Author Topic: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?  (Read 22658 times)

Vilx-

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Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« on: March 04, 2013, 08:44:29 AM »
It's obvious from everything written on this (and other) website that to get rich you need to cut your expenses and start saving money. What I'm having a problem to understand is - how do you determine which expenses are a luxury and which are a necessity?

If we look simply at the physical needs, a human being needs very little. A little food, reasonable shelter, some clothing, and you're done. The absolute minimum expenses that are necessary for bare survival are, indeed, small. However that wouldn't be a very happy existence. People who take that path are called "misers" for a reason. They also tend not to have a healthy social life.

So, obviously, some measure of "luxury" expenses (that is, expenses beyond the bare necessities) is required to live a normal life. But how do you determine which ones are worth it and which ones are not?

Take entertainment, for example. Is it wrong to go to the theater if you really enjoy it? Probably not. What about computer games? They are more expensive, but can also provide many more hours of joy (suppose that the purchases are done in the cheapest way - used games, used PC components, etc). TV? Music? Skiing? Eating out? Etc.

The line blurs somewhere, and I'm not really sure where it is.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 08:46:06 AM by Vilx- »

jeepbraah

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2013, 08:54:33 AM »
It all depends on where you draw the line. Can you live without it and be happy? Its a luxury. Can you not live without it and be happy? Need. Its all a very personal idea.

When you go down to the basics we could all probably be happy walking around the woods living a simple life. But its pretty impossible to live that type of life in most environments today. Would I miss the internet if the world were gone? No. But since everything is still happening, I still need access to bank accounts and web sites.

When you look at it from other people's opinions yes that could be very different. I don't want to buy a beer at the bar for $6. To me I wont be happy about the purchase or enjoy it. To a friend it could be "wow this guys is tight with his money". But the reverse is true. I could buy a nice suit and this guy is wearing polo's to work every day. I might think he is being cheap but he just isn't happy about spending money on clothes.

I frequently get told by my wife she worries im not enjoying life because I don't spend money on stuff. I buy what I want to, its just what I want is very little.

« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 08:56:32 AM by jeepbraah »

NumberCruncher

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2013, 09:02:13 AM »
Where you draw the line is your decision. Even on the forums with many similarly thinking mustachians, we all have individual comfort levels.

Read http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/09/18/is-it-convenient-would-i-enjoy-it-wrong-question/  or http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/10/24/frugal-vs-cheap/  if you haven't already

A lot of people enjoy the principles in Your Money or your Life (YMOYL) to help put it into perspective. The basic concept is, look at expenses in terms of time. You really like going out to movies? Is it worth X hours of work/commute to go every week and buy the popcorn? Is there a cheaper way to do it that will give you the same enjoyment? Maybe cutting down to once a month or a few times a year makes each visit a lot more special and meaningful, or leaving out the overpriced concessions. If you cut down theater going, how much earlier could you retire and spend more time with family/friends/hobbies? What would make you happy?


grantmeaname

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2013, 09:15:03 AM »
If we look simply at the physical needs, a human being needs very little. A little food, reasonable shelter, some clothing, and you're done. The absolute minimum expenses that are necessary for bare survival are, indeed, small. However that wouldn't be a very happy existence. People who take that path are called "misers" for a reason.
That's a pretty harmful attitude to take about things if you're hoping to someday FI. My budget is basically food+rent+utilities at this point, and I live an extremely fulfilling life. There are free hobbies (board games, library books and movies, having friends over, running), extremely cheap hobbies (gardening, bike riding, homebrewing, canning), and hobbies that save money (computer building, auto repair, gardening, homebrewing), for example; there are also side gigs (working in a wine store, or rehabbing historic houses and landlording) that can be incredibly enjoyable. If the only things bringing joy into your life are purchases, you're doing things badly wrong.

The other key part of MMM's philosophy to mention here is hedonic adaptation: your life may suck for the first 24 hours that your house is 62 degrees, but after a week and a half you won't even notice it. And that bitchin' Camaro may bring you a lot of joy when you purchase it, but after a couple of weeks it will be just a car and not a consistent source of happiness.

Quote
They also tend not to have a healthy social life.
That totally came out of left field! You have a healthy social life, but you worry that if you don't spend money on things you won't any longer? That's absurd. If you're gregarious, you can still be gregarious at a potluck instead of a steakhouse. If you're unwilling to associate with your fellow man, you'll still be unwilling to do so if you spend more money than you did before. They're totally different dimensions, and I don't see how there is any causal effect running between them.

