Author Topic: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?  (Read 4042 times)

Villanelle

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Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« on: September 10, 2016, 02:30:03 AM »
Is your frugality almost exclusively because of the money (and the resulting ability to FIRE), or do other factors play a large role?  If you had a free pass to live a fancy pants life at no additional cost, do you *really* believe you'd continue due [frugal] course? 

I'm asking because I've noticed a few things in myself lately that I don't like.  We've recently moved into military-provided housing.  I'm unhappy (and perhaps a bit... resentful) about this for several reasons.  (I mention that because my attitude problem, which is something I'm working on, is probably relevant.)  Our utilities are free and the units don't have individual meters, so no one has any idea how much we use.  I could literally leave the shower running every night because I like the white noise.  Anyway, today I was going in and out the sliding door a lot as I did chores and worked on unpacking.  If I were paying for the a/c, I'd have shut the door each and every time, even if I was going to be walking through it again in less than 60 seconds.  Today, I left it open.  Not for 15 minutes or anything like that, but a minute here and 3 minutes there.  I did this only because I wasn't paying for the a/c.  (We don't keep it Arctic in here or anything.  I can't tell you the temp because it doesn't run on a temp setting.  It's a +1 on the "dehumidify" setting, if google translate is correct, and I really don't know what that means.  :lol  But it's certainly not 68* in here or anything ridiculously indulgent.)

Again, I don't like this, and it's a thought pattern that I noted and intend to work on.  I was a bit surprised by it, because I've always felt my moderate lifestyle was about environment and philosophy as well.  Using fewer of earth's resources, being less dependent on forces outside myself, challenging myself a bit, avoiding hedonistic adaptation, etc. 

So, if suddenly you were given a free pass, do you *really* think you'd continue your conservative ways?  Would it be more of a struggle? If utilities were free, or any car you wanted would be given to you to use, or you had a free pass to all restaurants as often as you wanted to use them, or any and all clothes [electronics, sports equipment, tools...] you wanted were handed to you on request (or whatever excess might tempt you), would you still exercise moderation?   

marty998

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2016, 04:36:44 AM »
Yes... I would stay the same.

Stayed in a rather nice hotel in Bangkok earlier this year. Did not put the A/C below 27C (81F?), only had my usual quick shower, used only 2 towels (body and face), of the 4 they provided.

The towels were "origamied" into the shape of an elephant on each of the beds - I left one of the 2 alone so the staff would not have to re-do it for the next guest.

I even remade the bed before I left, and washed the water glasses. You would hardly know anyone had been there.

People are who they are. I don't think many would change underlying habits that are already there, unless you give someone enough time to become "accustomed" to relative luxury.

human

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2016, 05:00:18 AM »
To me it's mostly about the money. If I had free restaurant gifrt cards I would definitely go out more to eat because I hate cooking.

However there are things that I don't think would change. I don't like big apartments or houses because of maintenance. We are two people in 1000 sq feet and I find there is a lot of wasted space. I would go even smaller if I could convince my girlfriend.

It's also about optimization. I would love a jeep with full metalcloak fenders and game changer 6pak suspension but I would have to be earning hundreds of thousands a year after tax to drop that kind of money on a vehicle. I would rather travel or retire early (trying to do both).

Basenji

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2016, 11:06:26 AM »
I think that the fact that you are questioning yourself and your environmental morality for leaving the door open 3 minutes while unpacking boxes means you are a good person, but maybe a scootch neurotic, and you might consider giving yourself a break while moving in--which is a major PITA. Moving sucks, I did it every two years for 20 years with the Navy. Take it easy on yourself.

But to answer your question: I know I'd mostly do the same things free or not because I mostly do frugal things for environmental and reasons other than money (spiritual, social contract, being smart/informed). The saving money part is a nice side benefit.

If I had free restaurant passes to my favorite places, yeah, I'd eat there for free. And I'd travel more if it were free. But my basic lifestyle wouldn't change much.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2016, 11:15:16 AM by Basenji »

Sailor Sam

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2016, 11:15:43 AM »
Interesting philosophical question. I would take the fancy car, but leave the larger house, and the eating out.

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2016, 11:29:03 AM »
Although all important, for me it's not primarily about the money, the philosophy, or the environment.  It's about time and freedom.  Time to do the things that I want to do, freedom to do what I want when I want.

