Author Topic: They loved you when you were a sucka, but they can't stand the budding 'stachian  (Read 13550 times)

LalsConstant

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Hi, my name is Lalsconstant, and I'm an idiot.  I am five and a half years debt free.  And it seems in that time, the opinion others have of me has only decreased XD.

I used to be normal, with the credit card debts, huge car note, etc.  I was a financial trainwreck.  Debt wrecked my life, I spent a long time dealign with the financial and emotional consequences and it's one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.  And I have to life with the fact I did it to myself.   Granted I had plenty of encouragement and help, but the blame lies squarely on good ol' Me.

But now that I'm past all that and I've taken my own face punches (I've since stopped, it's pointless to keep punching my own face long after I've drastically changed my ways), something occurs to me.

In my financial trainwreck days, no one, no coworker friend or family member, ever criticized the way I handled money.

Seriously, you know all the articles this site pokes fun at about how people can't save, can't make it, don't have enough money, etc.?  All that fretting hand wrining and excuse making?  That was me, for a long time.  I'm very familiar with that mindset.

I know a lot of people here aren't familiar with that kind of thinking (which is good, I wish no one knew this mindset) but some of us are and will spend the rest of our lives trying to put it behind us. 

I consider the latter group, of which I am a member, to be Idiots Anonymous.

I've noticed that since I've joined Idiots Anonymous, I now get occassional, and rather sharp, criticism for "not spending enough" and "not enjoying life" and other things which I now realize are trite nonsense things broke people say.

For the most part this has no effect on me, I got teased a lot as a kid after all, my skin is quite thick now.  To quote Heywood Banks, you can be mean to me, mean as you want to be, call me any names that you like.

But it's been coming in, here and there, from people who knew me "before and after", who apparently had no problem with me destroying myself before, who knew my whole "episode" was a result of problems with debt, who someone have the audacity to think I should resume those patterns of behavior.

This kind of stings, but not in the way they want it to.  It stings because I have to realize some of the people I'm surrounded by were a part of the problem. 

Worse, it stings because I'm realizing at least part of the reason some people valued me was because I had these negative traits and behaviors.

I've already had one example where it's been such a falling out, someone I knew for over half my life is no longer speaking to me and it's a direct consequence of the fact I'm no longer a good time buddy who will just go do or buy whatever.  I haven't spoken to this person in over a year now so I figure that relationship has run its course.

I guess that's just how it is though.  You can't please everyone so just please yourself. In the long run, now that I'm distant from it, I can see that this was a toxic relationship to have and I'm ultimately better for this.  Still kind of sucks though.

I'm just curious though, if there are any others here who might admit to being members of Idiots Anonymous who have seen the same attitudes in others.

It's made me a little paranoid who I'm alienating I suppose.  It's one of those things where I know the course of rectitude is to give it a little more time and just let things sort themselves out but it's a bitter pill to swallow.

greaper007

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You have to realize that you're surrounded by addicts.   We might think addicts are only people that live in broken down trailers and shoot heroin all day, but big spenders are addicts too.    It's a much more insidious infection because these people are basically doing what our capitalistic society has told them to do.   "You're not good enough, you need to work more and buy more to be happy.    If you don't, society will fail and we'll all become communist."

So they soldier on.   Working jobs they hate, to buy things they don't need.   Every luxury purchase gives you a short moment of euphoria, but that's quickly replaced by an instantaneous need to buy something else.   I've been there, many of us here have, so I understand the desire.

Since you're a recovering addict you have to do the same thing other recovering addicts do.   Stop hanging out with people that want you to use and mock you for your choice to live a different life.   Surround yourself instead with good people that support your decisions.   Keep telling yourself why you're living the way you are, and what you actually want out of life.   A BMW or self actualization?

This is a common thing that lots of people have to deal with, it's difficult but you'll be able to get passed it.   Good Luck.

Ottawa

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Interesting perspective!  I'll be interested to hear what others have to say.  I suppose the Ottawas were sort of pseudo-idiots with pseudo-frugalistic tendencies.  However, we were never in debt or Jonesies - and so, it is easy to make fun of financial idiots. 

To be frank - I believe anti-mustachians have an addiction (they may or may not be aware of it).  Would I make fun of an alcoholic for being one?  No, cause most people have an idea of the destruction that is wrought on a person, their relationships and society because of alcoholism. 