Worsted Skeins

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2013, 10:02:29 AM »
The frugal person may still go out for a meal but it would be miserly (downright cheap) to leave a dollar tip when five is more appropriate.  As I see it, misers worship the money while the frugal enjoy the sport of saving.

Regarding the theater or arts in general:  we love hearing live music, whether folkies or orchestras. We have season tickets to an inexpensive community orchestra.  Tickets for five concerts cost the same as attending a single "name" music act concert.  We also attend community theater--again not that expensive for an outing.  I did see a Broadway bound show in Chicago last fall with some girlfriends.  It was great but I don't do this kind of thing (girlfriend weekends or expensive theater tickets) that often.  Even that weekend excursion was done with frugality in mind.  Instead of paying high dollars for a downtown Chicago hotel, we stayed in less expensive Oak Park (free parking too).  We brought some food and wine and avoided eating every meal out.

If I had debt, I would not buy tickets to a play or concert at a hundred bucks a pop.  But I don't have debt.  Since I do like to travel, I have to decide if I want fewer whiz bang trips or more modest ones.  It is all a balance.



« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 10:04:27 AM by Worsted Skeins »

AJ

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2013, 10:34:21 AM »
Take entertainment, for example. Is it wrong to go to the theater if you really enjoy it? Probably not. What about computer games? They are more expensive, but can also provide many more hours of joy (suppose that the purchases are done in the cheapest way - used games, used PC components, etc). TV? Music? Skiing? Eating out? Etc.

None of these things are "wrong". We're not talking morality here, we're talking opportunity costs. If you spend $5 on a movie, you can't later buy a beer at a bar with the same $5. You also can't invest that $5, or wipe your ass with it. So, what do you want to do with it? None of those options are "wrong", but some will bring you and yours more net happiness than others.

I would wager that many mustachians would take that same $5 and spend $1 renting a DVD from redbox, $1 on either a cheap beer or a homebrew, and invest the other $3. Now they got to enjoy a movie and a beer and still invest more than half of their money. That the sort of principle at play here.

They also tend not to have a healthy social life.

Preposterous! There are 7 billion people in the world, it is surely possible to find enough other folks who's company you enjoy enough to not need the crutch of expensive entertainment to have a very full social calendar. I could invite 20 people over to watch the above-mentioned redbox movie, and each could bring their own $1 beer. I haven't spent a penny more, they each spent half what I did, and we would all have a roaring good time because we enjoy one another.


But, to the heart of your point, which items you are willing to pay for and which you are not will be a very personal decision. Maybe, after much soul-searching, you decide that you don't want Financial Independence as much as you want to continue to live the way you are now. No one would fault you for that. The biggest thing is just to make that a conscious, well-reasoned decision rather than allowing "what I've always done" to dictate it for you.

arebelspy

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2013, 10:58:02 AM »
Here's the thing. 

People spend all kinds of money on crap that doesn't make them happy and isn't actually important to them.

Figure out what really is important to you, and what really does make you happy.  Then spend money on that, and ruthlessly cut everything else.

Hint: It's probably not dining out AND going to the theatre AND new cars AND latest technology AND manicures AND 100 cable TV channels AND new clothes AND frequent, lavish vacations AND etc. etc. etc.

If dining out is a very important experience to you, okay.  (Though I'd say by doing it less you'll actually enjoy each experience more, so you should still even cut back on that.)  But it likely isn't, you're just being lazy (and using the complainypants excuses of "I work hard" "I deserve it" etc.)

Figure out what actually is important to you.  It's okay to spend money on that. 

But mindless consumption is where the status quo is.  You need to switch to deliberate, conscious spending.
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unplugged

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2013, 11:11:46 AM »
I now socialize with more like minded people and it seems more enjoyable. In the past we knew a lot of people who dropped hundreds every weekend on entertainment. Having said that we still occasionally eat out, see a movie, and buy our kids video games. We even go to the mall once in a while with our teens. Especially if it's 100 degrees outside! We save up various coupons and that makes mall days a fun occasional treat. We got free parfume this last weekend at one.