Given an infinite pot of money I'd stop working and spend more time doing things I'm passionate about.  Owning an expensive car, eating at a fancy restaurant, and living in a mansion doesn't really excite me as much as spending time with friends/family, making music, and learning about stuff.

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2016, 11:40:09 AM »
It's a little of both. I don't like being wasteful. I've learned to enjoy a life without as many material possessions as a lot of people have, and I honestly don't think I would be much happier with a lot more. I might buy a slightly larger house if I were a billionaire, and perhaps be a bit spendier when traveling, but I wouldn't get a mansion and a butler and a private jet. Spending more quality time with friends and family would be the main difference.
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Cranky

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2016, 11:40:31 AM »
It's about the philosophy. It was about the $$ until we had enough of that that we were "comfortable", and then I realized that there were so many things that I *could* have if I really wanted them, and I stopped wanting them.

I'm pretty happy with the money we've spent upgrading the house over the last few years. I don't understand the appeal of fancy cars, and I don't like to eat out, and I don't like to travel, and I'm not in a rush to retire.

I do love having "enough".

aceyou

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2016, 11:55:05 AM »
With If I were suddenly FIRE a couple times over, I'd likely...

Work:  I'd quit my job teaching, but would likely continue coaching.

Food: I'd still cook almost all of my own meals because it's fun and higher quality, but I'd perhaps by more expensive ingredients...make sushi more often, stuff like that.  Probably still would keep the monthly bill below the US average though.

Housing: I wouldn't want a larger house, but with infinite money I'd probably buy a house on Lake Michigan.

Fun Improvements: I'd get solar panels immediately.  I'd join some tennis travel teams with all my extra time.

Cars: I'd replace our two 10-year old Prius's with electric vehicles. 

Travel: I'd do it more often and for longer, but not necessarily any fancier.

Kids: I'd just spend more time with them.  Spending would likely go down because I wouldn't pay for daycare:)

bacchi

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2016, 12:11:07 PM »
Being frugal is about all 3. The only anti-environmental thing I'd do differently would be abusing the AC at night. Of course, if I had a billion dollars, I'd also have a super-insulated Passiv haus and maybe the AC usage wouldn't be so bad after all.

I'd also drive a Tesla S but maybe I'd (again) live where there's true walkability like, say, Portland. That would help with the AC bill, too (fuck the heater -- I don't need a heater).

Eating out? Eh. More equipment? I have what I need.


undercover

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2016, 12:23:44 PM »
I would say I focus 75% on money, 20% philosophy, and 5% environment. Meaning, I put 75% of my effort into focusing on saving and making the most out of my money, 20% thinking about the best ways to live life regardless of money, and 5% thinking about the impact I have on the environment by focusing on things like recycling or buying used over new/etc. Although it seems like I give the environment the finger, Mother Nature actually benefits supremely as a side-effect of spending less and focusing on a well thought out life.

But money basically = time. The more time you work, the more money you'll have. They're not directly correlated of course, since some people make much more than others, but for all intensive purposes this is a good way to look at it. It's not so much that I wouldn't own and drive a BMW as it is that 1) I wouldn't trade my energy for the "privilege" of owning, and 2) philosophically, I feel feel like it's just an ostentatious status symbol for insecure people.

If resources weren't finite, I'd definitely indulge in more things than I do now out of sheer boredom and the novelty of being able to do it - but I recognize that from a philosophical perspective, it wouldn't fundamentally change my life/happiness. You'd just experience hedonic adaptation to the point that it would just feel normal to be able to do anything.
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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2016, 02:49:39 PM »
I was just thinking about this a bit the other day.  If I had a bit extra, I would pay for first class seats on international flights with my two kids.  I did a fair bit of hedonistic adaptation before I found MMM, so there's a lot of luxury here I think I could live without.  My house is too big, my car is too fancy, and my kids have more than they really need.  So I definitely feel like I have enough.  Probably should scale it back in my case, but am unlikely to get DH much more onboard.  He hates the idea of moving.

I think its great that you are thinking about it.  One of the things I love about this board is that everyone is always pushing themselves, and by extension each other, to be a little more frugal, a little more conscious of their consumption. 

Dollar Slice

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2016, 03:52:37 PM »
It's a mix... if I had a ton of money I would have no problem spending freely on most services: restaurants, housekeepers, taxis, fancier hotels and upgraded plane tickets, etc. I really enjoy that kind of luxury and don't see that it is harming the world - just redistributes the wealth a bit to hard-working people. And I would spend freely on events and experiences (concerts, museums, etc.). I would donate a lot more money to causes I'm interested in.

