Author Topic: What were your toughest challenges saving money  (Read 2761 times)

jvincent

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What were your toughest challenges saving money
« on: June 05, 2018, 09:23:12 PM »
My first post here. Really like the idea of high savings rate for early possible retirement.

I'm new to all this so I would like to get an idea of what were some of the challenges that you guys faced when starting off?

Right now I live a pretty modest to high-end lifestyle with bits of frugality mixed in (my car is a 2006!, which I really love btw).

Recently been thinking about downsizing and living frugally, hoping to save 60-70% of income eventually. And any tips starting off? Should I just dive in or is it a more gradual process?

Would love to get feedback from veterans whose been through many years of this already ahead of me. Thanks folks!

ixtap

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Re: What were your toughest challenges saving money
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2018, 09:26:17 PM »
It really depends on you and what your big expenses currently are.

Housing tends to be a large percentage of expenses. What are your current expenses? How much trouble would it be to disentangle yourself? Are you interested in having a roommate to mitigate housing costs?

If you want feedback, you could post a case study.

UniversityEmployee9

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Re: What were your toughest challenges saving money
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2018, 09:42:54 PM »
Do you have any non-mortgage debt?

When would you like to reach FIRE?

ambimammular

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Re: What were your toughest challenges saving money
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2018, 06:46:28 AM »
The challenges have changed as I've aged. In our college years DH and I ate out with friends often. Loans were deferred, so we had few expenses and could have been stashing all those easy dollars.

After we got a house Home Depot got a lot of our extra spending money.

Now that we've got kids, alcohol is our big spending category ;)  (Not as kidding as I'd like to be.) But really, having them in karate and gymnastics, and backyard neighbors/friends entertaining are our big luxuries. That's only cus we travel hack. Otherwise it would be airlines getting our spare cash.

Dragonswan

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Re: What were your toughest challenges saving money
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2018, 07:04:08 AM »
Answering the questions of the other posters for yourself is a good start.  I also think gradual is best in a lot of cases. You're going for a permanent lifestyle change and doing it gradually let's you get used to it a little at a time.  Much like a diet,  you want the change to be permanent so you don't gain the weight back or in this case slip back to spendy ways.

thesis

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Re: What were your toughest challenges saving money
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2018, 07:56:39 AM »
Yeah, gradual is good. I had always been somewhat frugal, lived with my parents for several years to pay off my student loans, avoided car debt, etc. But what was really amazing to me as I began to focus on increasing the savings rate what how consumerist I still was. I used to make lists of all the things that I wanted, and I would treat it like a checklist and typically use the money I had left at the end of the month to check those items off (which is a terrible reason to buy anything). It wasn't until I started letting go of and/or challenging my material desires that the savings rate started singing.

Just take it one step at a time. Spending too much on groceries? Take a few months to trim that and find ways to still be happy. High car payment? Consider selling or knocking out the debt fast. Feeling spendy? Try assessing which items you will actually use or that bring the most happiness and discard or forget about the rest.

It took me over a year to get from generic, random savings to a cool 50% investment rate. I keep an additional 10% loose, but I like to save some of that, too. Because of this, I still have money to save up for the things I really want, the key is that I have a better idea what I want and I'm willing to wait :) (also, I did downsize my living situation and moved into a house with friends)

Schaefer Light

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Re: What were your toughest challenges saving money
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2018, 08:01:29 AM »
The toughest challenges I had starting out were unexpected expenses.  Things like a car breaking down, having to repair/replace an AC unit, or having to hire plumbers to fix a drainage issue.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: What were your toughest challenges saving money
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2018, 08:02:17 AM »
If you post a case study, we'll tell you ;)

Really though, it does depend on what your spending is like now, and what you "feel the pain" of the change with. Personally, I feel the pain with changing my grocery spending way more than entertainment spending or cars or clothes. Most people feel the pain of cutting cable more than changing their cellphone plan. For things that are "painful", see how you can modify or substitute. You don't want to cut cable? Okay, try swapping for netflix and sling instead.

