Frugal Fatigue

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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carorun
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Frugal Fatigue

Post by carorun » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:25 am

I've enjoyed the recent "what do you regret not spending money on" thread. I enjoy reading stories from smart people who live below their means. I save a lot, stay frugal, and am on my way to being the millionaire next door.

That said, lately I'm having some FOMO (fear of missing out) from the things I don't spend money on. I handle the news about "big stuff"- cars, condos- easier, because I know it's all about choices and I could buy a condo tomorrow if I wanted to. Hearing friends and coworkers talk about their downtown apartments, fancy dinners out, and weekend "getaways" has me wondering if I'm focusing on the wrong things or just poor. The answer is obviously no, I make a decent income, save a good portion of it, and earmark a large portion for my graduate degree. I shop at outlets and sales (and still wear Ann Taylor and Nordstrom clothes!) and hunt for Groupons when I want to get my hair cut. I guess the clincher for me was hearing coworkers talk about taking Uber to work because "it's only 15 round trip and I don't have to walk!" when one of my reasons for biking to work is to squeeze in exercise and save the $4.50 I would otherwise spend on the train. Obviously that' example is downright silly, but still, ugh. I still eat ramen and Mac n cheese to keep my grocery bill down.

How do Bogleheads handle the times when they feel that they are missing out on life by saving so much?

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tainted-meat
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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by tainted-meat » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:30 am

Spend money on the things you want to do. Certainly don't eat Ramen noodles, unless you just like to eat them.

Go out to eat if that's what you like to do. Money gives you the freedom to do the things you want to do, it's not meant to be hoarded. :beer

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by Tycoon » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:32 am

Live your life, not your neighbor's life.
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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by sport » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:37 am

Decide how much you wish to save for intermediate and long term goals. Once that amount is saved, you can feel free to spend whatever is left over on anything you wish. Since the savings has already been taken care of, you should not have any guilt no matter what you spend it on, as long as you stay within your means.
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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by ychuck46 » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:41 am

There are so many ways to enjoy your $ without going overboard. For example, my wife and I eat out at least 2-3 times/wk, but we go to places that give us coupons, that I can use gift cards at (that reduce my gas costs when purchased initially), and that run specials. These included Olive Garden, O'Charley's, Outback and the like. Not everyone's cup of tea but it works for us.

We are in the position of having no mortgage and no debt period. I suspect many of your friends and coworkers that are "enjoying life" are not , or possibly will ever be, in that position. Keep doing what you are doing and the benefits when you get older will be well worth it. You want to be able to make your own choices in life, not have them dictated to you, and having the financial means to do the former will be paramount.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:45 am

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum.

We have a similar thread, but from a different perspective: Frugality regret: What thing do you regret not spending on?

Also: That Frugal Thing You Do
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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by GerryL » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:45 am

When you "pay yourself first" you can set some of the money aside for fun stuff. I used to maintain virtual accounts in Quicken to keep track of money I would need for car and home expenses (e.g., maintenance) and long-term care insurance premiums, but I also had an account for "special" that I would build up and know I could pay for travel or a new "thing" I wanted without having to disrupt my regular living expenses. In other words, you can make the non-frugal parts of your life something you plan for ... or plan for some spontaneity.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by Nuvoletta » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:46 am

tainted-meat wrote:Spend money on the things you want to do. Certainly don't eat Ramen noodles, unless you just like to eat them.

Go out to eat if that's what you like to do. Money gives you the freedom to do the things you want to do, it's not meant to be hoarded. :beer
Agree with this. Though I battle with the same wondering sometimes where people get the cash to spend on all their nifty things, I realize that its about choices that work for me and my family. When I go out with my 3- and 6-year-olds and they ask if we can buy some new thing (think toys), I have to remind them that we can't fit everything we see and like into our house. Every time I say that to them, it reinforces the same message for me, which is a good thing. I can look, admire, enjoy, but I don't have to have everything, I just need "enough". It is up to me to figure out what "enough" is and what items are essential to be part of "enough". Uh, ramen isn't part of my "enough" :D , but I've heard some people really like it, not just because it's cheap.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by cherijoh » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:48 am

vachica wrote:I've enjoyed the recent "what do you regret not spending money on" thread. I enjoy reading stories from smart people who live below their means. I save a lot, stay frugal, and am on my way to being the millionaire next door.