I watch the show Extreme Cheapskates and to me that's crossed the line. However I do get a tip here and there from those shows.
There is a recent millionaire who refused to repair his leaking home. I believe he placed a tarp over his roof to help the leaks. To me that's over the line. I mean enjoy your last days with no leaks. You can't take it with you. Seriously though it is possible to "hoard" money.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 11:15:15 AM by unplugged »

Nords

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2013, 11:20:31 AM »
However that wouldn't be a very happy existence. People who take that path are called "misers" for a reason. They also tend not to have a healthy social life.
I think you're drawing your conclusions from the popular media.  You'll never see headlines screaming "Minimalist living lightly on the environment, perfectly happy, film at 11!!"  We're only told of the misanthropes and the tragedies.  Or at best, the ones with a book and a reality show.

You're frugal when you're enjoying what you're doing.  You're happy, fulfilled, and doing it as much as you can.  Whatever you're spending money on is aligned with your values.

You're leading a life of deprivation when you're gritting your teeth and getting through this to meet some sort of goal.  You'll be happy when you reach the goal (hopefully you'll reach the goal, and hopefully you'll be happy) but until then you're sweating out the pain. 

You don't have to be one or the other.  You can live your life with a combination of both, and you can switch priorities when you feel that it's necessary.  All that you have to do is think hard about the things that bring you value and then align your spending with them. 

http://the-military-guide.com/2010/12/22/frugal-living-is-not-deprivation/

I can't help you with that phrase "healthy social life".  Healthy for whom?  By what criteria?

Jamesqf

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2013, 11:49:56 AM »
Here's the thing. 

People spend all kinds of money on crap that doesn't make them happy and isn't actually important to them.

Figure out what really is important to you, and what really does make you happy.  Then spend money on that, and ruthlessly cut everything else.

Exactly!  It's the whole value for money thing: what gives you the most happiness per buck?

Then figure in the time factor: we all get only 24 hours per day, so how are you going to spend it to maximize enjoyment?  I actually came at this sort of Mustachianism from the other direction: I discovered that most of the things I really enjoyed doing were pretty cheap, while the spendy things were a lot less fun.

DoubleDown

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2013, 12:47:49 PM »
The core principal that buying things does not equal happiness has already been deftly handled by others. I will also add that getting rid of the absolutely stupid expenses in life takes no sacrifice whatsoever. And they are also frequently the things we spend the most on.

One easy example is debt (particularly credit card debt). You get absolutely nothing out of the money sent to a credit card company to pay interest. It is money flushed down the toilet. And almost certainly the majority of people in our society pay it even though it is wasted money. Eliminating interest payments does nothing to lessen your standard of living, it does the exact opposite.

There are many such examples of mindless costs that can be eliminated with no sacrifice at all. If you're not willing to cut cable, it takes all of 5 minutes to call your cable company or insurance company and politely request/demand a discount, which they will almost certainly grant.

Despite these easy, no-sacrifice ways to cut costs, most of us have found that we actually enjoy saving in other ways that could be viewed from the outside as "sacrifices", but in the end really result in a higher quality of life (like cutting cable and exercising or reading a book instead). Add to that the early financial financial freedom that results from saving, the ability to do whatever we want, whenever we want, without concerns of how to make a living -- then it's a no-brainer choice. I will gladly take retiring at age 30 or 40 over watching yet another "reality" show on cable.

If it matters, I don't think anyone looking at me or talking with me would think I'm a miser or asocial. I don't project that in my looks or my deeds. Probably quite the opposite.

icefr

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2013, 02:17:02 PM »
To me, Mustachianism isn't necessarily about cutting out all of the luxuries, but about cutting out the ones that don't make you any happier.

For example, I have one sport that I play that is a need. You can't take it out of my life and expect me to still be happy. But, while it is in season, that is my primary way of socializing. It does not require effort to not meet friends for happy hour or in restaurants. I recognize that there are only so many days in a week and so I'm not going to take on a new sport when I hardly have enough time as it is.

Another example: do you enjoy books you bought more than books you acquired from the library or for free? I doubt it - it's still the same book.

You might decide that you need internet, but do you need the fastest possible internet? Or you "need" a smartphone, but do you need an unlimited data plan?

I am not a huge fan of eating out, but in moderation, it's not so bad. I'd also rather spend my eating out money going to a delicious restaurant with friends than going out by myself for fast food. But I don't do that very frequently as I'd rather invite friends over and enjoy a great evening with them in my home, for much cheaper and honestly much more fun. Who wants to go to a loud restaurant where you can't hear anything instead of going to someone's home where you can hear what people are saying?

