Author Topic: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.  (Read 9755 times)

clara2009

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Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« on: September 21, 2015, 10:10:22 PM »
I grew up with financially saavy parents. They had normal jobs (teachers) in a low cost of living town in the country side. They may be similar to other folks on this board - they come across as everyday folks who make enough to pay the bills, donate to church but don't treat themselves to anything extravagant. I had some suspicion that they were saving very diligently for retirement - but it was only confirmed recently and I was surprised and happy for them.

Their behavior has rubbed off on me - in mostly a good way. I don't eat out, or buy fancy clothes, etc. But sometimes, I wish I wasn't so influenced by their mindset and I wish I had a better understanding of how to apply my parents methods to the circumstances of my generation.  This isn't a formal case study - just want some thoughts on how to balance saving with living an interesting life.

I live on the outskirts of a high-cost of living city (so high cost of living, no public transit options). I'm 29, female, single, and just got a raise as an engineer --> 78k/year - previously at 65k for 18 months. I telecommute - but I'm required to be in this specific area (otherwise I would certainly telecommute from a lower cost of living area). Looking back, maybe I should have played roulette and waited for a few extra months for a comparable job in a lower cost of living area, but I wanted to pay off my small loans and get life started. The training benefits by far make up for the lackluster pay right now.   

In the interest of saving money - I opted not to purchase a vehicle after moving to this area. The problem is that I've become a bit recluse not owning a car - public transportation is not available and I don't have family or any social life in this city. I've walked to all 3 coffee shops and run all the streets of this area. When I took this job - I thought I would maximize my savings by agreeing to telecommute and not having a car. I knew that public transit was non-existent, but I underestimated my social needs. I hate to say it, but I'm terribly lonely.

I go back and forth regarding my intentions to buy a car to broaden and increase my social opportunities - going 15 miles south greatly increases my social options. On one hand, buying a car involves car payments, general depreciation in value, car insurance, maintenance, etc. On the other hand, I'm miserable not leaving a square mile for weeks. No one in this city knows that I exist, I'm not dating and I'm not exactly sure why I'm saving money anymore.

I've talked to my parents and they are blown away that I'm paying $900 in rent that they are quick to mutually agree that buying a car is irresponsible. I'm not sure if they understand housing prices are high in the city and it is going to stay that way. Buying a house here is feels even more daunting. Do single people actually buy a 500k house? Sometimes I think about moving back to the country side close to the family, buying a 100k house and just farming. I'm not keen on changing my job situation as I've only been here 18 months and they are continually putting me through valuable training that will greatly improve my future job prospects. While I'm only at 78k, I'm pretty sure I can end up in the mid 90k within 5 years.

I'm not quite sure what my savings rate will be with my raise. But here are my current stats.

no debt
401k - 28k
Roth IRA - 4k
Checking/Savings 35k
no investments yet

I feel like I'm barely treading water here - which is a little silly. Can someone give me a "virtual" gold star or something? Reading some of these case studies on MM overwhelm me in a way - I feel so behind not having made any headway on adult milestones of having a partner. a car or a house. Furthermore, the retirement cost is proportionally significantly higher for a single female than folks with a partner. 

Long term goal - never rely on someone else financially. And not be lonely.  I'm not sure what I'm looking for here - someone to tell me that my retirement is not in jeopardy just because I spent 10-15k on a used certified car. Or how to balance long term goals (a house?) with short term goals (a car) to keep myself from going crazy. I think it would help if I had a number in mind - like, once I reached XXX net worth, it is ok to purchase a car? I'm not sure I'll ever be able to afford a house in this area with a single income? Would a reasonable goal for me to buy a car this year, focus on maximizing my career field/opportunities and relocate to a lower cost of living area once I can find a comparable position?

