Author Topic: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?  (Read 6304 times)

InternationalStache

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The same? More lax? More strict?

This is something I've been pondering the past few weeks, as our own stache has grown to levels where the daily market swings are often many thousand dollars - it was easy when we were buried in debt to avoid that cup of Starbucks but these days I'd be lying if the temptation to occasionally indulge in one isn't there, as spending the few extra bucks just seems increasingly trivial.

Thoughts/perspectives very welcome.

netskyblue

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2015, 02:47:18 PM »
I feel the opposite.  It's gotten easier for me to resist.  In the beginning, I'd basically rebel, telling myself I'd sacrificed X, Y, and Z, and so I was for sure not gonna give up A!  I guess my frugality muscle has gotten stronger, and now I'm happier (or, at least, no less happy) with less.

I was just looking over my annual average monthly spending for the last 3 years (since embarking on this whole frugality thing).

2012 - $2950
2013 - $2460
2014 - $1871
So far 2015 - $1585


$1871 last year.  More than a thousand dollars a month less than 2012.  And I still spent a crapton on STUFF (hobbies, etc).  And plenty on eating out, too.  I had no budget for those things previously.  This year, I do.  And it's less than half what I spent last year.  And I'm having no trouble sticking to it!

deborah

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2015, 02:51:06 PM »
I always saved a lot of my earnings. Being Australian, when I bought a house, it had a reasonably large mortgage, and it was difficult to keep up with it at first (especially as it kept going up). This led me to be very frugal and to put everything I had into the mortgage (or at least think I did - I did a little investing during this time, so I mustn't have).

Once the mortgage was finished, there was suddenly a lot of money coming in that wasn't allocated. At that stage I started being more lax. I should have invested it all.

Emilyngh

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2015, 03:06:02 PM »
The same? More lax? More strict?

This is something I've been pondering the past few weeks, as our own stache has grown to levels where the daily market swings are often many thousand dollars - it was easy when we were buried in debt to avoid that cup of Starbucks but these days I'd be lying if the temptation to occasionally indulge in one isn't there, as spending the few extra bucks just seems increasingly trivial.

Thoughts/perspectives very welcome.

I would say that I'm neither more lax nor more strict when I want to buy something, but I actually want less.

I see it coming from less of a perspective of "scarcity" than before makes me want less.   In addition to the stache, this is aided by feeling like I've moved beyond an "accumulation of stuff" phase.   

For example, before I felt like we didn't have "adult" furniture and accessories and I was always looking forward to moving to a larger house, so I felt like we had to get more and more and was always on the hunt.   Now, I'm looking forward to downsizing, I feel like we've gotten more than enough furniture/curtains/pillows/stuff as we've been accumulating, and I feel confident that if I wanted something I have more than enough money to buy it anytime I want which kind of takes away from the thrill/urgency.

I still buy things.   But, since I'm out of an accumulation and scarcity mode, I'm more selective about what we get.   I want to make sure that it'll last for years, won't clutter up our house, that I'll really enjoy/use it every day.   

I used furniture/decor as an example (which may not be the type of small expense you were referring to), but the same mentality holds for clothing (I've gone to a capsule wardrobe of nicer clothes that I often find used), treats and eating out (too lazy and since it just doesn't feel like such a luxury I'd rather eat at home), electronics (I'm tired of storing of them getting outdated and cluttering our house), etc.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2015, 03:07:56 PM by Emilyngh »

G-dog

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2015, 03:39:13 PM »
I feel the opposite.  It's gotten easier for me to resist.

This is the case for me too. But I do tend to get obsessive. I even find it hard to use gift cards.

Dee 72013

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2015, 11:26:14 PM »
The same? More lax? More strict?

This is something I've been pondering the past few weeks, as our own stache has grown to levels where the daily market swings are often many thousand dollars - it was easy when we were buried in debt to avoid that cup of Starbucks but these days I'd be lying if the temptation to occasionally indulge in one isn't there, as spending the few extra bucks just seems increasingly trivial.

Thoughts/perspectives very welcome.

I would say that I'm neither more lax nor more strict when I want to buy something, but I actually want less.

I see it coming from less of a perspective of "scarcity" than before makes me want less.   In addition to the stache, this is aided by feeling like I've moved beyond an "accumulation of stuff" phase.   

For example, before I felt like we didn't have "adult" furniture and accessories and I was always looking forward to moving to a larger house, so I felt like we had to get more and more and was always on the hunt.   Now, I'm looking forward to downsizing, I feel like we've gotten more than enough furniture/curtains/pillows/stuff as we've been accumulating, and I feel confident that if I wanted something I have more than enough money to buy it anytime I want which kind of takes away from the thrill/urgency.

