Author Topic: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?  (Read 10515 times)

lifejoy

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"I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« on: April 11, 2015, 07:48:15 PM »
I've found that even when I budget for and save up for the finer things in life, I often can't enjoy them and soon sell them afterwards (don't worry - so far, no net losses). I tell myself I don't deserve these nice things, I'm not FI, so now is not the time for little luxuries.

The good news is that my frugality muscle is JACKED. The bad news is that I don't enjoy the things I like if they cost more than that baseline. I tell myself that I can do without, it's dumb to keep it, I could put my money to use elsewhere. This kind of chatter in my mind would be fine if it didn't leave a sour expression on my face. What's going on? Has it happened to you?

Concrete examples:

-jewellery
-shoes
-make-up
-laptop
-nicer clothing

Things that I could obviously do without, but are nice to have. And when responsibly save up for and budgeted... what's the problem? I'm still saving like 65% of my income... agh!

Kriegsspiel

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2015, 08:02:05 PM »
ENJOYING THINGS IS FOR CONSUMERIST DRONES YOUR EXAMPLES ARE THE DESIRES OF WEAKER BEINGS DO NOT STRAY FROM THE CANON

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2015, 08:02:54 PM »
I've found that even when I budget for and save up for the finer things in life, I often can't enjoy them and soon sell them afterwards (don't worry - so far, no net losses). I tell myself I don't deserve these nice things, I'm not FI, so now is not the time for little luxuries.

The good news is that my frugality muscle is JACKED. The bad news is that I don't enjoy the things I like if they cost more than that baseline. I tell myself that I can do without, it's dumb to keep it, I could put my money to use elsewhere. This kind of chatter in my mind would be fine if it didn't leave a sour expression on my face. What's going on? Has it happened to you?

Concrete examples:

-jewellery
-shoes
-make-up
-laptop
-nicer clothing

Things that I could obviously do without, but are nice to have. And when responsibly save up for and budgeted... what's the problem? I'm still saving like 65% of my income... agh!

I might have a different strain of this disease. I consider doing without to be a reasonable punishment for being a sucka for so long! When I'm as far along as you are I'll probably start questioning my actions, too, though.

mozar

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2015, 08:09:57 PM »
I laughed at the previous responses, but um, what stood out to me is you said "the chatter in your mind." Consider looking into mindfulness, meditation, or just google negative rumination or mind wandering. Mindfulness is about being aware of your thoughts and letting them go. Only then can you find clarity and inner peace.

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2015, 08:41:15 PM »
I'm trying hard to discern a problem here...it sounds like you "know" in your bones that frivolous crap can't make you happy and are avoiding it, therefore zooming along towards FI.

At some point you'll encounter something that does light your fire: a trip to the Great Barrier Reef, running with the bulls in Pamplona, backpacking in Borneo...and you will have all this money ready to rock it.

This is awesome! Celebrate!

You are now facepunch-free!

arebelspy

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2015, 08:44:36 PM »
My wife has a very strong frugality muscle. 

She uses the phrase "I don't need ___."  (Sometimes emphasis on the word need.)

I often buy little treats for her when she won't buy them for herself, but I can tell she wants it quite a bit, but her frugality muscle is too strong.

I worry about the word choice you use.  "I don't deserve this."

You should change that.  Right away.  You do deserve it.  The wording you are using is negative, and self destructive.  You should rephrase it to "I don't need X" or "I don't want X" or "X isn't worth it" or "I want freedom/FI more than I want X" or something like that, but please, change the "I don't deserve it."  That's just bad for your self-esteem and will make you unhappy.

You should think about how to strike a balance between and learn how to determine when you actually want something, and then learn to accept that you do deserve it, and if it was worth the money, great, have no buyer's remorse over it.  It's all mindset, which you'll need practice and time to set in, deliberately.
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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2015, 09:06:05 PM »
For us, it depends on how useful / fulfilling the save-up item is.  2 years ago, I never would have thought I would spend what I did for our Blendtec.  Now it's been just over a year, and we passed the 1000 minutes used mark, so we're definitely getting a lot of (luxury) use out of it.

The expensive food processor on the other hand?  Not so much...