But I would never, ever buy, e.g., a car that polluted a lot or got poor mileage. I would buy nicer stuff, but not more stuff - I'm pretty minimalist and resist bringing anything non-consumable into my home. I would move to a different apartment in a better location, but probably not a larger one - I would be tempted to get a place with a guest bedroom, but it would be cheaper and easier in the long run to just pay for hotel rooms for my guests than to have an extra bedroom sitting empty 95% of the time. I wouldn't use more water or electricity than I do now; if anything, I'd probably spring for more efficient appliances.

The last time I moved, I downsized drastically (probably half the space) and I've discovered that I feel much, much better when I have a more streamlined home that doesn't have a lot of stuff in it, compared to when I had a big place full of stuff I didn't use much. It's much easier to clean and take care of, and it just feels more calm and peaceful somehow. I think it feels like less of a responsibility. I'm less tied down. There's less weight to it all.
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Villanelle

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2016, 09:14:36 PM »
I think that the fact that you are questioning yourself and your environmental morality for leaving the door open 3 minutes while unpacking boxes means you are a good person, but maybe a scootch neurotic, and you might consider giving yourself a break while moving in--which is a major PITA. Moving sucks, I did it every two years for 20 years with the Navy. Take it easy on yourself.

But to answer your question: I know I'd mostly do the same things free or not because I mostly do frugal things for environmental and reasons other than money (spiritual, social contract, being smart/informed). The saving money part is a nice side benefit.

If I had free restaurant passes to my favorite places, yeah, I'd eat there for free. And I'd travel more if it were free. But my basic lifestyle wouldn't change much.

It's not so much that I'm questioning leaving the door open for 3 minutes.  It's that I know I wouldn't have done that if I was paying the bill.  I resent the shitty house that they put us in (which is completely not commiserate with what Husband's peers who get BAH in just about any location can afford with BAH or even what they can afford while still pocketing some BAH).  I'm mad about the parity issues, so I think there's a part of me that's being petulant.  Screw you, Navy, for this unfair house.  And screw you for sending us on 3 overseas assignments in a row. I'll live in your damn house, and I'll leave the damn door open!  Unattractive, but there it is.  Now that I'm aware of it, I can work on it.

I think if All The Things were free, I'd eat all the time at restaurants and have all kinds of services.  But I don't think I'd buy more things or nicer cars or a larger house (when I'm allowed to pick my own damn house!).  I might buy more art though, and/or more expensive art.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2016, 11:12:04 PM by Villanelle »

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2016, 09:40:33 PM »
For me, it's mostly philosophy - I believe strongly in being a self-reliant badass who gives the middle finger to the asshole corporations destroying the planet to make more plastic crap. Building wealth like crazy and retiring young is an awesome side effect.
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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2016, 10:38:32 PM »
Its absolutely about the environment for me. I am a tree hugger, so I recycle, and I make sure I don't waste water, electricity, paper etc. So regardless of how much its going to cost, I will not waste. It is against my philosophy.
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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2016, 11:23:19 PM »
A bit of all three. Give enough free resources to piss away at will I'd take liberties from time to time. But I couldn't make waste a habit.
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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2016, 11:37:14 PM »
I feel like I've been environmentally aware and a conscious saver my whole life so it's difficult to say which one is more important. But given infinite money, I wouldn't have more stuff or a bigger house because I hate waste but I might buy a sea view and spend up when I did need something on craftsmanship and design. And I'd buy my own time back by getting a cleaner, other grunt work help, anything I don't enjoy. And I'd buy an Audi R8 if I'm being honest.

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2016, 07:36:20 PM »
I admire your self awareness, Villanelle. It's hard to own up to those unattractive feelings!

I would really like to believe that I wouldn't do a thing differently if I had unlimited money. But I would. Cleaning service every week, more eating out, more home and garden spending... there are definitely things that aren't valuable enough to me right now to spend the money on, but I would if I had $5M in the bank. I would also increase my spending on 'things' (solar panels, BIFL products, etc) that reduce my environmental impact but have a big up-front cost.

Basenji

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2016, 06:32:01 AM »
I think that the fact that you are questioning yourself and your environmental morality for leaving the door open 3 minutes while unpacking boxes means you are a good person, but maybe a scootch neurotic, and you might consider giving yourself a break while moving in--which is a major PITA. Moving sucks, I did it every two years for 20 years with the Navy. Take it easy on yourself.

