Author Topic: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?  (Read 10764 times)

Villanelle

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #100 on: July 27, 2020, 03:23:58 PM »
These types of threads always have me scratching my hear.  Most of my friends are mainstream, in the sense that they maybe save 10% or in some cases they probably save -5%. 

No one ever said anything to be about my 20 year old car. (Fairly recently upgraded to a 4 yo car that we will likely own until it's about that age, hopefully).  No one cares that we only own one car.  (I've gotten questions about whether it's hard, whether I feel trapped, etc., but they have always seems just curious or maybe slightly confused, not judgemental or condescending.)   No one ever said anything about our fairly modest townhouse we lived in, or the fact that I wear make up maybe 1/mo, or anything else.  So many people have these stories about people commenting, and I just don't get it because nothing like that has ever happened to me and that's certainly not because I hang out with like-minded people.  Yes no one has ever insulted any of these things.  I wonder why that is? 

Bloop Bloop

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #101 on: July 27, 2020, 05:58:24 PM »
These types of threads always have me scratching my hear.  Most of my friends are mainstream, in the sense that they maybe save 10% or in some cases they probably save -5%. 

No one ever said anything to be about my 20 year old car. (Fairly recently upgraded to a 4 yo car that we will likely own until it's about that age, hopefully).  No one cares that we only own one car.  (I've gotten questions about whether it's hard, whether I feel trapped, etc., but they have always seems just curious or maybe slightly confused, not judgemental or condescending.)   No one ever said anything about our fairly modest townhouse we lived in, or the fact that I wear make up maybe 1/mo, or anything else.  So many people have these stories about people commenting, and I just don't get it because nothing like that has ever happened to me and that's certainly not because I hang out with like-minded people.  Yes no one has ever insulted any of these things.  I wonder why that is?

I agree with you. Do I just have less judgmental friends/acquaintances, or what?

My own experience has been that, unless you make it a point to harp on about these things, no one cares. About either frugality or lavishness. Both are just "meh" events.

Sometimes I drive a shitbox (my parents' old car), sometimes I drive a fancy car. Besides car enthusiasts no one's ever commented on my car. Sometimes I dress nicely in a suit and tie. Most of the time I go to work in track pants and a sweatshirt, and sometimes I wear the same clothes 3 or 4 days in a row cause I have a lot of pairs of track pants and grey jumpers. No one's ever commented one way or another.

I also feel a bit surprised that there's apparently so much social judgment on either extreme. I suspect for the most part if you're not drawing attention to yourself you can do whatever you like (short of going naked, or wearing royal robes, or driving a Ferrari) and not be judged.

Then again maybe it's just middle class privilege talking. The comfortable middle class like us do get to be invisible and go without judgment, more so than, say, a poor person with bad teeth and bad grammar.

Zikoris

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #102 on: July 27, 2020, 07:11:50 PM »
These types of threads always have me scratching my hear.  Most of my friends are mainstream, in the sense that they maybe save 10% or in some cases they probably save -5%. 

No one ever said anything to be about my 20 year old car. (Fairly recently upgraded to a 4 yo car that we will likely own until it's about that age, hopefully).  No one cares that we only own one car.  (I've gotten questions about whether it's hard, whether I feel trapped, etc., but they have always seems just curious or maybe slightly confused, not judgemental or condescending.)   No one ever said anything about our fairly modest townhouse we lived in, or the fact that I wear make up maybe 1/mo, or anything else.  So many people have these stories about people commenting, and I just don't get it because nothing like that has ever happened to me and that's certainly not because I hang out with like-minded people.  Yes no one has ever insulted any of these things.  I wonder why that is?

In our case, the judgment comes more from relatives or people we see semi-regularly but don't have "real" relationships with (coworkers, etc). We definitely don't make it a habit to befriend people like that.

Generally speaking:
If we're getting criticized for not having a car, home, or status stuff, it's coming from his parents.
If it's appearance related, probably my mom's side.
If it's restaurant/coffee/alcohol related, probably coworkers.

It's actually kind of funny how it falls neatly into categories like that.

FIRE Artist

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #103 on: July 27, 2020, 07:38:29 PM »
Choosing to not get married and have kids. 

Dicey

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #104 on: July 27, 2020, 07:48:50 PM »
I have to say I certainly don't feel judged now. I live in a beautiful clown house that has no mortgage. All of our cars are old-ish, but they are in good shape and excellent working order. My wardrobe isn't fancy, but it's appropriate for the stuff I do. On the occasions when we attend fancy dress events (you know, pre-Covid) I either buy dresses at consignment shops or rent them. I always choose things that go with shoes and accessories I already own. DH doesn't dress up much, but he can when he needs to, thanks to my thrift shopping and retail menswear experience. Nobody (but you guys) knows I bought his tuxedo for $35.

In the early days, part of the game for me was NOT to look like I was scrimping and saving my ass off. I think for the most part it worked. I don't remember ever being criticized. I do remember overhearing someone say "I'd hate to pay her Nordstrom bill" at a work conference. I didn't realize right away that they were talking about me. I thought it was hilarious.




iris lily

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #105 on: July 28, 2020, 10:01:51 AM »
I sold plasma when I was a “poor graduate student “and I always add that I was a poor graduate student when I tell people I sell plasma. Because it is socially awkward. But at my large university there is a plasma collection center because students are good population for that. I actually didn’t need it to pay tuition, it provided my cigarette and beer money.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2020, 03:23:58 PM by iris lily »

vand

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #106 on: July 28, 2020, 02:05:31 PM »
Not very exciting, but I refuse to ever pay to get the car washed - and given that I do it myself about once a year, that basically means the car never gets washed.

Normally it isn't much of a problem, but our parking slot is located directly underneath the branches of a large oak tree, so during spring and summer it regularly gets covered in huge amounts of sap and tree gunk, as well as bird droppings.

