How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
harrington
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How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by harrington » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:01 pm

I was extremely frugal throughout my working years and saved enough money to retire at age 49. I'm now 56 and I have to admit I still worry about spending money on anything but the bare necessities . I have zero debt and my home is paid for.
Last edited by harrington on Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

dbr
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by dbr » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:08 pm

harrington wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:01 pm
I was extremely frugal throughout my working years and saved enough money to retire at age 49. I'm now 56 and I have to admit I still worry about spending money on anything but the bare necessities . I have zero debt and my home is paid for.
Some people are helped by quantifying things by setting budgets related to a plan or model for how you expect investments, sources of income, expenses and so on to work out. If nothing else just writing things down where you can see it all in one place can help. Spreadsheets are great tools for this kind of thing. If you are not a quantitative thinker then there will have to be some other kind of suggestion.

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:10 pm

Start small by spending more on a something you really enjoy. Like a hobby, favorite restaurant or favorite city, etc. Think of something you've always thought about doing but didn't due to the cost and do it (assuming you can afford it).

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by delamer » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:10 pm

Is there something you feel you are depriving yourself of, based on your current spending?

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by Pajamas » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:17 pm

The problem is that if you don't really need or want anything, buying more things will decrease rather than increase your level of satisfaction. So if you have everything you need and want, then you can make an effort to spend it on other people, either directly or by donating to charity. You can also particularly look for experiences to spend it on, and you can combine the two ideas. Treat a friend to dinner at a restaurant you haven't tried and then a concert or join a volunteer trip to build a school or clinic in a less-developed nation.

harrington
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by harrington » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:24 pm

delamer wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:10 pm
Is there something you feel you are depriving yourself of, based on your current spending?
Mostly just questioning every purchase I make. Example: I have an 8 year old MacBook and decided to treat myself and purchase a new one. After getting home I left it in the bag and after a few days I took it back because my old computer is still working.

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Pajamas
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by Pajamas » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:33 pm

harrington wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:24 pm
delamer wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:10 pm
Is there something you feel you are depriving yourself of, based on your current spending?
Mostly just questioning every purchase I make. Example: I have an 8 year old MacBook and decided to treat myself and purchase a new one. After getting home I left it in the bag and after a few days I took it back because my old computer is still working.
Is your current computer working fine or is it sluggish and aggravating or have any other problems like missing keys or a dead battery? If it doesn't work well, and you can easily afford to buy a new computer, then it's not simply a matter of being frugal, you're being cheap.

https://www.google.com/search?q=frugal+vs.+cheap

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marbleous
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by marbleous » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:43 pm

Easy.

Pick up a new hobby, philanthropy.

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by dbr » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:57 pm

marbleous wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:43 pm
Easy.

Pick up a new hobby, philanthropy.
That might be very astute. You don't have to feel guilty you are treating yourself to something you don't deserve. You can feel you are using money for a purpose.

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by dbr » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:00 pm

harrington wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:24 pm
delamer wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:10 pm
Is there something you feel you are depriving yourself of, based on your current spending?
Mostly just questioning every purchase I make. Example: I have an 8 year old MacBook and decided to treat myself and purchase a new one. After getting home I left it in the bag and after a few days I took it back because my old computer is still working.
I get this. I buy new computers when I am absolutely forced to. A new computer is a pain in the neck, not a treat.

If you really are not finding any deprivation anywhere then maybe there isn't a problem. But see the comment about charity just above.

Maybe, on the other hand, you don't have enough imagination. Some items to consider exploring are travel, adult education, sports, eating out, theater and symphony, etc.

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by Fallible » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:06 pm

harrington wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:24 pm
delamer wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:10 pm
Is there something you feel you are depriving yourself of, based on your current spending?
Mostly just questioning every purchase I make. Example: I have an 8 year old MacBook and decided to treat myself and purchase a new one. After getting home I left it in the bag and after a few days I took it back because my old computer is still working.
Okay, so you didn't need a new computer. But the question seems to be what do you need that you aren't buying. Or maybe it's how do you buy what you want, but don't need. Which is it? What is it that you want to spend more on and why?

