a diner while I write. Not on the cards when firing with 600K. But if I inherited a couple hundred thousand, I might go back to the cafe writing habit. (That, and buying books hot off the press, before the libraries have them!) Food prep, even done efficiently and monotonously, just takes a hell of a lot of time.

Villanelle

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2019, 06:34:07 PM »
Isn't this what Fi is in a nutshell? Lucky you to have "fat" everything!
I think I may have just slightly turned green:).

There are two little beach towns nearby that I visit on a given Tuesday or Sunday Morning - mostly because of their outdoor market, but also because people actually walk or bike the streets and know each other and stop to chat.
They are in different directions but the same distance and its fun to go because it reminds me a bit of the places in Europe I used to frequent.
Strangely enough one of these beach towns just happens to have the best selection of finance-money books - at their library.

My guilty pleasure involves the coffee shop at Barnes and Noble - it makes me happy to buy a book or two and hang out a long while.
If they had Coldstone Ice Cream I'd be in Seventh Heaven:).

I do love to cook so there is that, but we go out to eat 3-4 times a month often for family birthdays or a steak place since I don't do steak:).

So yeah there are plenty of times money does buy happiness and while I'm not anywhere near your "fat"ness:) - come Jan 2020 I can see myself buying plenty of happiness.
So go on with your FI self and enjoy what you worked to achieve - you made it - now it is indeed your time to enjoy it.

I guess "fat" is entirely subjective.  Hopefully I didn't give the wrong impression.  Our spend is less than six figures.  I know that's fat by some standards here; there are people spending less than $25k.  But it's not especially high by many standards, I think.

A story about my awesome like, just because.  On my way to the coffee shop, all those restaurants, and most of the other things to which I walk) lives "Sidewalk Dog .  That's the name I've given the large, clearly elderly dog that lives about a block away.  His person puts his dog bed out on the sidewalk just outside their front door (houses here aren't set back at all), along with a bowl of water and maybe a few toys.  The dog just lays in his bed on the sidewalk, occasionally trailing behind someone who walk by, but never more than maybe 20 yards (because he's ridiculously old and that's probably a long walk for him).  Every time I get close to his house, I eagerly anticipate his house, hoping he will be out.  When he (she?) is, I scratch his ear and tell him he's a good dog.  Sometimes he follows me, sometimes not.  But I love that he's part of my community, and that I live in a place where there can be a sidewalk dog.  And that I know he exists, and that maybe, just maybe, he's started to remember me. 


BlueHouse

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2019, 09:21:10 AM »
Isn't this what Fi is in a nutshell? Lucky you to have "fat" everything!
I think I may have just slightly turned green:).

There are two little beach towns nearby that I visit on a given Tuesday or Sunday Morning - mostly because of their outdoor market, but also because people actually walk or bike the streets and know each other and stop to chat.
They are in different directions but the same distance and its fun to go because it reminds me a bit of the places in Europe I used to frequent.
Strangely enough one of these beach towns just happens to have the best selection of finance-money books - at their library.

My guilty pleasure involves the coffee shop at Barnes and Noble - it makes me happy to buy a book or two and hang out a long while.
If they had Coldstone Ice Cream I'd be in Seventh Heaven:).

I do love to cook so there is that, but we go out to eat 3-4 times a month often for family birthdays or a steak place since I don't do steak:).

So yeah there are plenty of times money does buy happiness and while I'm not anywhere near your "fat"ness:) - come Jan 2020 I can see myself buying plenty of happiness.
So go on with your FI self and enjoy what you worked to achieve - you made it - now it is indeed your time to enjoy it.

I guess "fat" is entirely subjective.  Hopefully I didn't give the wrong impression.  Our spend is less than six figures.  I know that's fat by some standards here; there are people spending less than $25k.  But it's not especially high by many standards, I think.

