Author Topic: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?  (Read 2986 times)

EconDiva

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1130
Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« on: June 14, 2017, 11:24:33 AM »
So I've never encountered this feeling before....

I am planning a trip to Kaui next month.  I'm proceeding with my bookings today.  I'll be gone for 10 days.

So what I'm planning to do is stay there for only 4 days and spend the other 6 days in Oahu because my brother lives there.

Flight will be free.

Accommodations in Oahu will be free since my brother lives there (I may spend 2 nights in an Airbnb just so not to cramp my brother's style for too long...but that is unlikely).

So I estimate I'll spend about $1200 for the trip (price for accommodations in Kauai plus meals and activities while gone).  Side note:  I got an airbnb in Kauai and asked for 25% off the price and just got it!  Luckily this act of waiting until the last minute to book airbnbs and then asking for a discount has worked greatly for me in the past. 

Anyways...I have been to Oahu twice already so I know the cheap places to eat like Steak Shack for an $8 good filling meal and brought snacks the last 2 times I went so I think I have the 'food for cheap' in Hawaii thing down now.  Plus I made a good friend while there who also happens to like to treat people out :)

Anyways...I have a little over $2k in my travel fund at the moment so I have saved separately for any traveling for this year.  HOWEVER, I also just started a house fund a few months ago.  The house fund is supposed to be at $5k as of this month...I'm all set to hit $6k this month so I'm actually a little bit ahead of the game there.

So what's the problem?

I have this voice in my head that KEEPS telling me 'don't go on vacation...put that money in savings instead'.  'You could have $7k in that house fund account instead of $6k this month.'  'Think about adding that to your EF fund instead.'

I have literally never had this issue before.  It literally had me procrastinating to book a trip the last 2 weeks.  I'm actually a bit nervous about booking everything today.  I literally have a 'guilty' feeling as if I'm not being responsible by choosing to spend the money on a trip.  I sure never felt this way before MMM....what gives?


Sailor Sam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4152
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Steel Beach
  • Semper...something
Re: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2017, 11:41:17 AM »
Yeah. This happened to me. My particular angst was charity, and not a travel fund, but the dialogue was similar. I started to deeply resent the reduction to my savings rate. Not fair! Not fair!

I assume it's because any community you choose to become a part of will, eventually, begin to change your values towards the larger gestalt. You start to believe the message. Then you internalize the message. Then you start to judge your actions and personality against the message. Often the change is a force for good, but sometimes it moves people away from something they truly to cherish of value.

It's easy to tell yourself you'll only take the positive parts of a message, and ignore the unhelpful part, but I don't think our brains actually work that way without conscious intervention. 

EconDiva

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1130
Re: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2017, 11:45:28 AM »
Yeah. This happened to me. My particular angst was charity, and not a travel fund, but the dialogue was similar. I started to deeply resent the reduction to my savings rate. Not fair! Not fair!

I assume it's because any community you choose to become a part of will, eventually, begin to change your values towards the larger gestalt. You start to believe the message. Then you internalize the message. Then you start to judge your actions and personality against the message. Often the change is a force for good, but sometimes it moves people away from something they truly to cherish of value.

It's easy to tell yourself you'll only take the positive parts of a message, and ignore the unhelpful part, but I don't think our brains actually work that way without conscious intervention.

So do you still deal with this?  How do you deal? 

Did you still make your charitable contribution?

affordablehousing

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 329
Re: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2017, 12:04:57 PM »
Go on vacation! It sounds like you have optimized it fantastically, and I think the main tenet of MMM I try to remember is the mantra of being aware and thoughtful of what you spend money on. Once you internalize frugality, you're set, and while it's not license to spend willy-nilly, it should let you enjoy your life where and when you want. Before buying something large, we do a check that we tried our best to economize where we could, think about the long-term implications, think about the implications of denying ourselves something, and then commit to having fun with it. Hope this helps and hope you have fun!


Sailor Sam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4152
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Steel Beach
  • Semper...something
Re: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2017, 12:14:15 PM »
Yeah. This happened to me. My particular angst was charity, and not a travel fund, but the dialogue was similar. I started to deeply resent the reduction to my savings rate. Not fair! Not fair!