I still buy things.   But, since I'm out of an accumulation and scarcity mode, I'm more selective about what we get.   I want to make sure that it'll last for years, won't clutter up our house, that I'll really enjoy/use it every day.   

I used furniture/decor as an example (which may not be the type of small expense you were referring to), but the same mentality holds for clothing (I've gone to a capsule wardrobe of nicer clothes that I often find used), treats and eating out (too lazy and since it just doesn't feel like such a luxury I'd rather eat at home), electronics (I'm tired of storing of them getting outdated and cluttering our house), etc.
This is how I feel as well, I have all the things I need for my home and only buy something now if it's a replacement. As for clothes I try to buy off season now and anticipate what I'll need for the next year to save money. I have a hard time going into a store and finding something I can't live without. I'm past the collecting age and less is more. We probably spend more at the Home Improvement store than anywhere else and eventually we'll have projects done and that will be cut back significantly. I've never understood the lure of Starbucks but enjoy dinner out occasionally. I try to grocery shop every other week and get all my errands out of the way and then stay out of stores.

deborah

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2015, 11:41:55 PM »
Thinking about it more, once I was going to retire early, I became more conscious of small expenses and eliminated as many as possible, but since we have been FIRE we just don't go places where there are shops most of the time. We don't have a television. We don't have workmates who are showing us what they have bought all the time, so we aren't pulled into consumerism.

ender

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2015, 08:38:24 AM »
I feel the opposite.  It's gotten easier for me to resist.

This is the case for me too. But I do tend to get obsessive. I even find it hard to use gift cards.

Gift cards are a gateway into "well I don't really need this but I have the money" type of thinking.


Retire-Canada

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2015, 08:53:42 AM »
The same? More lax? More strict?

Thoughts/perspectives very welcome.

I'm pretty strict these days even though I share the same temptation to spend more freely as I see the 'stach grow more per month than I can earn at work.

What's tempering my spending is that I haven't hit my FI goal of 4% NW = Annual COL.

Once I do I will definitely spend a bit more as long as my annual investment return is above 4%.

One difference is I don't think I'll go back to small indulgences like $5 coffees. They never really made me happy.

What I will do is spend on bigger items like a new computer or a trip somewhere nice.

I'm growing my 'stach really hard at the moment by using the infrastructure I paid for in spendier days. Like all infrastructure it will eventually need maintenance upgrading. 

My expectation is that I'll hit FI before I need to buy a new computer, new vehicle or do any major repairs to my house. But, those are all things that will have to happen at some point.

-- Vik

G-dog

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2015, 09:46:20 AM »
I feel the opposite.  It's gotten easier for me to resist.

This is the case for me too. But I do tend to get obsessive. I even find it hard to use gift cards.

Gift cards are a gateway into "well I don't really need this but I have the money" type of thinking.

Exactly - I won a $10 Starbucks gift card. I had given up Starbucks on the MMM path, so this was a challenge, even though it was free onto me. Weird. But having to buy something you really don't value much anymore feels so wasteful (vs. decadent).

caliq

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2015, 09:49:46 AM »
I feel the opposite.  It's gotten easier for me to resist.

This is the case for me too. But I do tend to get obsessive. I even find it hard to use gift cards.

Gift cards are a gateway into "well I don't really need this but I have the money" type of thinking.

Exactly - I won a $10 Starbucks gift card. I had given up Starbucks on the MMM path, so this was a challenge, even though it was free onto me. Weird. But having to buy something you really don't value much anymore feels so wasteful (vs. decadent).

Same -- we got a $50 PetSmart gift card from my MIL for Christmas because she knew we used to spend excessive amounts of money there.  I hadn't gone in months by the time the holidays rolled around and we totally forgot about the card until this weekend...I stockpile treats and stuff from cheaper places now, so I ended up just taking one of the dogs to get their nails trimmed and using up the rest on cat litter, which at least I don't have to worry about going bad. 

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2015, 10:24:25 AM »
I feel the opposite.  It's gotten easier for me to resist.

This is the case for me too. But I do tend to get obsessive. I even find it hard to use gift cards.

Gift cards are a gateway into "well I don't really need this but I have the money" type of thinking.

Exactly - I won a $10 Starbucks gift card. I had given up Starbucks on the MMM path, so this was a challenge, even though it was free onto me. Weird. But having to buy something you really don't value much anymore feels so wasteful (vs. decadent).

Things like that make excellent re-gifts, FWIW. Either that or make it less decadent- invite a friend to coffee and use it to cover both of you. That way it's more of an experience and less of an indulgence.

mrshudson

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2015, 11:45:56 AM »
I feel the opposite.  It's gotten easier for me to resist.

