Author Topic: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?  (Read 19310 times)

NewStachian

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Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« on: May 07, 2014, 04:02:27 AM »
Bear with me for a few paragraphs here before you blow up the comments section with hate, please ;) I consider myself a hardcore Mustachian, but frequently see many comments in the forum that bash nice things (I started discussing this in a thread but decided to move it here). We tend to say we pity those who spend and resort to comments like "But, we will all FIRE sooner!" and I'm wondering if some of that stems from jealousy.

Don't get me wrong... I love being Mustachian and wouldn't have it any other way. But, were are all delayed rewards people. Given the marshmallow test, we would all wait patiently for 2 marshmallows later than eat the 1 now. I think that's a great way to be and I choose to be that way myself. It is highly correlated to long-term happiness and success in life. But, while we're waiting for those marshmallows... I bet a few of us would look at the other person who just ate theirs with slightly hateful eyes as we watched them enjoy what we cannot partake in yet... (despite all the tricks we learn to take our minds off it like focusing on future rewards)

But despite knowing this at an academic level, do you think there's an underlying jealousy, even a slight one, for those who are a little less careful with their spending but are doing fun things now. It's easy to say that money doesn't correlate to happiness and you can be just as happy spending less, but that's much easier to say when you're talking about annihilating consumer spending, maybe not as much when you're denying yourself a trip to see family members who you hold dear while you keep chipping away at your FIRE plan.

We talk about balance in our lives and maybe a leading indicator that we haven't hit that proper balance is that we feel the need to judge people who spend, because in reality, maybe we have a wee bit of envy for their ability to live a life now that we have to wait to live later. Maybe it stems from some biological impulse to live in the now because tomorrow might never come.

(PS - I'm hoping this doesn't turn into a discussion on 'saving is better than spending!' or other trivial rules that we all know to be true as Mustachians)
« Last Edit: May 07, 2014, 04:05:08 AM by NewStachian »

fast cyan dragon

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2014, 04:42:46 AM »
what was the question again?

ender

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samburger

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2014, 07:15:47 AM »
For some folks here in the forum, yes, definitely. I think jealousy/insecurity motivates a lot of the nastier comments we see here about other people's spending habits.

I really don't think jealousy or insecurity is a big factor for most people here, though. I see a lot of posters who reflect on mainstream spending, not without judgement, but without the malicious, self-righteous vibes I get off the folks who haven't found their zen yet.

Rural

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2014, 07:19:13 AM »
Occasionally I'm jealous, not of spending in general, but of some specific item or another. Generally, if I find I'm still jealous of this item two or three years later, I buy it*. Generally, then, owning the item actually does make me happy/make my life better/provide tremendous rewards.






* Obviously, this doesn't apply to big-ticket items like cars, but I was happy to have bought a tablet after wanting one for a couple of years.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2014, 07:34:45 AM »
I'm never jealous of what people SPEND. I just wish I had their higher income, so that I could purchase my freedom faster :)

soccerluvof4

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2014, 07:51:16 AM »
There will always be things that people would like but at the end of the day it simply comes down to whats more important to a person. The new shiny car or FI. Through a balance I feel I can enjoy enough of life's comfort creatures and in thinking in terms of my last statement I don't get jealous or envious. For all of us those items can be different things.

Frugal Vegan Mom

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2014, 07:57:09 AM »
I am sometimes jealous of their carefree attitude towards spending (ignorance is bliss?).  Like my husband - he is not a planner and doesn't worry about the future, never worries about retirement, etc.  He's not a big spender in general, but when he does spend money (like if friends want him to do something expensive), it doesn't BOTHER him like it would me. 

Me, on the other hand (and probably a lot of us here) think about money a lot and are always calculating for the future.  Sometimes I think, wow it would be relieving to just, never have that concern (as irresponsible as it might be in the long run!) 

Zamboni

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2014, 08:03:28 AM »
Quote
do you think there's an underlying jealousy, even a slight one, for those who are a little less careful with their spending but are doing fun things now.

Not in my case, because I don't feel deprived at all.  I've once lived a totally non-MMM lifestyle.  For example, I once had a new BMW X5 (which is "the ultimate driving machine," no doubt about it.)  I liked to drive it, but didn't like the poor gas mileage or the way people treated me because of it.  Now the little beater Toyota makes me much happier.  The balance of the money  from that car swap went into an investment property, which also makes me happy because I make it nice for others to rent.

