Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
kosomoto
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Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by kosomoto » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:49 pm

Hi all,

I am loving the boglehead way and hope to retire substantially early to do what I love. (Or not do anything, depending on the day!) However, emotional urges to spend are getting difficult to control as my wealth increases. For example, I am highly tempted to buy a new luxury car. This would set my early retirement back by roughly two years. I am 90% certain I would enjoy two full years of retirement far more than I would having a fancy luxury car in my late 20s. Controlling myself is proving difficult, especially with peer pressure, having friends with nicer cars, and living in a hcol area. With all the frugal people here I was wondering if the frugal behavior can be learned rather than ingrained from growing up. Thanks!

magicrat
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by magicrat » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:19 pm

Have a good plan and stick to it. Decide what your priorities are. If early retirement is your top priority, then make sure you are saving enough each year and have a solid investment plan you can stick to. If you have those things in place, feel free to spend what is leftover. If you want to spend some of what is leftover on a luxury car, offset that expense somewhere else in your budget.

Personally, I can buy anything I want, but not everything I want.

Kababayan
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by Kababayan » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:24 pm

I don't know if my example will fit for you, but I used to spend a lot of money going out to eat. My wife and I enjoy great quality food and the experience of trying new restaurants. Unfortunately we were enjoying it too much and it was getting very expensive. My compromise was that I began learning how to cook high quality food at home. I spend a bit more on ingredients but not nearly as much as I was spending going out to eat. It's at the point now where we are very selective of the restaurants we go to because we can make the food better at home. I know that solution may not fit the urge to buy a more expensive car, but that is one way that we controlled our desire to spend.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:31 pm

In your 20's, besides not buying the new car, the little things really help. What I did transfers, even though it was 30-40 years ago. When you do go out to restaurants, get just water. No soda, no beer, no wine.....water. Ball games....concerts....movies....never buy the soda or beer. When you think you want to buy something while you're in the store, always sleep on it. So go home and wait until at least 24 hours later. I find that 90% of the time, that thing I thought I needed was a want and has gone away.

Ok, so a flash forward to what this gets you. My kids used to ask me why their friend has a home theater and the dad has a Mercedes and mom has a Lexus. My answer was that they don't actually own any of that.....they're renting from the bank. Sure enough, one of the friends, the dad got caught up in some shenanigans in his law office and was disbarred. The Mercedes gets repossessed. The mom is now driving the 17 year old son's car and working at the supermarket to pay the mortgage. The dad's at Home Depot, sorting screw drivers. Lifestyle creep doesn't stop for anything.

I drive a 2009 ford fusion but own my house and everything else and have 2 commas in retirement savings.

Do it for your future. Own the "cheap" label. Be proud to dress like a homeless person on weekends.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

H-Town
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by H-Town » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:39 pm

kosomoto wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:49 pm
Hi all,

I am loving the boglehead way and hope to retire substantially early to do what I love. (Or not do anything, depending on the day!) However, emotional urges to spend are getting difficult to control as my wealth increases. For example, I am highly tempted to buy a new luxury car. This would set my early retirement back by roughly two years. I am 90% certain I would enjoy two full years of retirement far more than I would having a fancy luxury car in my late 20s. Controlling myself is proving difficult, especially with peer pressure, having friends with nicer cars, and living in a hcol area. With all the frugal people here I was wondering if the frugal behavior can be learned rather than ingrained from growing up. Thanks!
If you're not growing up being frugal and live below your means, then one helpful thing I can think of is don't let you get your hands on your money. Change your direct deposit from your paycheck to allocate to 401k, Roth IRA, brokerage account, saving accounts, and paying bills. Just leave a small discretionary expenses at your disposal.

Also, let's not just aim for retirement. Aim for being financially independence. It's tougher to get to so you can have fun going after your FI goals.

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prudent
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by prudent » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:40 pm

For me, it was a little painful. Early in my career most of my friends were free-spending, splurging types, and of course we did lots of things together which meant I was spending a lot as well. When I realized I wasn't spending my money the way *I* wanted, and that I had to put the brakes on throwing money around, I really got a lot of flak from them for being stingy, no longer "being fun", etc. It was a lot of peer pressure. After a lot of thought I just let the friendships drift apart. They didn't want to just hang out and have a pizza to spend time together and I no longer wanted to drop $100 twice a week going out for drinks and dinner (for one example).

Developed new friendships with people who didn't care what kind of clothes I had, the car I drove, where I vacationed, or what restaurants I ate at. Over many years I have never heard any of them make a snide comment about anyone's possessions, appearance or lifestyle. The perhaps-ironic thing was that it was years later before I came to learn a couple of them made multiples of what I did and I had no clue. They aren't cheap, but they are disciplined.

