Author Topic: Spendthrifts Anonymous  (Read 2196 times)

le-weekend

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 62
Spendthrifts Anonymous
« on: June 29, 2017, 07:40:42 PM »
I recently emerged victorious from a 20+ year battle against overspending, under - saving, and a reliance on credit that kept me in debt my whole adult life. I feel like a spindly legged newborn colt when it comes to money management, and wondering if there are other newbies here for whom being frugal isn't always so easy?

The good news: I have automatic payroll deduction to 401k, and about $250/mo via direct deposit into a savings account for small emergencies like a broken fridge or minor dental work (now at about $1,000 total and hopefully only growing; still a little shaky on learning not to "borrow" from it). I've learned to budget so I can live a perfectly nice albeit modest lifestyle within the rest of my take home pay.

The problem now? I lack confidence about permanently shifting my attitudes and habits toward spending and saving,  since as a lifelong spendthrift it feels like a huge victory just to have attained my lightweight version of frugality.

MsPeacock

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1554
  • Location: High COL
Re: Spendthrifts Anonymous
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2017, 07:46:24 PM »
Welcome!

It has been a process for me. I was never super spendy, but I also wasn't particularly good at saving. In flow and out flow were pretty equal. Putting almost everything on auto pay, auto invest, etc helped a lot. This board helped a lot. I'm not nearly as frugal as some here - but it is a balancing game for everyone here about choices and priorities. I made some major changes - traded in clown car for paid off car, for example, that have had a major impact.

Rosy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2128
  • Location: Florida
Re: Spendthrifts Anonymous
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2017, 09:35:13 PM »
LOL - ex- spendthrift in MMM disguise here:)
It's called Spendthrifts Anonymous, because we need help and a support system, as in forever and a day. My prescription - hang out in the challenge threads and the badass threads - it is bar none the best place to flex your untrained frugality muscles.

Just get over yourself right now and accept the possibility that you might well trip and fall in the future. It will not be the end of the world, you will dust yourself off and start over - ONE DAY AT A TIME.
You will be in good company and you will find that you are not alone in taking one step at a time.

Show up for your daily dose of MMM to strengthen your resolve and remind yourself why you are here.
Focus on your goals - keep going over your expenditures and rejoice in the little victories, that you can share in the threads like "What did you do today to save money?"

I know all about fragile and scared - like you are now. It is only natural, since you are now attempting to navigate in enemy - NO - I mean frugal friend territory for the first time. You'll be fine, if it is important enough to you. It is smart to realize that some paths will never take you to your desired destination - so let's take a different road!
Most of us ex-spendthrifts struggle occasionally, so what? You get better, you get stronger and one day you notice that you only blew it once or twice a year instead of all the time.

Remember MMM can be rough and tumble and face punches are part of the twelve step program here:) You made it this far, you are good to go!:)
Sometimes we take it on the chin too:)
It is all a learning curve - so good luck on your journey!

I recently emerged victorious from a 20+ year battle against overspending, under - saving, and a reliance on credit that kept me in debt my whole adult life. I feel like a spindly legged newborn colt when it comes to money management, and wondering if there are other newbies here for whom being frugal isn't always so easy?

The good news: I have automatic payroll deduction to 401k, and about $250/mo via direct deposit into a savings account for small emergencies like a broken fridge or minor dental work (now at about $1,000 total and hopefully only growing; still a little shaky on learning not to "borrow" from it). I've learned to budget so I can live a perfectly nice albeit modest lifestyle within the rest of my take home pay.

The problem now? I lack confidence about permanently shifting my attitudes and habits toward spending and saving,  since as a lifelong spendthrift it feels like a huge victory just to have attained my lightweight version of frugality.

Stop right there - never compare yourself with others on this board. Let them inspire and motivate and most of all educate you, but you are not them.
Everyone here has different challenges, income, health and skills - perspectives and lifestyle.

Congrats on having recognized and acted upon - one of the most important frugal principles that as a newly minted Mustachian with an ex-spendthrift mentality - you absolutely must adhere to..... automatic deductions are your best friend.
If you think you will be tempted by $1000 sitting there, accessible to you - open a savings account at another bank, preferably one that will give you 1% interest. 
Remove temptation:) whenever and wherever you can. There will be plenty other opportunities to succumb to - so think about how to minimize exposure. That is your new MO.

Focus on the results you want to achieve - visualize them and think about your next victory. Do you know what your values are? what is important to you on a deep down honest level? and what kind of lifestyle is comfortable-uncomfortable-acceptable to you, now and/or in the future?