I freely admit it looks disgusting and the poor thing deserves better, but it's so low on my priority list I will likely never do it. Whenever we go somewhere and park up I take perverse pride that we have usually have by far the dirtiest car in the car park.

solon

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #107 on: July 28, 2020, 02:07:00 PM »
Not very exciting, but I refuse to ever pay to get the car washed - and given that I do it myself about once a year, that basically means the car never gets washed.

Normally it isn't much of a problem, but our parking slot is located directly underneath the branches of a large oak tree, so during spring and summer it regularly gets covered in huge amounts of sap and tree gunk, as well as bird droppings.

I freely admit it looks disgusting and the poor thing deserves better, but it's so low on my priority list I will likely never do it. Whenever we go somewhere and park up I take perverse pride that we have usually have by far the dirtiest car in the car park.

Plus, your car will never be stolen.

Sibley

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #108 on: July 28, 2020, 03:15:48 PM »
Choosing to not get married and have kids.

Yeah, this is probably a big one for me too.

Though it looks like my sister is going to buy a house with her longtime boyfriend. I will not be surprised to hear she's pregnant in the next year or 2. My mother will get over it, she wants grandkids too much.

DadJokes

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #109 on: July 28, 2020, 03:40:00 PM »
Choosing to not get married and have kids.

Yeah, this is probably a big one for me too.

Though it looks like my sister is going to buy a house with her longtime boyfriend. I will not be surprised to hear she's pregnant in the next year or 2. My mother will get over it, she wants grandkids too much.

That's very interesting.

I'd say that finding a good wife has been the most important step along the way. She nearly doubles the household income, and economies of scale mean that expenses don't double. There's no way that I'd have a 50% savings rate without her.

And sure, kids cost money, but not as much as people seem to make them out to cost (if they're healthy). A creative mustachian can raise a kid on <$3,000/year.

pbkmaine

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #110 on: July 28, 2020, 06:54:04 PM »
I carried my lunch most days to my Wall Street job. It caused some raised eyebrows at first, but then I had a few conversations where I pointed out that FI means you can walk if you don’t like your job. After that, people would come in my office to have me double check their retirement calculations, and coworkers would apologize for buying their lunch.

Dicey

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #111 on: July 28, 2020, 10:29:49 PM »
I carried my lunch most days to my Wall Street job. It caused some raised eyebrows at first, but then I had a few conversations where I pointed out that FI means you can walk if you don’t like your job. After that, people would come in my office to have me double check their retirement calculations, and coworkers would apologize for buying their lunch.

Love this!

Bloop Bloop

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #112 on: July 28, 2020, 11:23:11 PM »
Choosing to not get married and have kids.

Yeah, this is probably a big one for me too.

Though it looks like my sister is going to buy a house with her longtime boyfriend. I will not be surprised to hear she's pregnant in the next year or 2. My mother will get over it, she wants grandkids too much.

That's very interesting.

I'd say that finding a good wife has been the most important step along the way. She nearly doubles the household income, and economies of scale mean that expenses don't double. There's no way that I'd have a 50% savings rate without her.

And sure, kids cost money, but not as much as people seem to make them out to cost (if they're healthy). A creative mustachian can raise a kid on <$3,000/year.

Yeah, I'd have to say the same. My spending as a single is $40k a year. When I was in a r'ship the spending was only marginally more at $50k a year. Add a couple of kids and it'd be, what, $80k a year? Here in Australia school is free, university is deferred (so free upfront), health care is free, children's dental is free...everything's free. Except food and clothes, I guess. And childcare (although that's even subsidised for poor families).

If my partner were to earn $50k a year [the median full-time wage in Australia is $78k and the average full-time wage is $90k, so I don't think $50k a year is asking too much] then that would more than offset the "extra costs" of marriage and children.

Sibley

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #113 on: July 29, 2020, 07:39:07 AM »
Choosing to not get married and have kids.

Yeah, this is probably a big one for me too.

Though it looks like my sister is going to buy a house with her longtime boyfriend. I will not be surprised to hear she's pregnant in the next year or 2. My mother will get over it, she wants grandkids too much.

That's very interesting.

I'd say that finding a good wife has been the most important step along the way. She nearly doubles the household income, and economies of scale mean that expenses don't double. There's no way that I'd have a 50% savings rate without her.

And sure, kids cost money, but not as much as people seem to make them out to cost (if they're healthy). A creative mustachian can raise a kid on <$3,000/year.

Yeah, I'd have to say the same. My spending as a single is $40k a year. When I was in a r'ship the spending was only marginally more at $50k a year. Add a couple of kids and it'd be, what, $80k a year? Here in Australia school is free, university is deferred (so free upfront), health care is free, children's dental is free...everything's free. Except food and clothes, I guess. And childcare (although that's even subsidised for poor families).

If my partner were to earn $50k a year [the median full-time wage in Australia is $78k and the average full-time wage is $90k, so I don't think $50k a year is asking too much] then that would more than offset the "extra costs" of marriage and children.

Except that not everyone wants kids, or wants to be married. Money isn't everything.

ketchup

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #114 on: July 29, 2020, 07:42:40 AM »
Not very exciting, but I refuse to ever pay to get the car washed - and given that I do it myself about once a year, that basically means the car never gets washed.

Normally it isn't much of a problem, but our parking slot is located directly underneath the branches of a large oak tree, so during spring and summer it regularly gets covered in huge amounts of sap and tree gunk, as well as bird droppings.

I freely admit it looks disgusting and the poor thing deserves better, but it's so low on my priority list I will likely never do it. Whenever we go somewhere and park up I take perverse pride that we have usually have by far the dirtiest car in the car park.
I had a friend with a similar mentality.  His car was white, but "for years, my in-laws thought I drove a gray car."

Unfortunately, I drive almost two miles every day on an unpaved "road" (my shitty driveway) so not washing it at least once a month is a legitimate safety hazard visibility-wise due to all the dust/mud/nonsense that accumulates.

RetiredAt63

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #115 on: July 29, 2020, 07:50:15 AM »
Not very exciting, but I refuse to ever pay to get the car washed - and given that I do it myself about once a year, that basically means the car never gets washed.

