Author Topic: "Saving Money was Too Stressful, So I Gave it Up to Live a Normal Life"  (Read 9386 times)

Tay_CPA

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https://content.dollarshaveclub.com/saving-money-was-too-stressful-so-i-gave-it-up-to-live-a-normal-life

I can't tell if this is a serious article or not. Includes several examples of people who were living frugally and couldn't handle it anymore.

"Robert had reached his limit. He was tired of living with their three children in a three-bedroom house in a rundown neighborhood in Reno. He wanted something bigger and nicer, even if it meant adding years to [his wife's] debt-paydown plan. More than that, he was exhausted by the frugal lifestyle his wife had imposed on their family. They walked to the grocery store and bought all their homeware items secondhand. They didn’t vacation and only went out when the activity was free, such as hiking. Instead of going out to eat, they invited friends over for potluck dinners."

They walked to the grocery store?! Oh, the horror.

SwordGuy

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It reads like satire to me.

But I have to confess that the GOP has stressed out my satire-or-truth detection capability for the last year, so my calibration may be off.

crispy

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I put in a comment in the Overheard at Work thread about a coworker saying a similar thing so I believe it. Debt, long commutes, waste, and overspending are stressful to me, but other people have different priorities and comfort levels. 

I do think everyone needs to find a balance. It is kind of like dieting...making small, lifestyle changes work and last longer than crash diets and drastically cutting everything. Eventually, people who do that binge on food our binge on spending.

Sadly the guy in the article seems happier now that they have tripled their debt, but his wife sounds stressed out. I can imagine that working in the long term.

sisca

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I kinda get where these people are coming from. Saving for the wrong reasons will make you stress out. If you want to spend X, but limit yourself to spending half of that, it will feel like you are depriving yourself. The goal is not to spend less than X, but to reduce X in the first place. Getting to a place mentally, where all you wish to spend is X is the answer.

This means that everyones X is different. If I started living LARGE, and spend over my comfort zone, that would make me uncomfortable. But if I was forced to spend way less than I am right now, that would equally be uncomfortable to me. It would mean having to give up things that I really appreciate and enjoy. I think you can spend less than you ideally want for a period, if you are really motivated. Achieving a high savings rate is a lot more about reducing wants than cutting spending.

Dicey

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It reads like satire to me.

But I have to confess that the GOP has stressed out my satire-or-truth detection capability for the last year, so my calibration may be off.
Move over, so I can sit next to you, please.  You're my people.

joonifloofeefloo

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Hmmmm... Yeah, that was a really strange article. I guess it just wasn't advocating any one thing, but rather telling some stories about how some people feel happy and well saving, and others get stressed, and we each need to find our optimal balance.

Gondolin

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Bad satire is the scourge on the internet.

eddiejoe

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I'm chalking this one up as satire. They did reference some real articles, but look at the source. It's from Dollar Shave Club! Their whole marketing premise is "we are the cheap razor option". I don't think they would have an article with the sincere message of "spend more money" because that would lead people, in theory, to buy the more expensive razor blades.

BTDretire

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"Gemma and Robert Hartley had been living frugally for five years when he broke down and decided he couldn’t do it anymore. They’d reduced their overall debt, which include a mortgage, credit card debt and medical bills, from $130,000 to $105,000"
 Something is wrong, 5 years and they only reduced their debt $25,000?
Seems to me they will need to spend more than they earn to reduce their stress.
Aargh!

WhiteTrashCash

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I don't think that's satire. I think it's real and it's in response to the growing simple living/minimalist movement. Companies seem to be scared now that more ordinary people are actively involved in capitalism (which is basically what we're all doing.)

TartanTallulah

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I think it's real, or modelled on realistic situations.

The stories presented seem to me to be more about relationships and autonomy than about money. In the first two cases, frugality was imposed upon one partner in a relationship by the other and they had a sense of disempowerment; it's not surprising that they kicked out. In the third case, which, from a Mustachian point of view, has the most positive outcome (a little controlled squander on a worthwhile shared experience, then back to saving), the subject  chose to adopt a frugal lifestyle. His girlfriend set the example, but he took it upon himself to follow that example.