We all have our pain points. The goal is to swap and cut back where you can, until stuff starts to get uncomfortable, then ease back up on the parts you truly value. Frugal, priority-driven life spending.

The toughest challenges I had starting out were unexpected expenses.  Things like a car breaking down, having to repair/replace an AC unit, or having to hire plumbers to fix a drainage issue.

This was huge for us. I felt like there was always something unexpected! And that's because there WAS. That's part of life, and I've learned to plan accordingly.

Dicey

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Re: What were your toughest challenges saving money
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2018, 08:10:11 AM »
My biggest one was a lack of financial awareness. I vould save money like a boss, but i didn't know what to do with it. Now, there are so many easy options and such a wealth of information available on the internet. Thanks to sites like MMM and Jlcollinsnh's Stock Series, there's a much more clearly defined path to follow.

TheWifeHalf

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Re: What were your toughest challenges saving money
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2018, 08:50:03 AM »
Our biggest challenge was dealing with people who could not understand that we chose to have me stay home with the kids, because it was all going to be financially worth it in the end.
It was.

But, it was a little challenge, because we never lived our lives according too someone else's priorities.

okcisok

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Re: What were your toughest challenges saving money
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2018, 10:01:34 AM »
In no particular order:

*having a savings plan. Before really diving into this lifestyle, I'd always been a 'saver'. At a rate of about $200/month. I was just saving money because that's what you did. I didn't have a plan for emergencies, monthly spending, or a plan to FIRE.

*letting go of aspirational spending. Spending money on hobbies or pastimes that aren't really me, just because I thought that I would someday be the person who knits handmade gifts or golfs.

*turning down invitations to do spendy things. I've tried inviting people over to my place, as Mustachians and the Frugalwoods suggest, but with limited success. I still want to hang out with friends, hear live music, and try new things. It just requires more thought and planning.

*planning. I love theatre, and in the past I'd justify orchestra seats to a traveling Broadway show because "supporting the arts!" "amazing production values!" "might never see this show again!". Now I look at schedules for the community college and local productions. If there's an amazing show that I really want to see, I'll check out these options first. I also let it be known that I LOVE going to shows, so I'll take your tickets if you don't want to go. I've gotten to see three big shows that way, plus countless arts festivals and food shows. If there's no money in the spending plan, I'll have to forgo this time. Which leads into...

*FOMO. In this great big wide world, things are going to happen. If I miss out on this one, there will be another thing. And if I spend all my money on other things, I'll have to wait until the next thing comes along that I can afford. Something else always does. I've found that I'm more grateful for time spend with family and friends than for paid experiences.






boarder42

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Re: What were your toughest challenges saving money
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2018, 10:07:03 AM »
never really had issues saving money

if your goal is to get to a high savings rate you need to start with a case study and look at where your money is currently going then from there you can determine how to get to a 60-70% savings rate and figure out what you want to cut and whats important. 

there isnt a magic formula for everyone and if you're a spender the first thing is to have your eyes opened as to where your leaky ship is leaking and if you're really getting value out of what you're buying.  Typically its death by a million cuts for most people who cant save. 

galliver

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Re: What were your toughest challenges saving money
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2018, 12:09:48 PM »
Disclaimer these will be different for everyone, but I also don't think any of these are unique to me alone...