Should we make fun of unmustachian tendencies?  Or should we (Mustachians) attempt education and enlightenment? 

I think there is alot to learn from someone who has been fully on both sides of the fence.  Cheers LalsConstant!

stripey

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I haven't really experienced that- probably because: 1) Mindset about money has changed only subtly; and 2) I experience positive peer pressure in this area from family, friends and work colleagues (not everyone of course, but there are enough people about me living a 'sensible' lifestyle that nobody really has noticed).

But in some ways that is the point, isn't it? Birds of a feather, and all that? People with similar habits do tend to band together and affirm each other in mannerisms and habits (good and bad). If you've suddenly changed from what would be considered the 'social norm' (at least for that social group) then to some people that can appear judgemental or kind of threatening.

Sorry to hear you're going through that.

norabird

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I think saving is its own addiction too in a way, just by comparison it's a healthier addiction.

kkbmustang

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When my husband and I started making Mustachian changes in our household, including selling our Lexus and getting a pre-owned Prius, my dad (who is incredibly frugal and a saver) asked me if we were having financial problems.

nawhite

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I feel like I may have fallen into this trap if I hadn't started work with a whole lot of student loans to pay off. Now when people confront me about my anti-spending ways, its easy to say: "Yeah well, I had a a ton of student debt that I'm working on paying off." It basically disarmed people who then can use the concept of "oh, he can't buy shit b/c he pays $1500/month in debt" to make my spending fit their mental model. Even if my debt payment/savings rate is entirely self selected, they don't need to know that.

Can you do something similar and say "I can't buy that stuff/go out to that place because I got into a lot of debt and I'm working on recovering from that"? That way, people will think, "that person is still part of the herd, they just fell down and need to work on running with us again" even if you decided to quit their path.

Cassie

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WE parted ways with one couple because we no longer had anything in common.  It was the best thing we did. However, it is hard to let long term friendships go but some are not meant to last forever.  They have been replaced with more like minded friends. 

Cpa Cat

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My husband sold a business and retired early several years ago. He has a couple of family members who ask him "When are you going to get a job?" every time we see them.

This past Christmas, his stepmother asked if he wasn't embarassed that his wife was working to support him.

It doesn't matter how many times he explains it - portfolio income simply doesn't exist in their minds.

BlueMR2

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WE parted ways with one couple because we no longer had anything in common.  It was the best thing we did. However, it is hard to let long term friendships go but some are not meant to last forever.  They have been replaced with more like minded friends.

This.  I've found that forcing friendships to continue past their "expiration date" just causes them to end badly.  Let them end naturally.  You know when it's meant to end, don't fight it.  Maybe you'll be friends again in the future as things continue to change.

begood

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The internet provided an aphorism that I think about a lot, about friendships/relationships, and their value.

Basically, all relationships last for a season. That season might be your whole life, or it might be the duration of a class you take together, or the time you live next door to someone. But the fact that a relationship changes or ends doesn't take away the value of that relationship in the time you had it.

So your "season" with that person may have come to an end, but you still gained from having it at all.

I am very fortunate to live near a bunch of people who are so naturally Mustachian that I started coming around to their way of thinking without even really thinking about it myself. I hope you can find the same kinds of folks at this point in your journey.

S0VERE1GN

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I've always been marginally mustachian (turn down nights out with friends, wont go to silly over priced events etc) and I've lost quite a few friends because of it. You learn to deal with it, as those friends are struggling to make end meet living in an apartment with their friends while I'm lowering expenses and debts every month and living a happier and happier life with my wife in our new home. The disparity will only become more and more obvious to you as you get closer to FIRE.

greaper007

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I think saving is its own addiction too in a way, just by comparison it's a healthier addiction.

If you're saving for savings sake like my dad does, yes.   He just likes to see the number on his financial statement and continues to pursue work with reckless abandon.   

If you're saving for a specific goal it's a productive, worthwhile activity.

CommonCents

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Some people only know how to socialize spending money.
Some people don't want to accommodate changes in their life.
Some people don't like seeing the mirror (when you say that you are fixing your financial issues they think of theirs).