I was never much of a shopper so that wasn't a factor. I grew up poor so a middle-class lifestyle was quite comfortable for me, but I didn't know how pervasive the peer pressure was, and how much it was influencing my spending, until I was free of it.

senex
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by senex » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:43 pm

Congrats on your steps in the right direction. A content and frugal disposition is a wonderful thing.

The most inspiring site I've found for making me excited about non-consumption is Mr. Money Mustache.
Some recommended starting points: I also find Nathan Lewis's perspective to be illuminating and perspective-changing: The last link is great. It reveals the golden rule of fun: "fun things are not marketed; marketed things are not fun" and really inspires me to do the truly rewarding things that are free (or nearly free).

Twood
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by Twood » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:47 pm

Another thread recently was on differences of cost of living/incomes, and resulted in repeated reminders that comparison is the thief of joy. If you are suffering from peer pressure, change your peers/situations. Friends like to go out for dinner? Start an at home dinner party group. Friends like to go to the movie theater or sporting events, start setting up social activities that involve free activities such as hiking (also better for your health). You may have to become the organizer in your group of friends, but in my experience you will expand their horizons, make deeper relationships with currently peripheral or new people, and be happier when you align your actions with your values and the people you spend time with are on the same path. For me that often meant aging up, looking for friends about 10 years older than me who were living their family values instead of singlehood frivolity. I also chose to live in a town that was very family oriented. Oh, and since I hate budgeting in the traditional sense (constantly feel deprived and would spend nothing), I've focused on having fun and doing what's important to me with what's left after I pay myself first. Good luck.

mega317
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by mega317 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:52 pm

kosomoto wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:49 pm
having friends with nicer cars
Imagine if you and your friends are forced into early retirement for some reason. How valuable do you think the memories of driving nice cars will be?

JBTX
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by JBTX » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:52 pm

kosomoto wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:49 pm
Hi all,

I am loving the boglehead way and hope to retire substantially early to do what I love. (Or not do anything, depending on the day!) However, emotional urges to spend are getting difficult to control as my wealth increases. For example, I am highly tempted to buy a new luxury car. This would set my early retirement back by roughly two years. I am 90% certain I would enjoy two full years of retirement far more than I would having a fancy luxury car in my late 20s. Controlling myself is proving difficult, especially with peer pressure, having friends with nicer cars, and living in a hcol area. With all the frugal people here I was wondering if the frugal behavior can be learned rather than ingrained from growing up. Thanks!
Two things:

1. Save as much as you can in designated savings accounts, especially tax advantaged retirement accounts. Direct deposit if possible. Or else automatic weekly or monthly investment. That could include a taxable savings account also. Once it is in savings you will have less urge to raid it.

2. When i was your age, I always thought about the future value of my expenditure. Nobody can predict the future, but chances are very high that 30-40 years out, what you invest now will be worth substantially more, even in real inflation adjusted dollars. On the low side, say 3 times as much. Could be 4-8 times.

So if you want to spend $50K on a new car, think of the price as $50K times 4 = $200K. Is that car worth $200k to you? If you constantly start thinking that way it changes your urge to splurge.
Last edited by JBTX on Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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alpenglow
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by alpenglow » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:53 pm

Don't watch TV. Don't go to stores except to purchase specific items that you need. Shopping is not a hobby. Realize that advertising is all around you. Avoid trying to keep up with the Jones at all costs. Google hedonic adaptation. For the most part, stuff depreciates rapidly in value and the novelty wears off quickly. I feel highly motivated by the fact that money saved is growing for me. Once you understand all of these ideas, being frugal is easy. I truly want for nothing.

RRAAYY3
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by RRAAYY3 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:56 pm

What I do:

1. Stop caring about "luxury" and impressing other people. Anytime I see a "nice car" I wonder how much debt that person is in. It's not impressive - and if it is impressive to someone, I likely don't want to associate with them. New cars, even the affordable ones, have all you need.
2. Frugal & healthy Monday - Thursday. I make my own breakfast/coffee/lunch and never order out during the week. It's so much better for you and you'd be shocked how much 5-10 bucks here and there every day adds up.
3. I give myself a 1,000 "fun fund" each month. I enjoy nice meals and a bottle of wine/cocktails. It's even more enjoyable when you don't eat poorly / go out during the week. I "reel it in" if I'm planning a vacation - as a subset of the fun fund.
4. Could be #1 - set a budget. My monthly expenses = "obligations" [bills, gas, etc.] + fun fund + monthly investment. Any remainder goes to high yield savings.

