Author Topic: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?  (Read 2171 times)

Omy

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Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« on: January 21, 2020, 02:34:48 PM »
When I was young and frugal, I was teased for being "cheap". Now that I'm FIREd, it seems that it's become more mainstream and is an admirable trait. Has society changed? Is it that I've "found my people" as I've gotten older? Have I just become more thick-skinned and confident - or has the tide turned a bit?
« Last Edit: January 21, 2020, 04:41:30 PM by Omy »

Here4theGB

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2020, 02:44:21 PM »
Certainly hasn't gotten cooler in my neck of the woods.  Big trucks, big houses, and big debt still reign supreme. 

DadJokes

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2020, 03:17:52 PM »
I think it's all about who you surround yourself with.

Society as a whole has most likely not changed, as far as frugality goes. Per the BEA, the average personal savings rate was 7.9% in November 2019 (most recent month on record). That isn't substantially different than prior periods.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2020, 03:27:31 PM »
Not that I've noticed. Everyone still thinks I'm a weird poor person.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2020, 04:41:31 PM »
I blame the internet.  You used to be a weirdo.

Now we can be weirdos together here.

Or we can blame the boomers, a whole generation got snookered and took out a whole pile of student debt. which could encourage frugality.

RFAAOATB

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2020, 07:30:48 PM »
Iím willing to bet instead of being honestly cooler, itís a coping mechanism for the fact that a lot of people are poorer than their parents were at that age.  If you canít make the big bucks, you got to find some way to accept having less.

eyesonthehorizon

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2020, 09:54:39 PM »
Iím willing to bet instead of being honestly cooler, itís a coping mechanism for the fact that a lot of people are poorer than their parents were at that age.  If you canít make the big bucks, you got to find some way to accept having less.
This has been my observation, too. And yet a lot of the spending on stuff has just transitioned to big ticket "experiences" - e.g. cruises or international trips - for lower-middle class people I know. All told, if they're going to be paycheck-to-paycheck either way, it's probably the better purchase, going from the research.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2020, 10:08:08 PM »
I donít think itís gotten cooler, I do think the younger generation has less and for them frugal is every day living.

Malcat

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2020, 05:09:18 AM »
It's absolutely gotten cooler in my circles where I live.
Especially among higher earning, younger women, I've really noticed a precipitous drop in large diamond rings and handbags that cost thousands, which are still ubiquitous among the older female professionals I know.

I talk very openly about my frugality and working very part time and the older professionals tend to be morbidly fascinated/horrified, but the younger ones tend to be more envious.

The older ones say "I could never live that way"
And the younger ones say "I wish I could live that way"

habanero

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2020, 06:15:34 AM »
It's absolutely gotten cooler in my circles where I live.


Ditto, but in my part of the world buying less stuff etc is more a byproduct of  increased focus on consumption for environmental reasons. If the same amount of money ends up being spent, just on other shit like eating fancy dinners more often etc I don't know.

A few news stories about people who save a lot or have turned around their spending habits and gotten back control over their personal finance is starting to pop us as well. We also have our local "MMM" with a blog (albeit of a much lower quality), a podcast etc which has quite a lot of followers and gets some news coverage.

It probably helps somewhat that Norway has not been a very rich country for a long time, so many grew up and still have parents who still know how to make a paycheck last and didn't spend much.  But on the flip side consumer debt and persons struggling / not being able to pay that is increasing at a rather alarming rate, so there is still a very long way to go.

k9

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2020, 06:39:21 AM »
Might be linked to the acknowledgment of global warming and the fact that eternal growth is not gospel anymore. Being frugal is not equal to being cheap / poor / weird anymore, it now fits the trendy zero waste / travel less / save the planet lifestyles.

2sk22

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2020, 07:41:14 AM »
Interestingly the Swiss bank Julius Bšr published its annual "Global wealth and lifestyle" report. In it, they say

Quote
As we delved deeper into patterns of consumer behaviour, a key finding emerged. Baby boomers are passing on their money and the influence of a younger generation is being felt Ė one that cares about the planet and knows its consumer power.

