Author Topic: How to 'relax' about money?  (Read 10870 times)

kyanamerinas

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How to 'relax' about money?
« on: August 28, 2014, 12:47:24 AM »
I'm getting married in October and in the course of more detailed financial/other discussions, my partner said it would be good if I could relax a bit more about money.

we met as students and obviously money was tight so we watched every penny. we both had budgets and stuck to them. neither of us is profligate with our money even though we are now both working full time. we do go to the pub once a week but only go to the cinema and eat out a few times a year.

we don't currently live together but i have created a budget based on expenses over the last few years. it would allow us to save roughly 50%. he's happy with it but told me to stop stressing. my plan is to automatically move savings to the appropriate places, move the money for annual/irregular expenses to one account and keep the cash for monthly expenses in our main account.

even before he said this i've been trying to relax a bit about money because i know we're doing really well for our age (mid-20s). we love our jobs and aren't currently aiming for super-early retirement (probs 55). but whenever i take cash out or there's a new expense or unexpected day/night-out invite i have a little twinge of worry.

so how do you relax about money and just enjoy being on top of your game/under control?

Beric01

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2014, 12:55:22 AM »
I'm getting married in October and in the course of more detailed financial/other discussions, my partner said it would be good if I could relax a bit more about money.

we met as students and obviously money was tight so we watched every penny. we both had budgets and stuck to them. neither of us is profligate with our money even though we are now both working full time. we do go to the pub once a week but only go to the cinema and eat out a few times a year.

we don't currently live together but i have created a budget based on expenses over the last few years. it would allow us to save roughly 50%. he's happy with it but told me to stop stressing. my plan is to automatically move savings to the appropriate places, move the money for annual/irregular expenses to one account and keep the cash for monthly expenses in our main account.

even before he said this i've been trying to relax a bit about money because i know we're doing really well for our age (mid-20s). we love our jobs and aren't currently aiming for super-early retirement (probs 55). but whenever i take cash out or there's a new expense or unexpected day/night-out invite i have a little twinge of worry.

so how do you relax about money and just enjoy being on top of your game/under control?

You don't post on a forum that's called "Mr. Money Mustache"?

"Relaxing about money" is exactly why the US in in the state that it is. You can "relax" after you've reached FIRE and are maintaining your spending goals effortlessly. Some healthy concern about your spending will keep you frugal even when it gets tempting to spend more.

marty998

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2014, 02:09:16 AM »
If someone told me to 'relax' about money (i.e. spend more) I would not understand it.

I am the sane one. You are too. Others are mad.

Calimandc

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2014, 02:25:31 AM »
kyanamerinas,

I am the same way as you, and my wife sounds more like your boyfriend.  She is all for frugality, just not as extreme about it as I am.  MMM has two good recent articles on this, one by a guest blogger, and the other he wrote: 

 http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/05/29/give-yourself-the-gift-of-not-worrying-about-money/

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/06/19/j-d-roth-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-mustachianism/

Basically, it's great to think about money, save it, and be frugal.  If you've got that down, then going out every once in a while is fine.  It sounds like you're in a great place.  Allow yourself to feel good about being there.  Enjoy that you're naturally frugal.  Then, when the invite for a night out comes, you can enjoy the time with your friends by knowing you're fine.  As long as you stay on the frugal side, enjoying a night out is ok.

It's taken me years to learn this.  My wife has come a long way with me, but every now and then she reminds me to enjoy what I have a bit too. Life is about balance.  Ensure that you enjoy that you save.

I hope this helps!