This is the case for me too. But I do tend to get obsessive. I even find it hard to use gift cards.

Gift cards are a gateway into "well I don't really need this but I have the money" type of thinking.

Exactly - I won a $10 Starbucks gift card. I had given up Starbucks on the MMM path, so this was a challenge, even though it was free onto me. Weird. But having to buy something you really don't value much anymore feels so wasteful (vs. decadent).

This is definitely me as well. Re-using stuff that I don't need but have the money anyway. It's definitely easier to resist. By far the biggest "spending" category, as I commented on another thread, are taxes.

anon-e-mouse

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2015, 06:42:00 PM »
For me, it's not so much the dollar amounts.
Yes, our NW will fluctuate with the market, but now that I'm just more aware, I spend carefully.

I see cars on the freeway that cost way too much, but only move you from point A to point B.
I see people going to very fancy restaurants to eat food that is much less nutritious than what my wife prepares.
I see my friends repeating the same mistakes that I have done all my life and will always "struggle".

My perception has changed and with careful planning, so will my reality.

Gerard

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2015, 07:33:04 PM »
As my monthly needs shrink and my income grows, I'm definitely more lax about small expenses -- or more accurately, small differences in prices. But because I have most of what I need and I'm more efficient, I'm getting farther and farther ahead in spite of myself.

Jesus Christ

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2015, 07:58:28 PM »
I am more strict, At the end of the day I consider this whole spending thing just a game in life. And I never want to lose.

If you pinch the pennies, the dollars pinch themselves. quote from Jeff Yeager the ultimate cheapskate

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2015, 09:10:15 AM »

This is the case for me too. But I do tend to get obsessive. I even find it hard to use gift cards.

My parents gave me money earmarked for a specific, frivolous expense.  I had a HORRIBLE time actually spending it.  It was especially difficult, because I knew I was "wasting" the money, but also, I had no option NOT to do that, because taking someone else's money for a certain thing and then using it for something else is dishonest.

So, by being generous, they really put me in an awkward situation...


We are actually still rather strict about small spending, but more lax about medium things.  Spending $5 is not something I do much. But if I want to spend $100 I don't think that much about it.  But it's because I'm frugal, and don't want to do that very often.  (Whereas I probably would go out to eat daily if I let myself. So I don't let myself.)



« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 09:39:19 AM by iowajes »

Debtless in Texas

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2015, 09:14:48 AM »
Quote
Exactly - I won a $10 Starbucks gift card. I had given up Starbucks on the MMM path, so this was a challenge, even though it was free onto me. Weird. But having to buy something you really don't value much anymore feels so wasteful (vs. decadent).

This too, is how I feel about about that kind of spending. As we save more and more it gets easier to avoid spending and consuming on wasteful things. That is how we see them...wasteful. It's not fun to go shopping, it's not fun to go out to eat - we have more fun BBQing and drinking some solid home brews.

ioseftavi

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2015, 09:30:55 AM »
Echoing some of what you said, I would say I've gotten a lot more lax, mostly because my "wants" have gone way, way down, and my baseline spending has gone way, way down. 

If I want to buy lunch one day per week, or if I want a computer game, I buy it.  If something that I know I planned on buying is on sale and represents a good value, I buy it.  Some of you have called this "values based spending", which is a term that I like.  It feels much more like I'm simply spending according to my values - not spending based on a budget.

G-dog

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2015, 05:38:52 PM »
Quote
Exactly - I won a $10 Starbucks gift card. I had given up Starbucks on the MMM path, so this was a challenge, even though it was free onto me. Weird. But having to buy something you really don't value much anymore feels so wasteful (vs. decadent).

This too, is how I feel about about that kind of spending. As we save more and more it gets easier to avoid spending and consuming on wasteful things. That is how we see them...wasteful. It's not fun to go shopping, it's not fun to go out to eat - we have more fun BBQing and drinking some solid home brews.

Yes, that is fun. I just bought ribeye steaks at Costco, they are about an inch thick! Not quite grilling season here yet, but we will have one of these for dinner (1steak for two people)

rocketman48097

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Re: Has your attitude toward small expenses changed as the stache grows?
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2015, 08:55:33 AM »
Yes and no.  I would say no, over the last few years, I have told my wife not to worry about buying cheap groceries for example, or spending some money on vacations.  However, recently I have done the math and I can retire at 43, now 38.  In order to get there, we will need to cut back, to be on the safe side. 

So, now that retirement is closer, I have reverted back to the cut cost lifestyle.  Cable is getting slashed today, something we should have done a LONG time ago, but I have been weak and we lived like kings over the years, to the detriment of my future self.  With a net worth of 1M, though, we could afford to be a bit sloppy.