If you are feeling this way, then why aren't you doing fun things now?  Fun things absolutely don't have to cost much money.  If you are motivated, you can even find ways to do "expensive" things like downhill ski and vacation on a shoe string.  That's a major part of the MMM message.

RMD

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2014, 08:12:51 AM »
I think there is some jealousy, yes.  I also think there's a lot of judgement based on conflicting priorities.  I mean...to me crossfit and gym memberships are pointless...but if you're a gym rat and your physical and mental health is a priority for you, I won't tell you to cut it.  Now, if I'm in the midst of a hair on fire emergency of my own...and you are not...and I see you talking about something that I really *can't* do right now.  Yes, I'll probably be a bit jealous.

There are many moving parts here and many people have many way of getting to the same or similar goals.  On the flip-side, there may be some jealousy in the opportunities that one person has over another...heck, I look at single people with no kids and their ability to sock it away and get a little jealous because I didn't have the discipline when I was their age and in their situation.

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2014, 08:31:02 AM »
I actually find it freeing not to spend much money. I don't worry about "keeping up" with anyone, my husband and I never fight about money, and I'm not consumed with worry about money in the way that I observe many non-FIRE people are. I'm not jealous of spenders; frankly I often pity them because it seems like they're really struggling. I think I do understand where you're coming from, but I also believe it's key to prioritize long-term life goals, which I'm sure you already do. 

In terms of short term delights, something that works well for DH and I is substitution. We don't deprive ourselves of date nights--we just do them really inexpensively at home. We don't deprive ourselves of clothes we like--we just buy them at garage sales and thrift stores (I'm currently wearing a hot pink belt I got for 50 cents!). We also derive joy from the little things, like watching our dog act ridiculous and finding a deal on sweet potatoes (ok, we're a little obsessed with produce prices).

I also firmly believe there are times when one should spend money--we buy plane tickets twice a year in order to visit family. Yeah, we'd save a couple hundred more if we didn't do that, but it's an expense that brings joy to our lives. In my opinion, it's important to spend on meaningful, value-added experiences.

inmotion

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2014, 09:23:16 AM »
I hear ya... it's the standard "we are only on this rock once" statement that I hear over and over from friends and co-workers.  I think in the end, if you end up deciding to jump in and buy something because you just plain wanted to... you'll either learn from the mistake and live with the consequences or end up enjoying that "thing"!  Truth is as many have said, it is a personal choice.  Hardcore, medium core or soft core mustachianism is a choice... guilt is usually the feeling you get for doing something you know you shouldn't have done --- but just did anyways. 

It really depends on what you are looking for.... freedom and the process/assistance/accountability are what most people seem to be looking for here... some people are totally hardcore --- and I absolutely admire that in them.  There are many, that are just trying to understand what is acceptable and not.  In the end, it is entirely up to you to decide if it is worth your "time" to feel jealous even a bit and/or use your time up to buy the item(s) and again use your life energy.

Bottom line... try living by doing as many things for free or near free as possible and see how you feel.  You likely will no longer feel the pangs of jealousy that whisper in your ear right now!

Hope this helps you even a bit!! :)

IM

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2014, 09:47:57 AM »
We talk about balance in our lives and maybe a leading indicator that we haven't hit that proper balance is that we feel the need to judge people who spend, because in reality, maybe we have a wee bit of envy for their ability to live a life now that we have to wait to live later. Maybe it stems from some biological impulse to live in the now because tomorrow might never come.

Emphasis mine. I think this is really the key point in your post. I think that the philosophy of Mustachianism isn't that we have to wait until we have a pile of money to start living our lives, it's to be content with a more frugal, sustainable life. In theory, your post-retirement spending should not increase over your pre-retirement spending because you were already happy with your spending level. If you feel like you're depriving yourself of things you really truly want, maybe a better solution would be to look for ways to increase your income so you can afford those things now.