CalimanDC

kyanamerinas

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2014, 06:05:00 AM »
thanks for the replies. for clarification, he doesn't want us to spend more. he just wants me to not stress as long as we're within budget. he's not mad and i totally understand where he's coming from. i think he is right, hence wanting some advice on how to tackle unnecessary anxiety about money.

i think the issue is my worry goes beyond 'healthy concern' and stops some of my enjoyment of things. i'm glad he is pushing me to relax. i think we'll leave only the money needed for our monthly expenses in the main current account and if it's all gone at the end of the month, that's fine. it's what we budgeted and we can certainly afford it.

i have taken great pride in the tight ship i've run on my own since leaving for uni. i guess part of it is struggling with letting go of full control. which is inevitable as we're marrying. fortunately i know he won't suddenly demand cable or a brand new car or weekly meals out or anything else 'mad'.

neo von retorch

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2014, 06:46:02 AM »
In a way, it sounds like me. I am trying to schedule one night a week that I "think about finances and investments" because right now it's kind of on my mind throughout the day, with me "checking to see how things are going." Considering that financial independence is more of a ten year plan, it might be fair to say that I'm checking progress a tiny bit too often.

Of course, last night was my scheduled night, but I ended up talking to my girlfriend about my new job and new apartment, mowing the yard and showing my place to a possible renter, and I didn't get to go through any mail I haven't handled or think about finances in any sort of organized fashion. So I want to all day today...

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2014, 06:53:51 AM »
Meditate on the fact that money is just a tool. We care about it only insofar as it can purchase freedom. Worrying about money means money owns you, not the other way around.

Track, spend, and plan dispassionately.

As an aside: no matter how much I loved a job, I still wouldn't delay getting FI for a day. Freedom is precious, and staying chained to a job - even one you like - is not living.

desk_jockey

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2014, 06:55:28 AM »
Make a plan together and then automate as much as possible.   Then you can look at the frequent transaction accounts weekly (e.g. balance check-book, check credit cards for fraudulent charges).   Maybe “relax” is a request to stop obsessing.  Financial accounts don’t have to be looked at daily to keep on track.  Also perhaps you would find yourself more comfortable with a larger cash emergency fund than others on this forum.   

fallstoclimb

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2014, 07:52:50 AM »
I've had the same conversation with my husband.  We were in debt payoff mode for the past 3 years, and while he often told me to just chill out about it (due to a vague fear he has that we might 'waste our youth', although he trusted my judgment with paying off the debt), my work is what got us out of debt so quickly.

Now its gone.  And I'm still thinking about money in the sense that I want to ramp us up to a 50% savings rate pretty quickly.  But then thinking about money so much makes me feel like I might be verging on greedy, because we are doing so much better than most people. 

But honestly life is too short to be stressing about money all the time when you're doing FINE.  This is where you should just automate everything that you can.  And one thing I try with my husband is to talk him out of purchases/spending money based on a conversation of values or the environment or my mood ( "I don't really feel like going out to dinner tonight" ) rather than telling him we are hitting our arbitrary budget limits. 

rmendpara

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2014, 08:23:48 AM »
If your goal is 50%, then try and be as close to that as possible.

It's a slippery slope for some people. Most of the country goes in the direction of saving almost nothing, while the frugal ones like us have to prevent ourselves from crossing the line from frugal to cheap/stingy and risking our relationships for want of money we don't need.

As a fellow overachiever, I've had my own struggles with wanting to be FI and pinching pennies, only to realize that once you set a target of say 50%, and start hitting said target, then you've already won the battle. Then it's time to stay the course, and let time do its thing.

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2014, 08:45:29 AM »
One thing I know I will need to do at some point to relax is take a break from financial blogs, forums, and news sources.  An aggressive saver hanging out here is just like a shopaholic hanging out at the mall, it only reinforces our tendencies.  But for now, I am enjoying it, so bring it on!   

tyd450

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2014, 09:07:12 AM »
Make a plan together and then automate as much as possible.   Then you can look at the frequent transaction accounts weekly (e.g. balance check-book, check credit cards for fraudulent charges).   Maybe “relax” is a request to stop obsessing.  Financial accounts don’t have to be looked at daily to keep on track.  Also perhaps you would find yourself more comfortable with a larger cash emergency fund than others on this forum.

this

Relax in my mind means to stop worrying about it.  Not to stop saving so much.  Sit down, figure out your plan, automate that plan and then you let time work its magic.  By planning and automating you can live your life and let your plan do its job.

matchewed

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2014, 09:17:07 AM »
I have to disagree about some of the sentiment expressed in this thread. Worrying about money and being able to successfully manage money can be mutually exclusive. Not worrying about money does not equal being shitty with handling money. Handling your finances is a skill. As you keep using it (as a skill) you will feel more comfortable with it. Knowledge is your friend here. Understand your risks and mitigate them and you'll have less to stress about and instantly you're more relaxed regarding money.

wutra

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2014, 09:24:01 AM »
If your goal is 50%, then try and be as close to that as possible.