I assume it's because any community you choose to become a part of will, eventually, begin to change your values towards the larger gestalt. You start to believe the message. Then you internalize the message. Then you start to judge your actions and personality against the message. Often the change is a force for good, but sometimes it moves people away from something they truly to cherish of value.

It's easy to tell yourself you'll only take the positive parts of a message, and ignore the unhelpful part, but I don't think our brains actually work that way without conscious intervention.

So do you still deal with this?  How do you deal? 

Did you still make your charitable contribution?

I made my peace with the tension, and continue to donate 10% of my net salary to charity.

On good step was to switch from calculating savings rate, to the % of gross pay I actually needed to live on. For better or worse, I'm incredibly competitive, and I seeing a savings rate that was 'only' in the 40's made me feel like I was losing the competition. I started to really resent just giving that 10% away. Reframing the calculation to show only 35% of my gross pay goes to lifestyle immediately made me feel like I was winning the competition again. As in - suck it MMM forum, I send 65% of my pay to something besides supporting myself. Note, I'm not saying this is a great part of my personality, but at least I know how to game it for maximum happiness, right?

Second step, I stopped reading the Anti-Mustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy. That seems to be the sub-board where the uglier parts of our community are allowed to run a little too free. Letting myself browse that sub-board was creating neuropathways in my brain that were not beneficial to me, encouraging me to judge the world against a set of values I hadn't fully vetted inside my own brain.

Once I took those 2 steps, I was able to view the situation with more distance. The distance allowed me to reassert that charity was part of my personal moral code. Once I had that puzzle piece, choosing charity and ignoring the MMM communities ideas on the issue was simple. I could no longer give a single fuck.

So, I guess your travel fund is another of those examples where knowing your own values. If this place is changing your values, and you don't like the change, then you need to switch something up. I'd love to tell you exactly what, but I think that can only come from your own brain. Personally, I found a lot of happiness once I resolved the tension, because it was a process that taught me a lot of things about myself. So, MMM has increased my maturity, in a kind of ass-backwards way.

EconDiva

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1130
Re: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2017, 12:25:02 PM »
Yeah. This happened to me. My particular angst was charity, and not a travel fund, but the dialogue was similar. I started to deeply resent the reduction to my savings rate. Not fair! Not fair!

I assume it's because any community you choose to become a part of will, eventually, begin to change your values towards the larger gestalt. You start to believe the message. Then you internalize the message. Then you start to judge your actions and personality against the message. Often the change is a force for good, but sometimes it moves people away from something they truly to cherish of value.

It's easy to tell yourself you'll only take the positive parts of a message, and ignore the unhelpful part, but I don't think our brains actually work that way without conscious intervention.

So do you still deal with this?  How do you deal? 

Did you still make your charitable contribution?

I made my peace with the tension, and continue to donate 10% of my net salary to charity.

On good step was to switch from calculating savings rate, to the % of gross pay I actually needed to live on. For better or worse, I'm incredibly competitive, and I seeing a savings rate that was 'only' in the 40's made me feel like I was losing the competition. I started to really resent just giving that 10% away. Reframing the calculation to show only 35% of my gross pay goes to lifestyle immediately made me feel like I was winning the competition again. As in - suck it MMM forum, I send 65% of my pay to something besides supporting myself. Note, I'm not saying this is a great part of my personality, but at least I know how to game it for maximum happiness, right?

Second step, I stopped reading the Anti-Mustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy. That seems to be the sub-board where the uglier parts of our community are allowed to run a little too free. Letting myself browse that sub-board was creating neuropathways in my brain that were not beneficial to me, encouraging me to judge the world against a set of values I hadn't fully vetted inside my own brain.

Once I took those 2 steps, I was able to view the situation with more distance. The distance allowed me to reassert that charity was part of my personal moral code. Once I had that puzzle piece, choosing charity and ignoring the MMM communities ideas on the issue was simple. I could no longer give a single fuck.