A story about my awesome like, just because.  On my way to the coffee shop, all those restaurants, and most of the other things to which I walk) lives "Sidewalk Dog .  That's the name I've given the large, clearly elderly dog that lives about a block away.  His person puts his dog bed out on the sidewalk just outside their front door (houses here aren't set back at all), along with a bowl of water and maybe a few toys.  The dog just lays in his bed on the sidewalk, occasionally trailing behind someone who walk by, but never more than maybe 20 yards (because he's ridiculously old and that's probably a long walk for him).  Every time I get close to his house, I eagerly anticipate his house, hoping he will be out.  When he (she?) is, I scratch his ear and tell him he's a good dog.  Sometimes he follows me, sometimes not.  But I love that he's part of my community, and that I live in a place where there can be a sidewalk dog.  And that I know he exists, and that maybe, just maybe, he's started to remember me.
You have no idea how happy this post has made me.  I'm practically crying.  Villanelle, I hope you keep enjoying this life and please do not feel guilty about it at all!   
Congratulations on your happy happy life!

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2019, 09:58:10 AM »
My wife doesnít want to retire yet... this post has me changing my mindset about that. Now, instead of being frustrated that we canít go on trips together right now, Iím thinking about how this will set us up for fat FIRE and tasty restaurant meals instead of the chore of cooking!

Villanelle

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2019, 11:55:01 AM »
My wife doesnít want to retire yet... this post has me changing my mindset about that. Now, instead of being frustrated that we canít go on trips together right now, Iím thinking about how this will set us up for fat FIRE and tasty restaurant meals instead of the chore of cooking!

To be completely fair, much of this is because my husband is still working, allowing me to be basically RE.  I sacrificed my career on the altar of being an overseas trailing spouse, and now that we are back and I could work again, it's not super necessary.  I may still look for something--working part time at the local library, which I of course walk to!--sounds ideal!  IF I were still grinding it out, I suspect those restaurant meals would make me keenly aware of  the extra days spent in an office.  DH is working in part to increase his pension, but also for person satisfaction.  For me, working was never more than a means to an end, so I definitely wanted out more than he does!

Tris Prior

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2019, 12:11:57 PM »
This is my dream and I'm happy for you that you've found it; it gives me hope that this sort of life actually does exist outside of romanticized media. You have nothing to feel bad about.

We have some "sidewalk cats" in our neighborhood; they have homes but like to lounge on porches or wander a bit afield of their home. It always makes my day to see one of them. One sidewalk cat recently moved away with her people and I miss her terribly. I would call to her and she'd come RUNNING to me for pets. It's little joys like that that really add to life.

And, I hear you on the cooking, I hate it too. We have no business eating out as we're both watching our weight but it really does bring me joy.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2019, 12:14:32 PM by Tris Prior »

BicycleB

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2019, 12:13:26 PM »
@Villanelle, it sounds like you and your husband are a good team, and currently in position to enjoy life to the fullest. May you do so!

Fwiw, due in part to your post, I continue to ponder your question, What about when money DOES buy happiness, especially the aspect of where does Original Standard Mustachianism overlap with True Happiness as advertised, and where does it not. Spent half the morning discussing that topic with a buddy, who recently read his fill of MMM's posts in one giant sitting. Our joint tentative conclusion, shared for perspective and discussion, not as recommendation for any one person's life:

