Author Topic: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?  (Read 2139 times)

notmyusual

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frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« on: October 17, 2018, 09:41:54 PM »
tldr, because it is long: Mutual breakup with someone I still really like happening in next couple months, need ideas for cheap ways to recover (history of spending way too much previously).

I've been in an exclusive relationship for nearly six years now with a guy who is, in many ways, a great fit for me. We've been extremely happy together, and still are! But he just found out he's getting a job very far away from here, and we've always known this was not going to be permanent. This is an obvious opportunity to make the hard decision, so we've agreed that when he moves, it's over. That time frame could be anywhere between a month and the beginning of next year, depending on some logistics with the job and moving. I'm going to answer some anticipated questions below.

In the past, I have splurged after breakups: new car, lots of clothing and travel, "pampering" myself and my friends. Basically di$traction and subsequent debt. I'm now well on the road to FIRE and want to stay that way! I am saving up and allotting some money specifically for this, but I want to keep it controlled and reasonable. I'm hoping that the fact that is mutual and peaceful means I won't feel as driven to act out financially. What has worked for you to get through the first few months when everything feels broken and like you just want to reach out to the ex, particularly if the parting was amicable?

Anticipated questions:
Why not permanent if you get along so well? Our longterm goals are at odds with each other, due to big flashing red signs for incompatibility if we'd done any next steps. I want to live with a partner, for example, but he is just shy of a hoarder messy and wants to move closer to his family (in an area I don't like with a climate where I feel terrible most of the year) in a decade for good. His financial situation is a flaming wreck, and though he's always been super supportive of my Mustachian transition, it has not affected his debt or spending at all. He will never be able to retire at this rate, and seems fine with that as long as he can still buy expensive crap when he feels like it. I am far less social than he is, and the thought of having people over in my place multiple times a week--and paying to feed and entertain them--makes me want to hide.

How did this last this long given all that? Everything is still SO GOOD. We live separately and don't combine income so it's hard to remember all of the above day to day. This is one of the best relationships I've been in in my life. It still feels like the third month of dating. Exciting, comfortable, deep attraction. We travel well together, communicate beautifully, are supportive of each other even when we don't share goals, laugh constantly. When I hesitantly told him I was going 'stacian (including moving to a much smaller place further away), he brainstormed things we could do that were cheap or free and sent me a spreadsheet with links and costs. How amazing is that for someone who has no interest in doing it himself?? We've been through rough things (health, family, jobs) together and are honest even when it sucks (money situation above, reality that we should at some point break up). We've been putting off the breakup year by year as it all stayed strong.

Why not yank off the bandage? We talked about it, about how to hurt the least. It's going to suck no matter what. I know for me to get over someone I have to cut contact for a while or I never let go emotionally, and that would be difficult before he moves (preexisting social commitments and plans) but very easy once he leaves. Also, we want to continue to enjoy each other's company, even if tinged with loss. I've gone back and forth about this, but right now this is where it's at.

Thanks for any ideas! I love the blend of relationship advice here. My internet use is restricted during the day but I'll be back when possible.

expatartist

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2018, 09:57:14 PM »
Such a hard situation you're in. I was in something last year that had some similarities.

My record of keeping spending in check when recovering emotionally can be hit or miss, but frugal things I've done that have helped the most have been ways to stay grounded while I work out the crap from the situation.  Those that involve maintaining community/connections have been particularly helpful.

* Turned my bathroom into a spa with a few affordable/DIY products - great alternative to drinks after a long day at work
* Cooking something special with a rare ingredient or two, sharing it with others during or after
* Joining Meetup hikes and other activities, meeting new people who won't be asking about the ex

Best of luck to you, great idea to prepare for this in advance.