If you enjoy fancy cars, why not just rent one for a couple days here and there? That would probably give you more enjoyment out of it than having to pay to maintain it for years.

So the line is that expenses that make you happier, that you can't live without, are more than worth it. And that is going to vary from person to person.

spider1204

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2013, 02:36:46 PM »
Quote
Quote
Take entertainment, for example. Is it wrong to go to the theater if you really enjoy it? Probably not. What about computer games? They are more expensive, but can also provide many more hours of joy (suppose that the purchases are done in the cheapest way - used games, used PC components, etc). TV? Music? Skiing? Eating out? Etc.

None of these things are "wrong". We're not talking morality here, we're talking opportunity costs. If you spend $5 on a movie, you can't later buy a beer at a bar with the same $5. You also can't invest that $5, or wipe your ass with it. So, what do you want to do with it? None of those options are "wrong", but some will bring you and yours more net happiness than others.

I agree, it's more about for every purchase decision you run into, you should do whatever will make you happiest.  I think almost everyone tries this approach.  It's just that many spendthrifts will make this calculation based on what will make them the happiest in the short term, frugal people will focus on the long term, and misers will just choose the cheapest option.

I think a lot of the stuff on this blog is just about making a more accurate calculation by including things like long term goals, DIY alternatives, hedonic adaptation, health, the future value of money, your personal morals, and all the other subtleties that most people don't address.  Obviously, by calculation I don't mean actually sitting down with a pencil and calculator, only just making an educated guess.  You'll be wrong many times, but pay attention to your make mistakes and you'll get better over time.

Done by Forty

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2013, 04:00:36 PM »
I recently read All the Money in the World and found it to be a good look at the relationship between money and happiness, if not entirely Mustachian:

http://lauravanderkam.com/books/all-the-money-in-the-world/


Crash87

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2013, 04:37:06 PM »
I would say frugal people are good figuring the opportunity cost of something while cheap people just refrain from spending in general.

KimAB

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2013, 05:47:20 PM »
When you say miser I automatically think Ebeneezer Scrooge.  I realize that Dickens was writing propaganda, but the thing that made him pitiable was he hurt everyone (including himself) to get and keep money.

If I could afford the gas bill I'd turn the heat up to 17 and leave it there!  ;-)

arebelspy

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2013, 05:49:57 PM »
If I could afford the gas bill I'd turn the heat up to 17 and leave it there!  ;-)

Wouldn't that only be 63 F?  What do you have it set at now?
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chucklesmcgee

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2013, 07:07:24 PM »
A frugal person allocates money to maximize its utility- avoiding buying things which won't bring them enjoyment, getting things which will make them the most happy at the cheapest possible (discounting for value of time) and saving money (accounting for time they won't have to spend working in the future).

A miser minimizes total expenses at any cost, even if it requires a great amount of time or reduces life satisfaction. A miser will save enormous amounts of money even if he has no intention of ever doing anything with it.

Done by Forty

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2013, 07:26:42 PM »
This reminds me of something my old librarian told me when I asked about the difference between literature and fiction.  She said, "You read literature...it's those other people who read fiction."

KimAB

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2013, 08:06:48 PM »
Wouldn't that only be 63 F?  What do you have it set at now?

15, but if the sun is coming through the living room window I turn it down to 10.  I always wear fuzzy socks or double fuzzy socks, wear a fleece or wool sweater and if anyone is sitting they are under a blanket or two.

Why?  What do you guys have your heat set at?

grantmeaname

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2013, 08:34:38 PM »
62 F, which is 17. Any colder and my roommates and SWMBO would mutiny.

smedleyb

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2013, 08:42:51 PM »
The frugal person saves to live; the miser lives to save.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2013, 08:48:21 PM »
Are you allocating money within your means, with consideration to your future goals and within your larger values? Do your financial habit bring you a sense of satisfaction and increasing freedom? Is your money used consciously (not carelessly) as a tool to increase happiness, freedom, or whatever else you find important? To me, that's frugal, and a trait to be admired.

Are you screwing others or yourself in a narrow-minded quest to save money at all costs for no particular reason other than a pathological inability to spend, even if saving that money is inefficient or inappropriate to the situation? Are your financial tightwad habits actually decreasing your actual freedom or otherwise hindering you emotionally or socially? That's being a cheap-ass bastard and you might want to work on that.