Basically, when I get a direct deposit from work - it's going to my credit card or separate savings account or investment. I have the willpower to not touch anything that makes it's way to "investment". You can set up automatic transactions to do this for you.

Cliff notes: I couldn't care less about impressing people and have struck a beautiful balance between setting myself up for [early] retirement while still enjoying my weekends. Anytime I'm stuck in traffic I force myself to remember that feeling - and how badly I want to be in a position where I never have to sit in rush hour ever again.

I live in a HCOL area too - it helps being somewhat of a home body , but I do like to "go out" at least 1-2 a week and I do love traveling. Stay in hostels, not hotels, or AIRBNBs and save a ton while traveling the world. *Yes, there are nice hostels - and AIRBNB usually puts you in with the locals. Hosts have always been helpful with great places to go eat/sight see off the beaten path for an added bonus*

** Debt terrifies me. That helps too **

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bligh
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by bligh » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:04 pm

The two biggest mistakes I have seen people make and have had the biggest impact on my spending are :

1) When spending is that they do it by considering their income instead of their wealth. The worst possible version of this is when they break it down into a monthly payment so the numbers seem small and "doable".
When you spend, consider your net worth or your portfolio. If you have a $300K network, that $30K car is essentially a massive 10% of your assets locked into a rapidly depreciating, un productive appliance. Consider that greater than 70% of households in the US have LESS than a $300K net worth. Imagine if I told you there was an ETF you could buy with 10% of your portfolio that was guaranteed to go down by ~10% a year. Would you buy it?


2) They believe the marketing that they are "successful", and that they are "worth it"
Once you accept "I am comfortable, but certainly not rich or successful" and "I cannot afford it", and make it part of your personality, without finding that depressing, you are on your way to a frugal life. Conspicuous consumption with this mindset would be the equivalent of "All hat, no cattle" for a person with this mindset. You will no longer feel the urge to impress anyone, since you will feel you are "pretending" to be rich and successful when you are not.


An additional driver for me is the environment. When I buy something, or replace something I own, I often picture it used up and sitting in a landfill. I care about the trash I produce, and I feel it is my duty to minimize my footprint upon the Earth. This one works indirectly to make me spend less, but the goal isn't to combat the urge to spend, but rather to consider the external impact of my spending.

RRAAYY3
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by RRAAYY3 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:06 pm

kosomoto wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:49 pm
Hi all,

I am loving the boglehead way and hope to retire substantially early to do what I love. (Or not do anything, depending on the day!) However, emotional urges to spend are getting difficult to control as my wealth increases. For example, I am highly tempted to buy a new luxury car. This would set my early retirement back by roughly two years. I am 90% certain I would enjoy two full years of retirement far more than I would having a fancy luxury car in my late 20s. Controlling myself is proving difficult, especially with peer pressure, having friends with nicer cars, and living in a hcol area. With all the frugal people here I was wondering if the frugal behavior can be learned rather than ingrained from growing up. Thanks!
Ask yourself why you're tempted to buy a new car. Is it because your a "car guy" that appreciates the craftsmanship and enjoys the "experience" If so, and this brings you joy/excitement on a daily basis - then sure, maybe this makes sense for you.

If you're considering it so the shallow people around you give you some sort of "approval" - then you really need to take a look in the mirror and evaluate what's important / makes you happy.

A lot of my family members have nice cars. Mercedes with obnoxious "glow" accent lights around the interior, Lexus SUVs, 2K hand bags - I use a backpack I've had since college, drive a reliable car under 25K, and only get new clothes on Christmas / birthday - from other people.

There's a beauty in genuinely not caring what others thing. If that car is going to make you happy [genuinely happy] - and you don't need to take on debt to afford it - do it. Enjoy.

If you're doing it to impress others [who won't really be that impressed anyway] - you're going to regret it.

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cinghiale
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by cinghiale » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:08 pm

I would advise you to read the classic Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and the late Joe Dominguez. Skip the later chapter or two on investments. Focus on the core principles, such as “Money is something we choose to trade our life energy for.” Let that sink in. If you opt for the book, get the original 1993 version. (The later 1999 update has lousy print.). A used hardcover copy in “very good” condition can be had for just over $5.00 including shipping on Amazon. Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/Your-Money-Life- ... 462&sr=1-5

Here’s an excellent synopsis and outline of the book to see if you want to invest the time and (life) energy reading it: https://ymoyl.wordpress.com/summary-of- ... your-life/

And here’s Mr. Money Moustache’s review and recommendation: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/12/ ... your-life/

