Author Topic: Frugality and Life  (Read 4071 times)

TheKurgen

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Frugality and Life
« on: May 18, 2015, 09:19:38 AM »
Hello

First time poster, part time reader. I have some questions that I think only this community would have the ability to answer. I believe my current views on finances do not match with my current situation and I am looking for some guidance/help.

At the beginning of last year I started discovering personal finance blogs and reading about the typical stuff, contribute 401k match, Roth IRA, emergency fund, etc. until I stumbled upon this site and others regarding early retirement. Since then I feel I have become obsessed with socking away as much money as I can in retirement accounts and just in general trying to achieve 50%+ savings rate.

The dilemma I am facing is that I currently live with two roommates, one whom I've lived with for five years now, Don, the other two years, Jon. The household is a typical roommate situation, we all have individual accounts and we don't really share our expenses or information on a regular basis. However I do know that Don makes around $30,000 annually and Jon makes $40,000 annually.

I guess the issue I am having is that I think my roommates are partial spendthrifts, but not in the typical manner, I don't believe; I don't know maybe you guys could clarify? For example Don loves diesel vehicles so much so that he has purchased three 1980's Mercedes-Benz diesel cars in the past year and a half. Jon himself has three vehicles, his Malibu, his uncles F150, and an Isuzu Rodeo for a winter vehicle. That part I understand is not very mustachian. The other part though is we have a lot of tools since both of them like to tinker and buy things at the junkyard to fix and repair, albeit to just keep and sit at the house, not to sell to other people. I can see part of that as mustachian, but I'm not sure.

Now going back to what I mentioned previously, I've been trying to save a good chunk of my money because I would like to retire early and buy my freedom, however, I am finding it difficult to maintain that goal while watching my friends enjoy what they are doing. At the same time though I keep reminding myself that with the viewpoints I have heard from them regarding money I unfortunately see them working for most of their lives to support their hobbies. I guess this is the part where I need to ask for some help from like minded people. Also I am trying to keep this post short as there are quite a bit of details I have left out; if more details are needed I can definitely provide them. There's just too much to put into words right now.

So mustachians, how can I handle this situation?

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.




Kaminoge

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Re: Frugality and Life
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2015, 09:50:05 AM »
You can mind your own business?

Honestly I'm not sure what your issue is. Your housemates like to spend their money on stuff they enjoy. You've decided you'd rather save more of yours. If you start spending less they might notice and express interest and you could then explain your goals to them (without passing any judgement on what they do). If they're not interested then you just go as you are. You set your goals, you control your own behavior.


Kris

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Re: Frugality and Life
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2015, 10:00:22 AM »
It seems to me that you've got two 'issues' here.  The first is that you think your roommates are spendthrifts.  Which they probably are.  And you know what? That has nothing to do with you.  At all.  So, your solution to this problem is that every time you see them spending money in ways that are foolish, you say to yourself, "That has nothing to do with me."  Repeat as needed until the urge to change them or act upon their choices in any way has passed. 

The second problem, I think -- you haven't really articulated this very clearly, so I'm just interpreting -- is that you are watching your friends spend and you're jealous that they get to spend so freely while you feel like you "can't".  You have the roommate version of the urge to "keep up with the Joneses."  Well, here's the thing about mustachianism.  It's not only about squirreling enough money away so that you are free from having to work until you're old and gray (RE).  It's also about Financial Independence (FI) -- and the "Independence" part of this is freedom from being enslaved by consumerism -- and also from being enslaved by meaningless wanting.  The freedom that comes from not needing to judge your own life by someone else's yardstick. 

I'd suggest you read this MMM blog post:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/04/14/how-to-make-money-buy-happiness/

And also, make sure when you're done with that, to click on the hyperlink in the article that says "we are just buying feelings."

What you want is never a thing.  It's a feeling.  Learning to recognize what the feeling that you're attaching to the thing is, is part of getting free of thinking that things will make you happy.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 11:28:20 AM by Kris »

Chrissy

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Re: Frugality and Life
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2015, 10:07:59 AM »
You've been buying Financial Freedom like crazy, but, now that you see your roommates having fun, you have buyer's remorse.

Sounds like you need to blow off some steam.  Pick ONE thing you've been denying yourself, and go ahead with it.  A movie?  Shoes?  Drinks at the bar with your buds?  A game?  A new phone?  Spend the money, scratch the itch, and then get back on track to your overall goal of financial freedom/retirement.

Building a 50% savings rate takes time, so give yourself some breathing room as you gain immunity against the spending disease that infects so many people.

TheKurgen

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Re: Frugality and Life
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2015, 11:15:04 AM »
Thank you for the replies everyone.