There are many reasons.  I'd continue to invite them places (cheap or free ones, that is), but not be surprised if they decline.  Some may come around.

Cassie

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We still do a lot of socializing but it is dinner at home.  Most of the time people want to bring something so I suggest salad, dessert, wine etc which keeps the cost down and when I go to their homes I reciprocate.  Many times it is also easier to talk since some restaurants are way too noisy.  It is fun to eat out sometimes but is more the exception then the rule. 

payitoff

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WE parted ways with one couple because we no longer had anything in common.  It was the best thing we did. However, it is hard to let long term friendships go but some are not meant to last forever.  They have been replaced with more like minded friends.

This.  I've found that forcing friendships to continue past their "expiration date" just causes them to end badly.  Let them end naturally.  You know when it's meant to end, don't fight it.  Maybe you'll be friends again in the future as things continue to change.

agree on both 100%
i value friendships so much, and look past a lot of differences, but this time, i just shut them down cold turkey, and its freeing.  friends that looks rich yet broke, and thinks that $1 in the bank till next payday is a laughable conversation. it was funny when we were in college i admit.

Thegoblinchief

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I've been married with at least one kid since 21, so it's pretty easy to "blame" frugal behavior in the kids.

Don't think we've ever gotten a hard time about it, but it is definitely hard to find folks we share common ground with.

deborah

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Very interesting topic. I have always been frugal, and when I was working, I didn't seem to make as many friends as others around me. Many years ago I realized it was because I didn't go out with the rest for lunch when it involved alcohol (I get sick when I am in a pub surrounded by beer - especially when there are also cigarettes). That crowd usually included someone who was always borrowing money a couple of days before the next pay check, from someone else at the pub at lunch, or after work.

I rebelled by thinking that my friends were "better" friends - lasted after the work place, and had "better" habits. Now I think I was just in a different (smaller) crowd, people who had different goals, and were more my type.

Cassie

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WE had our kids young and everyone was frugal by circumstances so finding like minds was no problem and no one believed in cc debt.  This was 40 years ago.  Once I finished college and our kids got older that is when I started to meet people that were crazy with their money.  Then I moved from the Midwest to the West Coast and I was surrounded by people that were not good with $.  I don't want to generalize but I wonder if people in the Midwest are just more frugal.

CarDude

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It's always tricky when folks expect you to spend loads because they do. People are social, after all.

Erica/NWEdible

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I wouldn't say we've been shunned or had falling outs as our spending has changed, but then, I'm pretty socially oblivious, so not sure I'd notice if we were. ;) The most important thing is that my husband and I have moved in lock-step, so we haven't fought each other, and that's given us a built in values-based spending support partner.

But I did experience something similar after I had my daughter, far, far before anyone else in my immediate peer group. Most of my friends were still in their young twenties, and in the casual dating - partying - clubs - bar-hopping mindset when I became a parent. None of that bar social stuff held any appeal to me once I had a kid. Many friends didn't make the transition with us once we were "people with kids" and not "people who party." A few friends have come back into our lives as their own lifestyles have entered the married, settled and parenting phase.

Some friendships make it through life transitions, some don't. Who knows, in five years some of your mates who are in a very different space from you now might gone full-mustachian and you'll end up laughing about your past financial foibles over a pint of homebrew.

Ozstache

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I've spent most of my life swimming against the social consensus tide (eg. getting married young, living on a single income and having one car for most of that, having kids when we were young, saving for major expenses, tracking expenses, etc), so the relative loneliness of full mustachianism is not new to me. Luckily, my wife and I are quite introverted and enjoy each others company, so the impact of a diminishing pool of like-minded people in my local community is minimal. Nonetheless, I can still get my external social fix through forums like this and you fine folk!

EricL

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It's not hard to be a part of Idiots Anonymous.  There might be people on this board who were indoctrinated by parents that grew up in the Great Depression and started punching money into investments during their first job.  But mostseem to be people who, to a greater or lesser extent like you and me, dug themselves into a hole and had to climb out. 