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2015, 09:23:52 PM »


Concrete examples:

-jewellery
-shoes
-make-up
-laptop
-nicer clothing



My list is similar!  However I still think I "deserve" decent comfortable shoes that can't be ugly.  I can't stand having sore feet. 

Kriegsspiel

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2015, 09:30:09 PM »


Concrete examples:

-jewellery
-shoes
-make-up
-laptop
-nicer clothing



My list is similar!  However I still think I "deserve" decent comfortable shoes that can't be ugly.  I can't stand having sore feet.

YOUR DESIRES PREVENT YOU FROM ACHIEVING SUPREMACY

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2015, 09:32:59 PM »
I worry about the word choice you use.  "I don't deserve this."

You should change that.  Right away.  You do deserve it.  The wording you are using is negative, and self destructive.  You should rephrase it to "I don't need X" or "I don't want X" or "X isn't worth it" or "I want freedom/FI more than I want X" or something like that, but please, change the "I don't deserve it."  That's just bad for your self-esteem and will make you unhappy.

You should think about how to strike a balance between and learn how to determine when you actually want something, and then learn to accept that you do deserve it, and if it was worth the money, great, have no buyer's remorse over it.  It's all mindset, which you'll need practice and time to set in, deliberately.

+1

lifejoy

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2015, 09:37:44 PM »
I think I've gotten to the point where I can convince myself out of ANYTHING, so if I buy anything that isn't on Maslow's hierarchy of needs... It makes me a sukka. I agree, this is negative thinking, and I'd like to take it to a more positive place.

I really like the mindfulness suggestion.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2015, 09:49:08 PM »
YOU'RE WELCOME

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2015, 12:40:58 AM »
ENJOYING THINGS IS FOR CONSUMERIST DRONES YOUR EXAMPLES ARE THE DESIRES OF WEAKER BEINGS DO NOT STRAY FROM THE CANON
lol I'm reading all of your posts in a Dalek voice...


Michael792

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2015, 06:30:50 AM »
I think I'm in love with Kriegsspiel II.

Learner

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2015, 06:44:43 AM »
JLee, that was awesome.

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2015, 07:14:24 AM »
There is an argument that you do need the things on your list. If they help make you look more professional at work or increase your productivity, then they can help you earn more money in the long run. Or even if they make you feel happier, isn't that a need too? Obviously it depends on the job, but I find clients like to hire someone that looks like they have some OTHER clients, and therefore is a little bit successful, at least.

I don't enjoy wearing makeup but I force myself to at least do something minimal so that I come across as a bit more polished at work. I don't know that paying more for makeup makes it function any better, but you can often tell the difference with really cheap clothing. And in a similar vein, the other week when I caught a new client side eyeing the hole in my pants leg, I made a mental note that perhaps a new pair is in order. Keeping what you have in good condition is somewhat important too! Now, I'm not talking about going crazy and having a massive shoe collection, BUT there's an argument that buying some new clothes/shoes every year is good.

I do understand the concern about spending extra money on nicer products. I try to justify spending a little more for US-made clothes.

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2015, 07:21:44 AM »
I think I've gotten to the point where I can convince myself out of ANYTHING, so if I buy anything that isn't on Maslow's hierarchy of needs... It makes me a sukka. I agree, this is negative thinking, and I'd like to take it to a more positive place.

I really like the mindfulness suggestion.
I saw a pic the other day when someone added a new base below the pyramid. It said, WIFI

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2015, 07:44:11 AM »
Absolutely agree with Arebelspy! Read his response again and again until you start thinking that way.

Mindfulness works really well for me. It helps me notice and let go of my monkey doing brain. I liked the book The Mindfulness Way through Stress by Shamash Alidina.

jzb11

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2015, 08:13:05 AM »
I wouldn't feel guilty about not feeling the need for consumer goods. And certainly we are all about value, foregoing conspicious consumption, etc. However, the "I don't deserve this" mentality is something I'd like to delve into a little further.

I speak as a "nice guy" who subconsciously learned that my needs weren't important (due to an unhealthy upbringing), and as a result in my life/relationships I lived not making my own needs a priority. So, I ask if there's something like this at play. Do you struggle with feeling like your needs/wants/desires are important? Are you always sacrificing for others? Are you a people pleaser? I always put other people's needs/desires/wants first before mine, and as a result ended up being pretty miserable.