Now me, I think half the fun of Mustachianism is learning to be content with what I have now. :)

benjaminrogers

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2014, 09:54:22 AM »
I think a lot of it is "keeping up with the Jones'".  We weren't all born Mustachians so we do still have some of that underlying instinct of seeing what Bob has and saying "Wow that's cool, I wish I had one!".  The trick at least for me is letting the Mustachian Principles kick in and ask if I really need it and so on.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2014, 10:02:34 AM »
I suffer from convenience jealousy. I get in funks because I want to buy the easier way and I get tired of what feels like the grind of daily maintenance. Cook, clean, cook, clean. Over and over. Hang up laundry, fold laundry, wash laundry, hang up laundry. I want to go run away and hide from my responsibilities and worry about it later but I can't, not really.  I'm in one of those funks now, actually, and they tend to correlate to how much I've taken on that I maybe kinda shouldn't have. I'm not jealous of spending per se because if I wanted to, I certainly could spend a ton! I have an untapped line of credit on the house! ;) But yeah, I struggle with the "buying convenience" aspect. I want a vacation. :/

NinetyFour

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2014, 10:09:24 AM »
I get soooooo much more pleasure out of saving money (in my EF, or in retirement funds, or paying down debt) than I would from spending it.  Thus, I am not at all jealous of folks who buy the fancy phones, clothes, cars, etc.  In fact, I feel bad for those who will have to work longer (sometimes MUCH longer) in order to pay for all those toys.

MMM's "cha-ching" post really resonates with me.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/04/get-rich-with-the-chaching-instinct/

Dr. Doom

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2014, 10:27:29 AM »
I'm not jealous of the spending.  I've spent enough to know that it doesn't bring me happiness, and corrected my behavior long ago.

I will say that occasionally I'm jealous of the unconsciousness of the act as performed by most folks.   I think my feelings are somewhat related to the 'ignorance is bliss' adage.

But once that light goes on, it won't go off.  And it's for the best.

prudence

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2014, 10:47:02 AM »
I'm never jealous of what people SPEND. I just wish I had their higher income, so that I could purchase my freedom faster :)

This.

ruthiegirl

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2014, 11:55:30 AM »
Nah, I have bought the things I really want, the things that make my life happier, healthier. 

I am living the dream right now.


But I do understand the cook, clean, cook clean drudgery.  I do a lot of that and it can get old.  When it does, I use my dryer and buy a few convenient food items -- lately it has been tortillas for easy burritos.  My family will eat rice and bean burritos eight days a week.  And no one needs to know that it is cheap and easy for mom. 

Edited to fix my craptastic grammar

lifejoy

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2014, 11:57:51 AM »
I'll admit- I get pangs of envy when someone has killer fashion and I know they've paid handsomely for it.

All the time.

But then I think of my Mustachian role models, and I ask myself what they would think of such frivolous spending. That helps.

Caoineag

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2014, 12:29:50 PM »
I am not prone to jealously. I couldn't care less about what others have or want, I only want what I want. Though I have discovered that even I am capable of jealousy if someone spends foolishly, buys things I would like to own eventually but am holding off on due to cost and I am the one who ends up picking up the tab for their foolishness. I discovered this because I have been helping my brother get his act together and I have definitely had to choose my strategy for helping him so that I don't feel jealous. That, however, has been the only instance where I have felt jealousy and since my brother is once more off the payroll, I hope to never feel it again.

NewStachian

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2014, 01:25:27 PM »
Thanks for putting up with my 5am pre-coffee philosophical post ;)

I liked reading through everyone's posts because I'm not completely sure what my end-state mindset is going to be. Right now, the wife and I are racing to FI, but the next step isn't known. We have trimmed all the consumerism stuff, but have also trimmed some of the things we wouldn't consider wasteful, just expensive (like the family trips, etc).

I guess I'm slightly jealous of people who travel whenever they feel like it. Although I know I will unlock my freedom sooner and be able to travel whenever I want once I'm FIRE, I have this other feeling that life is short. If a doctor tells me tomorrow that I only have a week to live, would I regret all the trips I've given up over the past few years to save a few bucks? I probably would.

DoubleDown

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2014, 01:40:56 PM »
No delayed gratification here, and I didn't have any prior to ER'ing. Someone here once made a great comparison between saving/spending and eating. No f'ing way do I ever look at an obese person chowing down on a big corndog and a 32-oz. coke and think, "Man, they've got it great, they eat whatever they want whenever they feel like it!" Nor do I ever think that about someone who spends with abandon.

I'm healthy and pretty fit, but I don't have 5% body fat either. I saved, but I didn't deprive myself along the way. You've just got to find your own healthy balance, and recognize that buying stuff doesn't buy happiness.

totoro

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2014, 01:43:38 PM »
I'm not jealous of other's spending.  Interesting question though.