Normally it isn't much of a problem, but our parking slot is located directly underneath the branches of a large oak tree, so during spring and summer it regularly gets covered in huge amounts of sap and tree gunk, as well as bird droppings.

I freely admit it looks disgusting and the poor thing deserves better, but it's so low on my priority list I will likely never do it. Whenever we go somewhere and park up I take perverse pride that we have usually have by far the dirtiest car in the car park.
I had a friend with a similar mentality.  His car was white, but "for years, my in-laws thought I drove a gray car."

Unfortunately, I drive almost two miles every day on an unpaved "road" (my shitty driveway) so not washing it at least once a month is a legitimate safety hazard visibility-wise due to all the dust/mud/nonsense that accumulates.

Park it in the rain.  ;-)

And I should admit here that my car is a dusty red.  Windows and lights are clean, gas stations have wash fluid and squeegees .

slappy

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #116 on: July 29, 2020, 07:50:50 AM »
Choosing to not get married and have kids.

Yeah, this is probably a big one for me too.

Though it looks like my sister is going to buy a house with her longtime boyfriend. I will not be surprised to hear she's pregnant in the next year or 2. My mother will get over it, she wants grandkids too much.

That's very interesting.

I'd say that finding a good wife has been the most important step along the way. She nearly doubles the household income, and economies of scale mean that expenses don't double. There's no way that I'd have a 50% savings rate without her.

And sure, kids cost money, but not as much as people seem to make them out to cost (if they're healthy). A creative mustachian can raise a kid on <$3,000/year.

Yeah, I'd have to say the same. My spending as a single is $40k a year. When I was in a r'ship the spending was only marginally more at $50k a year. Add a couple of kids and it'd be, what, $80k a year? Here in Australia school is free, university is deferred (so free upfront), health care is free, children's dental is free...everything's free. Except food and clothes, I guess. And childcare (although that's even subsidised for poor families).

If my partner were to earn $50k a year [the median full-time wage in Australia is $78k and the average full-time wage is $90k, so I don't think $50k a year is asking too much] then that would more than offset the "extra costs" of marriage and children.

Except that not everyone wants kids, or wants to be married. Money isn't everything.

Yeah, I feel like the decision to have kids or not is not generally based on money, unless you truly can't afford it. There are many other factors that go into it. I don't know what they are, because I have three kids, but I know people usually put more thought into than just "I would have so much more money if I didn't have kids."

Bloop Bloop

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #117 on: July 29, 2020, 08:27:38 AM »
Choosing to not get married and have kids.

Yeah, this is probably a big one for me too.

Though it looks like my sister is going to buy a house with her longtime boyfriend. I will not be surprised to hear she's pregnant in the next year or 2. My mother will get over it, she wants grandkids too much.

That's very interesting.

I'd say that finding a good wife has been the most important step along the way. She nearly doubles the household income, and economies of scale mean that expenses don't double. There's no way that I'd have a 50% savings rate without her.

And sure, kids cost money, but not as much as people seem to make them out to cost (if they're healthy). A creative mustachian can raise a kid on <$3,000/year.

Yeah, I'd have to say the same. My spending as a single is $40k a year. When I was in a r'ship the spending was only marginally more at $50k a year. Add a couple of kids and it'd be, what, $80k a year? Here in Australia school is free, university is deferred (so free upfront), health care is free, children's dental is free...everything's free. Except food and clothes, I guess. And childcare (although that's even subsidised for poor families).

If my partner were to earn $50k a year [the median full-time wage in Australia is $78k and the average full-time wage is $90k, so I don't think $50k a year is asking too much] then that would more than offset the "extra costs" of marriage and children.

Except that not everyone wants kids, or wants to be married. Money isn't everything.

Right, but in the context of this thread about what is something you've done to cut expenses...

Cassie

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #118 on: July 29, 2020, 12:15:20 PM »
When I first moved to Nevada for a job everyone was in their 40’s and single. I had just gotten a divorce and bought a small 2 bedroom older condo. Everyone told me I made a mistake and should have bought a house. They were all house poor and had no money for vacations and other things. My mortgage was less than half of theirs. We buy our cars either new or slightly used and drive them until dead. People have asked when are we replacing them.

vand

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #119 on: July 29, 2020, 12:49:03 PM »
Choosing to not get married and have kids.

Yeah, this is probably a big one for me too.

Though it looks like my sister is going to buy a house with her longtime boyfriend. I will not be surprised to hear she's pregnant in the next year or 2. My mother will get over it, she wants grandkids too much.

That's very interesting.

I'd say that finding a good wife has been the most important step along the way. She nearly doubles the household income, and economies of scale mean that expenses don't double. There's no way that I'd have a 50% savings rate without her.

And sure, kids cost money, but not as much as people seem to make them out to cost (if they're healthy). A creative mustachian can raise a kid on <$3,000/year.

Yeah, I'd have to say the same. My spending as a single is $40k a year. When I was in a r'ship the spending was only marginally more at $50k a year. Add a couple of kids and it'd be, what, $80k a year? Here in Australia school is free, university is deferred (so free upfront), health care is free, children's dental is free...everything's free. Except food and clothes, I guess. And childcare (although that's even subsidised for poor families).

If my partner were to earn $50k a year [the median full-time wage in Australia is $78k and the average full-time wage is $90k, so I don't think $50k a year is asking too much] then that would more than offset the "extra costs" of marriage and children.

Except that not everyone wants kids, or wants to be married. Money isn't everything.

I don’t know anyone with kids who thought it moved them ahead financially. Dowries are pretty uncommon in these parts..

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #120 on: July 29, 2020, 02:39:05 PM »
Not very exciting, but I refuse to ever pay to get the car washed - and given that I do it myself about once a year, that basically means the car never gets washed.

Normally it isn't much of a problem, but our parking slot is located directly underneath the branches of a large oak tree, so during spring and summer it regularly gets covered in huge amounts of sap and tree gunk, as well as bird droppings.

