Author Topic: Downsizing your life and social consequences ?  (Read 6257 times)

outsidethebox

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Downsizing your life and social consequences ?
« on: March 28, 2012, 08:14:01 PM »
Anyone else here having social consequences to your lifestyle change?
We live in a community of people still plugged into the Matrix and it's SO frustrating some days.
Occasionally we get comments, assumptions, and or judgment.

I have best friends not plugged into the Matrix and that helps but they don't live here.

Downsizing your life is just not kosher here.......

Been there?



smedleyb

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Re: Downsizing your life and social consequences ?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2012, 08:36:08 PM »
If you really live in a community plugged into the Matrix, then you know that "comments, assumptions, and or judgment" are unavoidable regardless of which lifestyle you chose.  The point is to get richer on cash, time, and real human relationships while the superficial trappings of consumerist culture and it's obnoxious proponents dissolve into the periphery of your liberated, mustachian existence.

And if that don't work grab a large polo mallet and go to town on their Beamers and Lexi. 

Matt K

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Re: Downsizing your life and social consequences ?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2012, 06:14:45 AM »
And if that don't work grab a large polo mallet and go to town on their Beamers and Lexi.

Croquet sets can often be found at garage sales and thrift stores for next to nothing. Each mallet is coloured differently and really lets the whole family join in the fun.

Remember, going to town on an obnoxious neighbour's car should be a family activity ;)

tddoog

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Re: Downsizing your life and social consequences ?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2012, 07:05:37 AM »
Don't worry about them, pity them.


http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/12/28/prospering-in-an-anti-mustachian-city/

"2: Convert Envy to Pity:
With transportation addressed, the other factor is what other people think of you. Or more accurately, what you think other people are thiniking about you. Because regardless of reality, it’s the way you feel about yourself that matters.

An Antimustachian would probably envy all the pale-skinned big-sunglasses ladies in their 50s driving the Mercedes AMG C63s ($95,000, 451 horsepower, as common in Scottsdale as Honda Accords in my hometown).  ”Wow, look at that beautiful machine – they’ve really hit the big time. I sure feel embarrassed parking my little Scion hatchback next to it”.

But with enriched powers, you now know you are in the right. You can’t afford that car right now, because you are not retired yet. So obviously it is only rational to want the least costly car for your needs, because your goal is financial independence. Any unnecessary spending is not a treat – it’s a curse! It just sucked you away from the pleasure of being free for life!

But even more significantly, you wouldn’t want that car regardless of your wealth. I could line my driveway with those things without going into debt, but holy shit, the very idea of even a quarter of that amount of money going to such an inefficient, uncharitable, environmentally unfriendly cause as a fast car just makes me want to pick up the thing and throw it into a metal recycling facility to reclaim its wasted resources. Money is not purchasing power – money is the freedom to live life and to do good in the world, and regardless of where you live, it must be respected properly."


velocistar237

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Re: Downsizing your life and social consequences ?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2012, 09:38:47 AM »
Jacob described the ERE forums as a support group for people going through this very thing. He advocated passing in order to avoid negative responses as much as possible. The MMM idea is to have a life that's just as good, but costs 25% less. It's feasible to look like others, just cheaper.

On the other hand, MMM is more in-your-face than Jacob. People are feeling judged by your actions, so they put up a fence of superiority and try to bring you in line with the herd. Maybe you can wear them down over time. Or you could move.

nondualie

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Re: Downsizing your life and social consequences ?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2012, 10:45:51 AM »
In some ways, it can be better to just develop your own eccentricities: instead of keeping up by buying a $95K Mercedes, you could buy a $10K classic Mercedes; same with bikes; same with vintage modern antiques; etc.

Dear god, I think I'm advocating for you turning into a hipster.

Or maybe not.  There are ways to fit-in without buying-in...if you feel that it's necessary for a period of time in order for you to achieve other goals.

BenDarDunDat

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Re: Downsizing your life and social consequences ?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2012, 11:00:12 AM »
Anyone else here having social consequences to your lifestyle change?
We live in a community of people still plugged into the Matrix and it's SO frustrating some days.
Occasionally we get comments, assumptions, and or judgment.