1. MMM's prescriptions in totality are a perfect system...for some people, of whom MMM himself is one.
2. Most of his stuff relates to many people, but most people are justly going to pick and choose what to apply and how, because everyone is different.
3. The early stage of the forums included many participants for whom the whole package worked really well, so many first wave forum members did the whole deal - optimized house insulation, frequent bike rides to work, engineer level DIY, producing serious thrift as the engine towards seriously early and perhaps very active retirement from cube jobs. I aspire to their level of action, but am not there myself.
4. My personal theory is that #3 occured as a simple result of search and ad sorting algorithms doing their job properly. The people most like MMM found him first, boom done. The forum didn't start with holy saints and then suffer a fall into modern lazy slacking because society declines or forum newbies are sucky lame asses, it started with full clones (no offense, my dear eco-heroes) and only drew in us half cases later.
5. Forgive my digression in #4 from the topic...it's meant to illustrate and support, but if you disagree, forgive me; return to the main point. Which I shall do momentarily, but in the second wave, the blog's growing numbers brought it to mainstream attention, bringing in the second wave. This is people who love some aspects, such as FI or finding happiness, but are not as predisposed to find happiness in bicycle pedals, swinging hammers, hanging laundry to dry, or in your case OP, cooking. Some will do particular things, but in the new wave, more of us have some exclusions from the Full Mustache Template.
6. In short, there's a spectrum of where happiness is, and where money can buy it.
7. I do think that MMM's ideas about Stoicism, hedonic adapatation and the like have value.
8. I'm still pondering when to apply them in my life and when not to try.
9. We each get to explore that for ourselves.
10. I am glad you have chanced into a happy medium. Enjoy it as long as it works for you!
« Last Edit: July 26, 2019, 12:18:59 PM by BicycleB »

Villanelle

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2019, 01:24:41 PM »
@Villanelle, it sounds like you and your husband are a good team, and currently in position to enjoy life to the fullest. May you do so!

Fwiw, due in part to your post, I continue to ponder your question, What about when money DOES buy happiness, especially the aspect of where does Original Standard Mustachianism overlap with True Happiness as advertised, and where does it not. Spent half the morning discussing that topic with a buddy, who recently read his fill of MMM's posts in one giant sitting. Our joint tentative conclusion, shared for perspective and discussion, not as recommendation for any one person's life:

1. MMM's prescriptions in totality are a perfect system...for some people, of whom MMM himself is one.
2. Most of his stuff relates to many people, but most people are justly going to pick and choose what to apply and how, because everyone is different.
3. The early stage of the forums included many participants for whom the whole package worked really well, so many first wave forum members did the whole deal - optimized house insulation, frequent bike rides to work, engineer level DIY, producing serious thrift as the engine towards seriously early and perhaps very active retirement from cube jobs. I aspire to their level of action, but am not there myself.
4. My personal theory is that #3 occured as a simple result of search and ad sorting algorithms doing their job properly. The people most like MMM found him first, boom done. The forum didn't start with holy saints and then suffer a fall into modern lazy slacking because society declines or forum newbies are sucky lame asses, it started with full clones (no offense, my dear eco-heroes) and only drew in us half cases later.
5. Forgive my digression in #4 from the topic...it's meant to illustrate and support, but if you disagree, forgive me; return to the main point. Which I shall do momentarily, but in the second wave, the blog's growing numbers brought it to mainstream attention, bringing in the second wave. This is people who love some aspects, such as FI or finding happiness, but are not as predisposed to find happiness in bicycle pedals, swinging hammers, hanging laundry to dry, or in your case OP, cooking. Some will do particular things, but in the new wave, more of us have some exclusions from the Full Mustache Template.
6. In short, there's a spectrum of where happiness is, and where money can buy it.
7. I do think that MMM's ideas about Stoicism, hedonic adapatation and the like have value.
8. I'm still pondering when to apply them in my life and when not to try.
9. We each get to explore that for ourselves.
10. I am glad you have chanced into a happy medium. Enjoy it as long as it works for you!

Prior to this post, I read your responses in the "can't talk to girls" thread.  Great posts, today!

I think I came here late in the first wave (or maybe early second).  And even then, while I found the "live in a van down by the river and forage for dandelion salad" folks inspiring, but I never wanted to be them.  I grew up in a frugal house, where financial responsibility was stressed early and often.  (Though my parents did--Gasp!--pay extra on their mortgage!)  For me, the main thing I gained from the blog was understanding the 4% rule and feeling like I finally had a handle on what, until then, had been a nebulous concept of "we need ALL THE MONEY to retire!".  Quantifying it with 4% made it concrete, less overwhelming, and actually attainable because I knew what it was, more or less, we were striving to attain.