Thank you! Just had to get this off my chest to people who may think about similar things?

lostamonkey

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2015, 10:41:46 PM »
Would you consider moving closer to the center of the city so you will be within walking distance from social opportunities? $900 rent with a $78K salary isn't too bad. I also think it's okay to buy a cheap used car if you really feel like you need one. It is normal to feel a little depressed and lonely being in a new city away from your family and friends and without a partner, hang in there.

clara2009

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2015, 10:48:12 PM »
My job requires me to be within 5 miles of a field site during work hours. I could move closer to the city - but I would still need a vehicle to travel to the work site and find a place to telecommute from if I left my apartment near the field site. In the long run, it seems like less wear and tear on the vehicle and less gas to stay close the field site and work from my apartment, and drive on the weekends, than to introduce a daily commute from a more expensive apartment?

Thanks for responding!

Sandia

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2015, 10:54:19 PM »
Hi Clara,

I am in a very different situation, but with a similar ultimate outcome to yours. I've got a partner, but no real career yet, and I don't have any close friends in our city. Loneliness and anxiety suck.

One thing I can suggest is this: get housemates. Housemates mean a bit of required social engagement. Can you get people to move into your place? Can you move in someone else's place nearby with housemates?

Instead, you could spend some of that "car" money to meet people. Do you have any hobbies you could get better at if you took a class? Would you enjoy joining fitness groups or a gym? Can you volunteer for anything interesting nearby? Also, definitely check out the MMM meetup group for your city.

If any of those things seem too difficult or make you feel tired/sad, consider spending money to talk to a counselor. I've been through both mild and moderate depression at various times, and it's a LOT easier to break out of it with help. In retrospect, I wish I'd seen a counselor sooner when I moved to my new city; I wasn't happy for months and months, which just made everything else in my life harder. Now that you've identified that you need more in your life, do something proactive!

FrugalShrew

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2015, 11:26:53 PM »
You totally deserve a gold star for your 'stache! Your finances are in great shape. Despite some of the intimidating tales of financial genius you hear on this forum, you are sitting pretty yourself. The Goblin Chief just had a great post about moving from a mindset of "scarcity" to "abundance" on his blog: https://thegoblinchief.wordpress.com/tag/scarcity/.

It's definitely important to take care of your mental and emotional health, too. Like Sandia mentioned, housemates could be a good option. There may be meetups or activities to get involved in that would help you meet people. You could try to get to know your neighbors. Do you have a bicycle? Would that get you to some of the places you'd like to go?

If all else fails, mindfully spending 10k on a well-reviewed & trusty used car that you will drive for the next 15 years would not be the end of the world. I'm in a city with great public transportation, and I still miss my car sometimes. I have also lived in small, incredibly walkable cities where I walked and rode my bike 90% of the time, but having a car connected me with a lot of people and places that would have been otherwise inaccessible. It may end up being worth it to you, and that's okay.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2015, 11:29:18 PM »
I say get the car. It won't cost you that much in gas since you're not commuting.  And it sounds like you need to break out.
One of my kids was attending college in another city and living off campus. He was using the bus for transportation but unbeknownst to me, developing agoraphobic symptoms because the bus system was so difficult to use.  Once I bought him a used car those symptoms abated (I didn't learn about this until years later).

Buy a good used car, attend some Meetup groups, take a class in something fun. You're doing great financially, time to create a satisfying social life.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2015, 01:06:40 AM »
You could easily get a decent car for $3-5k!! At that point depreciation is nearly non existant, insurance should be dirt cheap, and a 4 cyl. econobox will get great mileage. 

clara2009

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2015, 01:47:28 AM »
Thank you for the response everyone! It was helpful to know that some MM folks would go for purchasing a car. I'll look into purchasing a car over the next 6 months. I might hold off a few months just to push my savings a little more and make an informed decision regarding which car to buy.

marty998

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2015, 01:51:21 AM »
Hi Clara,

Fellow 29 yo, single etc etc... most of you post resonates with me. You should read some of my threads regarding single incomes and paying off bucketloads of housing debt in a high house price city.

Won't say it is easy but it can be done :)

Car won't break you, but will set you back just a little. You'll find now with the increased earnings as long as you keep your costs the same it's all profit from here - especially with future pay rises in the pipeline.

Good luck, hope you find what you're looking for.

jmechanical

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2015, 03:29:06 AM »
Hi Clara,

I am 27, male, single, making $73k per year as an engineer. I also have a similar sized stash (all told about $80k). So, I think you're doing fine.

