Author Topic: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting  (Read 2898 times)

use2betrix

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1315
Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« on: January 11, 2019, 11:27:54 AM »
I had a pretty decent savings rate last year, around 50%. I also had a very high income, which means I spent a ton as well.

A lot of the money spent wasnít on needs. Lots of clothes, some travel, nice dinners, some toys, etc.

This year we are becoming more conscious of our spending, and shooting for a 65%-70% savings rate.

Even at this rate, we are FAR from ďstruggling.Ē Itís basically cutting back on clothes, date nights, and other toys we donít need.

My hardest part now is I am starting to realize how much TIME I put into researching my purchases. So much time scouring sites, reading articles, reviews, etc. I also realize that the actual research involved was probably more enjoyable than the purchases.

As such, I find myself bored when I have downtime at work and at home, when before I would be searching and reading for planned purchases.

Itís not like I donít have a life. Iím working 50-60 hrs a week, I go to the gym twice a week, run 4x a week, take dog to play fetch/dog park 1-2x a week, I read before bed, listen to audiobooks to/from work. My wife stays at home and we donít have kids, so she takes care of all the cooking/cleaning/errands.  Aside from that we watch a lot of tv series and movies on netflix. I can only pay so much attention to it though. Last night I didnít have the gym or run so I got home at 4, took the dog to play fetch, then just kind of lounged around the rest of the night. I live outside a huge city in the south without many regular outdoor activity I enjoy so Iím a bit limited. We rent an apartment so are also limited on projects around the home. Often after working I donít feel like going too many places either.

Has anyone else ever noticed this? Avoiding sites and pages I used to frequent make me feel like Iíve searched to the end of the internet and thereís nothing left to read. Iím sure this is just a mental thing that might just be ďnewĒ and something that will pass over time. Itís pretty dang easy for me to realize that as a whole it is seeming easier to spend less, just this weird, unexpected downside I didnít consider.

Cool Friend

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 94
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2019, 11:57:46 AM »
I know exactly what you mean--I can't guess how much of my life was spent researching music-making equipment, but let's just say when I get interested in something I will research it for hours.

Flip the script: the downside you're talking about is having more free time not spent preparing to make a purchase.  That's more free time you could use elsewhere!  Also, much of the net is designed towards consumerism, but there's still a lot of designed for information and communication.  We could change our relationship to the net, and think of it as a tool for learning and growth and not just one for buying stuff.

kristyj004

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2019, 12:07:59 PM »
Yep, I experienced some of this myself (after the kid turned into an independent teen, my gosh do kids take a lot of time), and the blogs I'd read about "you need something to retire TO, not something to retire FROM" started hitting home. I realized I had all the basics down for money and daily life management, but I didn't have the next step in mind so I could start researching whatever "it" was. I found the exercises suggested by Mrs. Frugalwoods pretty helpful from here- https://www.frugalwoods.com/2017/11/03/how-i-figured-out-what-i-want-to-do-with-my-life-and-how-you-can-too/. I still haven't fully settled on what "it" is, but I'm also enjoying some down time from all things kid. My side realization of all this was boredom is why a lot of FIREy people get into real estate, it takes way more time and energy for research than socking everything away in index funds.

Bracken_Joy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8734
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2019, 12:13:21 PM »
Definitely noticed this. I currently am not working for temporary but restrictive medical reasons. I can definitely get bored! Growing up, my mom spent a ton of time shopping, so that was my main 'model', and I quickly rejected that. An interesting aspect, and in my eyes failure in a way, of FI and minimalism blogs are that they focus all about carving this space and time in your life, but then it leaves YOU as the one to fill it. And by virtue of getting this info from bloggers, who have decided to fill that time writing about and creating community around FI or minimalism, that's the "vision" of it we get. I frankly wish there were MORE blogs that just like... interviewed people, who already were FIRE, or already minimalist, or whatever. Answers to the "what". One thing I like about Becoming Minimalist is that he writes about other projects he works on (although they're religious in nature, and that's not my thing).