That said, lately I'm having some FOMO (fear of missing out) from the things I don't spend money on. I handle the news about "big stuff"- cars, condos- easier, because I know it's all about choices and I could buy a condo tomorrow if I wanted to. Hearing friends and coworkers talk about their downtown apartments, fancy dinners out, and weekend "getaways" has me wondering if I'm focusing on the wrong things or just poor. The answer is obviously no, I make a decent income, save a good portion of it, and earmark a large portion for my graduate degree. I shop at outlets and sales (and still wear Ann Taylor and Nordstrom clothes!) and hunt for Groupons when I want to get my hair cut. I guess the clincher for me was hearing coworkers talk about taking Uber to work because "it's only 15 round trip and I don't have to walk!" when one of my reasons for biking to work is to squeeze in exercise and save the $4.50 I would otherwise spend on the train. Obviously that' example is downright silly, but still, ugh. I still eat ramen and Mac n cheese to keep my grocery bill down.

How do Bogleheads handle the times when they feel that they are missing out on life by saving so much?
I'd keep biking to work and shopping for quality clothes at a discount, but upgrade my grocery budget to include lots of healthy fruits and veggies. Your coworkers are seriously into lifestyle creep if they think $15/day commuting costs are a reasonable way to avoid walking from public transportation to the office.

But I would consider adding some travel to your budget, although not necessarily to those weekend getaway places favored by your free-spending coworkers. Travel is something that can be deferred too long - poor health later in life could prevent you from doing the stuff on your bucket list later in life. I also enjoy a splurge out for dinner, but I don't make eating out the norm. I also go for cuisines that interest me, rather than trendy, over-priced restaurants.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by livesoft » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:50 am

vachica wrote:How do Bogleheads handle the times when they feel that they are missing out on life by saving so much?
I take a trip to Australia or Europe or Hawaii and have some fun.
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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by The Wizard » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:51 am

vachica wrote: ...How do Bogleheads handle the times when they feel that they are missing out on life by saving so much?
First of all, I never "saved so much" even when I was working. I saved a decent amount and spent the rest with flagrant abandon. :)

But one trick is to develop decently fulfilling hobbies, at least some of which are not too expensive. Hiking is one of mine and doing a day hike down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon certainly cost less than doing a helicopter flyover of it, for one example.

Another recommendation is to take more time off during your working years, to the extent possible, and to retire early. You can miss a lot by being cooped up in an office/lab environment too long...
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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by peppers » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:55 am

Always strike a balance between now and the future. You save and have a goal. Excellent.

However, while riding a bike to exercise and save some benjamins is good, doing it in Chicago...in January...when it's -15 degrees before the windchill...you might want to rethink this next time.
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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by sscritic » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:59 am

vachica wrote: I still eat ramen and Mac n cheese to keep my grocery bill down.
I eat ramen, but only at a good Japanese Ramen restaurant. The mac'n'cheese I make from scratch at home is as good as any you can get in a restaurant. Just make sure your béchamel sauce is smooth and your cheese won't separate (cheddar is sometimes a problem).

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by jridger2011 » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:02 am

How about alternating days of bike riding to squeeze in some time reading a good book on the way to work? Skipping a day here and there, or earmarking some money to go out to a place you'd love to dine in at, won't prevent you from reaching your ultimate goal.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by chaz » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:07 am

Enjoy each day. There is only one go-around.
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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by carorun » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:23 am

jridger2011 wrote:How about alternating days of bike riding to squeeze in some time reading a good book on the way to work? Skipping a day here and there, or earmarking some money to go out to a place you'd love to dine in at, won't prevent you from reaching your ultimate goal.
Good point- and I don't bike every day, far from it! I tend to go out to cheaper places or happy hours and spend more in the aggregate, but I'd probably have more enjoyment from eating out less but at nicer places.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by prudent » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:28 am

vachica wrote:How do Bogleheads handle the times when they feel that they are missing out on life by saving so much?
I would have a hard time saving like we do if I felt like I was missing out. We live the lifestyle we enjoy and fortunately for us it is a frugal one. We do splurge sometimes and do not regret it. But splurging is not a habit, and while we do not scrimp for every last penny we don't spend on many things some of our more spendy friends do day in and day out - new cars every couple years, latest fashions that they can't wear more than a year (by then they are "dated"), etc. And we definitely are not affected by nor are envious of what others choose to do with their finances. We like living how we do and they like living how they do.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by Quickfoot » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:39 am