I also had the feeling that most of this is internal; I'm not afraid to admit my views are skewed, this is mainly why I asked for help and I thank you. I have a hard time not trying to associate myself in their situation because I'm surrounded by it every day. It also doesn't help when my opinion is asked on the decision of a purchase they made.

I don't push my financial beliefs or learnings on to them, but I do feel frustrated because when I feel I've found a better way to do something it's hard to not think why other people haven't discovered this way. I like my friends and maybe that's part of my problem is that because I care so much about them it's bumming me out. It's just crappy knowing that while they are having fun now because they believe they need to spend money on everything now, I've learned from their financial beliefs and habits that they'll have to continue to work at jobs they don't like until they retire and if they do, they won't be able to fuel their spending.

horsepoor

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Re: Frugality and Life
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2015, 12:05:28 PM »

Now going back to what I mentioned previously, I've been trying to save a good chunk of my money because I would like to retire early and buy my freedom, however, I am finding it difficult to maintain that goal while watching my friends enjoy what they are doing. At the same time though I keep reminding myself that with the viewpoints I have heard from them regarding money I unfortunately see them working for most of their lives to support their hobbies. I guess this is the part where I need to ask for some help from like minded people. Also I am trying to keep this post short as there are quite a bit of details I have left out; if more details are needed I can definitely provide them. There's just too much to put into words right now.

So mustachians, how can I handle this situation?

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.

So the question is, are you enjoying what *you* are doing now, or are you living like a pauper so that you can buy your freedom?  And when you do, what will you spend your time doing?  Ostensibly you don't plan to buy a bunch of vehicles in the future, so why are you envious of your friends buying vehicles now?  If you're not enjoying life because there is a hobby you're abstaining from, that would really make your working years happier, maybe re-examine your goals and decide if buying some current happiness is worth working an extra year or two.  Or pick up a side hustle to earn extra money and accelerate your FIRE date and take up any extra time you might spend stewing of your roommates' spending habits.

Retired To Win

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Re: Frugality and Life
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2015, 04:22:39 PM »
... I've been trying to save a good chunk of my money because I would like to retire early and buy my freedom, however, I am finding it difficult to maintain that goal while watching my friends enjoy what they are doing...

As far as I'm concerned, frugality should not hurt.  I practice, as I think most mustachians do, what I call frugality without sacrifice.  I make that work in part by doing instead, not doing without.  And the reinforcer is that being frugal makes me feel good.

If being frugal is not making you feel good, or if -- even worse -- you are feeling deprived, then you probably need to have a serious talk with yourself about just how much of a savings rate you can live with in the longer run.  But don't base the talk on what your roommates do with their money.  You are on a different planet now.

Good luck.

ender

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Re: Frugality and Life
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2015, 07:07:24 PM »
Why are you obsessed with saving money?

I think a lot of folks find MMM, start saving every single possible penny immediately because the math makes sense and quitting working sounds AWESOME etc without realizing that early retirement is not THE goal.

It's a means to an end, that being better life satisfaction.

There will be times when spending money is a better means to that life satisfaction than saving it all. That's ok. You aren't betraying MMM if you go out for drinks and spend $15 with a good friend. Or have a hobby that costs some money. Those things can add value to your life, too. If your savings rate drops some in a month because you spent money on satisfying life enhancing things that's ok.

The thing with these forums and MMM's blog is that everyone has different things that spending money on which others find meaningless. Or pointless.

Pursuing FIRE doesn't and shouldn't mean that we slave away at our jobs and don't do anything we want until we get there.

vagon

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Re: Frugality and Life
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2015, 07:50:06 PM »
What you want is never a thing.  It's a feeling.  Learning to recognize what the feeling that you're attaching to the thing is, is part of getting free of thinking that things will make you happy.

This.
I gave up soft drink when I first found this forum. What I realised was when I think I want a soft-drink or something, inevitably its because I want a break from work not because I want to guzzle some sugar.
Seems to me that you are either bored or you really enjoy mechanical work.
If its boredom just find something cheap/free and do that as a hobby. If its mechanical work specifically ask if your roommates need a hand or would mind you helping given you cant afford to spend money on cars. Or if you can actually make money of the things you fix, do that and set a good example while earning money from your hobby.

former player

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Re: Frugality and Life
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2015, 01:15:22 AM »
Can you help your roommates turn their expensive hobbies into a money-making side hustle?  Someone who likes fixing up junkyard cars and get them running should be making money not spending it.   Perhaps you could research and take on the job of selling the fixed-up cars for a cut of the proceeds?  It would be a win for all of you.