I have best friends not plugged into the Matrix and that helps but they don't live here.

Downsizing your life is just not kosher here.......

Been there?

I've been there, but not so much for being a tightwad. I went vegan back in the day. I couldn't go out to eat with coworkers. It was difficult to go to family gatherings. Friendships suffered.

And then one day I realized that it wasn't as if a chicken was going to come up to my door, peck on it until I opened it, and say, "Thanks BenDarDunDat, your sacrifice saved my chicken life."  I realized the only change I was making ...well two...one was that my cholesterol level was awesome.  The other was that I'd almost become some kind of ridiculous vegan hermit that had to drive 45 miles just to buy groceries.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm all for frugality, saving the planet, and financial independence.  However, I also realize that these really don't mean a happy damn if they don't improve the quality of my life.  This year my wife ran in the Princess half marathon at Disney.  I don't even want to total all the costs, because they were significant.  However, my wife was able to reconnect with friends she hadn't seen in years and also to have an experience she'll remember for the rest of her life.  That's what money is for. 

On the ERE site, they recommend almost an extreme self-imposed poverty in order to work less.  And I have to ask, "Is that really improving the QUALITY of your life?"  It's as if you are engaging in a self-imposed hermetic poverty now, so that you can enjoy a hermetic poverty earlier. LOL!  It's a laugh how everyone turned on Jacob when he went back to work.  Dude was like, "F#ck it, it's possible to live like this, but it sucks.  I'm goin' back to work." 

MrMoneyMustache, while he doesn't have a typical job, but don't think for a minute he's retired or living in a van by the river. Christ, he's refurbing and renting property, launching websites, writing articles, has a wife and child.  He hasn't dropped out of life or the matrix.

While I believe we should all be able to downsize our possessions ...and really ...probably have much fuller lives as a result; I also believe that 'downsizing your life' is the opposite of what you should be doing.  Money is just a bunch of paper that loses value over time.  You should not feel guilty for spending when it can enrich your life. If your friends want to go out and drink pints of $5 beer, you should go do it.  A friend is easily worth $15 of beer and a $20 dinner. 

That said, if they are the kind of friend that look down on you because you drive a old ass Corolla, maybe they aren't such good friends after all.
 
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 11:03:49 AM by BenDarDunDat »

Mactrader

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Re: Downsizing your life and social consequences ?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2012, 11:15:40 AM »
Great points, I definitely view it more as a northstar rather than something that I will emulate to the T. I picture a spectrum where rampant consumerism (where most people are, and myself was) on one end, and extreme frugality on the other. I love reading MMM for inspiration, motivation, and ideas on how to fall in a comfortable spot somewhere in between. I've shed much of my love for objects/things to where if I can destroy my ever-looming debt that I could reasonably live on 30-40k/y as opposed to my current 70-80k. I was having this very conversation with a coworker the past few days as he just cannot process the notion of living on less. He says that he works because he wants to live the lifestyle and will happily (although he's a miserable souse who bitches about his wife and her spending all day, also just went into Chapter 13...) work for the rest of his life to support it.

The extreme frugality/MMM/ERE are north stars that I drive my behavior towards, despite that not all of it may be a comfortable fit for me. But, with these things in mind, I will be FAR ahead of the curve when compared against my compatriots in terms of wealth and fulfillment.

BenDarDunDat

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Re: Downsizing your life and social consequences ?
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2012, 11:34:38 AM »
I was having this very conversation with a coworker the past few days as he just cannot process the notion of living on less. He says that he works because he wants to live the lifestyle and will happily (although he's a miserable souse who bitches about his wife and her spending all day, also just went into Chapter 13...) work for the rest of his life to support it.

Well, we hear through so many different avenues, beginning from early on in our life, that the stuff and the lifestyle is what is supposed to make us happy.  And I think that as a result, when some people are unhappy, they think that buying something can somehow fix it.  Never mind the fact that countless studies have shown that money and happiness aren't dependent. 