In short, do you control your money or does your money (either spending too much or not being able to spend appropriately) control you?

Nords

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2013, 08:54:57 PM »
Wouldn't that only be 63 F?  What do you have it set at now?
15, but if the sun is coming through the living room window I turn it down to 10.  I always wear fuzzy socks or double fuzzy socks, wear a fleece or wool sweater and if anyone is sitting they are under a blanket or two.
Why?  What do you guys have your heat set at?
"Heat"?

Russ

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2013, 09:11:35 PM »
I like it cold too. My room is in the mid 50s (13°C or so?) and it's the best.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 09:14:59 PM by Russ »

arebelspy

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2013, 09:21:08 PM »
I don't set it to anything.  We have a window ac/heating unit that we sometimes turn on for a few minutes.  It has no thermometer.

Occasionally we turn it on in the summer, but not too often.  Our summer use (in Las Vegas) is definitely less than our winter use.

62 just sounded cold to me based on what I've heard others quote.
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Vilx-

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2013, 12:40:42 AM »
Heh, I don't have any control over the temperature in my flat. :P But it's mostly around 19-20C. When it get's to 18C, it starts feeling chilly. Any lower than that and it's downright unpleasant. I'm surprised that someone can live in 13C. Maybe there is more humidity here - I'm only a few kilometers from the sea.

Anyways, I apologize about that "no social life" statement. The image in my mind was indeed that of Scrooge or something like it, where money saving has reached the level of mental illness. Thank you to those who understood it and outlined the difference! :) I think I have the idea now and will see what I can do in my own life (can't imagine anything yet, but there's bound to be something! :D)

kmm

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2013, 07:13:49 AM »
Wouldn't that only be 63 F?  What do you have it set at now?

15, but if the sun is coming through the living room window I turn it down to 10.  I always wear fuzzy socks or double fuzzy socks, wear a fleece or wool sweater and if anyone is sitting they are under a blanket or two.

Why?  What do you guys have your heat set at?

I've been thinking about this recently. My heating bill was pretty high last month, so I thought I'd try setting the thermostat lower. I set it to 64 and was miserable all week. I get cold pretty easily, and even in multiple layers, a hat and a blanket, I sat around shivering in my house. So I bumped it back up to 68 and will gladly pay my bill next month. Perfect example of spending on what matters to you - I'd rather cut almost anything than be that uncomfortable.

But in the summer I save a fortune because I almost never turn on AC.

AJ

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2013, 09:59:39 AM »
This reminds me of something my old librarian told me when I asked about the difference between literature and fiction.  She said, "You read literature...it's those other people who read fiction."

This :) Every time I hear someone try to differentiate between what is frugal vs. cheap, it always just sounds like "if you spend a little less than me, you're frugal - if you spend a lot less than me, you're cheap."

Jamesqf

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #29 on: March 05, 2013, 12:24:36 PM »
"Frugal" - You don't go out to eat at an expensive restaurant.
"Cheap" - You go to the expensive restaurant, and stick your companion with the bill.

KimAB

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #30 on: March 05, 2013, 02:01:28 PM »
I get cold pretty easily, and even in multiple layers, a hat and a blanket, I sat around shivering in my house. So I bumped it back up to 68 and will gladly pay my bill next month. Perfect example of spending on what matters to you - I'd rather cut almost anything than be that uncomfortable.

It did take us a while to adjust to having heat that low, but if you think about it - people have always lived here and they didn't always have an insulated house!  :-)

You have to eat enough calories to keep warm and get enough liquids.  Hot liquids help, but being well hydrated is the main thing.  The other thing is diet.  You CAN be vegan and manage the cold, but it is a LOT harder and you need a lot more food.  A LOT.  It is much easier to stay warm with higher fat and protein.  I don't really want to start (or get into ) a debate on who has the best food choices.  I've tried everything and Paleo-ish is just what works for me.


mustachecat

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #31 on: March 06, 2013, 12:28:45 PM »
As others have noted here, frugality is about getting the most value and happiness out of your dollar; miserliness is about getting more dollars. Also, misers can never have enough money, while frugal people know exactly how much is enough.