I freely admit it looks disgusting and the poor thing deserves better, but it's so low on my priority list I will likely never do it. Whenever we go somewhere and park up I take perverse pride that we have usually have by far the dirtiest car in the car park.

I don't care a whit if my vehicles are "dirty."

The ONLY thing I care about is their reliability.

The last vehicle I bought was brand new right from the dealer.

I think I've  washed it 2X.

I'll drive it till it dies and  then  buy another new one.

Dicey

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #121 on: July 29, 2020, 04:09:31 PM »
Not very exciting, but I refuse to ever pay to get the car washed - and given that I do it myself about once a year, that basically means the car never gets washed.

Normally it isn't much of a problem, but our parking slot is located directly underneath the branches of a large oak tree, so during spring and summer it regularly gets covered in huge amounts of sap and tree gunk, as well as bird droppings.

I freely admit it looks disgusting and the poor thing deserves better, but it's so low on my priority list I will likely never do it. Whenever we go somewhere and park up I take perverse pride that we have usually have by far the dirtiest car in the car park.

I don't care a whit if my vehicles are "dirty."

The ONLY thing I care about is their reliability.

The last vehicle I bought was brand new right from the dealer.

I think I've  washed it 2X.

I'll drive it till it dies and  then  buy another new one.
I think I'll go make some popcorn...

Schaefer Light

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #122 on: July 29, 2020, 05:31:11 PM »
I'm considering buying a cheap house in the middle of nowhere in order to become FI immediately.  That would probably be the least socially acceptable thing I've ever done.

slappy

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #123 on: July 30, 2020, 06:29:44 AM »
I'm considering buying a cheap house in the middle of nowhere in order to become FI immediately.  That would probably be the least socially acceptable thing I've ever done.

I consider this every day!

LWYRUP

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #124 on: July 30, 2020, 06:38:19 AM »
I'm not as frugal as you are but for many years we drove an old car and some kids keyed all the cars on our street pretty badly.  We never bothered getting it repainted, that would have cost hundreds.  That seemed to bother people to no end.

Malcat

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #125 on: July 30, 2020, 06:50:56 AM »
I'm considering buying a cheap house in the middle of nowhere in order to become FI immediately.  That would probably be the least socially acceptable thing I've ever done.

On the plus side, if you are living in the middle of nowhere, there's no one to judge what's socially acceptable ;)

slappy

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #126 on: July 30, 2020, 10:19:04 AM »
I'm considering buying a cheap house in the middle of nowhere in order to become FI immediately.  That would probably be the least socially acceptable thing I've ever done.

On the plus side, if you are living in the middle of nowhere, there's no one to judge what's socially acceptable ;)

I actually have considered this. I live in a modest home, but most of the other homes in my neighborhood and half a mile up the road are mcmansions. I actually think there would be value in living in an area where there wouldn't be as much worry about keeping up with the joneses. Not that I worry about that very much, but sometimes it creeps in. I'm slightly jealous of my SILs home, but not jealous of her mortgage payment and prop taxes! I'm pretty sure her property taxes are more than my whole mortgage.

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #127 on: July 30, 2020, 12:46:30 PM »
I've gotten the raised eyebrow when out with coworkers or not-so-close friends when I don't drink booze. It was odd seeing that people got weirded out about it. It's not really an expense thing, I just don't care for alcohol. People like to assume I'm a recovering alcoholic or religious fanatic (I've heard the whispers). My actual friends and family either also don't drink or don't care.

The other one is that my Dad and I both used to get a lot of crap from family (including my Mom) because we kept cars for a long time. We're both reasonably capable DIYers and able to keep a vehicle running a long time. Usually rust is the final cause of death when it gets too bad to fix or poses a safety issue. My car MO is to buy them lightly used and be diligent about upkeep so they last as long as possible. At the moment, my cars are 8, 14, 30 years old. The 30 y/o is driveable but a project car that hasn't gotten the attention it deserves lately. The other two are probably not even 1/2 way through their expected life with me.

Zikoris

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #128 on: July 30, 2020, 12:53:54 PM »
I've gotten the raised eyebrow when out with coworkers or not-so-close friends when I don't drink booze. It was odd seeing that people got weirded out about it. It's not really an expense thing, I just don't care for alcohol. People like to assume I'm a recovering alcoholic or religious fanatic (I've heard the whispers). My actual friends and family either also don't drink or don't care.

The alcohol thing is so freaking stupid. I've never drank or had any desire to. If people act weird/pushy about it, I generally assume they're a closet alcoholic trying to make themselves feel better. I might or might not have expressed that opinion to a few people. It's honestly kind of mind-blowing to me that people even notice/care that they're having a glass of wine while I'm having a glass of soda.

Malcat

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #129 on: July 30, 2020, 12:54:18 PM »
I'm considering buying a cheap house in the middle of nowhere in order to become FI immediately.  That would probably be the least socially acceptable thing I've ever done.

On the plus side, if you are living in the middle of nowhere, there's no one to judge what's socially acceptable ;)

I actually have considered this. I live in a modest home, but most of the other homes in my neighborhood and half a mile up the road are mcmansions. I actually think there would be value in living in an area where there wouldn't be as much worry about keeping up with the joneses. Not that I worry about that very much, but sometimes it creeps in. I'm slightly jealous of my SILs home, but not jealous of her mortgage payment and prop taxes! I'm pretty sure her property taxes are more than my whole mortgage.

That's why I like living in a working class neighbourhood. I work and socialize with a lot of very wealthy people, I don't need to live among them as well.

Living where I live is *by far* the least socially acceptable thing about my lifestyle choices. People visibly cringe when I say where I live, but I love it here.

Before, when I started making a big income, I lived in the *most* expensive neighbourhood in the city, and the neighbourly "Joneses" politics drove me fucking batty.

It's very easy to get affected by the "norms" of where you live.