Like others have said worry about doing what you want to do, if you wanted to pay $15 each way to get to work I'm sure you probably could but is it important to you? Realize those people are probably in the group that will be working until they drop and probably don't have any emergency fund.

My wife sometimes has the same frustrations, usually from looking at Facebook and seeing her friends from California doing something they can't afford to do (new cars, constant trips out of the country, etc on MAYBE 50k a year income). I gently remind her they probably have no retirement savings, are in debt up to their eyeballs and are stressed out 99% of their day.

We live in Boise, very low cost of living, no crime, and make very good money. We live on about 20% of our gross (36% of our net) income, we live in a nice (2700 sqft 5 bedroom in a nice neighborhood) house, drive nice cars (we lease new every 3 years because we like new cars, can afford it and otherwise are frugal) and occasionally buy designer clothes (I love them, she would rather save the money). When we go on dates we eat at the nicer resturants in town and this weekend we are doing a stacation and spending nearly $400 for a hotel for one night.

If you are in good financial shape and you want to treat yourself now and then go for it, just make sure it isn't an impulse buy that you'll regret. There is no point living in constant self deprivation so that you can retire if by the time you retire you are miserable and haven't done anything in your life. There is no guarantee any of us will have tomorrow so plan responsibily for each possibility.

We (hopefully) only live once so enjoy life but save for retirement and rainy days too :).

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by LowER » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:49 am

I'm a near-50 HENRY (high earner not rich yet). There are a few things I'm glad I spent money on, but 90% of it was, in hindsight, just plain ignorant. Now I try to make saving fun by setting goals, beating goals, and now little splurges here and there. It's exhilarating seeing the debt evaporate (except mortgage for now) and savings grow. My bank has an online tool that allows me to set a retirement goal (in dollars) and displays a speedometer-looking graphic and a percent saved toward that goal with automated up-to-date balances from several institutions. It is great instantaneous positive feedback on my otherwise delayed gratification. I don't know if Mint or something like that might also do the same. I highly recommend it. Watching my bar graph grow is, for me, much more satisfying than dinners out, or new cars, or expensive vacations, or kitchen remodels, or.....

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by jridger2011 » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:57 am

vachica wrote:
jridger2011 wrote:How about alternating days of bike riding to squeeze in some time reading a good book on the way to work? Skipping a day here and there, or earmarking some money to go out to a place you'd love to dine in at, won't prevent you from reaching your ultimate goal.
Good point- and I don't bike every day, far from it! I tend to go out to cheaper places or happy hours and spend more in the aggregate, but I'd probably have more enjoyment from eating out less but at nicer places.
Try this out, earmark a place that you would love to try the food in, and when you finally get there, make detailed mental notes about the food. If the meal was amazing, note out what makes the meal great, and see if there is any aspect you can apply into your own cooking and perhaps make a version for your packed lunch.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by mathwhiz » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:09 pm

Eating out is over rated. It's also my experience the more you eat out, the more obese you get. It's much easier to over eat and the portions and nutritional value at most restaurants have a lot to be desired.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by rj49 » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:19 pm

You can live frugally while still enjoying life. Using Groupons to enjoy new restaurants, or happy hour menus, or even cheaper lunch prices are a good way. Another way to balance out saving and spending is by allotting yourself a budget, such as using an envelope system. Then anything you don't spend can go into a travel fund. I think the key part of your goal is that the shorter-term goal for the savings is for grad school, which would presumably increase your lifetime earnings and human capital, which is a good reason for saving. Like you, my problem wasn't saving, but in forcing myself to spend money, so I found that actually withdrawing cash from an ATM every week for my spending budget and putting in in my wallet and on my counter gave me a certain pressure to spend on myself (or you can devote a certain amount for travel, or buy yourself an Amazon gift certificate for a certain amount and make yourself spend it).