Once you change your relationhsip with money, the spending challenges will fall into line.
"We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are." Anais Nin | | "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." George Orwell

H-Town
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by H-Town » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:14 pm

RRAAYY3 wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:06 pm
kosomoto wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:49 pm
Hi all,

I am loving the boglehead way and hope to retire substantially early to do what I love. (Or not do anything, depending on the day!) However, emotional urges to spend are getting difficult to control as my wealth increases. For example, I am highly tempted to buy a new luxury car. This would set my early retirement back by roughly two years. I am 90% certain I would enjoy two full years of retirement far more than I would having a fancy luxury car in my late 20s. Controlling myself is proving difficult, especially with peer pressure, having friends with nicer cars, and living in a hcol area. With all the frugal people here I was wondering if the frugal behavior can be learned rather than ingrained from growing up. Thanks!
Ask yourself why you're tempted to buy a new car. Is it because your a "car guy" that appreciates the craftsmanship and enjoys the "experience" If so, and this brings you joy/excitement on a daily basis - then sure, maybe this makes sense for you.

If you're considering it so the shallow people around you give you some sort of "approval" - then you really need to take a look in the mirror and evaluate what's important / makes you happy.

A lot of my family members have nice cars. Mercedes with obnoxious "glow" accent lights around the interior, Lexus SUVs, 2K hand bags - I use a backpack I've had since college, drive a reliable car under 25K, and only get new clothes on Christmas / birthday - from other people.

There's a beauty in genuinely not caring what others thing. If that car is going to make you happy [genuinely happy] - and you don't need to take on debt to afford it - do it. Enjoy.

If you're doing it to impress others [who won't really be that impressed anyway] - you're going to regret it.
^ I second this!

stoptothink
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by stoptothink » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:17 pm

Twood wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:47 pm
Another thread recently was on differences of cost of living/incomes, and resulted in repeated reminders that comparison is the thief of joy. If you are suffering from peer pressure, change your peers/situations. Friends like to go out for dinner? Start an at home dinner party group. Friends like to go to the movie theater or sporting events, start setting up social activities that involve free activities such as hiking (also better for your health). You may have to become the organizer in your group of friends, but in my experience you will expand their horizons, make deeper relationships with currently peripheral or new people, and be happier when you align your actions with your values and the people you spend time with are on the same path. For me that often meant aging up, looking for friends about 10 years older than me who were living their family values instead of singlehood frivolity. I also chose to live in a town that was very family oriented. Oh, and since I hate budgeting in the traditional sense (constantly feel deprived and would spend nothing), I've focused on having fun and doing what's important to me with what's left after I pay myself first. Good luck.
This. I've kind of always just naturally done this, but it has been a struggle for my wife. Her peer group has a ton to do with her discretionary spending; as direct as, she had two friends get new mattresses this summer and all the sudden she had to have a new mattress...and mommy got what she wanted (and now kind of has buyer's remorse). She's made a huge effort recently to distance herself from constant advertising and comparison (spending way less time on her phone and social media) and kind of distancing herself from particular people who have serious shopping/keeping up with Joneses problems and I have noticed quite the change.

kosomoto
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by kosomoto » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:19 pm

Great advice from everyone, thank you!

barnaclebob
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:19 pm

If you don't want to spend, don't shop. You can't spend money on things you don't know exist or that you could actually buy them.

I'll admit that I look at the car I want to buy when my current one craps out but I feel a moral duty to keep it going as long as practical or safe.

RRAAYY3
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by RRAAYY3 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:21 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:19 pm
If you don't want to spend, don't shop. You can't spend money on things you don't know exist or that you could actually buy them.

I'll admit that I look at the car I want to buy when my current one craps out but I feel a moral duty to keep it going as long as practical or safe.
easy for me, not easy for others with amazon / online shopping so easy. my mom has a legit shopping addiction and too much money - i'd be retired at 40 if I had her "disposable income". so wasteful, but she likes "nice things"

i prefer being wealthy, not looking it.

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alpenglow
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by alpenglow » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:25 pm

RRAAYY3 wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:06 pm
There's a beauty in genuinely not caring what others think.
100%! Take a step beyond the peer pressure and think for your yourself. Identify what's most important to you and act accordingly. Align yourself with people that think similarly or at the very least respect your choices. My friends aren't spenders and they don't push their agenda on others. On the other hand, they say you can't pick your family. My wife's family is obsessed with stuff and we take a lot of crap from them over it. Juvenile, peer pressure behavior. Have the confidence to think for yourself knowing that you're making progress towards your goals. I don't care what anyone else thinks and I'm not impressed with anyone's stuff. FWIW, we're millionaires (age 40-ish) and the rest of the family is in debt to their eyeballs.

fposte
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by fposte » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:26 pm

In addition to what people say, pay attention to the people you know who spend less, not just those who spend more. It's easy just to notice the latter category and forget about the first. Look online if you want to: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/28/these-6 ... -cars.html or https://www.therichest.com/expensive-li ... heap-cars/.