We therefore highlight the theme of ĎConscious Consumptioní Ė the growing desire among consumers to balance their buying decisions with their social, environmental and political convictions. This began with the millennials, but the baton has definitely been passed down the generations now. Even Generation Alpha is getting involved, as I know from personal experience.

Material possessions are no longer the ultimate goal. Todayís consumers prefer to spend in a more measured, sustainable and responsible way. To this end, we interviewed thought leaders, from chefs to wellness experts, and their insights reveal that responsibility and profitability can work hand in hand.

To be sure, this is a bit of a humbug but at least they give some lip service to the notion of sustainability.

GoCubsGo

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2020, 08:13:36 AM »
Not where I live.  Yes status things like super fancy handbags, cars and jewelry may have gotten "tacky", but it's definitely been replaced by SUPER elaborate vacations, sending junior to the best colleges and all the tutoring, "mission trips" and college resume builders that go along with it.  Instead of fancy clothing, now it's fancy athletic leisure gear (I've made a killing on Lululemon stock because it's all I see at my gym). 

ColoAndy

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2020, 09:19:26 AM »
Not from what I see.  It seems that those who don't spend every dime they make and aren't in debt up to their eyeballs are looked at as weird or "privileged". 

J.R. Ewing

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2020, 09:48:57 AM »
Not from what I see.  It seems that those who don't spend every dime they make and aren't in debt up to their eyeballs are looked at as weird or "privileged".
I've noticed similar.  My Boomer parent's generation burned that paycheck on fancy cars and sparkly stuff.  My generation is much more likely to spend on experiences like vacations and foody restaurants.  In the end, it will make them happier than the Rolex and BMW crowd, but they'll still be broke none the less. 

DaMa

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2020, 10:09:04 AM »
I'm with AnnaGrowsAMustache.  Everyone thinks I'm poor and weird.  And I'm quite all right with that.

Wolfpack Mustachian

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2020, 10:20:11 AM »
I think the discrepancy is that people overall still aren't following through with frugality any better and thus still are miffed by people who have and have gotten good results because of it. However, the concept itself has gotten cooler, so certain individual frugal actions aren't looked down on as much on the whole.

minimustache1985

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2020, 10:38:28 AM »
I donít think itís gotten cooler, I do think the younger generation has less and for them frugal is every day living.
This is my observation as well.  Those of us that do well can pretty easily fly under the radar when our friends/family are as or more frugal than us out of necessity.  Our relative affluence is noted in small ways; for example I keep pistachios out for snacking (healthy and needing to shell them keeps me from overdoing it) and my sister joked I have ďrich people foodĒ because she canít afford that kind of stuff in her grocery budget.

Zikoris

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2020, 10:47:04 AM »
I don't know about frugality in and of itself, but a LOT of the actions associated with frugality seem to be considered cool these days, that didn't used to be. Examples:

- When I was in my late early/mid 20s, a lot of people seemed to think cooking and meal prep were pretty lame, whereas now it's super trendy and people post pictures of their fridges filled with tupperwares on social media.
- Tons of people are going vegetarian/vegan these days, and getting in to the whole zero waste thing.
- It seems really trendy to be outdoorsy and into stuff like hiking now. When I was growing up, right through my early 20s, that was still sort of weird and tomboyish for girls.

DadJokes

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2020, 10:55:05 AM »
I donít think itís gotten cooler, I do think the younger generation has less and for them frugal is every day living.
This is my observation as well.  Those of us that do well can pretty easily fly under the radar when our friends/family are as or more frugal than us out of necessity.  Our relative affluence is noted in small ways; for example I keep pistachios out for snacking (healthy and needing to shell them keeps me from overdoing it) and my sister joked I have ďrich people foodĒ because she canít afford that kind of stuff in her grocery budget.