So, I guess your travel fund is another of those examples where knowing your own values. If this place is changing your values, and you don't like the change, then you need to switch something up. I'd love to tell you exactly what, but I think that can only come from your own brain. Personally, I found a lot of happiness once I resolved the tension, because it was a process that taught me a lot of things about myself. So, MMM has increased my maturity, in a kind of ass-backwards way.

Hmmm....this is interesting.

I wouldn't say my values have been negatively impacted in any way by being here (at least not that I'm cognizant of).

Most of the changes I've noticed is that I now budget (huge positive) and actually have goals for my money.  I also scrutinize every purchase and think wayyy more now to myself if I decide to make a purchase "What is the cheapest I can get this for?"  I set thresholds now and if I can't get something for 'low enough' it often goes unpurchases whereas in the past I wasn't even thinking about costs all that much, and if something was a bit more I'd just pay for it.  This includes anything from food to optimizing utilities in my household.

I also now have goals.  However, now that I find myself working towards them (and in some ways exceeding them)...I think what I'm starting to experience is that I can never 'exceed them enough'.  I think the simple way of saying this is that I am starting to feel like I should always be striving to exceed instead of meet savings goals...and that it should come at the expense of 'some' things I want in life or really like/enjoy that just really can't be categorized as 'needs'. 

PoutineLover

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1171
Re: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2017, 12:38:07 PM »
I feel the exact same way sometimes. I'll stress over purchases that used to be routine. I worry when my savings account goes below a certain amount, even though it's still healthy. I have to remind myself that I'm still good, that I can still enjoy things and live my life, as long as I am conscious of it. Last year I went on two big vacations because the timing of the trips worked out that way. I kicked myself a little for spending so much on travel, but I realized that I had so much fun on both that I wouldn't have wanted to go back and cancel them, and I did have the money to pay for them. Life isn't just about money stacking up in accounts, it has to be enjoyed too, and it would be a long road to FIRE if we only spent the bare minimum until then. Optimize what you can, don't spend mindlessly, meet your goals, and that's still better than most are able to do. I think this forum is so full of people bragging about how mustachian they are that we forget that even saving 15% is more than average and it may be the best someone can do in their particular circumstances. I don't like the tendency of some people here to judge people for spending on stuff that they value just because they don't value it. All that to say, now that you've optimized it as much as possible, enjoy your trip!!

tomatops

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 114
Re: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2017, 12:41:37 PM »
How far away are you from FIRE?

If you're more than 5 years away, I say go for it.

I had a similar dilemma earlier this year when deciding if I should go to Japan. I realize that health is something that may not necessarily be with me nor is the level of personal freedom as I don't have a family just yet. Both of those things are only available to me now in present.

I currently save 60% of my take home, so I remain confident in my ability to stay aligned with my FIRE goals.

All within reason of course. I would recommend going forward creating a travel budget for yourself. Start small with $2000 a year - if you don't travel or use all of it, contribute it towards FIRE. But at least this way you are planning for these larger "fun expenses" that can keep you sane.

And of course, when traveling, still find ways to get value for money. For instance, when I traveled I bought groceries, stayed in economical AirBnbs, flew discount airline, etc.

Now... when it comes to major purchasing of things, that's a completely different story. I just try and avoid owning new stuff altogether and pick stuff off of curbs or from family who wish to throw usable items away...

BTDretire

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2634
Re: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2017, 02:29:48 PM »
After 35 years of frugal living, I suspect learning to spend is going to be a thing.
I have a good stache and not many years from SS, but I still don't like to spend it.
 

redbird

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 534
Re: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2017, 02:37:18 PM »
This happens to me, but I also get anxiety over smaller purchases too sometimes. It's most likely to happen for things I don't like to spend money on but I need it. For example, buying new underwear when your old ones are all worn out and falling apart.