James

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Re: Downsizing your life and social consequences ?
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2012, 11:38:21 AM »
I don't mind the obvious effects, such as the comments and the looks, but I do mind the subconscious effect it has on me.  I find myself listing toward the matrix after hanging out with them and hearing their conversations, and I don't have any friends on the MMM side pulling me that way.  The consequences of being around my friends is how it pulls me back in.  It's a constant battle of my will to go against the flow.  My wife and I keep trying to make new friends that will help pull the right direction, but that has been hard with three young kids and living in a small town without a lot of MMM people around.  We even drove into a neighboring state last weekend to spend time with a family that has been a good influence on us, and it was so absolutely refreshing.

onehappypanda

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Re: Downsizing your life and social consequences ?
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2012, 09:52:36 PM »
I don't notice a lot of consequences of being frugal, but I'm pretty moderate about it. I'll still head to the bar with friends, I just happily sip on a single beer instead of getting several $5 glasses, and I'll eat beforehand. I own a lot of hand-me-down and secondhand things, but I try to stick to things I love and customize them so they have personality. People are often surprised if I let slip that most of my wardrobe is thrifted, that kind of thing.

People sometimes thing I'm crazy for biking around town when I could drive, but I have a positive attitude about it and that seems to deflect any criticism. Really, I think a lot of it IS in the attitude. If you're negative about it, or if you seem to judge other people when you describe your choices (talking about how Americans are so wasteful, etc.) then that'll naturally make some folks uncomfortable. But if you just do your own thing and are positive and content, in my experience at least people tend to be cool with that. They'll still think you're a bit odd, but you can be the Lovable Eccentric (versus the weirdo no one wants to be around).

And of course some people are snobs and judge you no matter what, but those people are making their own misery so I don't worry about them. I've also found them to be few and far between- most people are less snobbish and more defensive, from what I've seen.

velocistar237

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Re: Downsizing your life and social consequences ?
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2012, 11:23:15 AM »
I've recently been thinking about the concept of signaling. Signaling is the idea of communicating something about yourself using something else that isn't necessarily related. For example, a college degree is a proxy for being a good worker, and peacock plumage is a proxy for genetic fitness.

From this perspective, fancy cars and big houses are plumage, that is, signals of success. Obviously, you can be successful without them, but some people want successful friends, and they often can't tell whether you're successful without the accepted proxies, so if you don't have them, they will treat you differently, or they'll be confused, and it will be an uphill battle to gain acceptance. Think of how a self-taught person would be treated if they applied for the average job requiring a bachelors degree, even if they were a better worker.

Given this perspective, there are a few different ways to deal with it.

For one, you can still acquire the signals, just much cheaper than everyone else. This would be fixing up a classic car, or transferring from community college to a name-brand college after two years, or building and fixing up your own house, or riding your bike all the time because you're cross-training for a marathon (which is an accepted signal), or getting cheap vacations by trading houses with another family, etc. This offends fewer people, but you still have to deal with problems of being surrounded by rampant consumerism and feeling out of place.

Another way to deal with it is to escape the need for signals, or be part of a community that uses signals that are acceptable to you, or one that uses the same signals, just on a smaller scale. Just like a self-taught person can get around the degree-less applicant issue by producing a valuable portfolio and becoming self-employed, a frugal person can find a frugal community and hang out with grad students, artists, tradesmen, or just people in the "lower middle class."

I know that this says a lot of what's already been said, but there is one concept of signaling theory that might add an interesting perspective, and that is countersignaling. This is the idea that people with middling qualities expend more energy to prove themselves than people with high qualities. As a familiar example, if someone hangs out with less wealthy people, they don't feel like they need to show their wealth, but, if someone is like most middle class Americans, they spend tons of money keeping up with the Joneses. A financially independent person feels less of a need to prove worthiness. (Granted, there's a question of causation here.) The application is that someone might be able to bluff their way into acceptance by not buying as big a house or as expensive a car, perhaps by adopting a Steve-Jobs-like minimalism. I'm not sure what it would take to make this work.