I expect the marshmallow thing is partially solved by the fact that I'm indifferent to marshmallows and most of their non-metaphorical equivalents like fancy cars and expensive vacations.  I'd prefer to have my time.

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2014, 01:59:07 PM »
Perhaps you are on to something, NewStachian. It is very easy to look at the wasteful things that other people spend their money on and think (being perfectly honest), I don't want that. Big, fancy cars fall onto that list for me. Not only do I not want an expensive car or truck or SUV, I do not want to be perceived by others as the sort of person who would be interested in that sort of thing. Your vehicle speaks loudly about who you are, whether you want it to or not.

I am happy to drive a used Prius with 100,000+ miles on it - to me, it gives people the proper impression about what I value in life. (I don't want to give the idea that I am overly concerned about what people think - that is not the case - but I do like my public persona to match up with my values, because it makes it easier to connect with others who share those values. Does that make sense?).

However, one of the things that I value is land/forest/peace/quiet. I want to own a large piece of land one day, and live far enough from the road that I cannot hear traffic. I will freely admit that I was jealous when I visited a friend a couple of weeks ago at his 200-acre paradise. But of course, I don't publicly put down people who spend money on things that I value, even if they take on debt to acquire them, as my friend did. I suppose that is the difference.

MooseOutFront

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #25 on: May 07, 2014, 02:00:45 PM »
I don't really have jealousy as one of my usual emotions.  If I do it would relate more to career success than anything money could buy.

Otoh, my friends that make about what we make and have country club memberships, live in nicer neighborhoods in more updated houses, and drive newer cars... I sort of admire their ability to say eff it and maximize their current lot in life.  In a decade though, when we're all in our 40's instead of our 30's they better still like working for money because I won't have to.  They most assuredly will... but that's normal.

limeandpepper

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #26 on: May 07, 2014, 04:30:32 PM »
Don't really get spending jealousy, but as others have mentioned, I do get income jealousy, sigh.

I guess I'm slightly jealous of people who travel whenever they feel like it. Although I know I will unlock my freedom sooner and be able to travel whenever I want once I'm FIRE, I have this other feeling that life is short. If a doctor tells me tomorrow that I only have a week to live, would I regret all the trips I've given up over the past few years to save a few bucks? I probably would.

Why not try to strike a balance between both? That's what I'm doing. And yes, the health/lifespan thing definitely comes into consideration, but the other factor for me is also that I know I would be very disappointed in myself if I kept working for the next 10 years just for retirement money when I really want to be doing other stuff as well.

thepokercab

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2014, 04:39:04 PM »
I suffer from FIRE jealousy.  Got to get me some of that.

Mrs.FamilyFinances

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #28 on: May 07, 2014, 05:12:43 PM »
I'm jealous at times, for sure. Friends in our circle that take more vacations, have newer homes, nicer cars, toys, ect. It does feel like they have something we don't, and I often wonder what they are doing differently than we are. I'm sure some of them do out earn us (dual income vs. our single) but on the other hand, I have no idea if these friends are paying cash or plastic...

I also wonder what they think of us! Do they assume money is tight, or that we are not doing well....


dadof4

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2014, 05:20:37 PM »
From time to time I get the retail bug. Lately, I've found a frugal way to scratch that itch - "buying" free stuff. Over the last couple months, I've gotten almost a thousand bucks worth of stuff (smartphones, dress shirts, knives, copy paper, office supplies, tools and tool boxes, pizzas, burgers, the list goes on and on). Total out of pocket cost was negative - I made over a hundred bucks .

Did it make me happier? Maybe, a bit. Smug might be a better word. But the real benefit is that I've had no desire to splurge on anything else, and there is zero guilt involved.

DollarBill

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #30 on: May 07, 2014, 06:51:50 PM »
I'm never jealous of what people SPEND. I just wish I had their higher income, so that I could purchase my freedom faster :)

This.

Why not look at it from a different angle: We're not savers...we spend like crazy. We spend like crazy to buy shares and assets to purchase our freedom. I own a car ($$), furniture ($$), house($$) and soon I'll own my freedom...PRICELESS!!! There's a lot of people who make a Million a year that can't buy their freedom...very sad!

socaso

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #31 on: May 07, 2014, 07:22:20 PM »
I will get jealousy over very specific items. The last time I felt hardcore shopping envy was the introduction of the Kindle, which I immediately recognized as the perfect product designed specifically for me. I was jealous when I saw people with a Kindle of their own but they cost something like $500 for the first couple of years and I just couldn't bring myself to spend the money. I finally bought one a couple of years ago and I love it and use it every day but the experience of wanting it very much for so long let me know that I truly wanted it and it wasn't just a passing fancy. I haven't had that sort of jealousy for anything since then.

