Author Topic: Can saving become an addiction  (Read 2626 times)

lgn15

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Can saving become an addiction
« on: November 23, 2018, 09:12:31 AM »
Hello mustachians,

Has anyone ever dealt with saving money as an addiction. I have recently gotten a good job and good salary (my first real job) after a period of hard times. My parents kicked me out and I was struggling to even wash my clothes for two dollars. Now @ 21 I have 30k saved, invested in funds and retirement, ect. I hate spending money but I took this to another level last weekend when I decided to finally purchase something for myself. I drive a beater and wear old ripped clothes and cannot come to terms with buying myself anything because it is physically painful to spend money, even though I can afford it.

Anyways, last weekend I bought myself a watch (cash). It was a 3k watch and I always wanted one. I treated it as a gift to myself. After I brought it home however, I had the familiar anxiety I get when I spend money, except much worse. Three days later I could not sleep, no appetite and anxiety was way worse because I could not get over that my money was gone. Despite their no return policy, I went back to the store and begged them to let me return it. Humiliated myself in front of everyone but it was the only way to get it off my conscious. They took the watch on consignment and agreed to give me a full refund if they can sell it.

I have sold precious things given to me for money. But not to spend, just to keep the cash. I feel bad about this but cannot stop myself. I am addicted to saving money. I did not care about saving until I fell on hard times, and now I take it to far. My habits of putting so much into my retirement and savings so that I forego basic needs is having an emotional toll on me. Is this normal?

teltic

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Re: Can saving become an addiction
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2018, 09:26:40 AM »
Um.  I believe saving can be an addiction.  I have that in a minor way.  I have to remind myself that life is about maximum happiness, not maximum cash in your savings account.

No one should have a $3k watch.  I'm sorry.  Nope.  What the fuck?  This financially makes no sense.  You driving a less than $3k car, holes in your clothes, and a $3k watch????

As for your beater & torn up clothes... Go out today and get a new wardrobe.  Perfect timing its black friday dog!   I don't care if you spend $300 today to do so... If you truly believe this will make you happy.

Depends what you drive as a beater... I wouldn't go get a new car.  That financially makes no sense.  But go ahead and get a $5kish car.

You need to adjust your idea to maximum happiness.  Which will make you happier: $3k in the bank, or a $3k watch?  To me the watch is stupid dumb (but happiness is different for everyone).


Tester

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Re: Can saving become an addiction
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2018, 09:33:10 AM »
I would not say you are addicted to saving.
Buying a 3k watch is someting else.
Try to find other ways of getting hapiness as spending 3k on a watch seems to not work.
I lookes online at watches a lot, they look really nice but for 3k thay can sit there for 3k years.
Continue saving, invest the money, buy something nice from time to time.

terran

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Re: Can saving become an addiction
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2018, 09:34:05 AM »
Yes, you seem to have an unhealthy relationship with spending/saving. That said, I'm not sure going from one extreme (spend NOTHING) to the other (spend $3k on a watch) is the way to go. Think about what you value and spend on that. Spend on health (eat healthy food even if you can get the calories cheaper, go the doctor when you need to, exercise even if it costs some money, buy shoes that don't mess up your feet when you walk around a lot, spend enough on housing so you're in a safe environment). Spend to help you make money (ripped clothes probably hurt your reputation at work, you probably need some kind of transportation to get to work). Of course, all of these can be twisted to the other extreme ("I need a $3k watch so I look successful and will be promoted at work"), and most people are great at rationalizing stupid purchases, but if you're having trouble spending beyond barely keeping yourself alive and employed, then thinking about spending in these terms might help.

lgn15

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Re: Can saving become an addiction
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2018, 09:34:23 AM »
Yes I agree, I am a sort of horological type person and am interested in watch movements and stuff. That does make me happy more than a new car, and it does hold at least some of it's value over the years. Saving money used to make me happy. I felt like I was finally protecting myself from danger. It doesn't make me as happy anymore. My girlfriend left me because I was so stingy. I would be happy with one nice thing for myself but I cannot buy it without bad emotional outcomes.

teltic

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Re: Can saving become an addiction
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2018, 09:37:36 AM »
You need therapy.  I don't mean to sound rude or anything... I don't think money is the issue; there's something deeper.  I think it could help you.

lgn15

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Re: Can saving become an addiction
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2018, 09:40:57 AM »
You need therapy.  I don't mean to sound rude or anything... I don't think money is the issue; there's something deeper.  I think it could help you.

Possibly :(

Moonwaves

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Re: Can saving become an addiction
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2018, 10:13:06 AM »
Don't underestimate the psychological impact of having lived in poverty. Even if you are not actually living in poverty now, it can linger for a long time. You have obviously had other issues to deal with (parents kicking you out and having to fend for yourself) and at a very young age. That all has an impact as well. Therapy is a good idea (there is almost no-one that wouldn't benefit from therapy). At the very least you should try and figure out exactly what about that watch it was that made it something that you always wanted and what it meant to you.