It's a slippery slope for some people. Most of the country goes in the direction of saving almost nothing, while the frugal ones like us have to prevent ourselves from crossing the line from frugal to cheap/stingy and risking our relationships for want of money we don't need.

As a fellow overachiever, I've had my own struggles with wanting to be FI and pinching pennies, only to realize that once you set a target of say 50%, and start hitting said target, then you've already won the battle. Then it's time to stay the course, and let time do its thing.
Great advice. This is something I've struggled with as well.

nereo

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2014, 09:34:35 AM »
You sound like me in many ways - worrying about money even when we are doing "well".
As others have said, it's easy to slide from being "frugal" to being "cheap", often to the detriment of relationships.
What I would suggest is making out a detailed plan with your significant other. Discuss what your financial goals are in the next 1-3 years, and where you want to be in 10 years and 20 years.  Is owning a home important?  Kids?  How secure are your jobs and what's the potential for advancement?
It can seem a bit silly to think that far ahead but it will help clarify why you are saving. 
From there you can create monthly and yearly savings goals.   There are lots of calculators online which can help you with this.

I find it's helpful to do it both forward and backward - that is, I start looking forward, saying "I know we could save this much per month" and then plugging that in to see how much it would become in 1, 5 and 10 years with projected returns of 4%, 6% and 8%. 
Then I 'work backward' by coming up with an amount I'd like to have in 10 years, and then figuring out how much I'd have to save each month in order to reach it.

Then I write down my goals, I automate everything I can (contributions to savings, IRAs, extra mortgage payments, etc) and then I try stop worrying about it.  I take comfort knowing I've run the scenarios and I know I'm on the right track.  This has been my approach - hopefully it may work for you too.

Finally, in your original post you mentioned you were in your mid 20s but were planning for a 'super-early' retirement at age 55.  At least in this forum, retiring at age 55 is not "super-early" - it's kinda on the late side for peope here.  If you are indeed saving 50% of your income you should be able to retire in your early 40s.  Even with substantial bumps along the way I see no reason why you can't reach FI before you turn 50.
You might want to read this post:http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/13/the-shockingly-simple-math-behind-early-retirement

anisotropy

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2014, 10:11:13 AM »
I am not sure if you can really "relax" about money. I say that because, in my experience, one either can or can not relax about money.

When you are a certain type of individual, money is constantly in your mind, and there's no escape.

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2014, 10:20:59 AM »
I don't enjoy spending money. Pretty much ever. It hurts a little bit most times I do it.

It's not the money, it's the fact that money represents freedom from a job.

I will "worry less about money" as MMM posted about recently when I have enough to enjoy my life as I see fit. Until then I will continue to monitor closely, optimize, and plan for success but I try not to "worry" about it. It does stress me out when money is wasted on frivolous stuff, but I'm learning to deal with it.

ketchup

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2014, 10:25:10 AM »
"Relaxing" about money can mean different things.  I think one should "relax" about money in a micro sense once you've dialed in the intuition.  There's no need to freak out if we bought extra grapes this week and went $2 over on the fruit budget (No, I don't have a fruit budget).  But "relaxing" on the macro level could be very bad.  If you get a $25k car that gets 25MPG instead of a $5k car that gets 35MPG (all else being equal, etc) then you're going to have a significant effect on your investment/FI timeline, even if you can easily "afford" it while maintaining a mid-double-digit savings rate.