I've had to learn that my own needs are important, that I must seek to meet them, and that no one else will provide for them if I don't. I've had to learn how to be selfish in a healthy way. The following book was instrumental for me in working through this process:

http://www.amazon.com/No-More-Mr-Nice-Guy/dp/0762415339

If you're a woman, I'm not sure what resources to point you to. Obivously the book is for "nice guys", I think you'd still find some value in it nonetheless. I also think working through this with a counselor could help as well - assuming the "I don't deserve this" is a deeper psychological issue as I'm asking.

Anyway, just a suggestion. If it helps, awesome, if I'm wrong, my bad.

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2015, 06:31:16 PM »
I agree completely with arebelspy. I think maybe some feeling like the "frugality muscle" is functioning overtime might be a reaction to the fact that you used to buy way too much junk and are just realizing how much you really don't need most of it?

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2015, 07:22:08 AM »
To me, "I don't deserve this" isn't a frugality muscle thing. That is about self-worth. And you DO deserve nice things.

Frugality is about "I don't want this" and "I don't need this".  Work on those phrases and get rid of the idea that you don't deserve things!

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2015, 07:27:44 AM »

To me, "I don't deserve this" isn't a frugality muscle thing. That is about self-worth. And you DO deserve nice things.

Frugality is about "I don't want this" and "I don't need this".  Work on those phrases and get rid of the idea that you don't deserve things!

Accurate distinction.

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2015, 07:34:43 AM »

Things that I could obviously do without, but are nice to have. And when responsibly save up for and budgeted... what's the problem? I'm still saving like 65% of my income... agh!

So your question is "Why doesn't buying stuff I don't need or really want make me happy?"

....The answer is because you don't need or really want the crap your are buying.

-- Vik


lifejoy

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2015, 07:57:26 AM »


Things that I could obviously do without, but are nice to have. And when responsibly save up for and budgeted... what's the problem? I'm still saving like 65% of my income... agh!

So your question is "Why doesn't buying stuff I don't need or really want make me happy?"

....The answer is because you don't need or really want the crap your are buying.

-- Vik

Agh you've hit the nail on the head! Hahaha

Thank you for phrasing it so plainly.

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2015, 10:59:05 AM »
Maybe you secretly don't like nice things?  It sounds weird, but it's normal.  It's like when people admit publically they don't like travel.  Or at a dinner party if you say you 'like' math.  People look at you like an oddball because it's not what's expected.  I don't like nice, new things either and I don't think I ever really have.  They make me feel uncomfortable.  You want to see me completely miserable?  Put me in the fanciest restaurant in town.  Even if you tell me the meal is free I will drag my heels and run away to a dingy pub at the first opportunity.  If I see people in expensive suits sipping champagne out of crystal I feel like I want to vomit.  Maybe that's the old punk rocker in me?

A Gibson Les Paul is in my mind the most beautiful guitar ever made.  But do I want to own one?  Oh, hell no!  It's not even the cost, it's the....  Fanciness?  I don't know.  I'd rather play a beater out of an old salvaged tube amp.  I've always liked repurposing things, gluing things together, painting, finding something discarded and fixing it up.  There's character to the items, they're worn and comfortable.  It makes me happy.  New, shiny toys make me sad. 
« Last Edit: April 13, 2015, 11:02:37 AM by Kaspian »

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2015, 11:46:42 AM »
I think the "deserve" part is what gets to me. It makes it seem like it comes from an entitlement standpoint and after reading your posts I don't think that's where you are coming from. You are careful about your purchases and have lived your life as such that if you decide these things will bring value to your life it is not because you deserve them it is because you earned them.

Sounds like you are doing quite well, hat is off to you!

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2015, 12:30:50 PM »
I think the "deserve" part is what gets to me.

Ditto. The only time you should say "I don't deserve this" is if the 'this' is negative. "I don't deserve this crap."

Here's the thing, you deserve anything you want. Now, what is it you want, and why? Are those nicer clothes better quality and will last you longer, or because they're pretty and you just want them because you said so? Do you want the new laptop because your old one is officially dead or you just want an upgrade?

So, do you want stuff or FI?