Mrs.Piano

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2018, 09:58:57 PM »
I suggest that you put all of th available money in a CD and donít let yourself get it.

notmyusual

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2018, 10:08:48 PM »
Thanks, expatartist! I love the home spa idea, and since I have time, I can look out for things on sale or use credit rewards instead of impulse shopping. Cooking my way through a vegetarian cookbook I have was also on my list (never cooked all the way through a book yet--projects are good). I've already started strengthening social ties, though most of my friends don't get at all why we aren't staying together in some way.

Hah, Mrs.Piano, that is where the majority of my emergency funds are right now already. I'm budgeting $500 for the recovery period, which I can get by putting in extra time on the side gig for the holidays, and not affecting my yearly budget projections at all. Before I would have said 500 was no way enough but right now it seems like a ridiculously high number. Thank you, FIRE. It's a solid idea to lock anything beyond that and bills/efund.

Edit for typo.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2018, 10:17:48 PM by notmyusual »

Zikoris

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2018, 11:07:12 PM »
I was in that exact situation when I was 22, and I decided to start a new hobby - ballroom dance. It honestly turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made - I took enough lessons to be fairly good, and then just started to go to social dances and meet people. I still dance today at age 32, and have met tons of great people through dance over the years.

I also impulse-bought $3,000 laser eye surgery. Don't be me. Okay, I'm happy with the results of that as well, but yeah.

ixtap

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2018, 01:36:04 AM »
I was in that exact situation when I was 22, and I decided to start a new hobby - ballroom dance. It honestly turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made - I took enough lessons to be fairly good, and then just started to go to social dances and meet people. I still dance today at age 32, and have met tons of great people through dance over the years.

I also impulse-bought $3,000 laser eye surgery. Don't be me. Okay, I'm happy with the results of that as well, but yeah.

Different reasons, but I took up swing dance when I needed a change of pace and out of.my own head. Look for whatever has reasonably priced dances and lessons. Try out dances that start with a free lesson until.you find something you are willing to invest in.

Raenia

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2018, 08:30:14 AM »
Agree with picking up a new hobby, specifically one that allows you to get out of the house and spend time with other human beings.  The best thing I did during my last painful break-up was start hanging out with a set of friends I didn't previously spend a lot of time with, and join their D&D game.  I also prioritized visiting family a lot during that time.  Basically strengthening all the social bonds I could.  Dance classes are a great idea, or if that's not your thing, join a hiking group, or a gaming group.  Quilting, book club, adult rec sports, whatever!

ketchup

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2018, 08:58:13 AM »
I can't relate the specific situation, but my "splurging" advice would be to get fancypants versions of things that allow you to DIY fancy things, vs paying exorbitant amounts of money to outsource it.  Like on fancy groceries to make a fancy meal instead of blowing hundreds at a fancypants restaurant, or buying fancy hair products to do fancy hair things instead of going to a stylist (I'm a 27 year old dude with Larry David hair so specifics here are not my forte).

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2018, 09:10:35 AM »
I would start looking now (not when you feel heartbroken and hurting) for insured or low-cost versions of these:

1. counselling, so you have someone understanding to hear you, witness your pain, and support you

2. massage, so you still can access touch and its benefits

For example, maybe there is a school for either of these in your area, and you can get them on the cheap. Or maybe body massage is only expensive, but your local hair salon does $12 scalp massages.

For me, swimming is deeply soothing and is a decent substitute for both of those.

undercover

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2018, 10:03:22 AM »
I also impulse-bought $3,000 laser eye surgery. Don't be me. Okay, I'm happy with the results of that as well, but yeah.

Best impulse decision I'm sure you've ever made. Not sure how much longer I'll tolerate contacts/glasses.

Three things: Exercise, travel (within your tolerable limit), and hobby. Ideally, some sort of sport since it mixes exercise and a hobby. Basketball is really meditative for me. I think travel (at the very least driving around aimlessly) is pretty necessary for the mind to detach from the surroundings that remind you of everything bad going on.