In my case the temptation is to Evangelize.  This is rarely welcome.  The implication is that people who aren't mustachians are idiots.  Yeah, you can call a spade a spade, but spades don't have feelings; people do.  And being right just makes it more hurtful.  So I found it's best to stay on the low.   If people ask about my frugality I'll tell how I no longer dread when the phone rings because of creditors, or opening letters with a sinking feeling in my gut because they're overdue bills, or living in a constant state of background anxiety because everything might be taken away and my character impugned.  This, and an ever growing 'stache gives me satisfaction far greater and more enduring than the latest gadget used to.  To know that someday you'll actually BE rich as opposed to just looking rich is a great balm if you compare yourself to the Joneses. 

The Happy Philosopher

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It's not hard to be a part of Idiots Anonymous.  There might be people on this board who were indoctrinated by parents that grew up in the Great Depression and started punching money into investments during their first job.  But mostseem to be people who, to a greater or lesser extent like you and me, dug themselves into a hole and had to climb out. 

In my case the temptation is to Evangelize.  This is rarely welcome.  The implication is that people who aren't mustachians are idiots.  Yeah, you can call a spade a spade, but spades don't have feelings; people do.  And being right just makes it more hurtful.  So I found it's best to stay on the low.   If people ask about my frugality I'll tell how I no longer dread when the phone rings because of creditors, or opening letters with a sinking feeling in my gut because they're overdue bills, or living in a constant state of background anxiety because everything might be taken away and my character impugned.  This, and an ever growing 'stache gives me satisfaction far greater and more enduring than the latest gadget used to.  To know that someday you'll actually BE rich as opposed to just looking rich is a great balm if you compare yourself to the Joneses.

This is a great point. No matter how 'right' we feel we are, no one really likes to be told their worldview is wrong. This is a perfect way to drive friends away. If we really value the friendship of someone we need to accept them, flaws and blemishes. When people ask me about my lifestyle choices I tell them why I do the things I do and leave it at that, but I try really hard to do this is a nonjudgmental way. It's tough! But we are all different, and for some a lifestyle of frugality would not bring them happiness. My friends run all across the "mustachian spectrum" and is not a major factor for me. If someone judges my lifestyle choices I have to question if this is a person I really want in my life.

That said, just because a friendship ends does not make it a failure. Something was gained at some point and this should be celebrated. Few friendships are truly forever. People change and relationships evolve or end. Forcing a friendship because of the past is not healthy and rarely ends well. There should be no sadness for ending a "toxic relationship".

Jack

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My husband sold a business and retired early several years ago. He has a couple of family members who ask him "When are you going to get a job?" every time we see them.

This past Christmas, his stepmother asked if he wasn't embarassed that his wife was working to support him.

It doesn't matter how many times he explains it - portfolio income simply doesn't exist in their minds.

I think that criticism is partly valid, because I think it's slightly unfair for a married couple not to combine finances and FIRE at the same time (unless one really wants to keep working for some reason).

However, I don't doubt that they mean it mostly in the idiotic "I don't understand how it's possible to retire early" kind of way.

Cassie

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If one person does not want to sacrifice to retire early then I don't think the other partner that is more frugal should have to keep working. That to me sounds unfair although that is not a problem in my situation. But I could see where it would be. I think all marriages have to do what ever works for them.

Rural

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Age differences could also come into play. Or one person loving a job and wanting to continue even if they are FI as a couple.

pachnik

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Age differences could also come into play. Or one person loving a job and wanting to continue even if they are FI as a couple.

My husband and I have an age difference of 7 years.  We will retire at the same time but i will be 7 years younger.  Can't do much about that though we have talked about it. 

But, anyway, I really haven't lost anyone because of handling my finances better.  But then again I have a smaller circle of friends than a lot of people. 
« Last Edit: May 10, 2014, 09:22:59 PM by pachnik »

mustachianteacher

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I sympathize. As much as you know you are headed in the right direction, it still sucks to be given the brush-off by people you once considered good friends. Your changing ways probably feel threatening to those who still want to spend, spend, spend. Not only are you "no fun," but they assume (or at least the folks in my life assume) that you now look down upon them. As long as you were both spending like crazy, you were condoning that behavior. Now that you're not, they don't like that little voice in the back of their head that starts to wonder if maybe you know something they don't. Like someone else pointed out, it truly is an addicted mindset.