Also, frugality is basically a good thing, no matter how much money you have. Here's one definition of it from WIkipedia: "Frugality is the quality of being frugal, sparing, thrifty, prudent or economical in the consumption of consumable resources such as food, time or money, and avoiding waste, lavishness or extravagance."
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by CAsage » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:08 pm

Who will spend it if you don't? My BFF financial planner told her - travel first class, or your children will! I have little interest in material goods (cars, clothes, jewelry...) but just love nice vacations! And I've definitely bumped up my charitable giving. Find something you believe in, and make the world a better place. Take people you care about on trips, help pay someone's student loans, fund a worthy charity. There are a lot of really good ones out there - pick something you care about.
Salvia Clevelandii "Winifred Gilman" my favorite. YMMV; not a professional advisor.

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by pinhead » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:08 pm

You will be fine as long as you dont by a boat.

Travel to Asia, if you havent already.

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by 1210sda » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:09 pm

dbr wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:08 pm
Some people are helped by quantifying things by setting budgets related to a plan or model for how you expect investments, sources of income, expenses and so on to work out. If nothing else just writing things down where you can see it all in one place can help. Spreadsheets are great tools for this kind of thing. If you are not a quantitative thinker then there will have to be some other kind of suggestion.
+1 dbr.
I have been setting up monthly/annual budgets since 1986. Since I know myself quite well, I over-budget in certain categories of spending. That way when I come in "underbudget" at the end of the year, I'm really where I should be. Hope that makes sense.

1210

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by stemikger » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:15 pm

harrington wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:01 pm
I was extremely frugal throughout my working years and saved enough money to retire at age 49. I'm now 56 and I have to admit I still worry about spending money on anything but the bare necessities . I have zero debt and my home is paid for.
You shouldn't have fear, but you don't need to spend money if being frugal makes you happy. Other than when I was five, I never received an ounce of pleasure by buying material things. I wasn't depriving myself because I didn't want anything. I was happy with less things in my life. I guess I was a minimalist before it was a thing. Now the Hipsters made it cool.

Having said that, what always made me happy was taking two week long trips to Disney World with all the bells and whistles. I had no problem spending money on that. So, write down what you feel you want and take baby steps in that direction, but don't feel bad about not wanting to buy into consumerism.
Choose Simplicity ~ Stay the Course!! ~ Press on Regardless!!!

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:44 pm

My father was frugal, but also generous to his family. Brother, sister and I encouraged him to spend on himself, to no avail. We would tell him we would spend it if he didn't. That seemed to make him even happier. :oops:

When he passed, he was living in a very nice, but not luxurious, one bedroom condo, banking a portion of his SS and state retirement. We all inherited a not so small amount, and I'm sure he was happy to pass his $$$ to us. FWIW, I intend to pass what he gave, along with some of my own, forward, as I think he set a good example.

I finally realized that despite Dad's reluctance to spend more, he was happy. And, so far as I am concerned, he had the right idea.

If you aren't depriving yourself of a healthful lifestyle, or letting your home rot down around yourself, or driving an unsafe car, just enjoy your good fortune. Spend your dollars (or not) on what makes you happy.
harrington wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:24 pm
delamer wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:10 pm
Is there something you feel you are depriving yourself of, based on your current spending?
Mostly just questioning every purchase I make. Example: I have an 8 year old MacBook and decided to treat myself and purchase a new one. After getting home I left it in the bag and after a few days I took it back because my old computer is still working.
OK, do this: After wiping your MacBook clean of your files and such, drop it off at a women's shelter, or senior home, or the like. Then buy yourself a new one, knowing you have helped someone. Or, keep your old one and give away a new one!

Broken Man 1999
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by White Coat Investor » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:48 pm

harrington wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:01 pm
I was extremely frugal throughout my working years and saved enough money to retire at age 49. I'm now 56 and I have to admit I still worry about spending money on anything but the bare necessities . I have zero debt and my home is paid for.
pinhead wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:08 pm
You will be fine as long as you dont by a boat.