Become a snob. Don't treat people like a snob, but approach spending as one so that you get beyond the "Ooh, shiny!" rush. There are drawbacks to just about every model of luxury car. Do you want to buy something with drawbacks? Are you going to spend tens of thousands of dollars to put up with a hideous hood ornament or tacky glow lights, or a technology that's clearly not reached excellence yet? Always shop slooooowly. I love food, but my version of this for restaurants is that I don't live in a top-notch restaurant town, so why waste the money on middling at best?

I also personally have found, very unbogleheadishly, that paying close attention to the growth of my accounts was helpful (so stop watching in a market downturn :D ); that way it was clear that saving was a different concrete "purchase" that was also rewarding rather than merely a deprivation.

daveydoo
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by daveydoo » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:28 pm

kosomoto wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:49 pm
...I was wondering if the frugal behavior can be learned rather than ingrained from growing up. Thanks!
Grew up in a frugal family but the best protection for me over the past few decades has been being busy with work and family. Simply not enough time to decorate the house, upgrade the cars and wardrobe, buy a bigger house in a better neighborhood, buy a vacation home, etc. Once I'd done the things that mattered each day, there was time to work out and a maybe a little downtime in the evening. Now that the kids are out of the house, some of those "wants" are creeping back in...
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

RRAAYY3
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by RRAAYY3 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:32 pm

alpenglow wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:25 pm
RRAAYY3 wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:06 pm
There's a beauty in genuinely not caring what others think.
100%! Take a step beyond the peer pressure and think for your yourself. Identify what's most important to you and act accordingly. Align yourself with people that think similarly or at the very least respect your choices. My friends aren't spenders and they don't push their agenda on others. On the other hand, they say you can't pick your family. My wife's family is obsessed with stuff and we take a lot of crap from them over it. Juvenile, peer pressure behavior. Have the confidence to think for yourself knowing that you're making progress towards your goals. I don't care what anyone else thinks and I'm not impressed with anyone's stuff. FWIW, we're millionaires (age 40-ish) and the rest of the family is in debt to their eyeballs.
my friend has over 100K in debt ... i wouldn't even be able to function with that hanging over my head. oh, he wants to get married and buy a house in the next year or so - so he's well on his way to never having an actual networth above 0. i get anxious just thinking about his situation.

but, at least he'll look "normal" to most people.

getthatmarshmallow
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:03 pm

One suggestion is to make new friends from other walks of life -- maybe through sports, or church, or volunteering. This helps for two reasons. First, you'll be doing activities that cost less money. Second, you'll realize that the way your peer group lives is not the only way that people have happy lives. Another is to have a goal that your money is going toward -- retirement is obvious, but maybe, if you really like cars, your goal is to pay cash for that pretty car. This will teach you patience.

I'm lucky in that as a household we're able to "keep up appearances" while being frugal, and also that neither of us have a lot of our self-importance bound up in appearances. But the comparison thief hit me hard at a colleague's house, where most of the guests were parents of classmates at the private school; and all of a sudden my modest house and three-year-old Honda and thrifted sweater felt cheap. No one said anything, of course, and the feeling passed. (And it made me think that perhaps the private school would not be the best choice for my son, given the strong magnet program in the public system.)

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alpenglow
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by alpenglow » Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:53 pm

RRAAYY3 wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:32 pm
alpenglow wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:25 pm
RRAAYY3 wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:06 pm
There's a beauty in genuinely not caring what others think.
100%! Take a step beyond the peer pressure and think for your yourself. Identify what's most important to you and act accordingly. Align yourself with people that think similarly or at the very least respect your choices. My friends aren't spenders and they don't push their agenda on others. On the other hand, they say you can't pick your family. My wife's family is obsessed with stuff and we take a lot of crap from them over it. Juvenile, peer pressure behavior. Have the confidence to think for yourself knowing that you're making progress towards your goals. I don't care what anyone else thinks and I'm not impressed with anyone's stuff. FWIW, we're millionaires (age 40-ish) and the rest of the family is in debt to their eyeballs.
my friend has over 100K in debt ... i wouldn't even be able to function with that hanging over my head. oh, he wants to get married and buy a house in the next year or so - so he's well on his way to never having an actual networth above 0. i get anxious just thinking about his situation.

but, at least he'll look "normal" to most people.
I'm assuming that your friend at least has many working years ahead of him and might have a chance to mend his ways. My in-laws are in their 60's with similar credit card debt (at least $70k), a mortgage, car loans, medical bills, and overall negative net worth. My father-in-law will be working until he dies just to stay afloat. All they have to show for it is a poorly maintained house overloaded with tchotchkes. It's depressing.