And the inspiration from the extreme-frugals here, for me, comes from just the reminder to question things.  To live an examined life, and spend an examined dollar.  Even a home, as it turns out, is optional.  You can live in a van.  That doesn't mean I will, but it helps create the mindset that even things that feel like defaults are actually active decisions.

I think part of what I'm struggling with is just relaxing the mindset of always striving to be frugal.  I remember when, early in our marriage, DH and I would very occasionally treat ourselves to Taco Bell, as a break from sale-bought, meatless Rice-aroni type cheap meals. Now, I'm sitting and drinking a cup of tea that cost more than a couple nights of those dinners did! 

Perhaps I'm also afraid that it will become easy to just mindlessly spend.  Even if we can afford that, the waste of it bothers me and I don't want to spend money without being cognizant of what it is, exactly, I'm buying.  If it's not truly an improvement in my life, I don't want to spend that money, even if it's money I'll never miss.  Part of the reason we are set financially is that our expenses, overall, are fairly low (by non-MMM, a least).  Becoming a huge spendypants could still risk that. 

I think your point #8 is where I've arrived, and what I need to sort out a bit more!


BicycleB

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2019, 06:44:57 PM »
Thanks, Villanelle. I hope I haven't disturbed things by further posts. :)

Fwiw, I have done experiments on both sides of the spending focus. I don't try to Spend Less very much, but I do try to get lots of bang for the buck by learning how spend joyously. My experiments included imagining what wild or splurge-y spending would be like, and judiciously verifying; also, isolating mentally what I thought I really would get out of spending, and searching for ways to fill the underlying need in uplifting but inexpensive ways, and trying those. The experiments aren't over, but the initial phase is. It turned out I'm pretty safe re overspending to fill wants, but need some work to stay active in achieving real goals and joys.

Everyone's results will be individual, I think. Best wishes with your experiments. TBH, the only thing that might improve your current gig is to download all your spending data at year end, and maybe make sure along the way to buy stuff with the same card all year so the data's easy to review if you ever need it. Then you can see what the parameters are of your natural inclinations. Maybe they will put your mind at ease. Anyway, sorry for bringing in extra suggestions. Ciao.

Villanelle

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2019, 07:20:38 PM »
Thanks, Villanelle. I hope I haven't disturbed things by further posts. :)

Fwiw, I have done experiments on both sides of the spending focus. I don't try to Spend Less very much, but I do try to get lots of bang for the buck by learning how spend joyously. My experiments included imagining what wild or splurge-y spending would be like, and judiciously verifying; also, isolating mentally what I thought I really would get out of spending, and searching for ways to fill the underlying need in uplifting but inexpensive ways, and trying those. The experiments aren't over, but the initial phase is. It turned out I'm pretty safe re overspending to fill wants, but need some work to stay active in achieving real goals and joys.

Everyone's results will be individual, I think. Best wishes with your experiments. TBH, the only thing that might improve your current gig is to download all your spending data at year end, and maybe make sure along the way to buy stuff with the same card all year so the data's easy to review if you ever need it. Then you can see what the parameters are of your natural inclinations. Maybe they will put your mind at ease. Anyway, sorry for bringing in extra suggestions. Ciao.
 

No need to apologize. This is all really helpful and I appreciate your insights.

ElleFiji

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2019, 08:17:57 PM »
It sounds like you're living the dream and very responsibly! I'm so happy for you!

Roland of Gilead

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2019, 10:41:00 PM »
Money buys freedom to do what you want to do.

To me that is pretty much the definition of happiness.


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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2019, 12:21:20 AM »
If you've got the money, and it's not setting you back from FIRE, then you do you. I chose differently, and restaurant food tends to make me feel sick, but if I was fatter FIRE, I'd think about paying someone to manage a vegetable garden and wash all the big pots.