My motto is, "I'm re-directing my money". It reminds me that it is still my money and I am in control - I decide where to put my money and where my own values lie.
Natural savers don't quite understand some of our struggles - let them roll their eyes and feel virtuous:). It's OK, I wish I was in that camp, but it is not in my nature.

Test the waters as to what works for you and revise your plans and goals along the way. Roll with it, enjoy your life, because you are now on the road to becoming an awesome Mustachian who can figure out how to live a good life completely on your own terms.

Welcome to MMM:) le-weekend - enjoy the ride.

birdiegirl

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 96
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: Spendthrifts Anonymous
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2017, 08:48:52 AM »
Congratulations on your success!  You've already made a great shift in your mindset and now that you've seen the positive results that will help keep you motivated to continue.

I was in exactly the same boat you were. Had a good salary but spent it faster than it came in..lots of credit card and student loan debt, no savings, etc.  Once i was able to pay off my credit cards my whole attitude shifted.  It was huge relief and gave me the feeling that I was in control of my money and my future for the first time in my adult life. 

You're already doing the most important thing - pay attention to your finances and think about your spending.  That was the most important key for me -just awareness and conscious decision making.   I'll probably never be super frugal but I no longer spend mindlessly and that made the biggest difference in turning around my finances. 

prognastat

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 781
  • Location: Texas
Re: Spendthrifts Anonymous
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2017, 08:58:16 AM »
I've always been pretty frugal, but I think a good piece of advice is what Rosy and freshstash said on making sure the money isn't available.

If possible have your money taken out of your paycheck before it is deposited in to your bank account using things like HSA, 401ks etc. If it never makes it to your account it can't be spent. If this isn't available or you make so much that there is still money left after maxing out all options of taking money out before it hits your account set up something that automatically withdraws the additional funds the moment they are deposited in to your bank account.

If you have difficulty not spending the money don't put it in a bank account that is linked to your account with a debit/credit card. At a minimum put it in a savings only account that you need to manually transfer from one bank to another which takes a little time instead of the instant transfer from savings to checking on the same account/bank.

TL;DR
If you have trouble not spending the money put up barriers to being able to spend over your budgeted amount.

le-weekend

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 62
Re: Spendthrifts Anonymous
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2017, 10:01:03 AM »
Rosy and others, thank you so much.
Rosy there was poetry and wisdom in your words!

Yes to many of the tricks mentioned -- I have figured out some of those and been relieved at the small victories. I am happier on a "short leash" and have gotten so much better with delayed gratification. Ironic how I was more inclined to spend / overspend when I was in debt. It's like the despair kind of made me reckless.



Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 08:40:12 PM by le-weekend »

Bicycle_B

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1821
  • Mustachian-ish in Live Music Capital of the World
Re: Spendthrifts Anonymous
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2017, 03:13:56 PM »
@le-weekend, I spent some time participating the group Debtors Anonymous; I hope this forum is anonymous and person to person enough a venue to say that. 

From my experience there, your story sounds familiar.  Most of the people there (I would NOT tell any individual's story) had persistent debtor habits and recurring debt situations.  I felt a little out of place as a "time debtor" who only rarely had patches of financial debting instead of using other resources. 

IMHO a significant portion of forum members arrive in debt and it takes years to dig out.  At the same time, there appears to me to be a difference between someone who has compulsions and personal issues that are the dominant factor, vs someone who just used to spend a lot and now that they realize there's a reason not to, it's RELATIVELY easy to stop.  Some of the forum members are in the latter category.  Most of the DA people had a much harder time emotionally, where the new behavior involved a lot of "slips" as a previous poster said, and a great deal of emotional effort is required to establish the new habits.

I think that due to Mr. Money Mustache's own writing style, there's a lot of casual denigration of "spendy" behavior as senselessly foolish.  Maybe it is, but to me that disrespects the level of difficulty that it sounds like you're having.  I don't know how many people on this discussion board have that, but more power to you.  Please find a way to stick around without taking the comments too personally.  Your journey does fit in here, and I hope you stay. 

le-weekend

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 62
Re: Spendthrifts Anonymous
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2017, 08:51:40 PM »


@le-weekend, I spent some time participating the group Debtors Anonymous; I hope this forum is anonymous and person to person enough a venue to say that. 

. . .