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #27 on: April 13, 2015, 01:21:21 PM »
Maybe you secretly don't like nice things?  It sounds weird, but it's normal.  It's like when people admit publically they don't like travel.  Or at a dinner party if you say you 'like' math.  People look at you like an oddball because it's not what's expected.  I don't like nice, new things either and I don't think I ever really have.  They make me feel uncomfortable.  You want to see me completely miserable?  Put me in the fanciest restaurant in town.  Even if you tell me the meal is free I will drag my heels and run away to a dingy pub at the first opportunity.  If I see people in expensive suits sipping champagne out of crystal I feel like I want to vomit.  Maybe that's the old punk rocker in me?

A Gibson Les Paul is in my mind the most beautiful guitar ever made.  But do I want to own one?  Oh, hell no!  It's not even the cost, it's the....  Fanciness?  I don't know.  I'd rather play a beater out of an old salvaged tube amp.  I've always liked repurposing things, gluing things together, painting, finding something discarded and fixing it up.  There's character to the items, they're worn and comfortable.  It makes me happy.  New, shiny toys make me sad.

That's a good point.  Sometimes I like new stuff, but just as often I'd prefer to have it used.  Then I don't have to worry as much if it gets scratched, how fast it's depreciating, etc.
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lifejoy

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #28 on: April 13, 2015, 01:49:27 PM »
I think the "deserve" part is what gets to me. It makes it seem like it comes from an entitlement standpoint and after reading your posts I don't think that's where you are coming from. You are careful about your purchases and have lived your life as such that if you decide these things will bring value to your life it is not because you deserve them it is because you earned them.

Sounds like you are doing quite well, hat is off to you!

Those are some kind words, thank you :)

I think that "deserve" is a problematic word. Perhaps I used it because I'm having difficulty describing how I feel...

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #29 on: April 13, 2015, 09:09:48 PM »
There is another trouble with "deserve" - it implies you think that "consumer suka" things are items that you really, really want. Whereas, we could be saying - these just clutter up my life, they divert me from things that will give me much more happiness (or something similar).

I realise that "deserve" has helped me a lot to be frugal in the past. I didn't buy a more expensive house because I didn't deserve it. But it also allowed me to possess a lot of clutter, when I decided I could deserve something. And clutter is my main MMM challenge.

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #30 on: April 13, 2015, 10:42:13 PM »
There is another trouble with "deserve" - it implies you think that "consumer suka" things are items that you really, really want. Whereas, we could be saying - these just clutter up my life, they divert me from things that will give me much more happiness (or something similar).

Great point.  If they're things that you can instead view as wasteful consumerism, you won't feel that way.  Another good mindset shift to attempt.
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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #31 on: April 14, 2015, 07:10:07 AM »
I think frugal folks often say "I don't deserve" when they don't really mean it.  It's because we hear non frugal folks say things like "I deserve this BMW" and "I deserve that handbag", etc ..... the BMW was a direct quote from a friend that turned 35 and got a loan for the car.  She thought she deserved it because she was at an age when she thought she deserved a nice car.

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #32 on: April 14, 2015, 07:29:13 AM »

I think frugal folks often say "I don't deserve" when they don't really mean it.  It's because we hear non frugal folks say things like "I deserve this BMW" and "I deserve that handbag", etc ..... the BMW was a direct quote from a friend that turned 35 and got a loan for the car.  She thought she deserved it because she was at an age when she thought she deserved a nice car.

Good point. It could very well be my response to that kind of "I deserve this bmw" thinking.

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #33 on: April 14, 2015, 07:48:25 AM »
I've actually been saying "I don't deserve" a new thing or meal out or something lately when what I really mean is that I'm not happy with myself because I didn't meet a certain goal (not specifically a financial goal). I'm not sure why I tend to do that. I guess it is frugal but really isn't a good way of thinking or mentally healthy.

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #34 on: April 14, 2015, 01:30:24 PM »
I think the word "deserve" is a bit wrong for the context.  When I think of how folks use that word, it's in a transitive context (I may have my linguistic jargon wrong).  To put it in other words, saying "I deserve X" often implies that "the world needs to give me X" ("I deserve a raise" or "I deserve to be treated better than this").  In OP's situation, I think that's really not the right way to use the word.  You are considering purchasing something for yourself with money you've either earned or invested yourself.  There's no "deserve" there.  Rather, it's a simple choice: "I think I would like to buy this new laptop, but I am choosing not to purchase it because I prefer to use that money to save for retirement/accumulate a down payment/pay down my student loans."