Malcat

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #130 on: July 30, 2020, 01:07:59 PM »
I've gotten the raised eyebrow when out with coworkers or not-so-close friends when I don't drink booze. It was odd seeing that people got weirded out about it. It's not really an expense thing, I just don't care for alcohol. People like to assume I'm a recovering alcoholic or religious fanatic (I've heard the whispers). My actual friends and family either also don't drink or don't care.

The alcohol thing is so freaking stupid. I've never drank or had any desire to. If people act weird/pushy about it, I generally assume they're a closet alcoholic trying to make themselves feel better. I might or might not have expressed that opinion to a few people. It's honestly kind of mind-blowing to me that people even notice/care that they're having a glass of wine while I'm having a glass of soda.

I was a wine lover, but quit drinking for a drug trial, and people's reactions can be super strange. I mean, I quit beef and sugar for a few years and nobody blinked an eye. I weirdly stopped being able to digest them, out of nowhere, and rarely ever had to explain that to anyone.

I would just say "I don't eat beef or sugar" and almost nobody cared why and assumed it was some kind of new diet because I was losing weight at the time.

Now, when I say I don't drink, I might as well say that I'm choosing to have an eye removed. Most people are like "OMG! WHY??!!!"

Just Joe

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #131 on: July 30, 2020, 01:12:48 PM »
Not very exciting, but I refuse to ever pay to get the car washed - and given that I do it myself about once a year, that basically means the car never gets washed.

Normally it isn't much of a problem, but our parking slot is located directly underneath the branches of a large oak tree, so during spring and summer it regularly gets covered in huge amounts of sap and tree gunk, as well as bird droppings.

I freely admit it looks disgusting and the poor thing deserves better, but it's so low on my priority list I will likely never do it. Whenever we go somewhere and park up I take perverse pride that we have usually have by far the dirtiest car in the car park.

Plus, your car will never be stolen.

Do me a favor - check that all your light bulbs work. I saw a similar car in traffic the other day. I don't think the owner ever gave it two thoughts but none of the brake lights worked except one tiny bulb in the middle brake light. Every decade or so some person will give me a startle when they slow quickly and there are no functional brake lights!

GuitarStv

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #132 on: July 30, 2020, 01:34:38 PM »
Not very exciting, but I refuse to ever pay to get the car washed - and given that I do it myself about once a year, that basically means the car never gets washed.

Normally it isn't much of a problem, but our parking slot is located directly underneath the branches of a large oak tree, so during spring and summer it regularly gets covered in huge amounts of sap and tree gunk, as well as bird droppings.

I freely admit it looks disgusting and the poor thing deserves better, but it's so low on my priority list I will likely never do it. Whenever we go somewhere and park up I take perverse pride that we have usually have by far the dirtiest car in the car park.

I've always figured that dirt forms a protective layer over the paint.  :P

MilesTeg

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #133 on: July 30, 2020, 03:10:19 PM »
Not very exciting, but I refuse to ever pay to get the car washed - and given that I do it myself about once a year, that basically means the car never gets washed.

Normally it isn't much of a problem, but our parking slot is located directly underneath the branches of a large oak tree, so during spring and summer it regularly gets covered in huge amounts of sap and tree gunk, as well as bird droppings.

I freely admit it looks disgusting and the poor thing deserves better, but it's so low on my priority list I will likely never do it. Whenever we go somewhere and park up I take perverse pride that we have usually have by far the dirtiest car in the car park.

Paint isn't just cosmetic. It's there to protect your vehicle from corrosion which can seriously damage the vehicle and sabotage its longevity. Not just body  panels but structural elements as well. Its basic maintenance. Especially if you live in an area that uses road salt. Gotta get that shit off of it'll rust out your car in short order.

Kris

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #134 on: July 30, 2020, 04:09:25 PM »
Not very exciting, but I refuse to ever pay to get the car washed - and given that I do it myself about once a year, that basically means the car never gets washed.

Normally it isn't much of a problem, but our parking slot is located directly underneath the branches of a large oak tree, so during spring and summer it regularly gets covered in huge amounts of sap and tree gunk, as well as bird droppings.

I freely admit it looks disgusting and the poor thing deserves better, but it's so low on my priority list I will likely never do it. Whenever we go somewhere and park up I take perverse pride that we have usually have by far the dirtiest car in the car park.

Paint isn't just cosmetic. It's there to protect your vehicle from corrosion which can seriously damage the vehicle and sabotage its longevity. Not just body  panels but structural elements as well. Its basic maintenance. Especially if you live in an area that uses road salt. Gotta get that shit off of it'll rust out your car in short order.

Yeah, this. In Minnesota, not washing your car forever isn’t frugal, it’s dumb.

The_Big_H

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #135 on: July 30, 2020, 11:53:44 PM »
Choosing to not get married and have kids.

Yeah, this is probably a big one for me too.

Though it looks like my sister is going to buy a house with her longtime boyfriend. I will not be surprised to hear she's pregnant in the next year or 2. My mother will get over it, she wants grandkids too much.

That's very interesting.

I'd say that finding a good wife has been the most important step along the way. She nearly doubles the household income, and economies of scale mean that expenses don't double. There's no way that I'd have a 50% savings rate without her.

And sure, kids cost money, but not as much as people seem to make them out to cost (if they're healthy). A creative mustachian can raise a kid on <$3,000/year.

Yeah, I'd have to say the same. My spending as a single is $40k a year. When I was in a r'ship the spending was only marginally more at $50k a year. Add a couple of kids and it'd be, what, $80k a year? Here in Australia school is free, university is deferred (so free upfront), health care is free, children's dental is free...everything's free. Except food and clothes, I guess. And childcare (although that's even subsidised for poor families).

If my partner were to earn $50k a year [the median full-time wage in Australia is $78k and the average full-time wage is $90k, so I don't think $50k a year is asking too much] then that would more than offset the "extra costs" of marriage and children.

Except that not everyone wants kids, or wants to be married. Money isn't everything.

I don’t know anyone with kids who thought it moved them ahead financially. Dowries are pretty uncommon in these parts..