I pay $900/month in rent as well, still save about 40% of my gross and own a 2012 car I bought new.

I live inside a fairly large city, although not in the hip young people neighborhoods. I am about 15 minutes by car to the city center.

I just want to say, you're not alone in how you feel, I have many of the same feelings and the same goal of not relying on anyone else financially and to not be lonely.

I know what you mean by saying buying a $500k house seems daunting, to me buying anything over $200k seems daunting, I don't believe single people do it. I also understand exactly where you're coming in saying that retirement costs for a single person are higher, it's also harder because you have a single income.

I don't know if you're looking to stay single forever, I myself do not want to be single and hope to find a woman to love, but dating is hard. I feel behind too in that I haven't achieved the adult milestones of having a partner or house. When I look at MMM becoming financially independent when he was 3 years older than me, and my spreadsheets have me as financially independent sometime in my forties as a single person, it gets me a little down.

I moved here about a year ago and still have not really made any friends.

Hopefully you feel a little less down after knowing you're not alone in how you feel. Thanks for sharing your post, it made me feel a little less down knowing somebody else feels a little bit like I do.

Anyway, if I were you, I would absolutely buy a car, like this month. I don't think it is at all unreasonable for you to spend $10k on a nice used car.

I try to volunteer a lot. See if there are any volunteer opportunities in your city. They are crucial for me getting out of the house. I found a great organization that has a very flexible volunteer model and I love it. I literally just googled volunteering [my city] and found them.

Here is to hoping we both find what we're looking for someday.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2015, 03:41:53 AM by jmechanical »

Tigerpine

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2015, 04:33:32 AM »
Clara,

Honestly, I think you're in great shape!  I'm in my early 40's and make less than you, have less saved up, but like you moved to where I am fairly recently for work.  I see the progress I'm making from month to month and feel great about that.  I think you should, too!

As far as wanting to know other people, I wish I could help you somehow.  I don't know anyone where I live outside of work, either.  For me, however, if I ever start to feel down because of it, I think about my longer term plans.  I intend to apply for another position in the company when I become eligible and move someplace I'd like to be more long-term. 

Buying a car like everything else, is a cost-benefit analysis.  If you think it out long and hard and come to the conclusion that the benefits a car would bring to you outway the costs, then you should buy a car.  People here have different opinions on specifics, but I think most of us would agree that the real point is not to have money for money's sake, but rather to have money for the independence and peace of mind that comes with knowing that you live life on your own terms.  The goal is to be efficient with your money to reach your goals.  Therefore, a real-reasoned purchase that actually brings you closer to said goals is always the right choice.

Mongoose

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2015, 07:56:24 AM »
First, I want to agree with all those who say you are doing great.

It can be very difficult to have enough social connections when you are not in a work environment with other people. My social network collapsed when I was downsized and moved. And that is my biggest concern with working from home now. I feel for you.

As for your parents being blown away by your rent...that is understandable...not because it is high for your salary but because they are comparing it to a LCOL area. And rents are pretty high even in those areas compared to what they were when your parents last rented (if they ever did). They may not have enough perspective on regional and economic differences to help much with this decision.

I know this isn't very frugal, but you could rent a car for a couple of weeks to see how you like it. Although, in your position, I would go ahead and buy an inexpensive, reliable used car and look into meet ups or volunteer opportunities in your area. I'm certainly in no position to claim to be a MMM expert, but what I've gotten out of this blog and forum is the concept of maximizing the efficiency of your money use to give you freedom and opportunity. In your case, maybe buying a car would do exactly that.


charis

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2015, 08:47:32 AM »
If I were you, I would by a reliable used, not super old, car.  Don't underestimate how meeting your social needs impacts your mental health.  What's the point of FIRE if you are miserable for lack of a social network?

mm1970

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2015, 09:12:08 AM »
Shoot.  You are an engineer, 29 at $78k?  You don't even want to know how old I was before I made $78k (as a female engineer).  In a HCOL area.

Anyway - firstly, I don't find that rent to be high for your income, especially since you aren't in debt.  Are you sharing an apartment?  That would help bring it down if you want.