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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by RRAAYY3 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:56 pm

He makes good money and should “survive”

But 100K debt in a HcOL area + planning on getting married + buying a house ? Yikes

I get anxious if I can’t invest 1/3 of my net each month - my head would explode if I was in his shoes - yet he’s happy go lucky, it’s amazing. I almost wish I was that way

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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by TomCat96 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:08 pm

kosomoto wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:49 pm
Hi all,

I am loving the boglehead way and hope to retire substantially early to do what I love. (Or not do anything, depending on the day!) However, emotional urges to spend are getting difficult to control as my wealth increases. For example, I am highly tempted to buy a new luxury car. This would set my early retirement back by roughly two years. I am 90% certain I would enjoy two full years of retirement far more than I would having a fancy luxury car in my late 20s. Controlling myself is proving difficult, especially with peer pressure, having friends with nicer cars, and living in a hcol area. With all the frugal people here I was wondering if the frugal behavior can be learned rather than ingrained from growing up. Thanks!
Your problem is not the luxury car per se, it's fixation.
I've gotten that bug a number of times with things like some nice computer hardware, Digital SLRs, etc.
If you fixate on it, it's only a matter of time before your brain finds a way to rationalize purchasing it. I am most successful when I can redirect my focus and desires on something else altogether.

Of all the hobbies I took up, enjoying hiking national parks was the most powerful anti-consumerism deterrent. That might come off as a sounding flippant. But I do mean it seriously in that it helped redirect my focus away from luxury spending.

blevine
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by blevine » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:12 pm

Combat another urge....don't have kids.
That would save you a boat load of money.

delamer
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by delamer » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:23 pm

Regarding the luxury car issue, specifically:

As others have said, only buy a luxury vehicle if you enjoy the technology, features, and comfort. There is nothing wrong with paying more for high quality — if you can afford it. But don’t buy one to keep up with your friends or to impress anyone. (And think about new friends if you feel that pressure,)

We started buying luxury cars in our 50’s when we knew we were on track with our financial goals (retirement, college, mortgage paydown). They are not only more expensive to buy, but also to service and fuel. So the purchase price is just one thing that is higher relative to a mainstream car.

Also, a lot of people lease rather than purchase luxury vehicles. Therefore, it is very easy to find 2 or 3 year old low mileage luxury vehicles in excellent condition. Still not cheap to buy, but much less expensive than new. With one exception, we have always bought ours used.

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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by bottlecap » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:54 pm

I'll comment with respect to how to combat the desire to buy luxury vehicle. What worked for me was my parents.

The long story short is that my family could have afforded luxury vehicles, but never bought them. Sometimes we bought new, sometime used, but never luxury. Most folks in the neighborhood that were into luxury cars had only a fraction of my parent's wealth. I doubt many of them realized it.

Consequently, I've never wanted a luxury vehicle. Frankly, I assume that most people that buy them are fools. I know that's not always :wink: true. But it just seems a waste. I'd rather buy an ordinary vehicle and give the money I save away to some worthy cause than actually have to drive a luxury vehicle. And I don't like giving money away....

My point is, if you don't want your kids to be people who blow money on luxury vehicles or struggle with the desire to purchase one at the expense of a few years of retirement, think about who you want them to be. They will learn from watching you and learning who you are.

Who you are starts now.

Good luck,

JT

P.S. I hope this view helps in your current struggle.

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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by cherijoh » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:57 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:31 pm
In your 20's, besides not buying the new car, the little things really help. What I did transfers, even though it was 30-40 years ago. When you do go out to restaurants, get just water. No soda, no beer, no wine.....water. Ball games....concerts....movies....never buy the soda or beer. When you think you want to buy something while you're in the store, always sleep on it. So go home and wait until at least 24 hours later. I find that 90% of the time, that thing I thought I needed was a want and has gone away.

Ok, so a flash forward to what this gets you. My kids used to ask me why their friend has a home theater and the dad has a Mercedes and mom has a Lexus. My answer was that they don't actually own any of that.....they're renting from the bank. Sure enough, one of the friends, the dad got caught up in some shenanigans in his law office and was disbarred. The Mercedes gets repossessed. The mom is now driving the 17 year old son's car and working at the supermarket to pay the mortgage. The dad's at Home Depot, sorting screw drivers. Lifestyle creep doesn't stop for anything.