You also have to take in the possibility that marriage/family might eventually come along and change your financial goals and spending patterns, or a health issue, or unemployment, or another stock market crash, so you should enjoy life in moderation now but still plan for the future.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by The Wizard » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:26 pm

mathwhiz wrote:Eating out is over rated. It's also my experience the more you eat out, the more obese you get. It's much easier to over eat and the portions and nutritional value at most restaurants have a lot to be desired.
Well, that just depends.
Some of us have self-regulating mentalities, and most restaurants have white foam boxes to take home leftovers in.
And in my case, I usually have something when I eat out that's beyond my normal cooking abilities at home, not just a steak or a boiled lobster...
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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by staythecourse » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:35 pm

Not sure why we see so many of these type of threads?

Saving is a means to an end and that end is to make you happier in the future, i.e. delayed gratification. What is should not be is a self imposed prison sentence! You ONLY have an x amount of years on this earth which is not the worst part. The worst is you don't know how long it is in advance. Be responsible and put out 10-30% for savings each month and then loosen up an spend some money on stuff you feel you want to do.

Don't let savings be a punishment. Just remember how well that worked out as a child.

Good luck.
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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by SDBoggled » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:48 pm

I have a very mixed frugality profile so definitely would not win any frugality competitions! However, I do focus on getting lots of value and would be in the higher percentiles for specialty awards in this area.

IMHO, one of the keys is to splurge on low $ cost items. For example, it is much easier to splurge on a luxury food item than a luxury car, house or vacation :happy

Enjoy life - act as if you only get one :-)

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by Caduceus » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:52 pm

I don't think there's one right answer because everyone values different things. But I think there's something to be said for establishing what you want independently of what others are doing or what others have. Would you want a downtown apartment regardless of whether your co-workers had one? Would you take the $15 ride regardless of whether others took the ride?

I think people approach saving very differently depending on whether it's generated by fear (anxieties about not having enough) or something more positive (the dream of being free to travel, or to write, or to build a business.) The truth is that most of us don't bring in enough money to fund every single thing we wish to have, so we have to make choices. There's nothing inherently superior or inferior about spending money on a downtown apartment or a fancy car versus saving it for the future, so the question is really which thing you want more?

Once I clarified what things were most important to me, it was easy not to feel deprived. I couldn't have everything, but I knew what I most wanted. In my case, those things are very different from what most people expect someone in my situation to want, but it doesn't bother me.

(I do think the true cost of packaged ramen and junk food is much higher than its sticker price, though.)

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by carorun » Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:35 pm

Bogleheads rock. I think I'm listening to too much Dave Ramsey. So many people living on "rice and beans, beans and rice" that I forget that I'm doing well, debt free, and can afford to loosen up. I came home yesterday to my studio apartment and saw a sink full of dishes...because I was out of dish soap and trying to stretch out my grocery trips. That is being ridiculous.

I know down deep that I need to loosen up, and thinking about the international trips I take because of savings puts things in perspective.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by englishgirl » Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:53 pm

I have plenty of friends who eat out at fancy places, and have nice cars, and are actually deep in debt if you really find out about their finances. Do not try to copy the average person. However, do not deny yourself so much that you are miserable now. I think rice and beans are great, but not every day!

I eat out at fancy places once in a while, but I tend to go for lunch - the food is still great, but often costs less, and you're not as tempted to linger over dessert. The dress code (if there is one) is more relaxed, and the wait staff is not as rushed. And if I do have a glass of wine, one is plenty, whereas in the evening I always seem to want more (and boy, does a few glasses of wine add to the expense of a meal!). However, it's not something I do ALL the time - we also like a great little Indian restaurant with a $10 buffet lunch, or cooking at home. I also go for weekend getaways occasionally, but have got in the habit of picking a really nice Victorian bed and breakfast place in the country that's within driving distance. I love me a wrap around porch and a lazy Sunday breakfast! Even the nicest B&B's are way less than many pricey hotels (not less than the cheapest hotels, but I have no desire to stay in a Motel 6!). But I maybe go for 1-2 weekends a year, not 6. If I fly for a city break to somewhere like New York, I pick a reasonably priced hotel, instead of splurging on a super luxury place, on the basis that I'm not there to sit in my room.