There's this assumption that there's always better and more valuable things we can spend our time on, but we really need to craft a plan for that. IME it doesn't just fall into place.

use2betrix

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1315
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2019, 12:38:39 PM »
So glad to read the feedback here! Glad to see Iím not alone in this. Last night it really hit me hard for the first time and I just thought, ďwow, this is an unexpected side effect of less consuming.Ē 

In a ďsimilarĒ way last summer I switched from a job working 70-80 hrs a week to a job working 45-50. With all that free time I instantly picked up walking then running. That habit has stuck and even as my hours creep back up, im still getting even more intense on my running.

In 2017 I took about 7-8 months of sabbaticals, so I have somewhat of a taste of what my FIRE life might be like. Iím just in a limbo right now for filling free time because Iím living in a part of the country I donít care for and a lot of my hobbies I want to do more of arenít available in this area. I make so much more here than what I could in my eventual FIRE locations, I grit my teeth and stick it out. Itís fine, but thereís definitely that stake free time gap thatís hard to fill.

We are no longer ďpreventingĒ ourselves from having a child (though not super actively trying) so I have a feeling in not too long Iíll either be 1. Investing all my time researching possible reasons thereís not a baby on the way yet (aside from the obvious) or 2. Researching everything in the world about how to raise a child lol.

Those are soon, but not quite yet.

LifeHappens

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5187
  • Location: SnowBirdLand
  • Downshifting from 5th to 3rd Gear
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2019, 12:51:03 PM »
There's this assumption that there's always better and more valuable things we can spend our time on, but we really need to craft a plan for that. IME it doesn't just fall into place.
This is a really good point. Shopping, whether in stores, online or garage sale-ing takes up an inordinate amount of time in most middle class people's lives. Filling that void with something *enjoyable* is much harder than it looks in a blog article. The same goes for all kinds of default activities like watching television, surfing the web and gaming. Finding alternative activities is often harder than dropping the bad habits.

Kay-Ell

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 119
  • Semi-retired in 2017
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2019, 12:57:50 PM »
How to psycologically deal with almost limitless free time is a theme over on the Post Fire section of the forum.  It's not something our society teaches us in school or work, and it can feel like a bit of an abys until we find who we really are and start letting go of the projections of society.  That's not exactly what you're talking about, but I frequently have those moments where I feel like I've reached the end of the internet and even with the whole world at my fingertips feel restless and like there's nothing to do.  That's a failure of my own imagination or ambition or perhaps a failure of my own ability to sit quietly with myself and not feel restless.  Either way, if we let it, that restlessness can be a tool to help us increase our imagination or ambition or ability to be present. 

use2betrix

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1315
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2019, 02:03:26 PM »
How to psycologically deal with almost limitless free time is a theme over on the Post Fire section of the forum.  It's not something our society teaches us in school or work, and it can feel like a bit of an abys until we find who we really are and start letting go of the projections of society.  That's not exactly what you're talking about, but I frequently have those moments where I feel like I've reached the end of the internet and even with the whole world at my fingertips feel restless and like there's nothing to do.  That's a failure of my own imagination or ambition or perhaps a failure of my own ability to sit quietly with myself and not feel restless.  Either way, if we let it, that restlessness can be a tool to help us increase our imagination or ambition or ability to be present.

What a huge message and thought for not a lot of words. Thanks for the input. These are in line with other positive thought processes I am constantly working on improving.

DreamFIRE

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1564
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2019, 02:42:21 PM »

I used to spend a lot of time researching purchases also, especially several years ago.  Last year, I had an 82% savings rate and didn't make many purchases, especially those that required much research, but I didn't even think about the time saved until I just read your post.  I automatically filled that purchasing research time with something else.  I'm still working full time, so I still feel like I have too little free time and never have a chance to get bored.  In the next 5 to 15 months, I should have a chance experience the feeling of having a lot more time.  Despite the big drop in my discretionary purchases spending, I don't miss all that "stuff".

mspym

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1331
  • Location: Downunder
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2019, 04:14:32 PM »
You have put your finger on what I have been struggling with this week - what do I do with this *time*?? And since purchasing things is one of the ways I leave the house, I am combining the end of the internet feeling with cabin fever.

Time to start working through designing a life I guess.