Car - you can afford a car.  Get a damn car.  Buy an old-ish beater Toyota or Honda that is good on gas.  Yes you are going to have insurance, etc., but to me it's got to be worth it for the few times a week you would use it to expand your social circle.

In my 20's, I lived in DC.  I rented rooms in houses and apartments, and eventually got my own studio.  I had a small used car.  I ate out way too much.  I was in the military, so I didn't make much money.  Still managed to pay off my college loans in 4 years.

mozar

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2015, 09:14:09 AM »
I bequeath thee a virtual gold star! Your salary is amazing for a 29 y/o. Dating isn't hard, once you learn how to do it. It's a skill like any other. A couple of books that helped me were "Love Factually," and "Data a love story."

jengod

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Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2015, 09:31:41 AM »
(1) HUG. You are so conscientious and you are doing a great job.

(2) Do you have Uber in your city? Ubering feels unmustachian at first but if it's a few times a month to get to outings and dates it's probably much cheaper than car ownership all in.

(3) Online date

(4) Find a class or a club or a volunteer org that means something to you and meets weekly at least and Go. Even if there is a membership or materials fee. (Gasp!) Once you are out of school you have to rebuild a social framework. It helps a lot to have a primary activity on which you can hook the secondary activity: relationship building.  IMHO the key is the weekly meetings so people have time to become familiar with you and you are eventually able to be vulnerable with them.

(PS check out Brene Brown's TED talk on vulnerability. It is key for this kind of stuff.)

(5) Another vote for housemates or roommates. My husband bought this house as a bachelor. He lived in the master closet, shared a bathroom with a guy in the main bedroom, and rented out the other bedrooms. The rent helped cover the mortgage he was stretching to afford and he loved having live-in humans.


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« Last Edit: September 22, 2015, 09:44:45 AM by jengod »

Britan

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2015, 09:41:16 AM »
Here is another gold star.

Also, commiseration on feeling overwhelmed. I just spent all of Monday complaining to myself that I'll never be financially secure in time to have kids, and I will never be able to save up enough to buy a house where I want to live, and will never be out of debt and everything is terrible. So in saying the following, I know it's easier to say than feel and do.

The whole point of all of this mustachian business is to buy yourself freedom. But freedom to do what? Raise kids? Be an artist? Work at nonprofits? Play video games all day? Hell if I know what that looks like for me, so don't feel like you're alone if you don't know what that looks like for you just yet. But it will help to think some about what you want your life to look like. Some starting points:

- You sound like you want to be more social, make friends, date, and so on
- You sound like you want better access to things to do in your area

Once you can define those things, you can find a way to do them, without spending too much.  If it's worth doing, it's worth finding a way to dig deeper and find deals.

Do you decide to get a car? That's fine. Maybe get an older used one for $5k instead of 15, pay cash and get liability only insurance. Or is there a way you could bike places? Maybe invest in a good bike.

Do you decide to get into the dating scene? Join meet ups that revolve around free activities like hiking. When you find someone to go on a date with, suggest similarly free activities.

Do you decide to move into the higher COL area? Split a house with roommates. You may find this makes it even cheaper than living by yourself at the edge of town.

Do you decide that none of these things is more important to you in the long run than quitting your job early? Also ok. Spend (or don't) accordingly.

In some ways you have it easier than if you were attached, since you don't have to coordinate your wants with someone else's. And you can screen for people while dating whose priorities match up with yours.

Easye418

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2015, 09:51:27 AM »
Your finances are in check.  You make a great salary for yourself. 

It seems like you have social desires that you are not fulfilling.

My sister must feel the same way, she has the want to have a husband, family, house, social life, etc. and in my opinion, she is WAY too picky or she just doesn't really understand what she values in a spouse.  As the youngest of 3 (6 and 3 years younger), I am the highest educated, make more money, only one married, closest to children, only one to own my house, and seem to understand "how life works".

What I am getting at is I think the word isn't overwhelmed, but is frustrated.  It is possible that your current social/career/location is causing lack of social connection and causing you to feel this way. 

Don't give up your happiness and goals in life so you can retire at age 42 instead of 45. But thats my two cents, I don't really care about retiring early, but rather, financial independence.  Would I enjoy retiring at 50?  Sure.  Do I need to?  Probably not.