I make decent money and still can't justify shelling out (pun intended) for pistachios.

We sat awkwardly while some friends recently told us of all the non-negotiables that they can only get at Publix after we mentioned that we do most of our shopping at Aldi. When they complained about money 30 minutes later, my wife and I looked at each across the room and laughed.

From my experience, people seem to believe that they deserve a certain level of lifestyle and yet will still complain about how student loans or low income keep them from getting ahead.

Cranky

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2020, 11:04:33 AM »
No, I donít think so. 10 years ago, when people were really scared about money, more so.

But I donít live in a fancy pants neighborhood, so I know a lot of people who are frugal by necessity.

minimustache1985

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2020, 11:58:28 AM »
I donít think itís gotten cooler, I do think the younger generation has less and for them frugal is every day living.
This is my observation as well.  Those of us that do well can pretty easily fly under the radar when our friends/family are as or more frugal than us out of necessity.  Our relative affluence is noted in small ways; for example I keep pistachios out for snacking (healthy and needing to shell them keeps me from overdoing it) and my sister joked I have ďrich people foodĒ because she canít afford that kind of stuff in her grocery budget.

I make decent money and still can't justify shelling out (pun intended) for pistachios.

We sat awkwardly while some friends recently told us of all the non-negotiables that they can only get at Publix after we mentioned that we do most of our shopping at Aldi. When they complained about money 30 minutes later, my wife and I looked at each across the room and laughed.

From my experience, people seem to believe that they deserve a certain level of lifestyle and yet will still complain about how student loans or low income keep them from getting ahead.
Are all nuts too spendypants to you then?  On sale or at Costco they work out to about $6-7/lb here and the IME the act of shelling makes them last longer than buyung almonds/walnuts/pecans/cashews for slightly less.  That said itís certainly not a non-negotiable item, if they arenít on sale they donít go in the cart lol.

Iím also curious what level of lifestyle you find people to consider themselves entitled to.  Paying rent, buying groceries, owning a used reliable car in areas where public transit is horrible, having internet/Netflix seem reasonable to me, but Iíll roll my eyes with you at those that go to Disney every year or ďneedĒ a new SUV and then bitch about money.  We are expecting #2 in a few weeks and Iíve had multiple people from multiple generations ask if we are replacing my perfectly fine 09 Matrix (spoiler: weíre not) because they think I need a bigger/safer/newer vehicle.

GuitarStv

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2020, 12:00:31 PM »
Trick question . . . was it ever uncool?

DadJokes

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2020, 12:31:49 PM »
I donít think itís gotten cooler, I do think the younger generation has less and for them frugal is every day living.
This is my observation as well.  Those of us that do well can pretty easily fly under the radar when our friends/family are as or more frugal than us out of necessity.  Our relative affluence is noted in small ways; for example I keep pistachios out for snacking (healthy and needing to shell them keeps me from overdoing it) and my sister joked I have ďrich people foodĒ because she canít afford that kind of stuff in her grocery budget.

I make decent money and still can't justify shelling out (pun intended) for pistachios.

We sat awkwardly while some friends recently told us of all the non-negotiables that they can only get at Publix after we mentioned that we do most of our shopping at Aldi. When they complained about money 30 minutes later, my wife and I looked at each across the room and laughed.

From my experience, people seem to believe that they deserve a certain level of lifestyle and yet will still complain about how student loans or low income keep them from getting ahead.
Are all nuts too spendypants to you then?  On sale or at Costco they work out to about $6-7/lb here and the IME the act of shelling makes them last longer than buyung almonds/walnuts/pecans/cashews for slightly less.  That said itís certainly not a non-negotiable item, if they arenít on sale they donít go in the cart lol.