All of that being said, it still sucks. I have a coworker I've known for over 10 years, and I thought we were pretty good friends at one point. As we moved up the career ladder, though, she increased her spending accordingly while I did not. A few years ago, when I drove up in my new-to-me little Nissan Versa, she asked if it was a rental and looked genuinely worried when I said it wasn't. I was so stoked to have found such a sweet little ride for under $10K, but she was both concerned for me, and then later weirded out by it. The next year, she bought a brand-new Lexus SUV. We make exactly the same income, but I think the disparity in our choices was deeply unsettling to her. OH WELL. When I waltz out of there at 50, she'll still have at least ten years to go.

Suit

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My friends know that I do save and invest and ask me for advice but they don't know the extent to which I save and invest and I can also blame student loans for my frugality so I haven't had to face this problem yet. My sympathies for those who have lost friends!

HattyT

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The mistakes of others can make us feel better about our choices, or lack thereof.
You may lose some people, but this will allow for more room for more healthy friends.  It is scary to lose the known for the unknown. 
On the other hand, there are lots of like minded folks here on the Forum. 
Your badassity is increasing the longer you are on this site.

Daisy

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OH WELL. When I waltz out of there at 50, she'll still have at least ten years to go.

I love the imagery of waltzing away...a finely choreographed exit from the stage while everyone marvels at your fancy moves built through years of frugality and enjoyment of a simpler life.

That sounds much better than what your colleagues may encounter on their way out, especially if they are forced into retirement as I have seen a few times recently. Theirs will be more of a stumbling into retirement and trying to get on their feet in fits and starts as they try to learn how to navigate through and learn the ways of frugality at a later stage in life.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2014, 06:36:12 PM by Daisy »

SJS

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Yep, agree - with ANY "addiction" - you need to distance yourself from those who were totally OK with that kind of behavior.  So it seems that since you are not whipping out the plastic and living it up, you aren't any fun (to them!) anymore.  You just have to surround yourself with NEW friends who share your mindset/lifestyle.  Glad you are here and we'll support you however we can.   Hang in there - you'll make it through. 

mm1970

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I cannot relate - we've always been mostly frugal - though we spent more in our younger days, it wasn't more than we earned.

But I do relate on a similar level, if you talk about weight loss.  I have  lost a lot of weight (twice, in the middle of the third time now), and it's amazing how some people encourage you to eat more and eat junk when you've gotten healthy.  They got used to me being the "fat one".

Now, most of the people who were like that aren't my friends anymore, and my friends now aren't like that.  Occasionally I'll get "eat a donut!" at work, but my coworkers are younger and thinner.  And none of them have had to lose baby weight.

quilter

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Yes, misery loves company. Some people love to be victims and if you choose not to be...how dare you. . I was told by a coworker my car was an embarrassment.  I was looked down upon as I ate my packed lunch everyday as they picked which restaurant they were going to.  I wore sneakers or boots to and from work and kept two pairs of dress shoes under my desk that lasted for years. I rarely came in with new clothes. I was the outsider, I just came in and did my job and went home to the simple life I loved.

When I left the workforce at age 52 people scratched their heads trying to make sense of it.   We had several big trips planned, lived in a nice but modest house. I think they did not want to make the corelation.  It was much easier to think I was an oddball. I was, but in a good way.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2014, 08:21:00 PM by quilter »

vern

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Yes, misery loves company. Some people love to be victims and if you choose not to be...how dare you. . I was told by a coworker my car was an embarrassment.  I was looked down upon as I ate my packed lunch everyday as they picked which restaurant they were going to.  I wore sneakers or boots to and from work and kept two pairs of dress shoes under my desk that lasted for years. I rarely came in with new clothes. I was the outsider, I just came in and did my job and went home to the simple life I loved.

When I left the workforce at age 52 people scratched their heads trying to make sense of it.   We had several big trips planned, lived in a nice but modest house. I think they did not want to make the corelation.  It was much easier to think I was an oddball. I was, but in a good way.

Great story, thanks for sharing!

horsepoor

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I cannot relate - we've always been mostly frugal - though we spent more in our younger days, it wasn't more than we earned.

But I do relate on a similar level, if you talk about weight loss.  I have  lost a lot of weight (twice, in the middle of the third time now), and it's amazing how some people encourage you to eat more and eat junk when you've gotten healthy.  They got used to me being the "fat one".