But to answer your question: I know I'd mostly do the same things free or not because I mostly do frugal things for environmental and reasons other than money (spiritual, social contract, being smart/informed). The saving money part is a nice side benefit.

If I had free restaurant passes to my favorite places, yeah, I'd eat there for free. And I'd travel more if it were free. But my basic lifestyle wouldn't change much.

It's not so much that I'm questioning leaving the door open for 3 minutes.  It's that I know I wouldn't have done that if I was paying the bill.  I resent the shitty house that they put us in (which is completely not commiserate with what Husband's peers who get BAH in just about any location can afford with BAH or even what they can afford while still pocketing some BAH).  I'm mad about the parity issues, so I think there's a part of me that's being petulant.  Screw you, Navy, for this unfair house.  And screw you for sending us on 3 overseas assignments in a row. I'll live in your damn house, and I'll leave the damn door open!  Unattractive, but there it is.  Now that I'm aware of it, I can work on it.

I knew where you were coming from and I meant my comments as a Navy spouse hug. I admire you for being so self-aware. Hope the unpacking went well and hey, you're saving money !

Villanelle

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2016, 07:18:07 AM »
I think that the fact that you are questioning yourself and your environmental morality for leaving the door open 3 minutes while unpacking boxes means you are a good person, but maybe a scootch neurotic, and you might consider giving yourself a break while moving in--which is a major PITA. Moving sucks, I did it every two years for 20 years with the Navy. Take it easy on yourself.

But to answer your question: I know I'd mostly do the same things free or not because I mostly do frugal things for environmental and reasons other than money (spiritual, social contract, being smart/informed). The saving money part is a nice side benefit.

If I had free restaurant passes to my favorite places, yeah, I'd eat there for free. And I'd travel more if it were free. But my basic lifestyle wouldn't change much.

It's not so much that I'm questioning leaving the door open for 3 minutes.  It's that I know I wouldn't have done that if I was paying the bill.  I resent the shitty house that they put us in (which is completely not commiserate with what Husband's peers who get BAH in just about any location can afford with BAH or even what they can afford while still pocketing some BAH).  I'm mad about the parity issues, so I think there's a part of me that's being petulant.  Screw you, Navy, for this unfair house.  And screw you for sending us on 3 overseas assignments in a row. I'll live in your damn house, and I'll leave the damn door open!  Unattractive, but there it is.  Now that I'm aware of it, I can work on it.

I knew where you were coming from and I meant my comments as a Navy spouse hug. I admire you for being so self-aware. Hope the unpacking went well and hey, you're saving money !

Thanks!  All hugs happily accepted.  The unpacking is... going.  We have too much stuff for this house, and thanks to a super complicated move from overseas to overseas, we weren't able to put anything we had with us in to storage, so it had to come with us.  So finding nooks and crannies for all of it is challenging, but we are making some headway.  We'll get there. 

FireLane

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2016, 03:06:39 PM »
Our utilities are free and the units don't have individual meters, so no one has any idea how much we use.  I could literally leave the shower running every night because I like the white noise.  Anyway, today I was going in and out the sliding door a lot as I did chores and worked on unpacking.  If I were paying for the a/c, I'd have shut the door each and every time, even if I was going to be walking through it again in less than 60 seconds.  Today, I left it open.  Not for 15 minutes or anything like that, but a minute here and 3 minutes there.  I did this only because I wasn't paying for the a/c.

I also struggle with this. The apartment complex where I live has something similar. We don't have individual meters, so the total power consumption is divided by the number of residents and charged as part of our monthly maintenance fee. This means that I have no incentive to save electricity, because it won't make any meaningful difference to my bill.

That knowledge has led me to use the air conditioner when we don't strictly need it, be less diligent about shutting off lights, etc. Why not? Being more careful would just mean that I'm subsidizing my careless neighbors.

I consider myself a pretty strong conservationist, both for frugality reasons and out of concern for the environment, so I don't like that it pushes me in this direction. I wish we had a system that rewarded people for doing the right thing.

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2016, 03:19:48 PM »
I would say 80% money, 20% philosophy, 0% environment.

The money is the most important so I can quit the day job if I wanted to.