« Last Edit: September 22, 2015, 09:54:58 AM by Easye418 »

Argyle

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2015, 10:03:42 AM »
I'd suggest that the thing you need most right now is a group of friends, and whatever reasonable thing you can do to help that, you should do.  Finding a boyfriend/partner does not wholly solve the problem of social isolation, and indeed it can make you overdependent on one person, which makes it hard to break away if they turn out to be a bad match.  And who finds the right partner straight out of the gate?  So you need a group of friends to have a social life and support system.  And that will buoy you up, which will make finding a partner easier, plus it could well be that amongst that group of friends is the partner you're looking for.

My suggestion would be to get involved in some group activities that you'll enjoy, either things you already like or things you might like.  Canoeing or kayaking groups, biking, running, photography, political activism, pub quizzes, dance, music-making ó whatever you've enjoyed in the past or might find enjoyable if you dipped your toe in.  It takes a while to make friends and feel wholly comfortable in a group, but don't take the initial awkwardness for anything but a temporary stage.  And if you need a car to get to events, go ahead and buy a sensible car.  There's nothing that saving money is for other than leading a fulfulling life.  So go for it.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2015, 10:08:42 AM »
Please buy the car!

And go to social stuff even before you have a friend network to do it with: it's not 'ideal' to go to a concert or play or whatever alone but it beats being stuck alone in your house all of the time.

Dating can be daunting. Doesn't mean don't do it, just remember it's supposed to be fun: if it isn't...move on.

Like everyone else has said, you don't need to ask us for the gold star: financially, you've earned it yourself already.

But you do need to be happy. Whatever that takes. And whatever that costs.

Eric

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2015, 10:14:15 AM »
Yes, buy a used car!  Take some of that $35k in cash, say $7k or so, and buy a decent used car.  It doesn't sound like you'll drive much, so you'll be able to sell it for most of that in a year or two when you find a new job that doesn't require you to live way out in the suburbs.

The car is a baby step.  But if I were you, my goal would be moving into the city.  That's where things happen.  The far suburbs is no place for a young single person, as you can tell.

NotJen

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2015, 10:40:28 AM »
Do you have the option NOT to telecommute, and work in an office with other people?  I would never choose to telecommute, no matter how much money it saved me, because I need the social interaction I get at work.  Even though I'm not big on wasting time being social (you won't find me chatting in another co-worker's office), I find the professional interaction and focus I get there to be a big benefit.  And I do hang out with a group of friends that work for the same company, but that I don't see on a daily basis - they're a nice addition to my social circle.

I think roommates might be something to look into - you could move somewhere more expensive and social, but with roommates your total cost could be lower.

Are there really no social opportunities in your immediate area?  Nothing goes on at the coffee shops you can walk to?  Check your local library for book clubs.  Check Meetup.com for groups in your area.  Volunteer somewhere.

If you really can't find a way to be social in your situation now, then I do think you would be fine financially getting a car.  You have $35k saved - $10k would buy something decent, no need for a loan.  Insurance and gas should fit within your income, but you don't really mention your expenses.

Sibley

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2015, 01:06:47 PM »
You have $35k in cash. Buy a used car. Get your parents to help you pick one out if you don't feel comfortable doing it alone. Then get out of the house.

lbmustache

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2015, 02:02:01 PM »
You sound miserable. Buy the car, go out, have fun. You're only young once. :)

FWIW, I earned $35k (gross), had a 2009 Jetta (paid for), rent was the same as you ($895) and was able to manage everything and still save money. No student loans, had some CC debt (~$4k) which has now been paid off.

I live in a HCOL area too, more or less the the greater coastal Los Angeles area. I am having a hard time fathoming how a $5k-$8k car wouldn't be possible with $35k in savings and a $78k salary :O

rubybeth

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2015, 02:24:17 PM »
You have $35k in cash. Buy a used car. Get your parents to help you pick one out if you don't feel comfortable doing it alone. Then get out of the house.