While not having kids is almost always cheaper than having kids in the modern era, the expense of kids is vastly overblown.
* In the USA: $2,000/year off your tax bill for each one, that covers pretty much all the extra food. 
* You can hack the EITC in semi-FIRE = get a few thousand more off your taxes (show $30-50k of income as a household a year in the USA with 2-3 kids), you can have a negative tax rate... Uncle Sam pays you! If you make more, you can 'shelter' the income for the purposes of this calculation via 401k contributions or other methods.
* The tax code favors married couples who have a single income earner.  Known as the "marriage bonus".  It becomes a "marriage penalty" if both spouses work and make roughtly the same (comparing what the total tax bill would have been if everyone filed single.  This along with daycare costs HEAVILY incentives one parent to stay at home (and that stay at home spouse can still have $6000/yr contributed to a ROTH-IRA even if they don't make a dime).
* public school Is free of course
* hack the FAFSA to help with college by being retired and own your home outright and all your assets in tax advantaged accounts (spend down your taxable accounts before kids get to be 17).  The system will calculate you as being POOR as it doesn't look at your house and retirement account values, only your regular accounts and your incomes for a given year.  The poorer the system thinks you are the more grants, work-study, and subsidized student loans you get by pushing way down the "expected parental contribution" calculation.
* live in a state with low "in-state" cost public universities.  If kid wants an out of state public school, move there a year (length varies by state) before = in-state tuition.
* depending on your state you could probably hack WIC/Medicaid/EBT, I don't know this one its basically impossible in my state.
* A low post-FIRE income = cheap Obamacare and the price is the same regardless of # of kids for the family plan.

Now, if you go about buying a big SUV, bigger house, FT daycare, private school... yeah they will be expensive AF

NONE of those things are necessary, and I think the "FIRE with kids" is a good way to generate teh outrage at your life choices:

examples:
A neighbor, a road cyclist, commented "are you sure that's safe" seeing my bike the kid around in the bike trailer (if you are not safe on a bike, you are not safe in a car).

Openly admitting to colleagues (in discussing where to live in town) that I don't actually care all that much about school ranking and picking my neighborhood more on my ability to have a very short commute and convenience to daily needs (allowing more time for parenting).  Id rather my kid actually go to like a 7/10 school which usually means "there are poor kids here" nothing more. 

I'm of the mindset that a successful education is just as much the parents' involvement as the teachers.   I think a private school education (around here) would cause more problems because now my kid is going to school with only rich priviledged kids and will grow up in a total bubble (affluenza).  I also think raising a kid in a far flung suburb (because muh schools) where they cannot get to anything without relying on mom and dad to drive them there is a TERRIBLE fate for a child.  I want them to be able to walk or bike to go do things on their own (including going to school) with friends much like "the good old days" when people let their kids outside to go play and didn't have to play supervisor.  (get me going about "where to live in town" and THIS will come out of me as to why I feel so strongly to live where I live, because finding this sort of thing in the USA is hard)

That mindset is pretty damn unpopular, btw.


« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 12:01:15 AM by The_Big_H »

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #136 on: July 31, 2020, 11:43:37 AM »
Choosing to not get married and have kids.

Yeah, this is probably a big one for me too.

Though it looks like my sister is going to buy a house with her longtime boyfriend. I will not be surprised to hear she's pregnant in the next year or 2. My mother will get over it, she wants grandkids too much.

That's very interesting.

I'd say that finding a good wife has been the most important step along the way. She nearly doubles the household income, and economies of scale mean that expenses don't double. There's no way that I'd have a 50% savings rate without her.

And sure, kids cost money, but not as much as people seem to make them out to cost (if they're healthy). A creative mustachian can raise a kid on <$3,000/year.

I actually found that in some years, my tax savings were more than my spending on my child (because at the time i was poor enough to take the earned income credit.)  I found that the big cost with having a child was the amount of time that it took, which meant less time to be able to earn money.

Cranky

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #137 on: July 31, 2020, 04:33:29 PM »
Not very exciting, but I refuse to ever pay to get the car washed - and given that I do it myself about once a year, that basically means the car never gets washed.

Normally it isn't much of a problem, but our parking slot is located directly underneath the branches of a large oak tree, so during spring and summer it regularly gets covered in huge amounts of sap and tree gunk, as well as bird droppings.

I freely admit it looks disgusting and the poor thing deserves better, but it's so low on my priority list I will likely never do it. Whenever we go somewhere and park up I take perverse pride that we have usually have by far the dirtiest car in the car park.

Plus, your car will never be stolen.

No, because cars are most often stolen for parts. Our car that was stolen was an unwashed Ford Pinto of the most basic sort. I’m still ticked about it 40 years later.

Cranky

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #138 on: July 31, 2020, 04:36:53 PM »
Really, the only thing that anyone seemed to raise an eyebrow over was not moving to the Good School District - which of course means basically “upper middle class white kids”. It was a good choice for us.

Villanelle

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #139 on: July 31, 2020, 06:25:45 PM »
I am married and don't have kids, by choice.  It would never occur to me to list that in this thread (except in response to the thread drift convo) because it's not something I've done TO cut expenses, which is the question asked.  It's something I did that did end up cutting expenses, but that wasn't why I did it.   They are related causally, but only as a happy consequence, not a motivating factor.    I choose not to have kids and cut expenses.  I didn't choose not to have kids to cut expenses. 


The_Big_H

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #140 on: July 31, 2020, 07:01:54 PM »
Really, the only thing that anyone seemed to raise an eyebrow over was not moving to the Good School District - which of course means basically “upper middle class white kids”. It was a good choice for us.

Seems like around here the difference between average schools and “the good schools” is about $100,000 extra home price and an extra 25 mile commute.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #141 on: July 31, 2020, 07:49:58 PM »
Really, the only thing that anyone seemed to raise an eyebrow over was not moving to the Good School District - which of course means basically “upper middle class white kids”. It was a good choice for us.

Seems like around here the difference between average schools and “the good schools” is about $100,000 extra home price and an extra 25 mile commute.