In general I feel quite anxious when I hear people talking about how they have frivolously bought very expensive items. My coworkers go through smartphones like crazy and never think about dropping several hundred dollars on a new phone only to upgrade a few months later. It makes me hyperventilate.

aetherie

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #32 on: May 07, 2014, 08:03:35 PM »
Over the last couple months, I've gotten almost a thousand bucks worth of stuff (smartphones, dress shirts, knives, copy paper, office supplies, tools and tool boxes, pizzas, burgers, the list goes on and on). Total out of pocket cost was negative - I made over a hundred bucks .

Feel like sharing any of your strategies? I could use some free pizza :)

MooseOutFront

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #33 on: May 07, 2014, 08:09:47 PM »
While I am envious of the high incomes I see all around me, my own high savings rate (50-60%) makes me feel better. If somebody making double our income was saving as much as we are then they would be considered pretty aggressive savers.

I know we're stacking it up faster than just about anybody making less than double our income.

ReverendRN

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #34 on: May 07, 2014, 08:16:09 PM »
I suffer from convenience jealousy. I get in funks because I want to buy the easier way and I get tired of what feels like the grind of daily maintenance. Cook, clean, cook, clean. Over and over. Hang up laundry, fold laundry, wash laundry, hang up laundry. I want to go run away and hide from my responsibilities and worry about it later but I can't, not really.

I feel you. My knees are complaining tonight after biking five miles to the hospital, standing for most of a 12 hour nursing shift and then biking five miles home. But I am trying to explain to them (my knees) that it's awesome how strong we are and how many good things we did today. (Sometimes you just need to give your knees a pep talk.)

Here's hoping you get a little break tonight, even if it's just 10 minutes of quiet.

MgoSam

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #35 on: May 07, 2014, 08:28:30 PM »
I get jealous but oftentimes this is more a manifistation of my insecurities rather than acceptance of who I am.

Cwadda

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #36 on: May 07, 2014, 08:35:13 PM »
Quote
I bet a few of us would look at the other person who just ate theirs with slightly hateful eyes as we watched them enjoy what we cannot partake in yet... (despite all the tricks we learn to take our minds off it like focusing on future rewards)

For about 30 seconds. Then I realize how happy I am with the things I have. This then causes the reverse effect. The more I see people with more stuff and myself with less stuff, the more I appreciate what I have and how privileged I am.

peppermint

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #37 on: May 07, 2014, 09:03:43 PM »
I suffer from convenience jealousy. I get in funks because I want to buy the easier way and I get tired of what feels like the grind of daily maintenance. Cook, clean, cook, clean. Over and over. Hang up laundry, fold laundry, wash laundry, hang up laundry. I want to go run away and hide from my responsibilities and worry about it later but I can't, not really.

+1
I could say a lot more about that, but I totally relate. I am feeling exhausted by the daily grind, and my house is still a mess. Currently ignoring the laundry that needs to be put away. At least I'm doing most of the cooking from scratch at present...
« Last Edit: May 07, 2014, 09:05:36 PM by peppermint »

lhamo

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #38 on: May 07, 2014, 09:48:42 PM »
I'm not jealous, and I try not to be judgmental of other people's spending habits as long as they are clearly aligned with their long term goals and values.  I do get my knickers in a twist a bit when people claim to have one set of values/priorities/plans but their spending habits call those professed values into question, though.  It is the inconsistency that bugs me, not the spending per se.  Anybody who is really spending in alignment with their values is ok in my book.

There are a few things that we spend extravagantly on that most people here would probably question the utility of/face slap us for.  But we regularly reassess and are confident these are the right choices for us.  They are:

1)  A nice place to live.  Actually, the day to day cost of our apartment is reasonable, especially compared to what it would cost to rent something similar, because we made a substantial down payment, have a reasonable mortgage and get a $650/month housing subsidy from my DH's employer.  About $1000 of our $1880 monthly mortgage payment is going toward principal at this point, so we're really only paying $230/month for the privilege of living in an AMAZING, spacious apartment that we love.  We couldn't rent a cardboard box down by the river for that.  And having a nice place to live is something that I learned I value very much.  We used to rent an apartment for around  $1620/month when we first moved to Beijing and while the apartment itself was ok I hated the neighborhood and was not happy there.  HAve been much happier since we moved. 