The way I "fix" this is by waiting several days/weeks/months while I decide if I really want to purchase it or not. Sometimes I end up deciding not to buy because I don't *really* need it. But other times I end up deciding that I really want or need that thing so I just decide to go for it after all of that waffling back and forth.

boarder42

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7849
Re: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2017, 03:43:03 PM »
travel hack and this all would have been free then that little voice in your head is a happy one.  going wow how the hell did i end up in paradise for 0 cost.

neil

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 215
Re: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2017, 04:12:16 PM »
I am incredibly frugal by a result of how I reacted to living on the border of poverty level growing up.  (Luckily we never went without but I recognized how being so close to the line meant our family could afford no surprises and that personally gave me anxiety.)  I borrowed some for college (mostly freshman year) but had a saving rate of ~25% or so once I picked up internships.  Then I defaulted to around 50% on my first time job and marched upward from there.

I think it is important to never sacrifice on things that have clear ROI to your life.  I had a roommate I was not too happy with but I was living with 100% flexibility not being on the lease.  When my mom died, I just simply decided it was time to be fully on my own.  That decision cost me roughly $6000/year.  You can do a lot with $6000!  The compounding I missed on!  In retrospect, maybe getting a more stable situation would have sufficed, but I needed a stress out of my life.  That was my living situation for about ten years and with a bit of compounding it has easily set me back approximately $100K but it is something I needed at the time.

I went on a sabbatical in Europe in 2011, full price tag around $10K for two months.  It was planned before I ended up in the hospital but that incident gave me some clarity to just go and have fun.  I have a lot of great memories that I'll never forget and helped in my recovery and focus back to work after I did it.

When I look at my NW now, I know I have a bit of a "what if" between a mix of piling up a little too much cash and those expenses, but to some degree they served their purpose.  I'm glad I have this natural frugal filter but I also know when I have an itch to do something and I really could use the break in my life, I try to just let my guard down and enjoy it.  To be honest, there's probably points in my life where I would turn down a cheap trip to Hawaii or Aruba or whatever because I either needed the money or my time more than the trip, but I sure as heck would take that trip now if offered.  Find the right level of consumption and you'll be happy with your life and your stash.

It takes time, but I think it is reasonable to find the optimaztion point so you can achieve FI AND enjoy the ride.  Still, I think the true tests are to come later.  Can I really pull the trigger, and can I really let myself spend as I spend now in FIRE? 

EconDiva

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1130
Re: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2017, 04:58:21 PM »
travel hack and this all would have been free then that little voice in your head is a happy one.  going wow how the hell did i end up in paradise for 0 cost.

Well I just booked all my flights for free today and now I have Kauai accommodations booked for free so I'm just waiting on my brother to see if my accommodations in Oahu will also be free for the whole time or at least the majority of the time there.  I was originally going to pay for a rental in Kauai but I decided against it and relunctantly just went ahead and used more points.  I'll accumulate more from the flights I'm taking there anyway.

So at this point I think I've done about all I can do until they start accepting credit card points for food lol. 

EconDiva

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1130
Re: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2017, 05:04:42 PM »
I am incredibly frugal by a result of how I reacted to living on the border of poverty level growing up.  (Luckily we never went without but I recognized how being so close to the line meant our family could afford no surprises and that personally gave me anxiety.)  I borrowed some for college (mostly freshman year) but had a saving rate of ~25% or so once I picked up internships.  Then I defaulted to around 50% on my first time job and marched upward from there.

I think it is important to never sacrifice on things that have clear ROI to your life.  I had a roommate I was not too happy with but I was living with 100% flexibility not being on the lease.  When my mom died, I just simply decided it was time to be fully on my own.  That decision cost me roughly $6000/year.  You can do a lot with $6000!  The compounding I missed on!  In retrospect, maybe getting a more stable situation would have sufficed, but I needed a stress out of my life.  That was my living situation for about ten years and with a bit of compounding it has easily set me back approximately $100K but it is something I needed at the time.

I went on a sabbatical in Europe in 2011, full price tag around $10K for two months.  It was planned before I ended up in the hospital but that incident gave me some clarity to just go and have fun.  I have a lot of great memories that I'll never forget and helped in my recovery and focus back to work after I did it.

