Author Topic: Frugality addiction (in a bad way?)  (Read 6080 times)

Dave

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Frugality addiction (in a bad way?)
« on: February 15, 2012, 05:55:20 PM »
Hi fellow Mustachians,

I'm a couple of months into turning my life around from standard dissatisfied consumer drone to bad-ass Mustachian (that's the plan, anyway!). I've gotten wise on groceries. I'm biking to work - to be fair, I was doing that anyway. I've sold or otherwise disposed of a bunch of stuff that I didn't really need - books I hadn't read for years, a GPS bike computer (now there's an extravagance if ever there was one...), spare sports gear, etc. etc.

However, I'm slightly concerned that I've reached a point where getting rid of stuff has become an end of itself. For instance, I think about downsizing my small shoe collection since I have more than one pair of trainers (surely it's better to wear them out myself, since the money is spent?)

I also have a Playstation which I rarely use and almost never spend money on - I own a half dozen classic games which I replay from time to time. I feel like I should sell the console as an antimustachian icon, even though it's not much of a time sink - a few hours a month, and it's not costing anything to own.

I wouldn't *buy* an expensive console now, and a bunch of expensive games, instead I'd try to be productive with my time... but I did, and that's where I am. I'm not sure I would miss it much if I let it go, but I do want to be sure that if I get rid of it, I'm doing it for a constructive reason and not just because I want to live with no stuff (to be honest, I'm detecting more than a little ERE in this, rather than MMM!)

Any thoughts?

Gerard

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Re: Frugality addiction (in a bad way?)
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2012, 06:06:22 PM »
Are those possessions causing you to spend money (on their upkeep or storage)? Are they causing you unhappiness (perhaps through dissatisfaction with other aspects of your life, or creating clutter, or by stealing time from things you'd rather be doing)? Would somebody else get more use or satisfaction out of them than you would? Would selling them garner you money that could be more usefully spent on something else? Or do these objects still offer you joy, utility, or satisfaction?

October

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Re: Frugality addiction (in a bad way?)
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2012, 06:28:13 PM »
I'm on a minimalist path, too, and have given away or sold excess books and furniture that wasn't really being used.  We have all this wonderful space, but we also have some beautiful pieces that, while we may not "need," still add beauty to our surroundings, which makes people who walk into our plain-on-the-outside home and say "Wow!"  Like Gerard said, if it's not causing unhappiness, excess money, and you're still enjoying it, there's no reason to get rid of anything just to get rid of it.  Declutter, yes, but remember that your house is also your home.  It should reflect your personality, not feel like an echoing void.  You have to find the balance.

I have a new Xbox that I bought last year after my old Xbox finally died from years of use.  I have no plans on getting rid of it, and I have a half dozen games that I like to play occasionally (couple times a week for a couple hours), but when this new console finally dies, I will probably not bother buying a new one.

So, enjoy it while you have it, and come back to the question if and when it dies to see if you would care enough to spend the money on a replacement.  And if they fit, use those shoes until they wear out!

MEJG

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Re: Frugality addiction (in a bad way?)
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2012, 06:45:56 AM »
So, enjoy it while you have it, and come back to the question if and when it dies to see if you would care enough to spend the money on a replacement.  And if they fit, use those shoes until they wear out!

+1 to this.  This is how I would view items that are not a money sick and huge time sink.

On the other hand if you wanted to experiment, pack up the game console and the games.  Put them in a box (a free box) and stash it in the top of a closet for a month.  After a month see how you feel. 

I would not get rid of the extra shoes you know you will use when the pair you have in use wears out.

The other question this brings to mind is the TV.  Could you be thinking of ditching the TV, but the console that is not a money/time sink keeps you from selling it?  I would pause to look at your overall motivations and your individual motivations if you are getting to the point that you feel like you are getting rid of stuff to get rid of stuff.

Ben

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Re: Frugality addiction (in a bad way?)
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2012, 08:49:22 AM »
Dave,

Decluttering or frugality? I have found that getting rid of things that I no longer (or rarely) use is often satisfying since it frees up space in my home. Even if it costs me nothing to keep (and gains me nothing to give away) I find it can be worthwhile.

When I travel, I am often productive and relaxed in the evening because everything I brought with me fits in one bag, and the hotel room's tables, shelves, etc. are bare.

It sounds like you enjoy and use your system responsibly though, so I wouldn't worry about it.

tannybrown

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Re: Frugality addiction (in a bad way?)
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2012, 09:15:21 PM »
However, I'm slightly concerned that I've reached a point where getting rid of stuff has become an end of itself.

I get concerned with this as well -- MMM enthusiasts don't need to worry about living too extravagantly, but an obsession with frugality can be a risk.

arebelspy

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Re: Frugality addiction (in a bad way?)
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2012, 09:22:28 PM »
However, I'm slightly concerned that I've reached a point where getting rid of stuff has become an end of itself.

I get concerned with this as well -- MMM enthusiasts don't need to worry about living too extravagantly, but an obsession with frugality can be a risk.

Pretty much any obsession can be a bad thing, but if one is striving towards happiness via less things, more frugality, and more stoicism, I wouldn't worry about them too much.

I'd think most MMM-types wouldn't tip to the crazy hoarder type of extreme frugality or the opposite end.  Reaching a happy middle is indeed possible.

But your warning is well heeded.
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Eristheunorganized

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Re: Frugality addiction (in a bad way?)
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2012, 11:56:07 PM »
Since you're questioning it in the first place, you obviously have some reservations about these items specifically. I find when I'm in a similar situation, I often have a different sort of hangup. Take the game console. Since you have some good memories associated with it, it may be easier to part with if you give it to someone you know would enjoy it as much as you do. Sometimes my problem is that I feel I'm abandoning my stuff, and hence the good memories attached with it.

Just a thought. I would just keep the extra shoes though. How much space can they take?

Dave

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Re: Frugality addiction (in a bad way?)
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2012, 06:34:29 AM »
Thanks for all the responses.

The shoes are, in a way, almost more interesting than the console. The idea that I should pass on one of my two pairs of trainers, even though I have a shoe drawer with space to keep them and the inevitability that the existing ones will wear out, is what really jolted me into considering whether I was going off the rails, decluttering-style.

Where I think I'm hesitating over the console is that it isn't, like most of the stuff I've discarded, something I don't use regularly. Sure, I can easily go for a few weeks without turning it on, but sometimes I play it every other night, or have a day when the wife's not about that I session an old game end-to-end. It's easy enough to get in the mindset of disposing of things that you really don't use (or can substitute, like books), but I'm actually having to try and make a value judgement.

I guess at the root of it, I feel guilty that the time spent gaming is not "productive" time, as though I should always be in a mode of achieving stuff...

MEJG

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Re: Frugality addiction (in a bad way?)
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2012, 06:53:32 AM »
I guess at the root of it, I feel guilty that the time spent gaming is not "productive" time, as though I should always be in a mode of achieving stuff...

We cannot always be in productive mode, it wouldn't be healthy.  Everyone needs time to turn off their brain and unwind.  I personally think some video games that are played infrequently are a fine way to do that.  Others may argue that running, biking, working out of some sort, knitting or some other repetitive but almost meditative task can serve that need.  Sure, those types of things could, but a few hours every few weeks isn't a big deal IMO, but in the end it is up to you to decide where the line lies.