  • Anything that involves changing OTHER people's behavior. Whether it means getting your friends into hiking, game nights, and beers instead of dancing and bars, or wanting your partner (spouse, gf/bf, etc) to change their shopping and entertainment habits...you can't. You can't change other people. You can influence them, but you can't MAKE them do your bidding or change their values. Obviously no one wants to replace their friend group or partner, so I've seen it become a big sticking point. Not much advice except to realize that everyone has agency and if you want to keep them in your life you at least have to meet them halfway. Also, take on the burden: if you want to give up a service offer to be the one to replace it (cook/host/clean/etc.) [Related: when people can't keep themselves from judging friends/family who didn't ask for a financial counselor. Remember that other people have agency and a right to their own choices. Like with religion and politics, don't push your views unless you're ok with it interfering with the relationship. And frustrating you.]
  • Frugal vs cheap. Also kind of related to the above. If your frugality is impinging on an unwilling participant, it's cheap. Endangering yourself or others is cheap. Don't make your date pay you back for gas. Don't collect strangers' leftovers at a restaurant (mild biohazard, embarrassing to your companion(s)). Don't re-wear your clothes or skip showers so much that you stink (unless you live alone and WFH or something). Embrace a "buy it for life" philosophy instead of repeatedly buying cheap crap.
  • Habits. It can be hard to make even a simple-sounding change stick day in, day out. You dutifully pack a lunch for 3 days, or 5 days, or 2 weeks, but then you have a long day and life happens, and you don't stop by the grocery store in time, and you have to run out and get a sandwich. And you remember how tasty the deli down the street is and how nice it is not to worry about packing your lunch, etc. Cutting down on eating out is a sticking point for many so I used it as an example but it might be anything...getting up earlier to bike to work, doing your laundry vs dropping it off, so forth. Recommendation: rather than quitting cold-turkey, scale down your habits and make them special treats.
  • "Lumpy" spending and the "expected unexpected". Maybe you have regular expenses (rent, utilities, groceries, phone, gas, insurance, meds, etc), figured out, but you do something fun or something breaks or you get strep and need the doc. Emergencies of all stripes can unfortunately gang up on you (i.e. come all at once), and the fun stuff you have a choice in can be hard to pin down: is it a habit or a one-off expense? It can be easy to start justifying everything as one-off and kind of discounting it, when actually even if it's not the same thing every month but something comes up monthly. Obviously it's an issue if it makes you go over budget, but it can also be really disappointing, like "why is this not going as planned?" Well because you haven't planned for everything, you don't actually want to live as a bare-bones hermit in a box. Change the plan to be more realistic.

That's all I got for now.

ElleFiji

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Re: What were your toughest challenges saving money
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2018, 12:21:13 PM »
My two biggest challenges are

- having a lower income

- having to spend to save time or to make myself healthier. I would prefer to cook more from scratch...but sometimes that isn't possible if I'm sick or my schedule is chaotic. Right now things are so chaotic that I'm spending $50-60/week on ubers. The additional income I'm getting from working long hours is almost all going towards expenses directly related to work.

use2betrix

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Re: What were your toughest challenges saving money
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2018, 12:21:17 PM »
I could type a wall of text but I’ll refrain.

For me - I have always valued nice things. And not at all in the sense of “showing off,” I genuinely love the quality of a pair American made red wing heritage boots vs ones for 1/3 the price. Most people would never tell the difference. Same goes with American made jeans and shirts that probably 99% of the population has never heard of and from 20’ you wouldn’t tell the difference with wal mart clothes, although the build quality, stitching, and material is far superior.

I’m similar about vehicles. They are my vice. Have had many nice ones over the years. It has nothing to do with caring what other people thing, but 100% due to them simply being a passion. I enjoy researching, modifying, etc.

Fortunately, I am a hard worker and my income outweighs my vices substantially.

Also - because of my work, my wife and I live full time in a fifth wheel and typically move around the country every 6-12 months, so what I own is limited to a 240’ space. That massively helps keep spending down, and probably the reason I haven’t succumbed to my desire of a sports car (yet).

All my mmm failures aside, reading every blog post probably twice before knowing a forum existed, helped me immensely. While my hard work and self control contribute a lot, I can proudly say that MMM has single handedly made a huge impact in my life/savings. Not a chance I’d be where I’m at today without his blog posts. It does help that my wife shares none of my vices and is naturally very frugal.

TartanTallulah

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Re: What were your toughest challenges saving money
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2018, 08:39:33 PM »
By far my biggest challenge has been the unexpected expense that came with having children. I wanted every one of my children and would have them all over again if I could rewind my life, but if I'd been childless I'd be deep into eight figures of net worth by now.

The next is my own inability to sustain any level of miserliness and to prioritise a high income over other workplace factors.