All I can say is you seem very mature and emotionally stable so I really doubt you'll have much trouble getting over this. But yes, cutting contact completely and getting rid of anything that reminds you of them is the first steps. It's going to be painful either way so in my opinion it doesn't matter if you wait until you're more suited to completely cut contact.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 10:13:26 AM by undercover »

Cool Friend

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2018, 10:21:21 AM »
Once, I lost my job just a month before a long-term relationship with someone I cared for very much ended.  So splurging on myself was not an option, and here's what I found helped me out quite a bit:

Spending time with friends and other loved ones.  You don't even need to vent about the relationship; just being around people you like will assuage the loneliness and help you feel connected with others.

Self-care: I don't mean splurging on spa visits and luxuries. I mean doing nourishing things for you--cooking healthy meals instead of splurging on restaurants, connecting with nature to broaden your perspective and get you out of your head instead of splurging on expensive entertainment, reading books and maybe looking into a new hobby to learn a new skill.  Meditation to connect you with your self.

It sounds like you've both come to a mature decision, and that gives you a great starting point to recover versus, say, an unexpected betrayal or other intense catalyst.  Most, if not all, relationships have an ending.  It's normal and natural and doesn't mean the relationship "failed." On the contrary, in your case it sounds like the relationship was a great success, and you've done the adult thing in your mutual understanding that there isn't a foreseeable future for the both of you right now.  That's success, in my opinion.

Keep in mind the hedonic treadmill--splurging seems fun and relieving at first, but it's fleeting, and some of the above strategies can give you a much longer-lasting effect while at the same time not posing a risk to your financial goals.

I hope any of this is helpful.  Take care of yourself.  :)

lhamo

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2018, 12:51:46 PM »
If you like to read/watch movies, start now putting a bunch of stuff you'd like to consume on hold at the library.  You can't predict when things will rotate off the hold list, but if you have a good backlog there is a pretty good chance there will be something new to pick up every week.  If you make a library stop once a week part of your regular routine, you can also browse the shelves and pick up other things that look interesting.  Keeping your library bag full means less temptation to spend money buying books/renting media if that is a problem for you.

I would also think about coming up with a list of things you really want that are good longer-term investments that will keep you active.  Like a good set of waterproof outerwear if you like to walk but live somewhere the weather is rainy in the winter months.  Or a new pair of running shoes or hiking boots.  Or gear for your bike if you are into biking.  That way if you really do feel the need for some retail therapy you can buy something off your list rather than just randomly spending on mindless stuff.  And the activities you engage in with the new gear will be good for both body and soul.


bestname

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2018, 01:16:03 PM »
Luckily for you in this situation anticipating the break up is likely to be worse than the actual break up. So you may well be in the worst of it.

I'm going to suggest getting a dog or even a kitten as an inexpensive coping mechanism.

I have the tendency to ruminate endlessly. One of the strategies I've tried that (sometimes) works is to refocusing on a task and scheduling a time to 'wallow' later. I usually find when the time comes that I don't really want to.

Sorry you are going through this!

mm1970

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2018, 01:55:08 PM »
Great ideas already about the dancing. I was going to recommend exercise.  Many of my friends, at the end of a relationship, have "trained" for something.  10k's, marathons.  Or they joined a particular fitness program at a gym.  Or they trained to hike Grand Canyon rim to rim.  Or they joined a cycling club. 

ketchup

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2018, 02:27:09 PM »
I'm going to suggest getting a dog or even a kitten as an inexpensive coping mechanism.
I would say no to this.  Don't get a long term solution to a short term problem.  I know someone that got a kitten because they thought it would help with depression.  Now her parents have a cat they didn't want.

Raenia

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2018, 03:30:06 PM »
I'm going to suggest getting a dog or even a kitten as an inexpensive coping mechanism.
I would say no to this.  Don't get a long term solution to a short term problem.  I know someone that got a kitten because they thought it would help with depression.  Now her parents have a cat they didn't want.