Totally agree with this. With $35k in cash, go buy a used car. Both of our used vehicles were under $8k. Insurance and gas for used cars is cheap, especially if you don't have to use the vehicle for commuting to work. I mostly walk to work and use my car for errands/the gym and seeing friends/family, and I put in about one tank of gas per month. It's very cost effective. I also like the idea of maybe NOT telecommuting, at least sometimes--are there meetings or things you could go into the office to participate and meet people?

Absolutely avoid car payments and don't buy a new car--there's no need for it with what little driving you'll be doing.

Also, to be totally honest, $900/month for rent doesn't sound too terrible for a larger city. My sister lives in the twin cities metro area of Minnesota, and her rent is about the same. If you are thinking of buying, don't look at single family houses--look at townhomes and condos as an option as long as you're single.

norabird

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #25 on: September 22, 2015, 02:43:33 PM »
Find roommates in the actual city and you'll have a built in social network, easy access to social activities, and possibly an even lower housing cost. Voila!

TVRodriguez

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2015, 03:07:59 PM »
I try to volunteer a lot. See if there are any volunteer opportunities in your city. They are crucial for me getting out of the house. I found a great organization that has a very flexible volunteer model and I love it. I literally just googled volunteering [my city] and found them.

This is a great idea.  [Not sure if I should put this, but DH & I met through a volunteering activity. YMMV]

And, as everyone said, you're doing great!

MrsPete

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2015, 03:10:05 PM »
So, to summarize, your career is on track and thriving, you're living frugally ... but you're not satisfied with your social life and think you could "do better" if you either had a car or lived nearer the city. 

I think you should do one or the other.  You can afford it, and I do agree that either one of those would help you become more social (and happier).  I'd lean towards the car. 

One of the things about having been raised frugally is that -- even when you can afford something -- it's sometimes hard to allow yourself to spend. 

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2015, 03:12:28 PM »
We might be able to offer more help if we knew what city you were near. Each city has its own attributes. Three generic suggestions: 1) Do NOT buy a house yet, and maybe not for a long time. Home ownership is a long-term thing. 2) Try meetup groups in your area. See if there's one nearby. If not, see if you can share a ride with someone. 3) Try online dating. One of my friends has had a lot of success meeting nice guys this way, and she is 60!

I also agree with others here that a car is not a bad idea in your situation.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2015, 04:31:58 PM »
Yep, buy a car, but do NOT buy a house. Maybe in a few more years you'll get a great opportunity in a LCOL area. You don't seem like you love where you live, so why lock yourself into it?

There are just some places to live where it makes sense to have a car.

clara2009

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #30 on: October 03, 2015, 03:09:48 PM »
I thought I would provide an update! First off, THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to write. I was really overwhelmed at the time of writing the post Ė so it was really helpful to read all of your suggestions!

I got a car! I feel a little silly announcing it on the forum, but that was the original dilemma of the thread. I paid $1000 for a 2000 ford focus with 150k miles - I'm not sure if it gets the mustache seal of approval though. This could be a learning experience! The coworker I purchased it from gave me receipts to show that it had a new battery, new (used) transmission and alternator and tires in the last 18 months. Here is the catch, he sold the vehicle because the AC stopped working and the emergency brakes didnít work. The cost to repair the AC and the emergency breaks was more than the worth of the car. I agreed to buy it knowing these flaws. So far, I havenít had any issues. The lack of AC will not be an issue 8 months of the year, but it gets hot in California in the summer. I drive a rental car during work travel - so I can tell the engine/acceleration is sluggish. I took it to a mechanic and he told me the bottom was pretty rusty and the vehicle spent a few years in a snow somewhere, but it was in a good shape otherwise. He actually said he wanted to buy the vehicle off of me in a year if I move on to another vehicle. I'm tickled pink at my deal, but a part of me recognizes that an older vehicle comes with risk and I really don't like how it feels at high speeds on the highway, so I only take backroads. I can tell it is a lightweight vehicle. For now, it will take me to my destination 15 miles via back roads - at 32 mpg! I have much to explore now and I'm hoping to make it last for a good year or two, and keep saving aggressively?

For now, it feels like a temporary fix to improve my social life. I still need to figure out career and location goals Ė so this might hold me over until I do another cross country move.