I'm not really sure what you mean when you say you are a horological sort of person. If you are interesting in how watches work, could you find a watchmaking or clock repair course to do? Or maybe scour some junkyards or garage sales to find possibly broken watches to take apart and figure out. I'd imagine not too many people are interested in watchmaking so if you could find a local watchmaker, perhaps they'd give you some insights, let you assist them or just even have a chat about it all.

katscratch

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Re: Can saving become an addiction
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2018, 10:33:10 AM »
Why the sad face on the therapy recommendation?

Therapy is just a way to get outside of your head to see how the machinery lines up and ticks away in the background of your conscious thoughts. People trained in anxiety and traumatic childhoods can help you with this.



The fact that saving for the sake of saving doesn't make you happy anymore, and that your habits are affecting your relationships, tells me that the underlying anxiety about financial security is not going to be fixed by updating your clothing. Your habits around money do sound like a fairly typical response to the trauma of poverty. You've already done the hard part in making saving automatic; figuring out how to redirect your anxiety about money could make your life so much easier!

BicycleB

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Re: Can saving become an addiction
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2018, 10:44:46 AM »
Hi, @lgn15! Glad you asked your question.

I suppose saving can become an addiction, but I think that behavioral addictions rest on an underlying emotional struggle. So excessive saving and excessive spending become symptoms, but are not the root cause and probably shouldn't be the focus.

So I'm in the "get therapy" camp. But let me clarify. I don't think you're "crazy" or defective. I think you're having an honest and intense struggle while you emerge from a difficult experience. Therapy can probably help, so it's worth doing. Kind of like an investment: you invest effort and emotional energy into facing the residual pain efficiently, so that you reduce future pain and future problems. You will save yourself much more agony than you experience from the therapy.

It's smart to start this now. The sooner you resolve this, or are able to reduce it to a manageable level, the sooner you'll be able to spend and save rationally. Until then, some of your money will likely be wasted...you might as well just do the therapy and get the "waste" over with!!

Again, you had a really rough time. Now you're making more than you spend. It will take time to calm down. Be forgiving, just do what you need to do.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Can saving become an addiction
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2018, 11:51:33 AM »
If you're so miserly that your saving hinders living a basically normal life and effects the relationships around you then yes, it absolutely can be a problem/addiction. There are shopping hoarders and money hoarders and they destroy their life doing this.

What is concerning is your saying you are obsessed with saving and then go blow $3k on a watch - a basically useless "only for show" item that is more about status and showing off because no one needs a watch if they have even a dumb phone at this point, but basic time keeping watches can be had at any store for under $50 if you just had to have one not tethered to a cell device.

So there is something in you that felt like throwing thousands of your hard earned/saved dollars at a completely frivolous purchase meant to - impress someone? Make yourself feel "valuable" by having what is basically a flashy piece of jewelry?

Why wasn't a pretty nice $300 watch considered instead if you wanted to treat yourself? What drew you to throwing what really amounts to a ridiculous amount (for someone that is on this forum anyway) on a completely pointless vanity piece? You must have wanted it to have walked into the store (which also sounds like a vain/shallow type of hangout that deals with "exclusive" clients and has the hubris to not offer returns)

I am continually mystified over the idea that one must spend thousands on something to impress the friends/neighbors or to "treat yo self" when a perfectly good quality whateverthehell can be had for much less money. It's the whole "big hat no cattle" premise played out over and over again...




While I have my suspicions, I'm willing to bet that there are quite a few young, naive folks that recently read the latest MMM articles out there and decided to come check the place out and really don't have a clue about how finances and saving/investing can work for them and especially have no clue about value for their money and just buy the latest or shiniest gadget because that is what everyone else does, or else they came to troll a little because they have nothing better to do with their time when they're not being a slave at work! Oh how sad that this is how they choose to waste their oh so valuable free time since they'll be working til they drop dead since this whole FIRE thing is obviously just too crazy to be real ;)
« Last Edit: November 23, 2018, 01:17:48 PM by Frankies Girl »

lgn15

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Re: Can saving become an addiction
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2018, 11:57:48 AM »
Don't underestimate the psychological impact of having lived in poverty. Even if you are not actually living in poverty now, it can linger for a long time. You have obviously had other issues to deal with (parents kicking you out and having to fend for yourself) and at a very young age. That all has an impact as well. Therapy is a good idea (there is almost no-one that wouldn't benefit from therapy). At the very least you should try and figure out exactly what about that watch it was that made it something that you always wanted and what it meant to you.

I'm not really sure what you mean when you say you are a horological sort of person. If you are interesting in how watches work, could you find a watchmaking or clock repair course to do? Or maybe scour some junkyards or garage sales to find possibly broken watches to take apart and figure out. I'd imagine not too many people are interested in watchmaking so if you could find a local watchmaker, perhaps they'd give you some insights, let you assist them or just even have a chat about it all.