Freedomin5

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2019, 12:42:45 AM »
Ive been thinking the same thing as well. Money *does* buy happiness, up to a certain point.

We just moved to a new place that is triple the size of our old place, and four times more expensive, and just having a 24-hour maintenance hotline, better quality furnishings and more spacious environment is awesome. It feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

Iíve enjoyed reading the responses to this post. Makes me feel less guilty for enjoying my new space.

Rosy

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2019, 10:59:22 AM »
Quote
I guess "fat" is entirely subjective.  Hopefully I didn't give the wrong impression.  Our spend is less than six figures.  I know that's fat by some standards here; there are people spending less than $25k.  But it's not especially high by many standards, I think.

@Villannelle - oh come on now, don't go stealth wealth on me:) JK - I'm happy for you, I'm not the jealous type at all. Who knows what fat means to different people and why - it has no bearing on my own circumstances. If anything, if I were younger it would foolishly inspire me to play the game of "how much money can I accumulate" rather than what I actually need to live a good life. I like to push the envelope, but I am literally out of time, it is the end game for me.

Everything is relative and determined by your perspective and expectations of life. A good life can mean a thousand different things, but scrimping forever as in ERE strikes me as fundamentally wrong just as I am slightly put off by someone who feels the need to have at least 5mil or more. It baffles me.
That's just my POV, YMMV.

I happened to read your post just as I was going over my FI numbers and the last steps before the end game - Jan 2020. I fixed my finances after I retired, took me 4.5 years to do it. Right now, just the thought of actually having my entire SS money available along with $600 discretionary leftover from my "regular" budget has my head spinning.
I'm actually afraid the money will slip away if I don't direct some of it into savings, so going forward there will be autosave on the top of my list. To me, fat means that I can easily save up another $50K to have $100K by the time Mr. R. retires in three years.
That's not fat, it's just something extra that I discovered is possible to do on the backburner without scrimping or money anxieties. If emergencies arise that made this impossible to do I can afford to no longer stress about that.
But you better believe I'm ready to get some reward type spending out of my system in the New Year and I'll not regret any of it nor will I feel remotely guilty. I love to cook, but I'd love some help with the household and garden - so that will become my reward.

A lot of what you said about your life resonates with me, but I don't think I'll ever feel guilty about spending money on things that I enjoy and value. We were a military family once, my husband passed away from lung cancer due to exposure to Agent Orange (Vietnam).
Of course, twenty years later, my life is different. Mr. R. is still working because he likes his job, RE at 62 seems early to him and we will be in even better shape in another three years.
It will represent our true "fat", but we have reached the point of full, not slim FI already which is the ultimate win in my book. 

mspym

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2019, 04:40:41 PM »
I am really enjoying your thoughts on this @Villanelle and @Bicycle_B

I never did the full YMOYL tracking but the most valuable thing I got from it was the "is this in line with my values?" and "in retirement, would this spending be less, more or the same?" questions. Because some categories are worth spending more on, it's a question of whether it aligns with your values

Cannot Wait!

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2019, 05:49:47 PM »
For me, I would wonder if taking my own homemade beverage to the library to write would be as good as or better than going to a cafe?  Mostly I feel ripped off at the price of a chai latte that I can easily make at home and I find the library very conducive to writing. And snacks. And I don't feel I'm overstaying my welcome.
I also enjoy eating at home more than going out. Perhaps take-out is a good compromise?  It irks me to pay the same amount for a glass of wine as I would for a bottle if at home and I like to control the volume and type of music being played.
I think MMM is about optomizing your life which is, in part, done by questioning your spending.  You seem to be doing that -  but also second guessing yourself...

Cranky

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2019, 05:36:48 AM »
Money buys fun, and options, and security, and those things can certainly make you happy. Money can solve problems (I always say, "Any problem that I can solve with a trip to Target, that's a good problem to have!") Money relieves anxiety about some things.