Here it's $35,000 a year. Imagine what you could buy with that.

I've yet to see any study that shows throwing your kid into a rich school has any lasting effects beyond school. Your child might, by virtue of being spoon-fed and generally well-prepped, get a slightly better high school result, but that doesn't translate to success at university.

And that ignores the fact that if you really care about your kid's education, $35,000 a year buys a lot of private tuition/enrichment activities if you want to go down that path. Or if your kid's that dumb, $35,000 a year can bribe a lot of university officials.


Travis

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #142 on: July 31, 2020, 08:27:42 PM »
Quote
...women and makeup...
When my wife was in high school she competed in debate at the national level. One time a judge remarked that she should learn how to wear it. The judge said nothing about her actual performance, just that her natural appearance was somehow detrimental. To this day you can count on your fingers the number of times each year she breaks out that makeup kit, and even then it's rarely more than a thin layer of powder.  As an adult I don't think I've ever seen or heard of anyone remarking on her lack of makeup.

Quote
...furniture dumpster diving...
My entire college town's economy runs on this model. The week immediately after finals and immediately before school starting you could reliably drive up and down the residential streets and "go shopping."  The Korean apartment I'm living in has an area near the dumpsters where you can stack discarded furniture and appliances. There's nothing wrong with half of it, or it can be easily repaired. If I was in a position to accumulate more "stuff" or if they had a type of Craiglist here I'd be tempted to scoop it up and flip it.  I'd get some odd looks from my fellow American neighbors though.

I don't get any remarks or dirty looks about it, but I'm stingy when it comes to group eating out events or office gift giving for a departing person, especially if I barely know them. At my rank it's "expected" that whenever the donation hat is passed around I'm supposed to chip in every time, and a larger share than anyone else.  I don't like eating out, I don't like parties, and I don't like being pressured into spending money. Once I was accused of being Jewish for having this outlook.  If there's a potluck I will bring something because eating other people's food without contributing is a shitty thing to do, IMO. Also, everyone looks to me to eat all the leftovers anyways since my metabolism can afford it.

At my current job I ride my bike nearly every day rain or shine. While I've never had anyone sneer at me, I get a lot of "I could never do that" or "you're brave (and possibly insane)."  Here in Korea it's acceptable and common enough. The "insane" looks and comments increase substantially when I do it in the US.

I got a few "why aren't you living the American Dream" remarks from a former boss who couldn't understand why I didn't spend my entire paycheck on a giant shiny vehicle or buy a house every time we moved.  This pops up every now and then from others, but it's limited to a very small demographic of people I see.

vand

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #143 on: August 01, 2020, 03:06:06 AM »
Really, the only thing that anyone seemed to raise an eyebrow over was not moving to the Good School District - which of course means basically “upper middle class white kids”. It was a good choice for us.

Seems like around here the difference between average schools and “the good schools” is about $100,000 extra home price and an extra 25 mile commute.

Here it's $35,000 a year. Imagine what you could buy with that.

I've yet to see any study that shows throwing your kid into a rich school has any lasting effects beyond school. Your child might, by virtue of being spoon-fed and generally well-prepped, get a slightly better high school result, but that doesn't translate to success at university.

And that ignores the fact that if you really care about your kid's education, $35,000 a year buys a lot of private tuition/enrichment activities if you want to go down that path. Or if your kid's that dumb, $35,000 a year can bribe a lot of university officials.

Really? have you actually tried researching that? ALL the data shows that good schools send a much higher proportion of their students to university and especially to the top universities than average schools. 


In the UK it's easy to verify this pattern; I'd assume that with the US system you could do similarly.

This doesn't automatically mean that those schools are doing a better job at educating their students - correlation doesn't equal causation - but if I was hoping for my kids to get ahead academically I'd be joining up the dots and thinking about trying to get them into one of those schools and in so doing making whatever other environmental changes in their lives that are correlated with a more distinguished academic record.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #144 on: August 01, 2020, 03:22:15 AM »
"Good" schools send more kids to uni partly because they have better students to begin with. They cherrypick smart students and give them scholarships; they otherwise intake high SES students. So obviously they're dealing with a high talent base to begin with.

Then, yes, through spoon-feeding and diligent rorting of the system, they get their students somewhat better marks than shitty public schools. But those better marks achieved by good schools don't correlate with uni performance. There are multiple studies cited in this article:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-14/study-finds-no-academic-edge-for-private-school-students/6390936?nw=0

So if you're paying $180,000 over six years for your child to attend private school, the higher marks won't do anything for them other than getting them into uni. And if all you want for your child is to get into the right uni course, then $180k can, like I said, bribe a lot of uni officials. Or pay for a lot of test-tuition. Or here in Australia you can literally just pay for your slightly dumb kid to get into the course. E.g. my uni course had a cut off of 99.50 for Commonwealth-subsidised places ($7k a year) but if you wanted to pay $25k up-front a year for the "full-fee" course you only needed an ATAR score of 95 haha.

RetiredAt63

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #145 on: August 01, 2020, 05:22:18 AM »
Just to be the contrarian here (I'm feeling that way today).  Our local rural HS was good academically.  But it was known for the drugs even though the small town it was in was high income, and so few classes were in French that the benefits of being in French immersion in elementary school would be lost.  The local French HS was known for its bad academics.  We sent DD to a private French HS and for $3500/year she got great academics, good extracurricular activities, and graduated fluently bilingual.  The fluently bilingual meant she never had trouble finding part time jobs during university, and she uses French all the time at her present job.  We figure its the best $14000 we ever spent on her.

BookLoverL

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #146 on: August 01, 2020, 06:13:10 AM »
Regarding schools, I think there are "bad schools" and there are bad schools. I'm in the UK but I went to a "good school" as a teen and was working in schools at one point a couple of years ago including in a very poorly performing school. The sheer magnitude of behaviour problems in the poorly performing school compared to my own school and even the sort-of-ok schools I worked in was astounding. I'm not convinced any of the children were learning anything in that one school, and I suspect a number of the students there probably found it actively an unsafe environment.