Awareness without stress, intuition instead of micromanagement.  On the small stuff, focus on value instead of raw dollars.  It's what I do somewhat for food.  $2 in grapes is not necessarily bad value, but $2 worth of crackers or candy bars is a colossal waste.

Ftao93

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2014, 11:04:41 AM »
I'm just barely building these frugal muscles, and my stubble is only now showing.

However, a friend pointed out "Your plans for the future are solid.  You can't do much more than that for now, so what are you doing TODAY for these goals?  what can you do?  If you can do something, do so.  if not, stop concerning yourself."

Since I am impulsive and a bit of a worrier too, I try to think of that conversation.

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2014, 12:27:15 PM »
I will "worry less about money" as MMM posted about recently when I have enough to enjoy my life as I see fit. Until then I will continue to monitor closely, optimize, and plan for success but I try not to "worry" about it. It does stress me out when money is wasted on frivolous stuff, but I'm learning to deal with it.
[/quote]


^ +1 to this... as Cheddar Stacker said!

IMO not all worry is bad !



arebelspy

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2014, 04:04:07 PM »
money is just a tool. We care about it only insofar as it can purchase freedom. Worrying about money means money owns you, not the other way around.

+1.

Also, I'd add:

When your spending is aligned with your values, you won't worry about money.

You only worry because you are spending money in a way that is not aligned with what you value.

When every dollar spent aligns with your values, you're completely happy with your spending, and don't worry about it.
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Beric01

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2014, 04:08:31 PM »
money is just a tool. We care about it only insofar as it can purchase freedom. Worrying about money means money owns you, not the other way around.

+1.

Also, I'd add:

When your spending is aligned with your values, you won't worry about money.

You only worry because you are spending money in a way that is not aligned with what you value.

When every dollar spent aligns with your values, you're completely happy with your spending, and don't worry about it.

Wow, this is a really good perspective. Helps explain some of the concerns I currently have: I'm still spending  differently than I value in certain areas.

arebelspy

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2014, 04:12:25 PM »
Wow, this is a really good perspective. Helps explain some of the concerns I currently have: I'm still spending  differently than I value in certain areas.

Knowing is the first step.  Now you can adjust accordingly.  :)

It usually takes some introspection - if you were able to identify that quickly, that's awesome and presents some low hanging fruit.  Way to go.
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kyanamerinas

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2014, 01:14:18 AM »
thank you all, some good stuff here. big thanks to those backing up that not worrying about does not mean being crap with money. i think i will limit my mmm exposure as it does exacerbate things when i see super hardcore people on here. plus, it's true that once i get used to new budget and feel more comfortable with investing that i will worry less.

matchewed

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2014, 05:00:33 AM »
thank you all, some good stuff here. big thanks to those backing up that not worrying about does not mean being crap with money. i think i will limit my mmm exposure as it does exacerbate things when i see super hardcore people on here. plus, it's true that once i get used to new budget and feel more comfortable with investing that i will worry less.

You don't have to limit yourself to exposure to others. If it is making you feel bad you just have to realize that you may be using their information as your measuring stick. You have to use your own.

pachnik

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2014, 07:14:25 AM »
thank you all, some good stuff here. big thanks to those backing up that not worrying about does not mean being crap with money. i think i will limit my mmm exposure as it does exacerbate things when i see super hardcore people on here. plus, it's true that once i get used to new budget and feel more comfortable with investing that i will worry less.

You don't have to limit yourself to exposure to others. If it is making you feel bad you just have to realize that you may be using their information as your measuring stick. You have to use your own.

Good point Matchewed.  I need to remember this myself.  I am hardly hardcore - most people on this forum kick my butt!  But I am so much better than a year and a half ago when I got here.

Pigeon

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Re: How to 'relax' about money?
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2014, 10:03:31 AM »
I find the best way to relax about it is direct deposit, one of the best inventions of all time.  My savings goals are automated, and I've adjusted to live on what's left.  I'm not as extreme in my savings as some here, but I'm on track for where we want to be.