Iím also curious what level of lifestyle you find people to consider themselves entitled to.  Paying rent, buying groceries, owning a used reliable car in areas where public transit is horrible, having internet/Netflix seem reasonable to me, but Iíll roll my eyes with you at those that go to Disney every year or ďneedĒ a new SUV and then bitch about money.  We are expecting #2 in a few weeks and Iíve had multiple people from multiple generations ask if we are replacing my perfectly fine 09 Matrix (spoiler: weíre not) because they think I need a bigger/safer/newer vehicle.

I've only known a few people who live on the bare essentials with only minor indulgences, whether due to necessity or not, even going back to when I was a low-income hourly employee. Usually it's just people being unable to distinguish the difference between a want and a need.

One example is an ex-girlfriend who lived in a single-wide trailer-house and had to take care of her aging and disabled mother. However, she also had seven dogs and smoked a pack a day. It's difficult to listen to people complain about money when you can see where a lot of it goes.

partgypsy

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2020, 12:59:40 PM »
It's a generational thing. From the 50's onward, having more and better than your parents was aspirational and permeated the US culture. Whether it was houses, cars, electronics, etc. And that was REALLY obvious in the 80's where conspicuous consumption was the ethos and reflected everywhere from big hair and shoulderpads to big cars, and even the tv shows (lifestyles of the rich and famous, Dynasty, Fantasy Island, Loveboat). Compare that to the tv shows of the 70's which were set in modest working or middle class apartments and homes. I don't think we ever recovered from the 80's in people's "ideas" of what their life should look like, based on how interiors of even minimum wage or working class people's look like in tv shows, and the fact that the Kardashians have literally made millions from simply being "aspirational" (fake fake fake)

So, maybe we are seeing a slight reversion. But it lives alongside love of huge suvs and trucks including coal burners and strange youtube videos of people doing things like filling entire bathtubs full of candy, glitter, etc just to see what it looks like.   

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2020, 01:09:34 PM »
I remember that my grandparents were deeply impacted by the great depression during their formative years and it shaped many of their frugal habits. In their later years, their kids (my parents included) thought they barely scraping by, and boy were they ever wrong. It wasn't called "stealth wealth" back then, but they had it.

To a lesser degree, I think we are now seeing the impact of the great recession on people in the younger demographic so frugality is becoming slightly cooler.

minimustache1985

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2020, 01:27:21 PM »
doing things like filling entire bathtubs full of candy, glitter, etc just to see what it looks like.
This sounds like an absolute NIGHTMARE. 

@DadJokes your ex-GF sounds like my sisters ex-H.  Thankfully they never combined bank accounts as sheíd have been even worse off, still ended up with some debt because he didnít contribute to things like diapers and daycare since he ďcouldnít afford itĒ but somehow always had beer and vaping stuff.  He was so pissed when the judge ordered him to pay half the CC debt (sister opened a CC for the daycare to charge and daycare was literally the only charges on it) and told all his friends how unfair it was he had to Ēpay her billsĒ- hope his mistress is happy with him!

caleb

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Re: Is being frugal getting "cooler"?
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2020, 09:31:25 AM »
I don't know about frugality in and of itself, but a LOT of the actions associated with frugality seem to be considered cool these days, that didn't used to be.

I mostly agree, but I'd qualify the position to say that what I see being "cool" (i.e. what people glorify and/or aspire to) isn't frugality per se, but more of an urban eco minimalism composed of:

- Housing with fewer square feet, but with much higher quality finishes, in a beautiful/exclusive/expensive location.  The house or condo might be small, but there's a Wolf range in the kitchen, you know?  It's 800 curated square feet.

- Families with fewer children, but raising those children is a bonfire of resources.  Did you know that Patagonia makes a onesie snowsuit?

- Meat might be murder, but fresh citrus from the Park Slope Co-op isn't cheap either.

- Driving to work isn't cool.  Much better to take the train or an Uber if it's too inclimate to ride the $6000 carbon road bike.  The $4500 Danish e-cargo bike is only for the farmers market on Saturdays.

This is all a different form of consumption from generations past, but in practice I don't think it's all that frugal in many cases.  People are still spending bunches of money, it's just according to a different value set.