I think you need a boat. It'll solve all your problems. Nothing about it is a necessity and it just keeps gobbling up money.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by blueblock » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:19 pm

harrington wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:01 pm
I was extremely frugal throughout my working years and saved enough money to retire at age 49. I'm now 56 and I have to admit I still worry about spending money on anything but the bare necessities . I have zero debt and my home is paid for.
From my own experience:
- Housekeeping services (I hate cleaning, so this is a high-value offset for me)
- Landscaping/Yard services (Ditto)
- Paying for expert training in an area that interests me; right now that's a personal trainer at my local gym
- Upgrading a bathroom so that you LOVE taking a shower
- Upgrading your kitchen so that you LOVE cooking

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bligh
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by bligh » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:34 pm

harrington wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:01 pm
I was extremely frugal throughout my working years and saved enough money to retire at age 49. I'm now 56 and I have to admit I still worry about spending money on anything but the bare necessities . I have zero debt and my home is paid for.
There is nothing to fix here.

You shouldn't be trying to to figure out how to reduce the pain of letting go of your hard earned cash. The moment you want something more than the pain of letting go of your hard earned cash, you will part with the hard earned cash. If you dont want it bad enough, you'd rather keep your cash instead. Simple.

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by fsrph » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:22 pm

You've lived decades of your life reinforcing habits of saving and frugality. Here's a good article with reasons to spend more.
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-yo ... 2017-05-09

Francis
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:07 pm

In general, you don't have a problem. If not spending pleases you more than spending, then don't spend. It's ok.

However, here is my PSA on the subject -

At some point, you will need help to maintain your daily activities. You may have difficulty driving, maintaining your house and yard, getting to the doctor, etc. If your "frugality" manifests itself as depending on relatives or neighbors to help you with those things so that you can continue to grow your pile of money, then your spending habits have gone from quirky to pathological. But if you are willing at that point to shell out money to maintain your lifestyle and independence, then you are still ok.

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by delamer » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:17 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:07 pm
In general, you don't have a problem. If not spending pleases you more than spending, then don't spend. It's ok.

However, here is my PSA on the subject -

At some point, you will need help to maintain your daily activities. You may have difficulty driving, maintaining your house and yard, getting to the doctor, etc. If your "frugality" manifests itself as depending on relatives or neighbors to help you with those things so that you can continue to grow your pile of money, then your spending habits have gone from quirky to pathological. But if you are willing at that point to shell out money to maintain your lifestyle and independence, then you are still ok.
Well said. Frugal turns to cheap when you endanger your health and safety (or that of those you care about) by refusing to spend your money or when you disrupt others' lives by forcing/persuading them to do things for you for free that you could afford to pay someone to do.

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by VictoriaF » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:56 pm

harrington wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:01 pm
I was extremely frugal throughout my working years and saved enough money to retire at age 49. I'm now 56 and I have to admit I still worry about spending money on anything but the bare necessities . I have zero debt and my home is paid for.
You have been retired for seven years. What have you been doing all this time? There is a tendency to spend more in retirement engaging in activities one could not do while working.

Victoria
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by Sandi_k » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:02 am

For me? It would be about "bucket list" items that are hard to complete while working FT.

So I'd write out a 5 item BL, and then ask - "If I were diagnosed tomorrow with an aggressive, incurable form of cancer - would I regret not having done these things?"

For me - it helps crystalize my priorities. And makes it easier to consider how to spend something.

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by daveydoo » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:27 am

harrington wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:01 pm
I was extremely frugal throughout my working years and saved enough money to retire at age 49. I'm now 56 and I have to admit I still worry about spending money on anything but the bare necessities . I have zero debt and my home is paid for.
What exactly are you worried about? If we knew more, we could (maybe) give more directed advice. (Note: emphasis added above). Are you worried that you'll run out of money, that a black swan event will happen, that you're undeserving of nice things, that material things have generally failed to live up to their expectations, that this is against the values you were raised with, etc., etc...? Each answer requires a different approach -- or no approach at all. I think most frugal people stay frugal, don't they?