2)  Expensive private school for our kids. We tried local schools for our son and it was a disaster - he is much too American, in spite of having grown up in CHina in a bilingual/bicultural family, and is not a good fit for the rigid Chinese system.  HAd them in a cheaper school until last year, but it wasn't working -- they weren't getting sufficiently challenged and were losing enthusiasm for education.  Decided to bite the bullet and put them in a better school this year, and have not regretted the choice.  But we're paying through the nose for it -- to the tune of $50k+ year out of our pockets.  And that is after a 20k subsidy from my DH's employer.  Ouch.  I am essentially working to pay their school fees.  Actually, after taxes I don't even earn enough to cover them.  But we're able to continue to cover our expenses, and put 15-20% of income into retirement and college savings counting employer match (mine is 10% which helps!). so it is a choice we are ok with for now.  I don't talk about it here because I know what you all will think.  Yes, I know we could homeschool, but DH is not on board with that and I have a job I like/want to stay with and can't take on the responsibility.  So for as long as we are in Beijing, we are going to be shelling out for expensive private school.  If we decide to move back to the US or elsewhere, we'll most likely make different arrangements.

3)  Travel.  Spending time with both sides of our family is important to us, as is at least some time alone as a family in interesting places, so we spend anywhere from 10-20k/year on travel.  That includes two transpacific trips for the whole family to visit my side of the family, several trips to visit my inlaws, and usually one or two other trips, often long weekends somewhere in Asia or side trips while we are in the US. 

4)  Part time help.  One of the perks of living in China is that household help is relatively cheap.  We have a part-time helper who comes for 3 hours a day M-F to clean and cook dinner.  We pay her about $400/month, but that is cheap compared to the cost of take-out, ordering in, or a divorce and/or institutionalization following a psychological breakdown.

I'd like to have a higher income and am working on getting a raise in conjunction with my new job responsibilities, but I'm not jealous of what others make.  I didn't think I would ever get rich in the non-profit sector.  The fact that we are more or less FI if we choose to leave Beijing is amazing enough as it is.  I don't need to be jealous of anybody else.  We've got a pretty good thing going.



scrubbyfish

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #39 on: May 07, 2014, 11:53:53 PM »
Excellent conversation!

I don't feel jealous, per se, but I am very happy for people who feel comfortable spending and not worrying about tomorrow. My income is very, very low for my region, but I don't have the debt that many others around me have, and my savings are better than that of many of my "true peers". However, I'm looking at moving into an ugly apartment in a potentially noisy building, breaking my own heart to save $500/mo. Why?

Part of me wants to keep playing this MMM game of saving as much as possible, but part of me hopes I will choose a really nice place, even if it means going into my savings for a couple of years to do so.

Gray Matter

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #40 on: May 08, 2014, 04:58:27 AM »
Like several others have noted here, I'm not jealous of people's spending (quite possibly because I've done so much of it in my life).  I am jealous of others' savings rates (ours is 40-50%), though I am unwilling to make the changes necessary to get it higher (e.g., move into cheaper housing), so I guess that emotion isn't really fair.

The thing I am the most jealous of are people who have time, but again, I am unwilling to do what needs doing in order to buy myself more time.  We are FI enough, and DH earns enough (assuming his job were stable), that I could not work at all, or could cut back at work.  But it turns out I still care about my career (not just the money) more than I thought.  A big part of me wants to start stepping down my career, but another part of me wants to just keep going a few more years and THEN start stepping it down.  Not sure if that desire is legitimate (cost/benefit is worth it) or if I'm suffering from OMY syndrome a few years in advance.

BPA

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #41 on: May 08, 2014, 05:06:30 AM »
Not jealous.  I could have what many other people have, but I don't want that stuff.  I do buy stuff that I want (for example, just bought a book that I read as a teenager and loved, and couldn't find at the library); I just don't want all that much. 

When I was a poor teenager I was jealous of those who seemed to have it all, and then when I had the means, I started buying stuff.  I learned that that stuff does not make me happy.