It's all about finding your balance, really. I've learned that I don't really want that lavish lifestyle that some others aspire to. I think what helped me was taking some time to envisage what my ideal lifestyle actually was. I thought, if I didn't have to work, if money was no object, what would I really like to be doing? I saw myself living in New York, being a vibrant healthy old lady, doing yoga, reading, discussing books with friends over coffee, going to museums. I didn't find myself dreaming about clothes, or expensive cars, or staying out late at night, or even taking endless cruises. And, OK, so I don't live in New York, but I thought, if I really want to be doing yoga, why am I not doing yoga right now? So now I DO go to yoga classes- it makes me happy. I'm in a book club with some friends - that doesn't cost much. I get facials from a local lady that I've become friends with instead of going to a flashy spa. Yes, I get facials regularly, as it's something I really enjoy and I'm vain, but I limit myself on clothes buying and I don't waste money on fancy hair salons.

Never force yourself to eat Ramen unless you're dirt poor - I do still eat it once in a while, but because I want to, not because I feel I have to. But do keep biking to work - that'll pay off in the long run for your health (provided you stay safe).
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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by sscritic » Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:20 pm

englishgirl wrote: Never force yourself to eat Ramen unless you're dirt poor
http://www.daikoku-ten.com

Soup base contains their own recipe soy sauce and pork bones cooked for 20 hours. Pork is kurobuta or black pork. Eggs are soaked in sauce over night.

This thread has me hungry for some ramen.

The Ramen Yokocho Festival is today and tomorrow. I might have to go.
The Largest Ramen Event in the U.S.
Over 20,000 people had joined to Ramen Yokocho 2013.
We are expecting over 30,000 people to join us for 2 days.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REcBc0Pr3WI

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by leonard » Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:25 pm

This is more about neighbor and coworker envy than anything financial.

Who cares what they are doing?
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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by ajcp » Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:35 pm

I think you have to pick your battles. Even if I got a 50k raise tomorrow, I wouldn't be driving an 80,000 car, because that's not something I value very highly. So I don't care if someone else is driving one.

But regularly eating ramen and mac n cheese goes too far towards depriving yourself imo. Unless you really enjoy them, which is not the impression I got.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by sscritic » Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:48 pm

ajcp wrote: But regularly eating ramen and mac n cheese goes too far towards depriving yourself imo.
Is the word ramen defined differently where you live than where I live? Where I live, there are lines on the sidewalk outside the ramen shops I go to.

Maybe you aren't talking about ramen, but about dried noodles in a cup covered with a months supply of sodium and MSG. Note that Top Ramen comes in a plastic wrapper, not in a cup. You talkin' 'bout CupNoodles? Or do you mean Ramen Bowl, another product of Nissin Foods?

I like wikipedia's definition:
Ramen (ラーメン rāmen?, IPA: [ɽäꜜmeɴ]) is a Japanese noodle soup dish. It consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat- or (occasionally) fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as sliced pork (チャーシュー chāshū?), dried seaweed (海苔 nori?), kamaboko, and green onions. Nearly every region in Japan has its own variation of ramen, from the tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen of Kyushu to the miso ramen of Hokkaido.
Has no one ever watched Tampopo? A great ramen movie, called "the first ramen western."