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by mlebuf » Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:15 am

At age 56 you likely have a good 30 years or more of life in front of you. Like you, I retired early and life after retirement is a balancing act between not running out of money on one hand and not depriving ourselves of the things we most enjoy on the other. The principle that has worked well for my wife and I is very simple: We spend our money where we spend our time and on activities that we enjoy. We bought a very nice house over 20 years ago that some might consider extravagant. However, we enjoy living in it and it's a potential source of capital. Others like to spend money on travel. We both did more than our share of flying and living in hotels in our careers and travel holds no great charm for us. On the other hand, we eat out almost every day because we enjoy it. Some might consider that frivolous. We consider it enjoyable. We have rescued a bunch of cats and spend considerable money supporting them and our vet. So be it. We enjoy them. My amateur radio hobby is relatively inexpensive and I enjoy contacting other hams around the world. We aren't into buying expensive clothes, hot cars, playing golf or feel the need to buy the latest anything. While that may be fine for others, it's not for us.

Some questions to ask yourself: Where am I happiest and most content? What am I happiest doing? What am I doing to stay healthy? Who are the people I most enjoy being with? Spending your time and money on those goods and activities will make for a happier and more fulfilling life. Those who worry about running out of money very, very rarely die broke.
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by inbox788 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:03 am

Mid life crisis? Buy a boat like some have suggested or not. Or a Harley or fancy sports car if that's your thing. Or find someone to help your spend your money if that's what you want. It should't be that hard, and there are apps for that.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/1 ... 19481.html

Seriously, you don't need to spend it if it doesn't make you happy. But if your goal is to spend it, make a spending bucket use it or lose it. Budget some amount that you will either spend on yourself, others, or at the end of the month, burn or donate to some cause. Repeat each month and see if it changes your habits. Also, keep more cash in your wallet. It will make you feel richer and easier to spend. Basically, do the reverse of what is done to save. And upgrade your lifestyle a little at a time, even small things can sometimes make a difference.

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by harrington » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:42 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:56 pm
harrington wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:01 pm
I was extremely frugal throughout my working years and saved enough money to retire at age 49. I'm now 56 and I have to admit I still worry about spending money on anything but the bare necessities . I have zero debt and my home is paid for.
You have been retired for seven years. What have you been doing all this time? There is a tendency to spend more in retirement engaging in activities one could not do while working.

Victoria
I am taking care of my parents who are 94 and 92......That in itself brings me great joy.

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by harrington » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:47 am

We did complete a kitchen and some other home remodeling projects recently. I have no problems spending my $$ on improving my home.

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by CULater » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:57 am

I have to admit I have the same problem as the OP. I finally convinced myself to buy a new car to replace my 15-year old vehicle with 200,000 miles on it. But it actually made me sad to part with the old vehicle and I'm not enjoying the new vehicle nearly as much as I used to enjoy buying a new car when I couldn't afford it. If I could, I'd probably return the new one and take back the old one and the money I spent on it. Having that money in savings seems to give me more pleasure than the stuff I can buy with it. My brain has been rewired by all the years of frugality.
May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, The foresight to know where you're going, And the insight to know when you've gone too far. ~ Irish Blessing

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by Toons » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:58 am

While you are pondering what to do with the money,
Allocate x amount of dollars to your favorite charity Or
Worthy Cause
Every Month :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by flamesabers » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:31 am

harrington wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:47 am
We did complete a kitchen and some other home remodeling projects recently. I have no problems spending my $$ on improving my home.
It sounds like the issue isn't trying to reverse a lifetime of frugality, but rather finding more areas where you think your money will be well spent on.

Are there any charitable activities you have a passion for?

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by MrNewEngland » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:12 am

Learn to scuba dive. If you love it then you'll see that there's virtually no limit on how much you can spend.

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by HomerJ » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:20 am

pinhead wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:08 pm
You will be fine as long as you dont by a boat.

Travel to Asia, if you havent already.
I would far rather have a boat than travel to Asia.

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by Gort » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:33 am

HomerJ wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:20 am
pinhead wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:08 pm
You will be fine as long as you dont by a boat.