I'm sure that with saving, as with any lifestyle change, it's easier to continue if you can see the results in front of your eyes. If you have a gigantic debt to pay down, you're not going to be seeing much in the way of short term results in the early days and it will be harder to resist the temptation to say, "What the heck, I'm never going to get on top of this debt and going without stuff sucks, where's the number of the Porsche dealership?"

My husband and I each have some small "pampers" that we choose not to cut out, or to nag one another to cut out, for the sake of saving money, because tomorrow is important but today is important too.


aceyou

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I don't think that's satire. I think it's real and it's in response to the growing simple living/minimalist movement. Companies seem to be scared now that more ordinary people are actively involved in capitalism (which is basically what we're all doing.)

+1  Whether or not it was the driving force behind the article, I think a lot of industries are worried about getting disrupted that previously thought they had large moats built up around them. 

Ryo

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That's got to be propaganda paid for by some industry group, perhaps the consumer credit business or someone of their ilk.

Rife

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Another vote for not satire. I think it is a poorly written article but it follows exactly the thinking of a few of my coworkers when FIRE came up. The three of them were all single and making about 100k but quickly concluded that it is not worth it cause you would have no life, walk everywhere, and basically be miserable. They talked exactly like the article.

They just don't ever think it all the way through that your expensive dinners and hobbies etc are making you work years longer. In fairness, smokers all say they don't quit cause they are happier smoking.

respond2u

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One guy on seekingalpha recently commented that he wouldn't retire on less than $5M because he met an old man when he was young who said:
 "See all these restaurants and stores? See the bars? If you retire without enough money, they might as well have locks on their doors. If you retire without enough money, you'll be in a prison of your own making."

Another guy said "My wife and I are living alright in retirement on $120K a year."

Some people value consumption and creature comforts highly. Others don't.

Rife

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Another note, it concludes that you can save money and still live a normal life. It seems aimed at people who are turned off by appeals to frugality to get them to feel om about dollar shave club.

2Birds1Stone

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This doesn't read like satire to me.....well maybe satire in the eyes of the MMM crowd =D

Cassie

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It seems like only the last guy was able to find a healthy balance. The old man was right about being in a prison of your own making.  If you are older you may not be able to go back to work. I know a few people who found themselves in this exact postiion when older because they retired too young without enough $.

MrsPete

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It reads like satire to me.
I don't think it's satire.  If it is satire, it's poorly done -- the reader shouldn't be uncertain about the point of the article.

I do think everyone needs to find a balance. It is kind of like dieting...making small, lifestyle changes work and last longer than crash diets and drastically cutting everything. Eventually, people who do that binge on food our binge on spending.
Yes, this exactly.  Frugality is a balance.  Frugality is a good thing, a choice that will allow you to live comfortably for the rest of your life; however, if you're living too "close to the bone" and are unhappy /allowing saving money to rule your life, you may've taken a good thing too far. 

In the case of the first couple described, I think the issue is that the couple doesn't have the same concept of "balance" or the same "sweet spot" in terms of saving vs. spending. 

"Gemma and Robert Hartley had been living frugally for five years when he broke down and decided he couldn’t do it anymore. They’d reduced their overall debt, which include a mortgage, credit card debt and medical bills, from $130,000 to $105,000"
 Something is wrong, 5 years and they only reduced their debt $25,000?
Seems to me they will need to spend more than they earn to reduce their stress.
Aargh!
Yeah, I thought the same thing:  In five years they knocked out 25K of debt ... but two more years is going to remove 105K?  Something's off. 

Cassie

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I thought of that too. Also it depends when they bought their house in Reno. Right now the average home costs 350k.  But if they bought their new home 4 years ago then that bought them a lot of home but not so much now. We have a 1400 sq ft 1950 ranch that is worth 300.

Gondolin

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Quote
I don't think it's satire.  If it is satire, it's poorly done -- the reader shouldn't be uncertain about the point of the article.