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #35 on: April 14, 2015, 04:24:47 PM »
I grew up without much, and if we asked for anything "extra" -- meaning, anything beyond food -- we were ridiculed for it.  We were taught that wanting things was "bad", desiring nice things was "ungrateful", while searching out used items or ways to do without (even in situations where these goods were inferior or even equal in price to "new") were praised.  We could gain parental approval by ridiculing a sibling who'd expressed a desire for a new item of some sort.  It definitely still affects us today. 

As an adult, it took me a long time to be able to spend AND ENJOY luxuries, even if they were well within my budget.  A pack of steaks?  We could eat hamburgers cheaper.  A bottle of wine?  We really should just drink water.  New shoes?  I can keep using Sharpie marker to make my old ones look black all over.  I'd beat myself up over small purchases, even necessities.

The best answer is to maintain a budget, a budget that allows for the occasional splurge. 


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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #36 on: April 14, 2015, 05:06:02 PM »
I grew up without much, and if we asked for anything "extra" -- meaning, anything beyond food -- we were ridiculed for it.  We were taught that wanting things was "bad", desiring nice things was "ungrateful", while searching out used items or ways to do without (even in situations where these goods were inferior or even equal in price to "new") were praised.  We could gain parental approval by ridiculing a sibling who'd expressed a desire for a new item of some sort.  It definitely still affects us today. 

As an adult, it took me a long time to be able to spend AND ENJOY luxuries, even if they were well within my budget.  A pack of steaks?  We could eat hamburgers cheaper.  A bottle of wine?  We really should just drink water.  New shoes?  I can keep using Sharpie marker to make my old ones look black all over.  I'd beat myself up over small purchases, even necessities.

The best answer is to maintain a budget, a budget that allows for the occasional splurge.

This sounds close to how I grew up. Why buy namebrand Kraft dinner, when no-name is just the same? What are you, crazy? Haha. And wine wasn't even a question.

Exflyboy

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #37 on: April 14, 2015, 05:09:30 PM »
I totally understand this!

In fact there are several on this forum who take great delight in pointing out "Frank you have a problem".. well  I might  agree.

I grew up poor too but I watched my folks make STUPID financial decisions over and over. In fact we were damn lucky to not have been out on the streets. How my Parent now own their own home with guaranteed income is beyond me.. They got very very lucky. They still make dumb choices and chastise me me because I don't know how to have fun... Live for today, you could be dead tomorrow... arrrgh!

When I paid off my mortgage.. I bought some tools I desperately needed... $35.. I almost put them back as I could hardly bare to spend "that kind of money" on myself!

I now have $1.5M liquid networh plus a paid off house ($400k). In 6.5 years the first of my pensions kick in.. which will cover more than our current spending of about $30k.

We also have rent which covers about half our net spending.

But I have a part time job.. Why?.. well it pays well and what if I run out of money?... WTF?????

Its tough.. I have saved all my life, I'm so good at it I can't seem to shut it off...:).. Its a good problem to have though...;)
« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 05:15:44 PM by Exflyboy »

Cassie

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #38 on: April 14, 2015, 05:14:19 PM »
There comes a point where you have to indulge in some pleasures & at your savings rate you do deserve it. For a number of years we did not go out to eat which is something we really enjoy. About 6 months ago we realized that was stupid-it has much value for us. So every SAt nite we have a nice dinner out which we really enjoy. WE end up walking downtown & after dinner walking around. It turns into a really nice date night.

MrsPete

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Re: "I don't deserve this" - Frugality muscle too strong?
« Reply #39 on: April 15, 2015, 04:58:13 PM »
There comes a point where you have to indulge in some pleasures & at your savings rate you do deserve it. For a number of years we did not go out to eat which is something we really enjoy. About 6 months ago we realized that was stupid-it has much value for us. So every SAt nite we have a nice dinner out which we really enjoy. WE end up walking downtown & after dinner walking around. It turns into a really nice date night.
Yes, this is the kind of thing that I used to have trouble doing:  When I was a young adult, I'd second-third-fourth guess myself about whether I could afford occasional small splurges, things that I would've enjoyed.  I've reached the point now that I can enjoy those things without guilt and without regretting the cost.