Travel to Asia, if you havent already.
I would far rather have a boat than travel to Asia.
Do both. Take a Slow Boat to China. :happy

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by ryuns » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:03 pm

CAsage wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:08 pm
Who will spend it if you don't? My BFF financial planner told her - travel first class, or your children will! I have little interest in material goods (cars, clothes, jewelry...) but just love nice vacations!
That's funny. My retired widowed mother is still very healthy at 71 and goes on a ton of lovely vacations all other the world. She occasionally jokes that "sorry about spending your inheritance". It's a joke, but I think she means it as a bit of a "joke/truth", and we have to tell her we're much happier with her enjoying herself, than with us getting some money some day that we weren't expecting, don't deserve, and don't know what to do with!
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by rjbraun » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:15 pm

daveydoo wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:27 am
harrington wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:01 pm
I was extremely frugal throughout my working years and saved enough money to retire at age 49. I'm now 56 and I have to admit I still worry about spending money on anything but the bare necessities . I have zero debt and my home is paid for.
What exactly are you worried about? If we knew more, we could (maybe) give more directed advice. (Note: emphasis added above). Are you worried that you'll run out of money, that a black swan event will happen, that you're undeserving of nice things, that material things have generally failed to live up to their expectations, that this is against the values you were raised with, etc., etc...? Each answer requires a different approach -- or no approach at all. I think most frugal people stay frugal, don't they?
This ^, plus that OP used the word "worry" concerns me. If you have enough money but choose not to spend it, fine. But, if you have enough money and still worry about things unnecessarily, that would see unfortunate and worthy of trying to correct.

Out of curiosity, what were some things you spent money on last that were beyond "bare necessities"? How long ago was that, and how do you feel now about the purchases?

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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:19 pm

harrington wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:42 am
VictoriaF wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:56 pm
harrington wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:01 pm
I was extremely frugal throughout my working years and saved enough money to retire at age 49. I'm now 56 and I have to admit I still worry about spending money on anything but the bare necessities . I have zero debt and my home is paid for.
You have been retired for seven years. What have you been doing all this time? There is a tendency to spend more in retirement engaging in activities one could not do while working.

Victoria
I am taking care of my parents who are 94 and 92......That in itself brings me great joy.
That's commendable, and it also explains why you have fewer opportunities to spend money. Best wishes,

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

Chip
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by Chip » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:34 pm

harrington wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:01 pm
I was extremely frugal throughout my working years and saved enough money to retire at age 49. I'm now 56 and I have to admit I still worry about spending money on anything but the bare necessities . I have zero debt and my home is paid for.
Similar thread from a year ago, with what I thought were some good ideas.

My suggestion from that thread: travel with people who naturally spend more than you do. Since I'm hard-wired to always pay at least my fair share, if not more, I spend more without much effort. For some reason this kind of spending doesn't bother me.

Another suggestion from that thread that I've taken to heart is overtipping ridiculously for good service. I did that yesterday in a restaurant and it felt really good.

I'm not anywhere near the bare necessity spending level, but I still wince at some expenditures. DW jokes that I put her on double secret probation for buying some $50 bottles of wine. :D

book lover
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by book lover » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:29 pm

Buy experiences not things for greater happiness, however, we humans suffer from hedonic adaptation which is that no matter how good our life is or becomes we tend to get used to it. Say you win seven hundred million dollars: once you get used to that level of money your overall happiness will not differ dramatically from people who have a lot less money but are meeting their needs.Giving to others certainly does add to our happiness level but again Warren Buffet or Bill Gates may not be significantly happier because of it.Being frugal most likely adds to happiness if done in moderation but as we get to experience one lifetime it is important to use the money we have accumulated to add joy where possible.

Spirit Rider
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by Spirit Rider » Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:44 pm

It isn't just a matter of frugality. It is very difficult for many retirees to go straight from the accumulation phase to the distribution phase. A relatively neutral phase only happens to a few.

I found it easier to spend money on others first, then it because easier to spend on myself.

GerryL
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by GerryL » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:27 pm

Lots of good advice above. Pick out what works for you.

I was also very frugal all through my early years and even through my 2+ decades making a very good corporate salary. In fact, I was thrown off kilter a couple of years before I retired when I had a financial planner look at my situation and I learned that given my planned lifestyle I could possibly die at the age of 96 with as much or more money than I had at the start of retirement.