Some money is well spent, when it lines up our lives with our desires. My remodeled kitchen makes me happy every single day.

But there are a lot of things that money can't solve and more often than not, the happiness from having a "thing" will wear off.

Vil, I've "known" you a long time, and you are definitely happier where you are now, but I'm not sure that I'm going to ascribe that to money per se. You haven't exactly just come into money - you've always been financially fine. You just didn't like where you lived. I don't think any amount of money would have made you happier the first time you were stationed in Japan - you were just miserable about the whole thing. Now you're in a place that makes your heart sing.

Villanelle

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #27 on: July 28, 2019, 08:32:07 AM »
For me, I would wonder if taking my own homemade beverage to the library to write would be as good as or better than going to a cafe?  Mostly I feel ripped off at the price of a chai latte that I can easily make at home and I find the library very conducive to writing. And snacks. And I don't feel I'm overstaying my welcome.
I also enjoy eating at home more than going out. Perhaps take-out is a good compromise?  It irks me to pay the same amount for a glass of wine as I would for a bottle if at home and I like to control the volume and type of music being played.
I think MMM is about optomizing your life which is, in part, done by questioning your spending.  You seem to be doing that -  but also second guessing yourself...

Any library I've ever know didn't allow food or drinks!  I actually didn't even check at my new library because that has always been a hard policy at any location I visited or at which I've volunteered.  Next time I'm in, I'll check.   However, I find the library too quiet for writing.  Somehow, I can't concentrate well in quiet!  If I can bring a drink and snacks, it could be a good suggestion to try though.  Thanks!

Villanelle

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2019, 08:38:38 AM »
Money buys fun, and options, and security, and those things can certainly make you happy. Money can solve problems (I always say, "Any problem that I can solve with a trip to Target, that's a good problem to have!") Money relieves anxiety about some things.

Some money is well spent, when it lines up our lives with our desires. My remodeled kitchen makes me happy every single day.

But there are a lot of things that money can't solve and more often than not, the happiness from having a "thing" will wear off.

Vil, I've "known" you a long time, and you are definitely happier where you are now, but I'm not sure that I'm going to ascribe that to money per se. You haven't exactly just come into money - you've always been financially fine. You just didn't like where you lived. I don't think any amount of money would have made you happier the first time you were stationed in Japan - you were just miserable about the whole thing. Now you're in a place that makes your heart sing.


OMG!  I didn't realize you are you--the real you--until now.  Never made the connection! 

I do agree that we've always been fine, but I don't think we've let ourselves spend much until recently.  We sort of turned a corner.  Some of that has to do with increased income, and also with just getting to a point where things are on auto pilot and we realize we are truly set. 

And I do agree that the place has so much to do with my happiness.  Spending money to live in this place how I want to live and to best experience is probably just the gravy!

Rosy

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2019, 08:45:26 AM »
For me, I would wonder if taking my own homemade beverage to the library to write would be as good as or better than going to a cafe?  Mostly I feel ripped off at the price of a chai latte that I can easily make at home and I find the library very conducive to writing. And snacks. And I don't feel I'm overstaying my welcome.
I also enjoy eating at home more than going out. Perhaps take-out is a good compromise?  It irks me to pay the same amount for a glass of wine as I would for a bottle if at home and I like to control the volume and type of music being played.
I think MMM is about optomizing your life which is, in part, done by questioning your spending.  You seem to be doing that -  but also second guessing yourself...

I chuckled when I read your post - it perfectly illustrates the point of this conversation - different viewpoints on what makes us tick - happily.

Apart from the fact that our library does not allow food or drink and often has a homeless person or two sneaking in for some undisturbed sleep... I'd hate to be stuck writing in the library. I'd be on edge knowing there are strangers all around me, that would be just disturbing enough to keep me from full immersion in my writing.
I come from a family where we cherished having a separate study cum library complete with a huge, hand-carved desk and a view of the garden - same with all our relatives. It was a way of life and it is what I have created for myself as soon as I had the opportunity - wherever I lived.
A sanctum when you need it and space for paperwork, room for studies of interest to you. A place for sipping a good glass of wine, your private space to take a nap when you are old... 