In response to the other questions/suggestions on this thread.

Roommates Ė I do have a roommate in my apartment. I didnít mention her as we have completely separate lives. Using her vehicle is not an option and I respect that. She is kind lady, but we arenít friends Ė but it works fine for us. The rent for a 2 BR apartment is 1700 a month, I pay 900. I did a year of renting a room in a house, and but the savings is not worth the general discomfort (room cost was 800/month). 

Just wanted to say that Iíve been reading the books and post and TED talks that you have all mentioned. THANK YOU! Now I have to take baby steps and heading out to a meetup. Iím leaning toward waiting until the holidays are over to join a dating website though?

For those who know about cars - do I need to worry about overheating if the AC doesn't work?
 
Thanks again!

Exflyboy

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #31 on: October 03, 2015, 04:10:34 PM »
OK engineer here with 30 years experience.

I was about 37 or 38 with 160k mortgage debt.

18 years later I had $1.5m stash and no mortgage (house paid for). My salary was similar to yours at your age. Got married at 39 and my Wife about $28k during that time.. So a little different but not that much.

Of course you don't need $1.5m to retire as a single person either..:)

My advice would be to look for a job every 2 to three years. So many companies will pay incoming staff more money but keep their existing staff flat or on minimal raises each year.

Only way to resolve this is to get out there and be prepared to move.

The other point is.. Your an engineer.. There fore you can buy some tools and learn how to fix and maintain cars.. The car I drive now cost me $350.. yes a miilionair driving a $350 car.. Brings a smile to my face..:)

Now.. not wishing to sound sexist here but.. a smart female engineer who can rebuild an engine will have a line of guys stretched around the block waiting to make their introductions...:)

I have never sent  car to a mechanic for any reason (except tire alignments)... ever.. and I still don't.

But  I see you bought the car.. good move, I would have done the same.

The car will not overheat without AC.. Maybe you can figure out whats wrong with it as your first project.. Hint.. Google is your friend..:)

My journal with some financial details is shown below.

All the best.. you have a bright future ahead of you.


clara2009

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #32 on: October 03, 2015, 04:38:21 PM »
I was actually thinking about taking auto classes - they offer them at the local community college 15 miles away! Thanks for posting and reminding me to consider other job options from time to time!

Exflyboy

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #33 on: October 03, 2015, 04:46:05 PM »
I don't know what field your in of course but it is anything close to large infrastructure then you should have your P.E. license.

My Linked-in profile gets me a lot of enquiries mainly because I am a PE..:)

rmendpara

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Re: Is my mindset is unhealthy? I'm overwhelmed.
« Reply #34 on: October 03, 2015, 09:34:46 PM »

Now.. not wishing to sound sexist here but.. a smart female engineer who can rebuild an engine will have a line of guys stretched around the block waiting to make their introductions...:)


^What this person said. I'd be standing in line for 24 hours the night before on a snowstorm like people do at Apple stores if I knew a smart lady engineer who could fix a car. :)

Glad you decided to get a car. $5k/yr (likely less, you bought an awesomely cheap car and won't spend much operating it either) isn't worth giving up your happiness. I lived without a car for around 6 months since I thought I could get by just borrowing a friend's. It worked when needed (weekly grocery/errand trips), but it was isolating to feel stuck for anything else. I ended up getting another car. Luckily, or unluckily, I ended up getting transferred to a new office 20 miles away from current one, so I would have had to buy one very soon after anyway.

Rent and transportation is a killer. Not sure why you're struggling financially, since with rent at only $900/mo, and barely spending anything on your car, I would think you're able to put away $2k+ per month in savings, probably more? More if you save some in the 401k. Even in a high cost place like California, seems you should be taking home ~$4.4k (California, http://www.paycheckcity.com/cokronos/netpayCalcResult.asp).

You are indeed correct, it's difficult to buy a home in a high cost area, since even the down payment on a 500k home means you need 100k cash! That's tough! Honestly, unless you plan to stay there, it's probably best to just rent for however long you work there, and then pocket the savings, and then pick up and move to a cheaper area after you get some experience and can get a better job with a comparably low(er) cost of living. Can't beat that!