I drive a 2009 ford fusion but own my house and everything else and have 2 commas in retirement savings.

Do it for your future. Own the "cheap" label. Be proud to dress like a homeless person on weekends.
I was with you until the last sentence of your post! :wink:

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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:02 pm

kosomoto wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:49 pm
Hi all,

I am loving the boglehead way and hope to retire substantially early to do what I love. (Or not do anything, depending on the day!) However, emotional urges to spend are getting difficult to control as my wealth increases. For example, I am highly tempted to buy a new luxury car. This would set my early retirement back by roughly two years. I am 90% certain I would enjoy two full years of retirement far more than I would having a fancy luxury car in my late 20s. Controlling myself is proving difficult, especially with peer pressure, having friends with nicer cars, and living in a hcol area. With all the frugal people here I was wondering if the frugal behavior can be learned rather than ingrained from growing up. Thanks!
I think frugal folks typically have a nagging "voice of frugality" in their head from when they were little or growing up poor.

Sometimes it is a grandmother, or mother, or father. Maybe. . just maybe. . . a spouse later in life, sometimes.
For myself, it's my grandmother.

"Why you so wasteful?"
"You think money grows on trees?"
"Do you think our family is made out of money?"
"That's why you don't have anything, because you can't save money."
"So wasteful."
"Your bicycle still works fine. Rust is nothing. And, now you want another."
"Aiya!!!" :shock:

So if you can get that voice in your head it will outweigh all the spreadsheets in the world. You will be frugal forever.
j :D

Leesbro63
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by Leesbro63 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:10 pm

What I've found that works is answering these two questions:

Do I really need "it"?

Do I really love "it"?

If you can HONESTLY say yes to either, buy it.
Last edited by Leesbro63 on Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Leesbro63
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by Leesbro63 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:11 pm

duplicated deleted. Sorry.

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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by livesoft » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:15 pm

It is such a pain in the butt to spend money I don't see how anyone has the urge to spend it. A new car? You gotta go to the internet to research, then communicate with dealers, talk to your friends, go into the dealer, test drives, negotiate, and all the other crap that goes with it. I hate it. Then you gotta drive the darn thing when you could be doing something else.

The above goes for just about any item except food. Clothes? Shoes? Electronics? All of these are real PITA to acquire.

However, buying some additional shares of an ETF is easy. You've already got some shares, so no research needed. Just click a button and you are done.
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by triceratop » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:21 pm

Another classic post from our resident chief satirist.
"To play the stock market is to play musical chairs under the chord progression of a bid-ask spread."

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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by Toons » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:21 pm

Take Control Of Yourself.
Done Deal








:mrgreen:
"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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Tamarind
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by Tamarind » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:35 pm

I use planning exercises to quash the occasional irrational urge. Make a list of all the things you'd like to do to spend money. Stack rank. Now take your gross salary. Subtract the full amount of savings you need to hit your target. Now see what you can swing.

Don't take luxury spending out of your savings budget. Take it out of your discretionary spending. That way you have to balance wants, while needs continue to get taken care of.

For example, to afford a luxury car you could: find cheaper housing, get a roommate, eat out less, travel less, cut subscriptions, sell your existing car, bring in extra income, etc. Which of these things would you be willing to do to enjoy the thing you want?

It may also help to ensure that taxable retirement savings are in a separate brokerage account from other taxable so you can't make "mistakes" with your mental buckets.

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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:42 pm

cinghiale wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:08 pm
I would advise you to read the classic Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and the late Joe Dominguez. Skip the later chapter or two on investments. Focus on the core principles, such as “Money is something we choose to trade our life energy for.” Let that sink in. If you opt for the book, get the original 1993 version. (The later 1999 update has lousy print.). A used hardcover copy in “very good” condition can be had for just over $5.00 including shipping on Amazon. Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/Your-Money-Life- ... 462&sr=1-5

Here’s an excellent synopsis and outline of the book to see if you want to invest the time and (life) energy reading it: https://ymoyl.wordpress.com/summary-of- ... your-life/

And here’s Mr. Money Moustache’s review and recommendation: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/12/ ... your-life/

Once you change your relationhsip with money, the spending challenges will fall into line.
+1 on Your Money or Your Life. I found my gently used copy at a library sale for the great price of $0.50!
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by Tycoon » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:47 pm

I think of all those little pennies I raised from birth being sent off into the mean cruel world and restraint overwhelms me. The thought of them being spent, and wasted, for my personal pleasure keeps me from letting them go. I cry every time I think about being forced to let them go. It's a tragedy each time I pay a bill, buy a meal, or buy bike components (especially bike components). How selfish can I be?