From the philosophy perspective my philosophy is more about simplification than self-reliance or sticking it to the man. I don't want a big place because it's hard to take care of. I don't like owning a bunch of things. All of my worldly (non-stock/bond/cash) possessions probably add up to < $30k in value and that includes a $20k (and depreciating) car which was a terrible purchase.

So, money and simplifying my lifestyle is what it's about to me.

Edit: Note that although my simple lifestyle is good for the environment, I put environment at 0% because I don't do it FOR the environment, it's just a nice side effect of living simply.

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2016, 07:51:20 PM »
I've definitely been through periods of spendypants-ness, and while environmentalism, philosophy, and money all play a role (in that order, I think), the number one thing that keeps the spending from going too nuts is, paradoxically, laziness.

Acquiring and caring for things requires a shit-ton of work!  I never want to move to a bigger house, because moving is terrible!  Buy another car?--too much research.  Even the cleaning service--something I have dreamed about--would mean I would have to organize stuff so that they could clean effectively.  All of that lifestyle stuff requires work and mental energy I just don't have.

I would like my house to be much more minimal (but alas, the creep of kid stuff) because, in my book, the greatest possible luxury is drinking good coffee and reading.  Even if I had a ton more money, I think that would still be my main source of pleasure. So, I might travel a little more, and a little more nicely.  But, if I had a ton of $$, I'm pretty sure I'd just FIRE and continue with my current lifestyle.

Herbert Derp

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2016, 01:51:47 AM »
For me, it's not about the money, it's about freedom. If I had infinite money, I doubt I would be very frugal at all. I'd probably end up like the Tessier-Ashpools in Neuromancer: playing God, building my own luxury space station, etc.

I define waste on strictly subjective terms: waste is the unnecessary depletion of my own resources. But if I had infinite resources, then waste becomes meaningless. With infinite money, I would have no problem purchasing a 200 million dollar painting just so that I could burn it in public in order to make a philosophical point.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 02:08:33 AM by Herbert Derp »

TravelJunkyQC

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2016, 07:39:01 AM »
In all honesty, for me it's probably more about the environment and my philosophy than it is about the money. I genuinely despise waste, I feel that as a culture we take up too much physical and figurative space, and I feel a strong responsibility to care for the world that surrounds me.

If I had an infinite amount of money, I would continue to contribute intellectually (I'm a copywriter and communications strategist), but instead of working in business, I would work/volunteer my talents to various NGOs that I trust and find worthwhile. I would slow-travel, but never in hotels. I prefer renting cabins, staying with locals, etc.

The only thing that would change in my lifestyle if I had more money would be whether I work for money or not. If I didn't need to work, I probably wouldn't need/want a car either. Nor would I want a permanent house. I would try to take up the least amount of physical ressources as possible. I feel most alive when I'm on a surfboard or on a rock face. My FIRE fantasy is spending my days doing those things, that's it.

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #26 on: September 13, 2016, 12:52:15 PM »
If money were no object, we would eat out more, I would have a Tesla, and I would hire someone to do things like housework and yardwork (last month we cut the housekeeper to be more frugal, but we both work full time and have three kids, and a house that is way too big). I would downsize our house, though, if money was immaterial. Property has skyrocketed since we bought, so even if I buy something half the size our property taxes would increase!

Everything else would stay the same. I would keep my cell phone until it dies (and then, maybe, replace it with the newest and not a model or two back like I currently do). I would still recycle, buy used, work stringently to reduce waste and consumption in my life, walk as much as possible, live close to everything that matters to me. I guess, then, it is mostly environment, followed by philosophy, and then money. Right now, emphasizing the monetary aspect is what got my husband on-board, because he is not as motivated by the philosophy or environmental aspects as I am, but he understands the lure of early retirement!

HenryDavid

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2016, 02:15:37 PM »
Totally about working toward a life guided by values I respect--I say toward cause I fall short a lot--with the welcome side effect of FI and ER as they're called.
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FIFoFum

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2016, 02:59:19 PM »
Agree that it is a mix of all of the above. I still would want to minimize waste and things that destroy the environment.

The interesting thing to me is how much I've already optimized things that make me happy or healthy. For example, I would eat out more. But I would also just hire a personal shopper and chef to prepare the same type of food and variations of that for me to eat at home or pack as lunch. I'm fit. I like what I eat. When I was spendier-pants and ate out more, those pants were bigger and I didn't have as much energy.