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by HueyLD » Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:00 pm

..........
Last edited by HueyLD on Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by rjbraun » Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:02 pm

The Wizard wrote:
mathwhiz wrote:Eating out is over rated. It's also my experience the more you eat out, the more obese you get. It's much easier to over eat and the portions and nutritional value at most restaurants have a lot to be desired.
Well, that just depends.
Some of us have self-regulating mentalities, and most restaurants have white foam boxes to take home leftovers in.
And in my case, I usually have something when I eat out that's beyond my normal cooking abilities at home, not just a steak or a boiled lobster...
There's also no need to shop, prepare / cook and clean up when you dine out. Sometimes it's also nice to be served :D

Then there's the social aspect, that is if you're dining with friends. Sure, sometimes it's also nice to entertain friends at home, but then it's what's written above, squared :shock:

I've become a better cook over the last few years, and I find it does kind of raise the bar for dining out. We went out for a neighborhood meal last night, nothing particularly fancy and actually one of the more moderately-priced establishments in the area. Dinner for two (one entree and glass of wine each, shared salad), with tip: $80. I could have pretty easily prepared something comparable for $15, if that (though we wouldn't have had different entrees, I guess that's another benefit of dining out, i.e., greater selection). Psychologically, it's nice to know that you can dine out if you want to now and then.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by dgdevil » Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:07 pm

mathwhiz wrote:Eating out is over rated. It's also my experience the more you eat out, the more obese you get. It's much easier to over eat and the portions and nutritional value at most restaurants have a lot to be desired.
Agreed, totally. Not to mention the hygiene issues ... The waiters' fake smiles, annoying habits of fellow diners, the upselling, the meals are never that great and are quickly forgotten. And then there's the great tipping shakedown. Nothing beats a bowl of healthy, non-Kellogg cereal at home.

I like noodles as much as the next person, but the sodium is killer - even before the soy sauce.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by sscritic » Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:13 pm

dgdevil wrote: Nothing beats a bowl of healthy, non-Kellogg cereal at home.
Post Raisin Bran (the non-Kellogg version)
General Mills Cheerios
Wheat Chex (used to be Ralston Purina, bought by GM)
Post Grape-Nuts
and for the old and unregulated,
Fiber One, totally tasteless, also by General Mills.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by ajcp » Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:16 pm

sscritic wrote:
ajcp wrote: But regularly eating ramen and mac n cheese goes too far towards depriving yourself imo.
Is the word ramen defined differently where you live than where I live? Where I live, there are lines on the sidewalk outside the ramen shops I go to.

Maybe you aren't talking about ramen, but about dried noodles in a cup covered with a months supply of sodium and MSG. Note that Top Ramen comes in a plastic wrapper, not in a cup. You talkin' 'bout CupNoodles? Or do you mean Ramen Bowl, another product of Nissin Foods?
I'm talking about whatever ramen vachica is. Whatever it is, I interpret "I still eat ramen and Mac n cheese to keep my grocery bill down" as depriving herself. The same could be said of mac n cheese, as someone else said above, there's some pretty good homemade mac n cheese to be had. But if you're mentioning it in a frugal fatigue thread, presumably it's something where cost was given a higher priority than taste.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by dgdevil » Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:20 pm

sscritic wrote:
dgdevil wrote: Nothing beats a bowl of healthy, non-Kellogg cereal at home.
Post Raisin Bran (the non-Kellogg version)
General Mills Cheerios
Wheat Chex (used to be Ralston Purina, bought by GM)
Post Grape-Nuts
and for the old and unregulated,
Fiber One, totally tasteless, also by General Mills.
Organic. Go to Nature's Path website - free shipping.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by Mursili » Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:37 pm

Now that we have been frugal for some time and make good incomes we are in a position to spend a bit more if desired. Yet our frugality is not the problem. The problem with jobs and kids and everything else is that we cannot afford the time (as opposed to the cost) to take the whole family on a tour of Europe. Such a trip takes more time than either of us can leave our work and still be able to do our jobs.

That is our big fatigue - not having enough time to enjoy the fruits of our frugality.
When it comes to havoc, no one wreaks like me! - Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by Watty » Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:39 pm

vachica wrote:Obviously that' example is downright silly, but still, ugh. I still eat ramen and Mac n cheese to keep my grocery bill down.
In the long run eating reasonably healthy is one of the best long term investments you can make. There is a very affordable middle ground between eating boxed mac 'n cheese and going all out organic which can be expensive.

For most middle class Americans an appropriate variation on a quote is "You can afford anything you want, but not everything you want."