This doesn't mean I think you need to send your kids to a private school or even to move to the good school district. But do visit the school you're thinking about sending your kids to and check for things like kids getting into frequent physical fights, etc.

Schaefer Light

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #147 on: August 01, 2020, 06:41:37 AM »
I'm considering buying a cheap house in the middle of nowhere in order to become FI immediately.  That would probably be the least socially acceptable thing I've ever done.

On the plus side, if you are living in the middle of nowhere, there's no one to judge what's socially acceptable ;)

I actually have considered this. I live in a modest home, but most of the other homes in my neighborhood and half a mile up the road are mcmansions. I actually think there would be value in living in an area where there wouldn't be as much worry about keeping up with the joneses. Not that I worry about that very much, but sometimes it creeps in. I'm slightly jealous of my SILs home, but not jealous of her mortgage payment and prop taxes! I'm pretty sure her property taxes are more than my whole mortgage.

That's why I like living in a working class neighbourhood. I work and socialize with a lot of very wealthy people, I don't need to live among them as well.

Living where I live is *by far* the least socially acceptable thing about my lifestyle choices. People visibly cringe when I say where I live, but I love it here.

Before, when I started making a big income, I lived in the *most* expensive neighbourhood in the city, and the neighbourly "Joneses" politics drove me fucking batty.

It's very easy to get affected by the "norms" of where you live.
Yes, it is.  I've also noticed that I have a tendency to get down on myself when I look at all the expensive houses in my area and think about how those folks must have more money/better jobs than me.  I would never spend $500k on a house, but I do think it would be nice to have the means to spend $500k on a house.  And that's when I start down the road of comparing myself to them and wondering: why don't I have their resources, what I could have done differently, why has my career been so average when I have such a good degree?  This type of thinking isn't exactly helpful for the psyche.

Malcat

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #148 on: August 01, 2020, 07:12:57 AM »
I'm considering buying a cheap house in the middle of nowhere in order to become FI immediately.  That would probably be the least socially acceptable thing I've ever done.

On the plus side, if you are living in the middle of nowhere, there's no one to judge what's socially acceptable ;)

I actually have considered this. I live in a modest home, but most of the other homes in my neighborhood and half a mile up the road are mcmansions. I actually think there would be value in living in an area where there wouldn't be as much worry about keeping up with the joneses. Not that I worry about that very much, but sometimes it creeps in. I'm slightly jealous of my SILs home, but not jealous of her mortgage payment and prop taxes! I'm pretty sure her property taxes are more than my whole mortgage.

That's why I like living in a working class neighbourhood. I work and socialize with a lot of very wealthy people, I don't need to live among them as well.

Living where I live is *by far* the least socially acceptable thing about my lifestyle choices. People visibly cringe when I say where I live, but I love it here.

Before, when I started making a big income, I lived in the *most* expensive neighbourhood in the city, and the neighbourly "Joneses" politics drove me fucking batty.

It's very easy to get affected by the "norms" of where you live.
Yes, it is.  I've also noticed that I have a tendency to get down on myself when I look at all the expensive houses in my area and think about how those folks must have more money/better jobs than me.  I would never spend $500k on a house, but I do think it would be nice to have the means to spend $500k on a house.  And that's when I start down the road of comparing myself to them and wondering: why don't I have their resources, what I could have done differently, why has my career been so average when I have such a good degree?  This type of thinking isn't exactly helpful for the psyche.

No, no it really isn't.

If there's a bigger underlying issue of dissatisfaction with your life and career, then I would focus more on resolving that than anything else.

I spend a lot of time with people much wealthier than I am and I don't feel envious, but that's because I'm quite happy with my level of accomplishment and our household income. I don't see better lives, I just see very different life paths and choices.

If you aren't happy with what you have, then that's not really solvable by trying to avoid people who have what you see as more.

I prefer not to live in upper middle class communities because I dislike the culture of wealth comparison, not because the comparison makes me feel bad.

If you are feeling self conscious about yourself, then that's a big mental health red flag, and I would be looking at that closely for how to resolve it.

Cranky

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Re: What's the least socially acceptable thing you've done to cut expenses?
« Reply #149 on: August 01, 2020, 07:15:46 AM »
Really, the only thing that anyone seemed to raise an eyebrow over was not moving to the Good School District - which of course means basically “upper middle class white kids”. It was a good choice for us.

Seems like around here the difference between average schools and “the good schools” is about $100,000 extra home price and an extra 25 mile commute.

Here it's $35,000 a year. Imagine what you could buy with that.

I've yet to see any study that shows throwing your kid into a rich school has any lasting effects beyond school. Your child might, by virtue of being spoon-fed and generally well-prepped, get a slightly better high school result, but that doesn't translate to success at university.

And that ignores the fact that if you really care about your kid's education, $35,000 a year buys a lot of private tuition/enrichment activities if you want to go down that path. Or if your kid's that dumb, $35,000 a year can bribe a lot of university officials.

Really? have you actually tried researching that? ALL the data shows that good schools send a much higher proportion of their students to university and especially to the top universities than average schools. 


In the UK it's easy to verify this pattern; I'd assume that with the US system you could do similarly.

This doesn't automatically mean that those schools are doing a better job at educating their students - correlation doesn't equal causation - but if I was hoping for my kids to get ahead academically I'd be joining up the dots and thinking about trying to get them into one of those schools and in so doing making whatever other environmental changes in their lives that are correlated with a more distinguished academic record.

“Good schools” send a lot of kids to college because those kids are largely upper middle class white kids. It’s not the school, it’s the kids, and what they take with them to school.

And in the US, “good schools” are largely defined by test scores.

My kids had all the academic advantages - a bookish academic family. Stability. They went to the “poor school” and got great test scores. They got college degrees. And they learned a lot about what it was like for people who didn’t have those advantages.

I feel like I’ve found the line people aren’t willing to cross. LOL