Now, most of the people who were like that aren't my friends anymore, and my friends now aren't like that.  Occasionally I'll get "eat a donut!" at work, but my coworkers are younger and thinner.  And none of them have had to lose baby weight.

I was thinking this too.  When a heavy person first starts shedding pounds, everyone is behind them, cheering them on.  Then, if the person gets to a really good weight, people start asking when they're going to stop losing, start worrying about eating disorders, etc.  I think this is because on average, the US population is overweight, so seeing an obese person go to a healthy BMI is startling.  In much the same way, most of the US population is in some form of debt, so seeing someone go from drowning to debt-free and frugal is disconcerting.  They want you to lose the worst of the debt/weight, but not more than the average.  Makes everyone else look bad and feel uncomfortable with their own debt/weight.

happy

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The thing about relationships is, some part of the relationship is about people who liking you just as you are whether fat or thin, rich or poor. And some is about shared experiences.  Its hard to know hard much weight each factor has, until something happens to change the status quo. So, many friendships that are all about particular shared experiences will fail if you no longer wish to participate. If people value you as yourself they are probably more likely to be willing to renegotiate the type of experiences you have. Phases come and go in life, and in social groups…friends won't always stay the same. I think this inevitable and OK.

I haven't noticed much difference since becoming more frugal: like some others have posted, I don't have a very wide circle of friends. I did notice a huge difference when I separated from my partner: I was unceremoniously dropped from various fashionable circles of friends, a proportion of others were uncomfortable around me and went into avoidance mode, and a few delightful people treated me exactly as they always had. The latter group I count as true friends. I also played some part in all this reshuffling: I felt unable to keep up/compete/return social obligations with the intensity of two parent couples, so I self-limited my social activities to fairly low maintenance relationships.

Adventine

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The internet provided an aphorism that I think about a lot, about friendships/relationships, and their value.

Basically, all relationships last for a season. That season might be your whole life, or it might be the duration of a class you take together, or the time you live next door to someone. But the fact that a relationship changes or ends doesn't take away the value of that relationship in the time you had it.

So your "season" with that person may have come to an end, but you still gained from having it at all.

I am very fortunate to live near a bunch of people who are so naturally Mustachian that I started coming around to their way of thinking without even really thinking about it myself. I hope you can find the same kinds of folks at this point in your journey.

This is a beautiful way to think about relationships. We shouldn't be afraid to let go.

quilter

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Yes, misery loves company. Some people love to be victims and if you choose not to be...how dare you. . I was told by a coworker my car was an embarrassment.  I was looked down upon as I ate my packed lunch everyday as they picked which restaurant they were going to.  I wore sneakers or boots to and from work and kept two pairs of dress shoes under my desk that lasted for years. I rarely came in with new clothes. I was the outsider, I just came in and did my job and went home to the simple life I loved.

When I left the workforce at age 52 people scratched their heads trying to make sense of it.   We had several big trips planned, lived in a nice but modest house. I think they did not want to make the corelation.  It was much easier to think I was an oddball. I was, but in a good way.

Great story, thanks for sharing!

Here is the funny part. I felt like smacking myself on the forehead and saying "it's so simple, even a caveman could do it".

Barring misfortune like divorce, untimely death of a partner, job loss, illness etc it really is very simple. Spend less than you earn. Figure out where to put the money you save so you make more of it.  Consider tax laws to your best advantage without cheating. Continue

mm1970

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Yes, misery loves company. Some people love to be victims and if you choose not to be...how dare you. . I was told by a coworker my car was an embarrassment.  I was looked down upon as I ate my packed lunch everyday as they picked which restaurant they were going to.  I wore sneakers or boots to and from work and kept two pairs of dress shoes under my desk that lasted for years. I rarely came in with new clothes. I was the outsider, I just came in and did my job and went home to the simple life I loved.

When I left the workforce at age 52 people scratched their heads trying to make sense of it.   We had several big trips planned, lived in a nice but modest house. I think they did not want to make the corelation.  It was much easier to think I was an oddball. I was, but in a good way.
One of my former bosses and I share stories like this. He just got laid off today, in his 50's.  Going to fix up the house for a few months, travel to Italy with his wife for a month, and then maybe look for a job.

All those years of packing his lunch (some days he just brings a baked potato), looking pretty good right now.