Just as important to me, at home I can get up and take a walk in the garden to clear and refresh my mind or soothe my spirit or even write in the garden gazebo. Having a garden makes me happy every time I set a foot outside my door. It is way more to me than a place to have brunch on Sunday morning or have friends over for a garden party or grew herbs for tea and health, veggies for food and flowers that make me smile.

Those are my lifestyle expectations - things that make me happy and that I am willing to do whatever it takes to have them. In fact, I actually have a list curated over time in my many moves that lists only about ten things that are important to me wherever or however I end up living.
I can set up house in 48 hrs flat - no problem, military living-constant moving tends to teach you what you cannot live without.

More to your point, I've often gone to Barnes & Noble, refilled my water bottle at their fountain and spend time in their cafe for free - that is not the point at all.
The point is that now I have a real choice.
Before, I always felt guilty when I indulged in my passion for books or had an occasional latte or a pastry while I made my selection. It meant $25 that I was not saving that month - was it worth it? or is it better to acknowledge that I am way overdue for a little pleasure in my life. I think low earners are way more affected by the little choices we make every day than someone who has a high income.
Now, I am free of guilt - I can choose the free water routine or decide that today I will have coffee and cake.

I'm fairly certain I've moved at least as many times as Vil, so I can fully appreciate what she loves about living where she is at. She is finally in a place that makes her heart sing and has the money to frequent a cafe in her neighborhood. YAY!:)

@Villanelle  I'm guessing you are questioning your spending choices and newly found happiness in the perfect location mainly because examing your choices, and their value to you, have become second nature.
It is an excellent habit to cultivate. I believe like MMM, that questioning everything is fundamental to optimization and success. It is amazing how often questioning something will bring unexpected positive results and new plans/direction/attitude altogether.

The thing is we will all arrive at different conclusions, because we all have different values, life situations, even the capacity to enjoy what we have accomplished varies.
I say enjoy or regret one day that you've not honored yourself enough to allow yourself to enjoy the fruits of your labor(s). If you are FI and it will not erode your financial future then by all means - please indulge yourself without guilt - cheers:).

mistymoney

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #30 on: July 28, 2019, 09:39:10 AM »
of course money doesn't buy happiness, but it can sure buy off unhappiness.

There is no happiness in today's society without a certain amount of money.

Malkynn

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #31 on: July 28, 2019, 10:08:22 AM »
It's not so much that money buys happiness, it's that all lives cost money, and happy lives cost a certain amount, which you can't escape.

In @Villanelle 's case, the happier life is costing more than the previous miserable life, but it's not necessarily the increased spending that made it less miserable. There are plenty of ways to be miserable while spending a fortune.

Happiness costs money, it just does, and yes, denying yourself the things you need in life in order to be happy will definitely make you miserable.

I am much more happy walking in running shoes than in bare feet, but I wouldn't say that buying shoes makes me happy, but I would say that protecting my bare feet from gravel and grass shards is a prerequisite for my being happy.

I need food to live, and food costs money. I could survive on unseasoned rice and beans, but I would get scurvy and eating would be joyless. Flavourful and nutritious food is also a prerequisite for my happiness. Flavour and nutrients cost a significant premium above what it costs just to not starve.

Survival comes at a cost, thriving comes at a larger cost, and happiness comes at an additional premium.
Still, that doesn't mean that spending more makes life better.

There are far more options for spending that won't make you happy than will. My running shoes cost about $150, but there are countless more expensive shoes out there that would hurt my feet and lower my happiness.

Fresh herbs are something I find absolutely worth spending on to make my food more enjoyable, but there are many more expensive made-from-frozen meals I could order at shitty chain restaurants that I would enjoy far less than my own from-scratch cooking.