NeverWasACornflakeGirl

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #42 on: May 08, 2014, 09:46:46 AM »
I'm not jealous, because I've already had the high-income lifestyle and I know how unhappy it made me.  Mostly I get tired of listening to the whining of people who spend like mindless automatons and then complain that they have no money.

samburger

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #43 on: May 08, 2014, 10:29:13 AM »
I am jealous of others' savings rates (ours is 40-50%), though I am unwilling to make the changes necessary to get it higher (e.g., move into cheaper housing), so I guess that emotion isn't really fair.

I've been reflecting on what I'm jealous of, and it's this. I feel insecure with my savings rate and lil stache because I'm still in my first year in the job and first year in Mustachianism. It all feels very precarious, like a fluke. I know these feelings will subside with time and success, but man, some of these staches!

I don't want stuff. I want my portfolio to get into six figure territory!

BFGirl

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #44 on: May 08, 2014, 10:31:50 AM »
I am dealing a little bit with jealousy at this point.  I have gone from having the freedom to spend without worry to having to be a bit more careful because I made the choice to get out of a bad marriage.  I miss going out to eat all the time, but I am enjoying my new found independence.  I am enjoying cooking at home more, but there are days I'd rather just say F it and go out to eat, but I am trying to be a better steward of my money so that I can retire in 6-10 years.  Still, having freedom is definitely better than unlimited spending.

GW

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #45 on: May 08, 2014, 10:33:13 AM »
I know I'm doing something right when I'm pissing off my friends. Love them all to death, but they harass me for wanting to spend a weekend at home or when I turn down invitations to spendy dinners out.

I love going out to eat, but having $30K in student loans hanging over my head always gut checks me into wanting to eat as cheaply as possible. I still go out from time to time, but I pick and choose my battles. Mostly its for a drink or two, no food.

I am jealous of my friends that go golfing all the time... I could cry just thinking about it...

FunkyStickman

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #46 on: May 08, 2014, 11:08:15 AM »
I don't get jealous over people buying nice things, I think I pretty much got over that.

What I struggle with is the feelings of animosity towards people who act like idiots about their purchases. I tend to think people who waste money are stupid... and to be honest, some of them are... but every time I see a high-end SUV or luxury car, I think "What a moron!" Every time I see someone obviously being stupid with their money, I shake my head and think less of them.

I know I'm not perfect, though, and at one point, I wasn't that far from where they are. I do get tired of all the materialism and commercialism everywhere, and that tends to put me in a bad mood, too.

mbl

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #47 on: May 08, 2014, 11:45:51 AM »
I think so much of it, that being the experience of feeling jealousy, is based on personality.

FLAME DETERRENT:  The following is not meant to say that those that aren't minimalists are somehow not good....just a description of two different personality factors.

I'm a hard core minimalist.    Stuff makes me uncomfortable.   I find the less I have the happier I am. 
The acquisition of material things is something I try to avoid.   I don't have the innate desire for a great many material things so I don't really respond with jealousy when I observe someone else's acquisition.  Usually I just think how it could make me unhappy or uncomfortable to have spent money on this things which probably I can't perceive value in.

Now if an individual does get pleasure/comfort/use out of things the response could be very different.  Let's say someone has seen the fiscal light and logically understands the value in achieving FI,  lowering mindless/valueless consumerism and learning  frugal skills and mindset.  But, at their core, they enjoy some of the material things that now they're trying to eschew.   It might be more an exercise in will power for someone like that and perhaps might generate a jealous response?  JMHO.

mbl

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #48 on: May 08, 2014, 12:09:22 PM »
Not jealous.  I could have what many other people have, but I don't want that stuff.  I do buy stuff that I want (for example, just bought a book that I read as a teenager and loved, and couldn't find at the library); I just don't want all that much. 

When I was a poor teenager I was jealous of those who seemed to have it all, and then when I had the means, I started buying stuff.  I learned that that stuff does not make me happy.

And that's just it.   I think that for many, you have to go through the experience of doing that to actually experience that it often, not always, but often, doesn't yield that happiness.  One of those lessons that is sometimes best learned first hand.

Zikoris

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Re: Do we suffer from spending jealousy?
« Reply #49 on: May 08, 2014, 12:14:49 PM »
Not me. I wouldn't get a smartphone, take up drinking/smoking/coffee, get a car (or even a licence), eat restaurant food (crappy quality and makes me feel sick afterwards), or watch TV shows if THEY paid ME.

If there's something I want, I buy it. Fortunately, there's not much there.