Assuming that you are really doing OK financially one of the things that I did for a while when I was trying to get used to spending some money on myself was that I opened up a separate bank account and I had about 2% of each paycheck automatically deposited to that. This was my travel fund and when I had enough I would use it to takes trips without any guilt.

One of the great things about parts of Europe (like most of Southern Europe and some other places) is that other than the airfare you can often travel a lot less expensively over there than in similar places in the US if you avoid the peak times and don't spend too much time in the large cities. This is mainly because many, but not all, inexpensive European hotels are nice very acceptable small places. In the US most of the inexpensive hotels seem to be dumps or Motel 6 type places. It really is not an oxymoron to take a budget trip to Europe. By using a credit card frequent flyer promotion I once was able to go to the Greek Islands in the shoulder season for about the same cost or less than a similar trip to Florida would have cost.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by The Wizard » Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:53 pm

Mursili wrote:Now that we have been frugal for some time and make good incomes we are in a position to spend a bit more if desired. Yet our frugality is not the problem. The problem with jobs and kids and everything else is that we cannot afford the time (as opposed to the cost) to take the whole family on a tour of Europe. Such a trip takes more time than either of us can leave our work and still be able to do our jobs.

That is our big fatigue - not having enough time to enjoy the fruits of our frugality.
Yes, that's one of the problems with being in the Working Class. And the self-employed and entrepreneurs often have it worse.
But depending on your type of job, it's sometimes possible to take additional unpaid time off without big issues. I had four weeks of paid vacation per year but usually took five or six total my last few years of employment...
Attempted new signature...

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by sport » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:17 pm

The Wizard wrote:I had four weeks of paid vacation per year but usually took five or six total my last few years of employment...
If you take too much time off, they may figure out that they can get along without you. :shock:

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by hoppy08520 » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:33 pm

vachica, scanning your prior posts, I see that you graduated college in 2009 and that you're in your mid 20's.

I'm in my mid-40's. If I could write a letter to my younger self (which seems to be a trend these days), I would have advised myself, "act more like vachia".

Seriously, in my 20's I did a lot of fun things but I also blew a lot of money on stupid stuff that was a total waste. I can't say there was much correlation between the fun/value of the experience and the cash spent.

When I got more into personal finance a couple of years ago, I went through my income and saving/investing history. While I wasn't a total spendthrift (my savings rate when younger was around 10% but now it's more), I could have saved more. I plugged in some hypothetical alternate savings numbers and I was dismayed to see that my current portfolio could have been 20% - 40% bigger if I had just saved a lot more in my early years. That's what compounding will do for you. That $15 uber ride could be worth $30 in ten years and $60 in 20 years. You add those up and your biking starts to look a lot better. Plus, you don't bike just to save money, we bike for our health, our happiness, and to make the world a better place. (source)

So, go ahead and spend money, but don't be stupid about it. Going out an blowing $100 on drinks (that's where I blew through a lot of my money) is usually not so smart. Find friends and a lifestyle where you don't need to do that. Travel, but you can travel on a shoestring budget and have just as much fun. Some of my best memories of travel were plain old road trips with friends, sleeping on couches, eating pizza. No 5-star hotels.

I do have a weakness for restaurants. I used to spend more, but I've cut back. I find that when we eat out less regularly now, we do savor it more.

Finally, I've read that many of the millennials who experienced the great recession and the awful job market are a bit more frugal and that searing experience will carry though with them, much like the children of the Great Depression. That's not such a bad thing and it could explain why you have these frugal impulses.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by cherijoh » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:36 pm

Mursili wrote:Now that we have been frugal for some time and make good incomes we are in a position to spend a bit more if desired. Yet our frugality is not the problem. The problem with jobs and kids and everything else is that we cannot afford the time (as opposed to the cost) to take the whole family on a tour of Europe. Such a trip takes more time than either of us can leave our work and still be able to do our jobs.