It's not so much @Villanelle that you went from a miserable non-spendy life to a joyful spendy life, it's that you went from a miserable life to a joyful life and needed to come to grips with the fact that your joyful life costs more than your previous miserable life did.

Now, part of your former miserable life may have been due to under spending, but it seems like it was miserable for a multifactorial range of reasons.

You aren't just happy because you are spending more. You are living a happier life and it happens to cost more.

As for the restaurants, do whatever floats your boat.
If you truly truly hate cooking, then you shouldn't have cooking as a major part of your life. Are there better options than paying an insane premium for restaurants, which are also notoriously bad for your health? Sure, and you can take your time, do your research and figure that out for yourself. I know A LOT of people who pay someone to batch cook for them each week.

Only you can decide what's right for you, what your happiness looks like, and what is worth spending on.

Part of living your best life is learning that spending doesn't necessarily make you happy, but also learning the flip side: that being happy does require you to spend.

The trick is learning the balance and being aware that that balance will always be changing.
Reflect carefully, be perpetually self critical, and in the end, own your choices.

...and be happy.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2019, 05:23:40 AM by Malkynn »

BussoV6

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Re: What about when money "does" by happiness?
« Reply #32 on: July 29, 2019, 05:09:47 AM »
It's not so much that money buys happiness, it's that all lives cost money, and happy lives cost a certain amount, which you can't escape.

In @Villanelle 's case, the happier life is costing more than the previous miserable life, but it's not necessarily the increased spending that made it less miserable. There are plenty of ways to be miserable while spending a fortune.

Happiness costs money, it just does, and yes, denying yourself the things you need in life in order to be happy will definitely make you miserable.

I am much more happy walking in running shoes than in bare feet, but I wouldn't say that buying shoes makes me happy, but I would say that protecting my bare feet from gravel and grass shards is a prerequisite for my being happy.

I need food to live, and food costs money. I could survive on unseasoned rice and beans, but I would get scurvy and eating would be joyless. Flavourful and nutritious food is also a prerequisite for my happiness. Flavour and nutrients cost a significant premium above what it costs just to not starve.

Survival comes at a cost, thriving comes at a larger cost, and happiness comes at an additional premium.
Still, that doesn't mean that spending more makes life better.

There are far more options for spending that won't make you happy than will. My running shoes cost about $150, but there are countless more expensive shoes out there that would hurt my feet and lower my happiness.

Fresh herbs are something I find absolutely worth spending on to make my food more enjoyable, but there are many more expensive made-from-frozen meals I could order at shitty chain restaurants that I would enjoy far less than my own from-scratch cooking.

It's not so much @Villanelle that you went from a miserable non-spendy life to a joyful spendy life, it's that you went from a miserable life to a joyful life and needed to come to grips with the fact that your joyful life costs more than your previous miserable life did.

Now, part of your former miserable life may have been due to understanding, but it seems like it was miserable for a multifactorial range of reasons.

You aren't just happy because you are spending more. You are living a happier life and it happens to cost more.

As for the restaurants, do whatever floats your boat.
If you truly truly hate cooking, then you shouldn't have cooking as a major part of your life. Are there better options than paying an insane premium for restaurants, which are also notoriously bad for your health? Sure, and you can take your time, do your research and figure that out for yourself. I know A LOT of people who pay someone to batch cook for them each week.

Only you can decide what's right for you, what your happiness looks like, and what is worth spending on.

Part of living your best life is learning that spending doesn't necessarily make you happy, but also learning the flip side: that being happy does require you to spend.

The trick is learning the balance and being aware that that balance will always be changing.
Reflect carefully, be perpetually self critical, and in the end, own your choices.

...and be happy.

Pretty much my thinking as well, but so much more eloquently expressed by Malkynn (again)  :-)

Balance is important and it seems you have a good handle on that.