Author Topic: Lifestyle for Chicago area. Permanently worried about spending  (Read 1502 times)

spaniard999

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Lifestyle for Chicago area. Permanently worried about spending
« on: October 08, 2018, 01:36:56 PM »
I've been living in Chicago for 7 years now.
Since I found this community, I tried to become one more and embrace some changes that will hopefully make me happier and be FI.
I started by doing things like:
- Getting a used car with better millage.
- Moved closer to work just to have a better commute.
- Bike to work some days
- Eat more at home or just cook meals for work.
- Drink way less. Never pay for a drink of more than $5.

But I still do other things that I know are not helping the cause but make me really happy:
- I own a motorcycle, and riding is so fulfilling, makes me feel free, forget about problems or even solve them. It feels even therapeutic for me.
- The place I rent is 2 bedrooms but I live alone with my dog (GSD).
- I enjoy some carpentry and mechanic stuff so I have many tools for that which I keep in the garage that I rent detached from the house.

To put things in perspective, I will add some numbers.

I'm 31 and single.
I have 60k in 401K, 25K in R IRA and 10k in taxable investments.
My rent is 1100 + 100 for the garage.
I max my 401K and my Roth IRA. I put some extra to my FSA but I don't max it out.
I put around 8k extra a year in a taxable investment account.

Rejecting an activity that requires spending money makes me feel less happier at the very moment.
And if I end up having a drink or having dinner out I feel very guilty next day.
Every time a bill that is a bit off of the normal amount, I worry (gas/heat on winter months).

Why do I have this constant worry. Should I feel like that? I guess I'm only looking for reassurance about my situation.


TexasRunner

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Re: Lifestyle for Chicago area. Permanently worried about spending
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2018, 01:47:39 PM »
...

You didn't post anything about an emergency fund or savings / checking accounts.  How much are you keeping in reserves?

I get that your question is more about consumption / guilt than a "fix this" thing, but its pretty important info regarding consumption.

TexasRunner

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Re: Lifestyle for Chicago area. Permanently worried about spending
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2018, 01:48:24 PM »
@arebelspy or any other mods, it seems the OP's post tripled.  Can you remove the other two?

spaniard999

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Re: Lifestyle for Chicago area. Permanently worried about spending
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2018, 02:17:26 PM »
...

You didn't post anything about an emergency fund or savings / checking accounts.  How much are you keeping in reserves?

I get that your question is more about consumption / guilt than a "fix this" thing, but its pretty important info regarding consumption.

I have 18k on my savings/emergency.

Fishindude

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Re: Lifestyle for Chicago area. Permanently worried about spending
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2018, 02:40:50 PM »
Chicago is an expensive place to live.   Move 100-150 miles in about any direction and you can cut your cost of living dramatically.

TexasRunner

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Re: Lifestyle for Chicago area. Permanently worried about spending
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2018, 03:29:17 PM »
Well, if you are looking for the forum to dissect your life and give it a thumbs-up/thumbs-down consensus, you're pretty much going to have to lay it all out there based on the How to write a case study thread (and section of the forum).

However, with that caveat out there, a sense of worry is not healthy.  Stress can be healthy, but constant stress or stressing without significant cause is definitely not healthy. 

It may be beneficial to read (or review) what is stoicism and how it can turn your life to solid gold.  Also, frugal vs cheap.  Something that I have remember constantly from that one is this:

Quote
When you’re on a first date or out with friends, it may be perfectly appropriate to pick up the tab, spontaneously buy pitchers of beer, and otherwise burn off a week’s worth of grocery money in four hours. And do it without worrying a bit, because you know you can afford it in the long run. If you do it right, you’re buying experiences you’ll remember for a lifetime and building friendships of similar longevity.

The key is in what you do between these lifetime experiences. If you attempt to re-create them in the same way every weekend, you’re just building your career as an alcoholic. It you also pamper yourself with iPads, massages, and salon haircuts on the off days, you’re just creating a person who needs Pampers. So you can selectively spend to capture those fleeting Good Times… but live more like a spartan warrior when nobody’s around.

Consider doing a full case study, but remember, no one gets out of this life alive* and you will not take anything with you when you go. So (while being a responsible person) enjoying life while taking care of your responsibilities (including potentially your future self at retirement age) is entirely rational and healthy.  Wasting your money is not.  Where exactly that line exists would be a pretty good definition of financial wisdom.  :-)


*(Exceptions may include Elijah and Enoch, but the stats are not in your favor... :) )

Peachtea

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Re: Lifestyle for Chicago area. Permanently worried about spending
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2018, 08:42:40 PM »
I max my 401K and my Roth IRA. I put some extra to my FSA but I don't max it out.
I put around 8k extra a year in a taxable investment account.

Sounds like you’re doing fine. What’s your goal? If you’re saving what you need to meet it, then seems like you can relax some about your spending. If you need to cut more, then +1 to a case study. In general, it seems like you’re trying to mimic a smaller town lifestyle in Chicago, which obviously is going to cost you more here.

Laura33

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Re: Lifestyle for Chicago area. Permanently worried about spending
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2018, 08:57:12 AM »
Sounds to me like you need a specific plan and a timeline.  If you know what your target FIRE date is, and you know that you are saving enough to get you there, then you can enjoy the rest of your money without guilt.  OTOH, if your target date is "as soon as possible," or "I don't really want to RE but really want to be FI," then you're always going to feel guilty about spending.

You also need to make sure that your FIRE target reflects a lifestyle you can live with long-term.  If you are holding your breath and sucking in your gut for X years so you can FIRE, well, eventually you do have to breathe, and at that point your lifestyle will expand and you will no longer be FIRE.  So if you are happy with your current situation, and you think it will get you to FI quickly enough, then you're good and you can let go all the rest -- there's no need to prove to anyone that you're the baddest Mustachian on the planet, you know? 

If you do want advice on further cuts to your budget, my general thought is that the lower your fixed lifestyle expenses, the more fun money you have.  In particular:  if you love your motorcycle so much, why do you need a car too?  Yes, it's Chicago -- so get yourself some weather-appropriate tires and motorcycle gear and be a badass.  Or live close enough to one of the city's world-class public transportation options to commute in heated comfort on those days.

partdopy

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Re: Lifestyle for Chicago area. Permanently worried about spending
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2018, 09:04:59 AM »
Sounds like you don't have a clear goal in mind.  You're maxing a 401k and IRA as well as investing 8k in taxable accounts.  I'd say that is probably doing better than 90% of normal people.

I vote you go and figure out your long term goals and then automate your savings (sounds like you already have) to meet them.  After that, the rest of your money is yours to do whatever with and you can live for today rather than worry.  As a 32 year old who has similar finances to you and recently started maxing retirement accounts, I had the same problem until I spent a while thinking about what I wanted in life and did the math to make sure I would get there even in a down market.  Now I don't really worry about finances as my savings are auto deducted, so 100% of my paycheck after bills is disposable income.