The memories we had are priceless.
Appeal to Pity:When pity is envoked to support a statement | Appeal to Popular Sentiment:Appealing to unrelated prejudices and attitudes | Hasty Generalization:Too little evidence to support the conclusion

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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:50 pm

I worked in a retail bank, saw what happens when you don’t have any money for retirement. My advice is to save, then save some more. You can not invest what you dont save. The seeds you plant today will bear abundant fruit years down the road. Don’t sink your money in depreciating items, the second you drive the car off the lot you will lose $5k - the car is no longer new, it’s used!!! Don’t invest your money in things that require maintenance or eat unless the return is far above the cost of capital and it is a long lived return. Luxury cars do not fit that criteria. Exotic cruises are short-lived, as is all the liquor you drank,the excitement is ultra short lived, Meanwhile memories do not pay for rent, food, healthcare or retirement.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

H-Town
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by H-Town » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:06 pm

blevine wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:12 pm
Combat another urge....don't have kids.
That would save you a boat load of money.
yeah.. excepts that kids are one of the main reasons why I work hard and save more. I have good income and save 50% of the gross income.

Afty
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by Afty » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:18 pm

A few things that work for me:

- Splurge, but only on small things. We don't sweat the (relatively) small stuff like going out for coffee or eating out. You can buy a lot of really good coffee for the cost of a luxury car.

- If you decide you do want to splurge on something big, spend some time to learn everything about the thing you want to buy and build some anticipation. Shop around for the best deals and the best value for the money. I find this part almost more fun than actually having the thing, and it has the nice side effect of slowing down the rate at which you can buy these expensive things. I did this recently with a home theater system. I spent around 3 months doing research, looking for deals and acquiring the components, and finally getting everything professionally installed. The AV guy who did the install guessed that my speakers cost 4x what I actually paid for them. :)

victw
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by victw » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:31 pm

I recently had a strange revelation about the peer pressure.

For career reasons we have lived a way from both families. No one on either side of the family has retired early or accumulated substantial savings except one beyond frugal family member. And this is despite good salaries in LCOL areas of the country.

I think the peer/family pressure to spend would have been a problem for me - hard to navigate.

Vic

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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by Swimmer » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:52 pm

livesoft wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:15 pm
It is such a pain in the butt to spend money I don't see how anyone has the urge to spend it. A new car? You gotta go to the internet to research, then communicate with dealers, talk to your friends, go into the dealer, test drives, negotiate, and all the other crap that goes with it. I hate it. Then you gotta drive the darn thing when you could be doing something else.

The above goes for just about any item except food. Clothes? Shoes? Electronics? All of these are real PITA to acquire.

However, buying some additional shares of an ETF is easy. You've already got some shares, so no research needed. Just click a button and you are done.

I so agree with everything you say!

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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by livesoft » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:07 pm

triceratop wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:21 pm
Another classic post from our resident chief satirist.
I just had to take my car in to get its windshield replaced. I should've added all the extra time and effort used to fix all those stupid things we buy. Also in the shop was a Porsche Cayenne and some kind of Range Rover which I suppose are on topic for this thread. Folks with cheap cars and trucks tend to drive them around with the windshields cracked.
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by daveydoo » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:13 pm

TomCat96 wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:08 pm

Your problem is not the luxury car per se, it's fixation.
I've gotten that bug a number of times with things like some nice computer hardware, Digital SLRs, etc.
If you fixate on it, it's only a matter of time before your brain finds a way to rationalize purchasing it. I am most successful when I can redirect my focus and desires on something else altogether.
This is a good point. As long as I can keep my reaction time longer than the product cycle (used to be very easy with digital cameras), then I know I'm safe. Whenever I was about to pull the trigger -- maybe after a price drop -- there was already something better on the horizon...
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

malabargold
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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by malabargold » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:27 pm

1)Try to think of anything you’ve ever bought that’s brought
to you true as lasting happiness.
There. But if that doesn’t do it
2) Remember the most expensive goods you’ve purchased.
Likely caused more worry and grief than anything else.

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Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

Post by mega317 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:22 pm

bottlecap wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:54 pm
What worked for me was my parents.

The long story short is that my family could have afforded luxury vehicles, but never bought them.
Interesting take. I would also say my parents have eliminated my desire, but for the opposite reason. My dad has been leasing luxury cars for as long as I can remember. He just doesn't seem to be getting any more enjoyment from it than everyone else from their cars.

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