Bracken_Joy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8734
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2019, 04:19:51 PM »
You have put your finger on what I have been struggling with this week - what do I do with this *time*?? And since purchasing things is one of the ways I leave the house, I am combining the end of the internet feeling with cabin fever.

Time to start working through designing a life I guess.

Maybe we need a "design your life" thread???

use2betrix

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1315
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2019, 04:51:22 PM »
You have put your finger on what I have been struggling with this week - what do I do with this *time*?? And since purchasing things is one of the ways I leave the house, I am combining the end of the internet feeling with cabin fever.

Time to start working through designing a life I guess.

Maybe we need a "design your life" thread???

DOOOO EEETTTTT!!!

Moustachienne

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 281
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2019, 07:50:03 PM »
OK.  I'll bite.  I'll start a Design Your Life thread in Throw Down the Gauntlet.

undercover

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 823
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2019, 09:00:29 PM »
I've been guilty of this in the past...and then wasn't until recently.

I basically didn't buy anything new or go anywhere from 2016-2018 and then recently I bought a new camera setup. I spent a lot of (enjoyable) time researching and planning.

But then I realized that my time would be better spent creating things with whatever camera I have than researching the best for me so now I'm probably back to not spending $/researching for a long time.

And I also realized (after doing yet again more research) that I could have probably been as happy with a camera I had no idea of (kinda off the radar of most "recommendation"/photography sites) that's roughly 1/4 the price. Ultimately I'm still satisfied with the purchase and think that it will definitely give me ten years to a lifetime of service but the bottom line is you can spend days or months or years of research but that's time you could have been using to create some actual value in the world.

HipGnosis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1435
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2019, 07:41:53 AM »
You have put your finger on what I have been struggling with this week - what do I do with this *time*?? And since purchasing things is one of the ways I leave the house, I am combining the end of the internet feeling with cabin fever.

Time to start working through designing a life I guess.
Though I abhor 'hashtag'..  #metoo fits to a tee

Bracken_Joy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8734
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2019, 07:59:52 AM »
OK.  I'll bite.  I'll start a Design Your Life thread in Throw Down the Gauntlet.

Add the link there! =)

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3921
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2019, 08:28:37 AM »
I notice that when I develop a new hobby, I often go all in for it. I read everything there is to read about it and join forums in the languages I can read and write. As well as start praticing the hobby. After an often steep learning curve, you will soon become pretty good at the theory, and practice. Than you can start helping others on the forums.
This provides me a lot of time online, and something to do when I am outdoors, praticing the hobby.

Therefore I want to suggest you find some sort of hobby, get the tools (used) and dive into the theory of it. Find a local club for it as well, so you will get social contacts. After some time, if it would stop being challenging, find something new.

Zaga

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1906
  • Age: 38
  • Location: North of Pittsburgh, PA
    • A Wall of Hats

Bracken_Joy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8734
  • Location: Oregon

nirodha

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2019, 09:17:01 AM »
This problem is solved by selling your old hobby stuff, to buy other people's old hobby stuff.

use2betrix

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1315
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2019, 01:41:17 PM »
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/design-your-life!/msg0/#new

This should help.

Thank you! I couldn't find it when I looked.

I admittedly also couldnít find it when I looked, we both probably got too eager before it was actually created lol.

OmahaSteph

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 653
  • Location: Omaha
    • Journal: The Slow Lane to FIRE
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2019, 09:04:35 AM »
Although I have almost zero free time, I've often found that "getting outside myself" works wonders, e.g. I get horribly depressed around the holidays. This year, my son and I volunteered at the local veterans home for their bingo games. We handed out cards, called numbers, doled out prizes, etc. I left there in a much better place than when I walked in.

Moustachienne

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 281
Re: Unexpected downside to more conscious budgeting
« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2019, 09:36:29 AM »
My bad!  I linked back to this thread but forgot to link forward. Actually, I thought about it after I'd logged off and gone to bed. :)  Thanks to Zaga for taking care of it!

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/design-your-life!/msg0/#new

This should help.

Thank you! I couldn't find it when I looked.

I admittedly also couldnít find it when I looked, we both probably got too eager before it was actually created lol.