For the most part, I think the dreaded miser doesn't really exist. Okay, I know misers DO exist, but they're really exceptionally rare. I don't know anyone I would describe as a miser, although I know some frugal folks and many spendthrifts.

I think worries about "taking it too far" with frugality are overblown. It's like worrying about exercising too much. Yes, compulsive exercising is totally possible, but the vast majority of people won't ever approach that problem. On the contrary, most people could use a lot more exercise (and frugality).

igthebold

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2013, 02:02:50 PM »
When evaluating my own attitude toward money, I tend to distinguish between frugality and miserliness along selfishness lines. I.e. the miser is selfish with material goods, the frugal person is not. A frugal person will help others with his money, tips well, but does it efficiently, avoids eating out and so on. A miser will place the accumulation and retention of material goods above other things, such as social and family relationships, and perhaps even ethics.

It ends up being a healthy dichotomy for me, since it gives me a rule of thumb I can use to check myself periodically.

travelbug

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2013, 08:36:15 PM »
Here's the thing. 

People spend all kinds of money on crap that doesn't make them happy and isn't actually important to them.

Figure out what really is important to you, and what really does make you happy.  Then spend money on that, and ruthlessly cut everything else.

Hint: It's probably not dining out AND going to the theatre AND new cars AND latest technology AND manicures AND 100 cable TV channels AND new clothes AND frequent, lavish vacations AND etc. etc. etc.

If dining out is a very important experience to you, okay.  (Though I'd say by doing it less you'll actually enjoy each experience more, so you should still even cut back on that.)  But it likely isn't, you're just being lazy (and using the complainypants excuses of "I work hard" "I deserve it" etc.)

Figure out what actually is important to you.  It's okay to spend money on that. 

But mindless consumption is where the status quo is.  You need to switch to deliberate, conscious spending.

This resonates with our philosophy. You still need to live life, but just do it on your own terms.

First you have to figure out what they are and then eliminate or reduce all the other expenses that are just habit.

Then search out the best deals on whatever is left. Honestly, we do not go without anything, in fact we live an amazingly filled life but what other people pay for "stuff" that is lesser quality than I may have chosen just blows me away. They just go in and buy something! I research the deals, the various models/styles, weigh up if we can get away without it, do a zillion calcuations before ever pulling the trigger on anything!

For us, a miser is not paying their way, taking others generosity for granted, never sharing, but most of all having money be more important than friends and family.

We love to travel and that is seen as a luxury by many, and fair enough too; it is. I would never go into debt or starve to travel. But we budget for it and enjoy every last second while there and every second we remember it. I would give up many things before I would give up that "luxury".

Doing stuff like buying coffees out, new clothes/shoes/bags each season, books, music, makeup, flash cars, boats, knick-knacks, eating out, dvds, going to the movies etc. are things I happily forfeit to have our airfares. In fact, I often work out what % of an airfare I could buy with a >>>insert widget here<<<. It's quite fun!


lifejoy

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #34 on: March 07, 2013, 05:21:45 PM »
I use a budget. For me it's a way to save and splurge, all within reason!

I budget for the necesseties, the "needs", and then I have a fun jar. $100 to spend on whatever I want, guilt free! But by setting a limit, it ensures that I don't go crazy.

Good luck to you!

DoubleDown

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #35 on: March 08, 2013, 11:45:22 AM »

I think worries about "taking it too far" with frugality are overblown. It's like worrying about exercising too much. Yes, compulsive exercising is totally possible, but the vast majority of people won't ever approach that problem. On the contrary, most people could use a lot more exercise (and frugality).

Excellent, and too true!

mobilisinmobili

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Re: Frugal vs miser - where is the line?
« Reply #36 on: March 08, 2013, 12:38:59 PM »

I think worries about "taking it too far" with frugality are overblown. It's like worrying about exercising too much. Yes, compulsive exercising is totally possible, but the vast majority of people won't ever approach that problem. On the contrary, most people could use a lot more exercise (and frugality).

Excellent, and too true!

I like that concept a lot.

I love Ramit Sethi's post on this - 

"Personal finance is not about saying “no” to spending on the things you love. In fact, I think people should spend extravagantly on the things they love…but you have to cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t."

If you're already covering what you should - no debt, saving enough, solid financial / retirement plan in place, investments made well.

Again.. don't waste money on things you don't need, are overpriced, won't use. But nothing wrong with spending the 'gravy' (extra cash) on things that you really care about.