When I look at my NW now, I know I have a bit of a "what if" between a mix of piling up a little too much cash and those expenses, but to some degree they served their purpose.  I'm glad I have this natural frugal filter but I also know when I have an itch to do something and I really could use the break in my life, I try to just let my guard down and enjoy it.  To be honest, there's probably points in my life where I would turn down a cheap trip to Hawaii or Aruba or whatever because I either needed the money or my time more than the trip, but I sure as heck would take that trip now if offered.  Find the right level of consumption and you'll be happy with your life and your stash.

It takes time, but I think it is reasonable to find the optimaztion point so you can achieve FI AND enjoy the ride.  Still, I think the true tests are to come later.  Can I really pull the trigger, and can I really let myself spend as I spend now in FIRE?

Good points.

I recently moved out of state to be back in a slightly lower COL city and at the same time moved in with a family member to split rent and it has been a huge challenge for me (I posted about it here).  Some days I have decided in my mind that I'm leaving and it's only been 3 months.  However, when I think about the amount of money I'd be spending to live alone again I feel like I need to give this a lot more time to figure out if I can do this longer term.  Even though I'm getting older so from a cultural perspective it almost doesn't feel right to be 38 and getting a roommate again, I've learned not to care much about what others think of it.

I understand the key is balance so I am trying to have 'reasonable' financial goals and only keep those things in my life that seem to contribute the most to my happiness.

Dicey

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10495
  • Age: 61
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2017, 06:11:28 PM »
I believe I was lucky to have had cancer in my early twenties. Besides igniting a fire to become FI, it taught me to do the things that are important, because tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow are not guaranteed. Who knows how long you will have a place to stay in Hawaii? Go, do, live, save.

daverobev

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3340
  • Location: UK
Re: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2017, 06:43:21 PM »
So at this point I think I've done about all I can do until they start accepting credit card points for food lol.

Gift cards! And redemption against expenses.

Now, it might not be the "best" cents per point, but "best" usually entails a LOT of points for something absurdly luxurious.

Depends on your outlook of course, but I'm often happy getting an inferior rate against something I actually need rather than "wasting" the points on something I don't. YMMV :)

(And if you can MS - why not both? Mua ha ha).

AlmstRtrd

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 183
Re: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2017, 07:43:44 PM »
So I estimate I'll spend about $1200 for the trip <snip>

I have literally never had this issue before.  It literally had me procrastinating to book a trip the last 2 weeks.  I'm actually a bit nervous about booking everything today.  I literally have a 'guilty' feeling as if I'm not being responsible by choosing to spend the money on a trip.  I sure never felt this way before MMM....what gives?

$1200 all inclusive for a ten-day trip to Hawaii is friggin' amazing. You've already optimized enough. Lose the guilt and have a great trip. Hawaii is a paradise.

Sarah Saverdink

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 122
  • Location: New England
    • The Saverdinks
Re: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2017, 08:00:23 PM »
I'm glad you are going! It's going to be AMAZING and you are doing it amazingly cheap. Seriously, don't feel guilty. One of our post-retirement goals is to travel a lot, so we've worked into that into our current pre-FIRE budget - it's one of our financial priorities. No regrets. We allocate about 25% of our expenses to traveling each year. We certainly try to optimize our expenses when traveling, but we do spend a lot in this category. I'm jealous of your trip :)

boarder42

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7849
Re: Anxiety over a major purchase? Is it an MMM thing?
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2017, 06:25:21 AM »
i look at food as you have to eat at home just like you have to eat over there.  are you going to go out a bit more yes.  but status with hotels will get you free breakfast alot.  credit cards can be used to obtain this usually depending on the chain.  But my wife and i - especially in hawaii frequent the Food Land super market for their "cheap"(relative to other places on island and definitely the mainland) Ahi Poke.  If you like raw ahi tuna, FoodLand has a deli section similar to what you'd see in the mainland with meats but it is all different versions of ahi poke for 10 bucks a pound.  we eat 10 or more pounds of that every time we go.  plus if your hotel has a fridge you can stock some beers and other supplies.  depending on the resort they may even have grills for you to use.