You're right. Unfortunately, there is now an entire cottage industry on the internet dedicated to printing these kinds of queso-satirical click bait. If the article garners a positive response, the author rakes in the clicks and can claim to be a no nonsense type who tells the hard truths. If the article garners a negative response, the author exclaims, "It's a joke, obviously! This is satire! I can't believe you philistines couldn't see that!".

This schroedinger's satire provides great cover for internet hacks.

damyst

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Quote
I don't think it's satire.  If it is satire, it's poorly done -- the reader shouldn't be uncertain about the point of the article.

You're right. Unfortunately, there is now an entire cottage industry on the internet dedicated to printing these kinds of queso-satirical click bait. If the article garners a positive response, the author rakes in the clicks and can claim to be a no nonsense type who tells the hard truths. If the article garners a negative response, the author exclaims, "It's a joke, obviously! This is satire! I can't believe you philistines couldn't see that!".

This schroedinger's satire provides great cover for internet hacks.

These "queso-satirical" articles can get awfully cheesy :D

Missy B

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Quote
“It worked well for me, but not for him,” Gemma says. “He resented me for always being the one to call the shots and preventing him from feeling like he had any control over our money.”

Quote
Previously, Lawson spent most of her time playing video games and hanging out with a controlling boyfriend who forbid her from socializing with anyone else. The isolation allowed them to save between $4,000 and $5,000 a month, however, and after two years together, they put a down payment on a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom home.

The subtext being, people who are frugal are control freaks with unhealthy relationships.


I'm a red panda

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It reads like satire to me.

But I have to confess that the GOP has stressed out my satire-or-truth detection capability for the last year, so my calibration may be off.

I agree. But I've read so much news lately that I can't believe is true, that I also think my calibration is off as well.

Squirrel away

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I have to say that I laughed as I thought it was a spoof, now I'm not sure!

StarBright

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I kinda get where these people are coming from. Saving for the wrong reasons will make you stress out. If you want to spend X, but limit yourself to spending half of that, it will feel like you are depriving yourself. The goal is not to spend less than X, but to reduce X in the first place. Getting to a place mentally, where all you wish to spend is X is the answer.

Tentatively raises hand - me too. I've been pretty frugal for the last 12 years or so (for 9 of those, out of necessity) and I, frankly, often find it exhausting. To your point - my frugality was often out of need so it wasn't about "let's reduce from X" but "lets stretch a dollar."

Now that we have real money coming in it is "let's make up for lost years of retirement savings" and "live on one salary so we can save for a nice house in a decent school system." (which we bought in 2016 and is lovely!) so I don't think I've reached a point where I've spent fun money on fun things and then needed to dial back.

Then again, I'm fairly convinced that I am a person who LOVES creature comforts (I dream of massages).

But long story short - I find frugality hard (and occasionally stressful) and I've been living this way a long time.

« Last Edit: July 11, 2017, 01:49:48 PM by StarBright »

PoutineLover

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This is actually pretty relevant to me. I'm the only one among my close friends who is saving a lot and I have to make choices of what to spend money on and sometimes say no because I've already spent too much. I sometimes say I'm broke but really I mean that I won't be transferring as much as usual to savings. Having a frugal mindset around people who just want to have fun all the time isn't easy, and sometimes I feel like a party pooper, but at least I'm comfortable with my finances and I know I'm putting my money where my priorities are. For someone who is more used to following the crowd or keeping up appearances or buying whatever they want when they want it, frugality probably does feel very restrictive and difficult to maintain, especially when the reward is years away.

GrumpyPenguin

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Anyone else find *spending* money to be kind of stressful? I hate shopping. I don't need much. If I buy something that it turns out later I don't like and can't return it, it stresses me out. Easier to buy less, particularly if I don't really need it.

joonifloofeefloo

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I'm 100% like that, GrumpyPenguin :)
Currently I'm living without a bed and without a working laptop because of it, lol.
I did just manage to end my multi-year procrastination over buying a wireless printer, though!

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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To be fair, going against the cultural grain by being frugal and saving IS stressful. I get tired of being treated like the poor cousin by everyone. And I still suffer from wanting to do a bit of retail therapy from time to time, although I hardly ever indulge myself.