Now that I am "gainfully unemployed" I have adjusted my plans and given myself permission to spend more (after running the numbers, of course). I track my spending (in Quicken) so that I can make sure I'm not overdoing it and going beyond my new upper limit. Easing into spending more -- when it makes you (and others) happy -- and keeping track of where you stand financially is a good way to avoid being overly frugal and worried unnecessarily about the future.

PS I'm about to head off to France for a month and am not even stressing that the dollar is not as strong as it was a while back. I'm also looking forward to dinners out that cost more than I would ever have spent before, and I am comfortable knowing that, if necessary, I can go beyond my ideal spending target for lodging (for the parts of the trip that are not pre-reserved).

CULater
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by CULater » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:28 pm

I think there's been some research that showed that beyond a certain level of spending there is not much incremental happiness, and that is a surprisingly low number. Diminishing marginal utility of spending power. Attention, Lottery Winners! I would speculate that the marginal utility of spending power is much greater and perhaps does not reach a point where it diminishes when the spending is done for the benefit of others instead one oneself. If I suddenly hit the jackpot, I would get a great deal more pleasure out of buying a new house for my mother than buying one for myself. Or from buying a homeless family a great meal in an upscale restaurant than buying it for myself and my friends who can all afford it.
May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, The foresight to know where you're going, And the insight to know when you've gone too far. ~ Irish Blessing

Dottie57
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by Dottie57 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:43 pm

Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:44 pm
My father was frugal, but also generous to his family. Brother, sister and I encouraged him to spend on himself, to no avail. We would tell him we would spend it if he didn't. That seemed to make him even happier. :oops:

When he passed, he was living in a very nice, but not luxurious, one bedroom condo, banking a portion of his SS and state retirement. We all inherited a not so small amount, and I'm sure he was happy to pass his $$$ to us. FWIW, I intend to pass what he gave, along with some of my own, forward, as I think he set a good example.

I finally realized that despite Dad's reluctance to spend more, he was happy. And, so far as I am concerned, he had the right idea.

If you aren't depriving yourself of a healthful lifestyle, or letting your home rot down around yourself, or driving an unsafe car, just enjoy your good fortune. Spend your dollars (or not) on what makes you happy.
harrington wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:24 pm
delamer wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:10 pm
Is there something you feel you are depriving yourself of, based on your current spending?
Mostly just questioning every purchase I make. Example: I have an 8 year old MacBook and decided to treat myself and purchase a new one. After getting home I left it in the bag and after a few days I took it back because my old computer is still working.
OK, do this: After wiping your MacBook clean of your files and such, drop it off at a women's shelter, or senior home, or the like. Then buy yourself a new one, knowing you have helped someone. Or, keep your old one and give away a new one!

Broken Man 1999

I did this with an ibook from apple some years ago. I listed it as free on craigslist. I received over 100 replies. The guy I gave it too was giving it to his kid. All worked out. He seemed extremely happy.computer was about 8years old.

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Leesbro63
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by Leesbro63 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:48 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:43 pm
Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:44 pm
My father was frugal, but also generous to his family. Brother, sister and I encouraged him to spend on himself, to no avail. We would tell him we would spend it if he didn't. That seemed to make him even happier. :oops:

When he passed, he was living in a very nice, but not luxurious, one bedroom condo, banking a portion of his SS and state retirement. We all inherited a not so small amount, and I'm sure he was happy to pass his $$$ to us. FWIW, I intend to pass what he gave, along with some of my own, forward, as I think he set a good example.

I finally realized that despite Dad's reluctance to spend more, he was happy. And, so far as I am concerned, he had the right idea.

If you aren't depriving yourself of a healthful lifestyle, or letting your home rot down around yourself, or driving an unsafe car, just enjoy your good fortune. Spend your dollars (or not) on what makes you happy.
harrington wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:24 pm
delamer wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:10 pm
Is there something you feel you are depriving yourself of, based on your current spending?
Mostly just questioning every purchase I make. Example: I have an 8 year old MacBook and decided to treat myself and purchase a new one. After getting home I left it in the bag and after a few days I took it back because my old computer is still working.
OK, do this: After wiping your MacBook clean of your files and such, drop it off at a women's shelter, or senior home, or the like. Then buy yourself a new one, knowing you have helped someone. Or, keep your old one and give away a new one!