The big ticket money difference for me is that I would use virtually unlimited resources to build up a non-profit or charitable organization (or two) that I already volunteer with or donate to & just finally give it proper resources to service more people or operate at a larger scale without cutting as many corners.




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pbnj

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2016, 07:14:56 PM »
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2016/03/15/mother

Read MMM's above post: interview with mother earth, March 2016.

For me it is a philosophy, a way of life especially when it comes to using (or not using) resources. 

I would not be more of a spendypants if I was a gazillionaire.  I would still recycle, pack my own lunch, conserve electricity etc.


Apocalyptica602

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #30 on: September 16, 2016, 09:41:32 AM »
It's mostly about the money for me. I'm a bit of a minimalist so I'm not itching to go pack my garage to the ceiling with crap that I bought, nor is money the only thing preventing me from buying a gigantic hummer to commute 100 miles a day in.

If I had infinite money or even just enough such that it wouldn't change my ability to FIRE. I'd probably hire a regular cleaning person, lawn service, eat out more. etc.

redbird

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2016, 07:27:29 AM »
When I lived in Japan, I worked with the military. I didn't live on base, but I had friends who did. The base, to try to save money, would have no-heat/no-cool weeks where they would literally shut off the HVAC to the housing units so you couldn't use it. Sometimes those weeks it would still get cold at night. So what people would do instead, since they weren't paying for the power, was to turn on their oven and keep the door open. WHY you would ever do that when it's extraordinarily unsafe boggles the mind. Just put on warmer clothes or throw a warmer blanket on your bed or SOMETHING.

Anyway, even if I had infinite money, my spending habits wouldn't change too much. SOME things would be different right now. For instance I'd already own the land and house I want to buy instead of still renting for now. My income has increased significantly since my adult life started, but I haven't really increased my standard of living that much. I can afford a lot more than I actually buy, but I'm happy with what I have. I feel no need to buy those things that I don't have.
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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #32 on: September 22, 2016, 08:30:55 AM »
Happiness and life satisfaction drive our choices and lifestyle.  Money is irrelevant.  If we were given 100MM tomorrow, nothing would change, other than our charitable contributions would go up by about 100MM.

That's the idea of having "enough."  More isn't better, just because it's more.
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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #33 on: September 22, 2016, 08:56:46 AM »
Agree. Money is only a tool used to increase freedom or happiness. These are the important currencies. Money can also be used to express your values. I value efficiency, so it would not matter if I paid for utilities or not, I would still close the door when the air conditioner was on.

Happiness and life satisfaction drive our choices and lifestyle.  Money is irrelevant.  If we were given 100MM tomorrow, nothing would change, other than our charitable contributions would go up by about 100MM.

That's the idea of having "enough."  More isn't better, just because it's more.
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GuitarStv

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #34 on: September 22, 2016, 09:02:48 AM »
Money is only a tool used to increase freedom or happiness.

I think you can probably simplify it down to just "happiness".  If you derive happiness from being free, then it's already covered.  If you're perfectly happy while not being free, who cares about freedom?

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #35 on: September 22, 2016, 10:45:09 PM »
Good point.

Money is only a tool used to increase freedom or happiness.

I think you can probably simplify it down to just "happiness".  If you derive happiness from being free, then it's already covered.  If you're perfectly happy while not being free, who cares about freedom?
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GetItRight

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Re: Is it mostly about the money, or also philosophy and environment?
« Reply #36 on: September 24, 2016, 12:16:27 PM »
OP's air conditiong and door open example is a prime example of human nature. If an individual isn't paying for something he uses and benefits from, he will not use it as efficiently or productively as possible. The free market forces in OP's AC usage and conservation are stripped away by his employer, hence more waste. The level of waste increases only by a fairly small amount since OP is conservative with resources and generally dislikes waste for other than financial reasons, but imagine the waste of the average person who doesn't give a hoot about reducing waste... It is likely much more.

This is exactly why welfare doesn't work, and why charity can be difficult to do effectively to get the desired results in some scenarios. There are plenty of examples here in the wall of shame of people either given money or doing a Gofundme or similar to subsidize their waste.

To the OP, I wouldn't sweat it. Free electric is a perk of the job, enjoy it and just try to keep the waste to a minimum on principle. Don't think of it as free, but rather saving money for the rest of us taxpayers. Of course any surplus in that slush fund could just be a bonus for some housing commissar or politician, but it's a nice thought at least.