I think that due to Mr. Money Mustache's own writing style, there's a lot of casual denigration of "spendy" behavior as senselessly foolish.  Maybe it is, but to me that disrespects the level of difficulty that it sounds like you're having.  I don't know how many people on this discussion board have that, but more power to you.  Please find a way to stick around without taking the comments too personally.  Your journey does fit in here, and I hope you stay.

Bicycle thank you so much. I attended a  DA meeting twice and had an ambivalent reaction to the format, the efficacy, and how I felt afterwards. I do feel my issues were largely emotional but somehow I didn't quite fit in with a lot of the DA members either. I appreciate you mentioning the possible implications of "spendiness" as a character flaw. Yes that can be tough but I take it all with good intention and a grain of salt!

Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk


Rosy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2128
  • Location: Florida
Re: Spendthrifts Anonymous
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2017, 09:03:22 PM »
Rosy thank you so much!  There is loads of wisdom in your words! Yes to many of the tricks you mention -- I have figured out some of those and been relieved at the small victories. I am happier on a "short leash" and have gotten so much better with delayed gratification. Ironic how I was more inclined to spend / overspend when I was in debt. It's like the despair kind of made me reckless.



Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk

Actually, there is research that proves exactly that - one is more inclined to overspend when in debt and despair. It freezes your brain and your decision making skills drop down to zero.

I'm sure as an ex-spendthrift you've been all over the internet and the bookshelves trying to find the magic answer. There is a rather obscure, now out of print book, called "How to get what you want in Life with the Money you already have", by Carol Keeffe. It was eye opening and changed my perspective forever.
Written before computers and the digital life were all encompassing, it is now outdated, but, the principle remains the same and can still be executed exactly the same. I think that book is the bomb when it comes to spendthrift mentality - it shows you the way. "Simple yet revolutionary ideas for reaching your dreams while still paying the bills".

@le-weekend, I spent some time participating the group Debtors Anonymous; I hope this forum is anonymous and person to person enough a venue to say that. 

From my experience there, your story sounds familiar.  Most of the people there (I would NOT tell any individual's story) had persistent debtor habits and recurring debt situations.  I felt a little out of place as a "time debtor" who only rarely had patches of financial debting instead of using other resources. 

IMHO a significant portion of forum members arrive in debt and it takes years to dig out.  At the same time, there appears to me to be a difference between someone who has compulsions and personal issues that are the dominant factor, vs someone who just used to spend a lot and now that they realize there's a reason not to, it's RELATIVELY easy to stop.  Some of the forum members are in the latter category.  Most of the DA people had a much harder time emotionally, where the new behavior involved a lot of "slips" as a previous poster said, and a great deal of emotional effort is required to establish the new habits.

I think that due to Mr. Money Mustache's own writing style, there's a lot of casual denigration of "spendy" behavior as senselessly foolish.  Maybe it is, but to me that disrespects the level of difficulty that it sounds like you're having.  I don't know how many people on this discussion board have that, but more power to you.  Please find a way to stick around without taking the comments too personally.  Your journey does fit in here, and I hope you stay. 

Good points! I think that MMM can't relate to us spendthrifts, because he never was nor ever will be one. Doesn't make his advice any less relevant, just harder to follow for people like me who are wired differently. That's all.

This is a super cool forum, still there are lots of viewpoints I disagree with and sometimes I'm a bit shocked, but hey, that is a good thing. One needs to hear and be aware of the other side:)
I can choose the posts that inspire me and ignore those that upset me and engage in whatever catches my eye or interest.

One does the best one can - what else is there? Really, quitting a forum, because you can't hack criticism is a bad idea. Work through your issues and emerge victorious. Analyze why it made you defensive or mad or whatever. Go hide for awhile and lurk if you must, but you'll find it is helpful in the long run.
It is astonishing to see the variety of backgrounds and perspectives on this forum, there is no way I'd want to miss out on such a gem.

You are right about the "casual denigration":), but that is because they have no idea how folks like us think and why we act so emotionally driven. They just look at us like those people under the bridge - "What's wrong with you that you don't get it?"
Well, we can and do get it, but not in the conventional and rational way and there will always be a small part of us that has to be honored and nourished and petted and indulged with a little extravagance on occasion. It's vital to our well being:)

Debtors Anonymous would not quite apply to me, but still I am a spendthrift with troublesome emotional money issues. In my case it means I have a built in barrier of 10K of debt. I fall apart the second things are tight and I see numbers past $10K. My highest debt over three cards was $16K in sixty years.
It happened because I became ill and had no savings - sad, stupid and a long story with lots of twists and turns and thank goodness - only temporary.
That's when that little obscure book above saved my financial life and my sanity.