Broken Man 1999

I did this with an ibook from apple some years ago. I listed it as free on craigslist. I received over 100 replies. The guy I gave it too was giving it to his kid. All worked out. He seemed extremely happy.computer was about 8years old.
I'd suggest buying the new computer and getting it all set up FIRST. And run it for a few weeks BEFORE wiping the old hard drive clean :wink:

munemaker
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by munemaker » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:10 pm

dbr wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:00 pm
A new computer is a pain in the neck, not a treat.
This seemed to be especially true at work.

The one exception to this is a new Chromebook. You can start up any Chromebook and when you log in, it comes up just the same as your old Chromebook.

Afty
Posts: 497
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by Afty » Fri Sep 01, 2017 12:24 pm

I would start by splurging on small luxuries rather than expensive items like a new laptop. For example, you could go out for your morning coffee instead of making it at home. You could buy more expensive foods to cook/eat everyday -- fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, steak, whatever you like. You could go out for meals more often. I find that these frequent, small luxuries bring me more happiness than larger, infrequent purchases like a computer or car. It's also a lot harder to cause financial stress by spending an extra $3/day on coffee.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Fri Sep 01, 2017 1:51 pm

Since you are providing care for your parents, consider hiring an aide to provide respite for yourself.

Caregivers don't always recognise the stress they are accumulating caring for family members.Maybe once or twice a week, use your time away to enjoy a good meal, or go see a movie, take a walk in a park, any activity away from caring for your parents. Those activities would allow you to decompress and recharge your batteries.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

lightheir
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by lightheir » Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:11 pm

book lover wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:29 pm
Buy experiences not things for greater happiness, however, we humans suffer from hedonic adaptation which is that no matter how good our life is or becomes we tend to get used to it. Say you win seven hundred million dollars: once you get used to that level of money your overall happiness will not differ dramatically from people who have a lot less money but are meeting their needs.Giving to others certainly does add to our happiness level but again Warren Buffet or Bill Gates may not be significantly happier because of it.Being frugal most likely adds to happiness if done in moderation but as we get to experience one lifetime it is important to use the money we have accumulated to add joy where possible.
I disagree with the general notion of buying experiences, not things. If you buy the RIGHT things, it can provide all the necessary experiences you need.

For example, buying good exercise clothing and possibly gym membership, coaching, or home equipment, and you might unlock a lifetime of outdoor exercise, fun in racing, that will payback dividends far in excess of a pricey European cruise vacation.

But I do agree with the underlying sentiment that yes, if you buy something mainly for ITS intrinsic value (like a hot sports car), and not with regards to how it adds to your non-material quality of life, you'll be in for a road of disappointment. But I think virtually everyone knows that already - the trick is to find the balance.

I for sure, despite having traveled a lot of the world, have found my material purchases far, far more cost effective not just financially, but in terms of lifestyle and enjoyment bang for the buck (albeit a lot less boring for dinner conversation) than my travels. And I love traveling!

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: How do you reverse a lifetime of frugality and learn to spend some money?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:30 pm

Chip wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:34 pm
harrington wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:01 pm
I was extremely frugal throughout my working years and saved enough money to retire at age 49. I'm now 56 and I have to admit I still worry about spending money on anything but the bare necessities . I have zero debt and my home is paid for.
Similar thread from a year ago, with what I thought were some good ideas.

My suggestion from that thread: travel with people who naturally spend more than you do. Since I'm hard-wired to always pay at least my fair share, if not more, I spend more without much effort. For some reason this kind of spending doesn't bother me.

Another suggestion from that thread that I've taken to heart is overtipping ridiculously for good service. I did that yesterday in a restaurant and it felt really good.

I'm not anywhere near the bare necessity spending level, but I still wince at some expenditures. DW jokes that I put her on double secret probation for buying some $50 bottles of wine. :D
Thanks for that reminder. I went to the car wash today and insisted that the high school kids really work at getting the bugs off the bumper and grill area, as that was the reason to pay for the wash. Then I tipped them more than they expected. We were all happy about that.

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