Food for thought.

Nancy

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Re: Downsizing your life and social consequences ?
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2012, 09:25:35 AM »
Really, I think a lot of it IS in the attitude. If you're negative about it, or if you seem to judge other people when you describe your choices (talking about how Americans are so wasteful, etc.) then that'll naturally make some folks uncomfortable. But if you just do your own thing and are positive and content, in my experience at least people tend to be cool with that. They'll still think you're a bit odd, but you can be the Lovable Eccentric (versus the weirdo no one wants to be around).

And of course some people are snobs and judge you no matter what, but those people are making their own misery so I don't worry about them. I've also found them to be few and far between- most people are less snobbish and more defensive, from what I've seen.


Panda, I completely agree. I try to be logical in my decision-making process, so I don't consider what other people might be thinking about me and my choices. Even if they blatantly say things to me about the way I live my life, it has no effect on me because I'm confident and content with my life. I understand that they are expressing their worldview, and my way of life does not fit into their understanding of the universe. Fine. I don't go around taking about how the way I live is completely awesome and the best, and everyone should do it, so I don't get into situations where people could get defensive about their own lifestyles.

I reject the idea of buying status symbols (older fancy cars, etc) to blend in if you are doing so based purely on perceived external pressures, as this is essentially the keeping up with the Joneses trap. I think being confident in your life choices will help you not care about what other people are doing/saying. They do what works/or doesn't work (depending on their self-destructive tendencies) for them, and you'll do what is right for you. IMO, life isn't a competition. We're all just riding along, trying to enjoy as much of the awesomeness as we can. Worrying about what other people think is an utter waste of mental energy. If people actually ostracize you for your choices, I would question how valuable their company would really be.

menorman

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Re: Downsizing your life and social consequences ?
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2012, 10:33:38 AM »
For one, you can still acquire the signals, just much cheaper than everyone else. This would be fixing up a classic car, or transferring from community college to a name-brand college after two years, or building and fixing up your own house, or riding your bike all the time because you're cross-training for a marathon (which is an accepted signal), or getting cheap vacations by trading houses with another family, etc. This offends fewer people, but you still have to deal with problems of being surrounded by rampant consumerism and feeling out of place.

I would definitely agree with this one. I bought a "luxury" car that is used and got it for not much more than the MMM recommended price for a car. Meanwhile, it still carries the same symbols as the brand new ones and most people think it's a good five years newer than it actually it. They're also mad when they realize I paid a third of what they paid for their new econobox, putting my purchase squarely into the realm of the signal being backed by actuality.

nondualie

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Re: Downsizing your life and social consequences ?
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2012, 11:29:22 AM »

but you still have to deal with problems of being surrounded by rampant consumerism and feeling out of place.

putting my purchase squarely into the realm of the signal being backed by actuality.

This is a good line of thinking.  Some of us are probably too quick to jump from one extreme to another without considering what can be gained from the middle-ground and "gaming the system".  I'm guilty of this myself.

Ex. - It's possible that spending $300/yr more on work-clothes could net me a salary increase of $1,000 by being perceived differently at work.  In MMM style, that $300 could be spent very wisely on a select set of clothes that are high-quality, bought on sale, don't go out of style, and last well.  A poorly assembled work wardrobe may cost you much more than a wisely assembled quality set..in some cases.

Ex. 2 - For those of us working in the city while trying to grow our Stache; paying more in rent for a condo or house close to work may allow you to signal a more mainstream lifestyle and a higher-perceived value to your personhood within the corporation ("that guys an up-and-comer, he lives in the same area as the VP, etc.").  Of course, you can afford to do so and meet your MMM goals by living in a smaller place, forgoing a 2nd (or 1st) car, etc.; moves that others are less-likely to see than if you are always running off to catch a bus for your 1.5 hr ride to the cheapest neighborhood. 

The signals you send by making these moves while still playing the game called corporate persona-hood can result in exponential stash gains beyond your best market-timing, 10% returns.

Just realize: 1) it's a game, it ain't "you" and 2) you have to know value and act accordingly.