That is our big fatigue - not having enough time to enjoy the fruits of our frugality.
That is why it is a good idea IMO to do some travel before you have a family. It is usually easier to get off and cheaper in the shoulder season rather than when the kids are out of school.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by Angst » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:49 pm

Watty wrote:
vachica wrote:Obviously that' example is downright silly, but still, ugh. I still eat ramen and Mac n cheese to keep my grocery bill down.
In the long run eating reasonably healthy is one of the best long term investments you can make. There is a very affordable middle ground between eating boxed mac 'n cheese and going all out organic which can be expensive. [snip]...
+1

With all the sodium, trans fats and cholesterol you're getting in this kind of food, you won't live long enough to enjoy the fruits of your self-imposed penury! Your best investments at this point might be in tracking down the nearest Aldi food store and starting to learn how to cook. Seriously, one's health is as worthwhile for investing in as just about any one of your basic tax-deferred accounts. And learning to cook healthful food can provide additional social dividends. I highly recommend it.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:12 pm

FYI - Discussions of food (in detail - diet and cuisine) are best addressed in a different thread.
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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by in_reality » Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:14 pm

How do you feel after getting a really really good massage? It changes my perspective on things. I mean there are so many muscles that yeah I knew I had and use everyday but the sensation when massaged is like I'd forgotten they were there and and am happy to have found a long lost friend.

It's relatively economical time wise when compared to say an international flight. Of course, I live overseas and so traveling has little attractiveness to me since I'm bone weary of all the complications. It's great for a while...

I really hit a savings mode for a few years and really cut everything back and in reflection think that is what I should have let myself spend a little on.

It's kinda difficult to know what's worth the money sometimes. Take you time to figure it out. Looking into and planning things is half the fun.

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Mursili
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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by Mursili » Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:16 pm

The Wizard wrote: But depending on your type of job, it's sometimes possible to take additional unpaid time off without big issues. I had four weeks of paid vacation per year but usually took five or six total my last few years of employment...
I understand this entirely. Since we live the way we do, we could easily live without income for up to a year (I suppose) without a truly great impact to our finances. What we cannot do is take off long periods of time and still be able to do our jobs. The programs we work on will be ongoing and we have to remain to-an-extent in the process the whole time. We are not smart-phone-carrying always-available types, but a month away would leave us unable to contribute. While we could afford the loss of income, we are not prepared at this time to leave our jobs entirely. I suppose we could imagine some sort of consulting that might give us more free time, but our line of work is not greatly conducive to that.

Yes, we take our share of unpaid leave, but it tends to be in dribs and drabs. If we were truly brave, we would chuck our current positions, go on extended unpaid leave and travel the world with our kids ("home" schooling for a year). I do not think that we are that brave.
When it comes to havoc, no one wreaks like me! - Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by Novine » Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:47 pm

"I guess the clincher for me was hearing coworkers talk about taking Uber to work because "it's only 15 round trip and I don't have to walk!" when one of my reasons for biking to work is to squeeze in exercise and save the $4.50 I would otherwise spend on the train."

You do realize how lazy and dumb your co-workers behavior sounds to normal people? I think it's easy for people to get stuck in a bubble where the lavish spending by friends, family and co-workers are seen as the "norm" but where in most places, it looks like what it is - wasteful behavior.

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Re: Frugal Fatigue

Post by Leeraar » Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:52 am

Learn how to cook. It will give you a lifetime of pleasure and better eating. And, savings.

I make my own bread. What's in it? Flour, water, salt and yeast. A little bit of oil to coat it while it rises. Compare that to the list of ingredients on your store-bought loaf. (Good bread flour is $15 for 50 lbs at Costco or GFS. Yeast is $7 a pound. A pound of yeast is almost a lifetime supply. I can turn out a loaf for a few pennies but the pleasure is in the quality and simplicity, not the cost.

Mac cheese? Incredibly easy to make from scratch. My kids (now grown) refuse to eat any other than my homemade. Recipe on request, just pm me.

Apple sauce? Likewise. Kids got to where they refuse the store-bought stuff.

Ramen noodles? That's a little tougher. Get a chicken leg quarter and a pack of cellophane noodles. Boil the chicken for 45 minutes, etc. Chop the meat, boil the noodles in the stock. Read the list of ingredients on the Ramen noodle package. That should be motivation enough. Salt, near salt (MSG), etc.

L.
You can get what you want, or you can just get old. (Billy Joel, "Vienna")

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