Sorry, I meant I admire the mechanical aspects of that watch I wanted. It had a transparent back.

max9505672

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Re: Can saving become an addiction
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2018, 12:03:02 PM »
lng15, I am glad you wrote this post.

I also believe saving can become an addiction. When it becomes obsessive, it's definitely not healthy. IMO, the addiction is almost always the result of a deeper problem. In order to cure the addiction, that deeper problem needs to be addressed.

I, myself, have been struggling with obsessive saving for the last 1.5 year. Like you, it's hard for me to justify about any expense and I spend way too much energy trying to maximize my income, minimize my expenses, work on my networth, etc. For some reason, this brings me a sense of security and makes me feel good. While the frugal lifestyle is a core value I have and I want to keep, I can now admit that it is exaggerated and, at a certain point, unhealthy.

I've also been following a therapy for the past months (for this and other issues) which has helped me a lot. I can only recommend you find a professional to help you with this. It's still hard for me to justify the price (100 CAD/hour) for a meeting, but I can ensure that it's worth it.

Don't hesitate if you need anything else. Feel free to contact me in PM as well.

Max
« Last Edit: November 23, 2018, 12:05:16 PM by max9505672 »

lgn15

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Re: Can saving become an addiction
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2018, 12:07:35 PM »
Hello,

I read these responses and am very grateful for the insight. Yes I agree I may need to talk about my feelings with someone. I cannot try to explain my watch purchase only in that if you appreciate watches you will understand, and I had contemplated this purchase for some time. I don't have any other interests or hobbies, and no friends to impress. I guess the compulsion to "spend" is natural, and it has been building up because of my refusal to "spend", I broke and had an over reaction.

Brother Esau

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Re: Can saving become an addiction
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2018, 06:13:53 AM »
I'm relatively new to MMM but isn't spending $3k on a watch worthy of enshrinement into the face punch hall of fame?

Cali

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Re: Can saving become an addiction
« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2018, 08:47:08 AM »
Iím not much of a face-puncher. While I have no problem dissecting someoneís budget for opportunities to trim, I stay away from making jusgements about things like your watch. Why? because itís an anti-mustichian purchase and you know it. You know youíre about to get jumped by the face punch crowd but you came here and confessed it anyway. Which means itís not about the money itís a symbol.Symbols are important. Maybe that watch reminds you of how far youíve come. Maybe it reminds you that youíve earned your own freedom and independence the hard way and youíre turned the corner from terrified to confident saver. I have no idea, you have to decide for yourself what the watch means to you. It sounds like you bought it as a symbol and now see it as an expense. You either need to see it as a symbol when itís on your wrist or return it. Because if you see it as an expense youíre not going to be able to sleep again.

I donít usually encourage crazy purchases but I will say one thing: Donít underestimate the power of symbols. Symbols are what inspire us. If your watch helps inspire you then by all means keep it.

But get some new clothes too though.

eav

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Re: Can saving become an addiction
« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2018, 02:48:16 PM »
There's nothing wrong with buying something expensive you've been wanting to value and get joy from for many years. However, it sounds like this purchase gave you instant buyers remorse. This sounds like you're making the right move to rid yourself of it. I had a similar experience buying 150 dollar Ray Ban aviators (twice!) and returned them the day after. Ten dollar sunglasses are definitely my speed... if you are feeling the need to "binge" after many months of "purging" I think you need to give some more room for fun in your budget. Even just one time treating yourself to your favorite takeout meal after weeks of eating in can satisfy the need to treat yourself. At least it does for me! I hope you find the balance you're looking for.

pecunia

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Re: Can saving become an addiction
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2018, 03:06:42 PM »
There's another posting out there asking whether "stuff" makes you happy or "experiences" make you happy.

I don't know about the therapy thing.  Maybe, you could find someone who deals with social problems like a clergy man to discuss the matter with.  Despite the bad rap these people get, they are dedicating their lives to helping people.  I also wonder if there is some sort of group get together you could join.  It's kind of like therapy, but it's good to get other people's insight.  In fact, you are doing it right now.

If you volunteered for some sort of an organization that helped the community, it may help center you and get your mind from money and on to people.  The experiences of helping people may bring you more happiness than the watch with the window ever could.  In fact, it may help you to laugh about it and some other things after a bit of time.

I understand about impulse purchases, I've made a few myself.  Buy what you need.

kei te pai

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Re: Can saving become an addiction
« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2018, 07:30:58 PM »
I think you are doing well to identify where things are going astray in your thinking and asking for advice. Sounds like you have had a tough few years, and maybe dont have anyone in real life to turn to.
Would it help if you gave yourself a compulsory spend budget?
Perhaps $20 a week on non essentials?
If you are a bit lonely and isolated could you use this money to invest in social activity (not just going out drinking)?
Best wishes, you are young and things can change a lot in a year or two.