Instead, perhaps volunteer at a local shelter.  You get all the benefits of cute kittens, plus the added benefits of getting out of the house and giving back to the community, without the long term commitment of adoption.

merula

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2018, 03:53:14 PM »
This might not work for you, but I find writing things out really helps me get through stuff. Getting all kinds of feelings on paper helps me evaluate them a bit more objectively, and writing out progress towards goals motivates me towards continuing to work towards them. Maybe you could buy yourself a journal and pen set you really love? Potentially hours of distraction/healing for not very much money.

ElleFiji

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2018, 04:13:02 PM »
If you would enjoy it, a one month pass (usually intro specials are available) to a fancy gym or fitness studio. Like the kind where you can go just for the sauna.

Journalling

Writing imaginary letters to the ex

Choose places where you can have a treat yo self mentality - maybe anything goes at the grocery store, or the discount clothes store or you can buy magazines again but only for x months.

Buy yourself a flower. Then a plant.

Advise friends to be ready for all hours phone calls

notmyusual

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2018, 10:46:08 PM »
This is really, really awesome. So much so that I am almost ... excited for the breakup to happen now, because I'm holding out on doing most of this until it happens. I never would have predicted that. Writing a list on paper to stick on the wall.

It's interesting how most suggestions fall into one of the three categories: people, projects, and movement. That might be a three-part plan for stable individual living, regardless of single/coupled.

elliha

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2018, 06:45:55 AM »
I think that you probably want the kick from buying things so perhaps some other kick? Maybe selling something might also feel a bit exciting and like you are changing things around? Maybe you could try some kind of sport or activity with a level excitement? I would try to implement a routine of questioning your reasons for buying something. Things aren't going to get better because you buy stuff and you know this too.

FLBiker

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2018, 07:15:39 AM »
Personally I've found meditation (particularly with a group at the beginning) to be very helpful for learning how to handle emotions in a healthier way.

Villanelle

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2018, 07:24:52 AM »
Finding some sort of passion that you can break down into focused goals might work.  If you want to get healthy or lose weight, for example, break that down in to a commitment to plan all meals at the beginning of each week, cook healthy meals, and work out at least 120 minutes a week.  Or do the Couch to 5k program.  If you aspire to write, do NaNoWriMo (even if the timing doesn't work, the same goal of 50k words in a month could start as soon as you break up.)  Or learn to play chess which might include finding a training program online and committing to X minutes a day on that, plus maybe seeking out a group of beginner chess players in your area with whom you can play.  The possibilities are endless, but the key is to find something that excites you and then break it down into a specific commitment. 

Another great option would be to find a complex board game (complex is good because that means it takes time to learn) and finding some friends with whom you could learn and practice strategy.  this has all the benefits of the above paragraph with the added benefit of also being a social event with friends.

catccc

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2018, 07:30:28 AM »
Go to the library and and find some books about Buddhist meditation.  In addition to practicing meditation, insight into impermanence is a keystone of Buddhism.

The key thing about meditation is to not judge the efficacy of the practice with your time on the cushion (time spent meditating).  The 15 minutes you spend bringing your thoughts back to your breath over and over might not feel like they are doing much... it's how you handle situations off the cushion differently than you might have in the past that indicate meditation is working for you.

Good luck.

socaso

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Re: frugal ideas for atypical breakup recovery?
« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2018, 04:58:13 PM »
I had a somewhat similar situation after college except I kind of wanted to stay together and he didn't want to do long distance. So we broke up and at first I was pretty mad about it. After a week of feeling that way I just wanted to get over being mad so I put a rubber band around my wrist and everytime I found myself thinking about the situation I would snap myself hard on the inside of my wrist. It worked really well! After one week I was a lot less mad and after two weeks I hardly thought about it at all. In fact I'm still able to be friends with him and at first I didn't think I could. I knew it was futile because you can't be with someone who doesn't want the relationship but my brain kept cycling back to "why, why, WHY!!" and I needed to break the pattern.