Guilt at buying nice things for myself

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texascat1
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Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by texascat1 » Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:57 pm

I have just finished my first year of working as a veterinarian. I had some savings from my side gig through school and over this past year I have managed to save about $20,000 of my $55000 post tax pay. That included my base salary and my side business reselling vintage costume, sterling, and gold jewelry on etsy and ebay. My savings rate for retirement, HSA, and my emergency fund is around 30 percent monthly depending on my side gig income.


Net worth
HSA $6400 - 5400 is invested
Fidelity & Vanguard Roth IRA - $17000
Cash emergency fund - $7100 (this is about three months of bare bones expenses.)
Backup emergency fund #1 - family - they are fine with this
Backup emergency fund #2 - liquidate business inventory and coin collection- Aproximately $5000 in scrap gold/silver value

Debt
School debt $0
$870 in a zero interest 6 month loan

So my total net worth one year into working is around $30000. I have trouble justifying spending money on nice things for myself. I also have trouble justifying to others why I have nice things. I know what I like to spend money on and I know I am saving a lot of my pay but I feel guilty for not saving the money. This could be for a $30 skein of yarn to knit myself something amazing with or the $870 necklace I just purchased myself. Will I use the yarn? Yes and it made a great alpaca hat for my first northern winter. I even met the alpaca the yarn came from during the tour of the farm and remember her when I wear my hat. Will I wear the necklace - absolutely. Its a one of a kind Victorian 14k rose gold necklace and I had a chance to purchase it at a decent discount to market value. I have loved the style and it is more than just a chain - it is a complicated enameled slider pendant on a custom link chain made by a master goldsmith and to me is wearable art. I know I paid less than what comparable pieces are currently listed for and selling for but I also know that I will not be saving that money. I am aiming for early retirement at around 55 and I know I am saving enough to reach that that but still feel guilty. Several of my classmates are good friends and I also feel guilty when they ask about my purchases. I know graduating debt free is a very different world from where they are at financially. How do you justify your spending on unnecessary things?

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StevieG72
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by StevieG72 » Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:11 pm

As long as I am on track to reach my financial goals I don't worry about it.

You have to find a balance between saving and spending.

I have found out that "stuff" does not make me happy. I prefer to spend on travel which is heavily subsidized by credit card points.
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

tim1999
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by tim1999 » Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:14 pm

All I can say is that if you are able to save around 30% of your income and still be able to spend money on things you enjoy, you have the ability to live a very balanced financial life and are in a great spot. Who cares what other people think about it?

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willthrill81
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by willthrill81 » Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:21 pm

We are almost in the same position as you, feeling a little guilty for buying discretionary things. But my wife and I both give ourselves "allowances" every month (about 1.5% of our net income) to buy whatever we want. Unspent funds roll over to the next month. This give us a good excuse to buy things that may be frivolous but we enjoy. It also forces us to save up for things and contemplate whether we really want to make a particular purchase.

Beyond that, our only significant discretionary spending is on travel. We budget for this monthly, also saving up funds for a couple of nice trips per year usually.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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BL
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by BL » Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:26 pm

Maybe track your money and set aside a certain amount per year, maybe $1k, for special purchases. I see nothing wrong so far, but if you made a big purchase each month, that might be different. Some spend money on their car, others on eating out or partying, etc. As long as you are saving considerable amounts, feel free to spend on things that give you joy, just not everything you might wish for.

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jadd806
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by jadd806 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:09 am

I used to have this issue. I was obsessed with saving as much as possible when I first started working, to the detriment of spending money on things that I would enjoy. The problem was I didn't have a defined savings goal, so my mentality was "save as much as possible."

I solved it by setting a savings goal at X% of my income that I am happy with achieving. Anything left over I can spend as I see fit and now I don't feel bad about it. My savings are all automatic transfers, so I don't have to worry about it since it's all happening in the background.

I bought a new TV a couple months ago and I just got a new 3D printer. I'm now able to enjoy these purchases without feeling guilty about them.

msk
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by msk » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:24 am

Just continue saving-and-investing 30% of your after tax income till retirement. You can blow the rest on any junk you desire without guilt feelings. Worked very well for me, now 74 and retired since age 55. Nevertheless do note that stashing away 30% of your job income into a savings account is, IMHO, not investing.

gmc4h232
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by gmc4h232 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:53 am

If you can make a little money by selling these items if you find yourself in need, then I dont see an issue. To me, it is a lot easier to justify buying certain items if you do your homework and buy them right. This is hard to do on things like new cars and other retail items. These are the things that i try to avoid buying willy nilly.

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celia
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by celia » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:26 am

It's ok to buy nice things for yourself but it can become a problem if you keep doing it when you already have everything you need and don't have places to put it. Why not allocate a budget category for these discretionary expenses and set a fixed monthly dollar limit on it. Then you will see that in many months you won't have enough money set aside and will have to wait several months to buy that thing your have your heart set on.

You should also know that the biggest impact to your eventual wealth is HOW MUCH you are able to save when you are young. You have lots of time for your assets to compound at this point. When you are 65 and your current assets have multiplied 8 times (or whatever inflation will occur), will you look back and wish you had $25K at age x or $35K at that same age? (just made up numbers to make a point--before those future multipliers are applied to today's balance)
A dollar in Roth is worth more than a dollar in a taxable account. A dollar in taxable is worth more than a dollar in a tax-deferred account.

grokzilla
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by grokzilla » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:34 am

Sounds like you're doing great and to be frank I firmly believe the "guilt" is healthy. It's keeping you honest about expenditures and likely means you're a naturally frugal person, which will serve you well.

Rough paraphrase of something I read many years ago -- "don't skimp on the things that make you truly happy." You have to take that advice with a grain of salt if for instance Lamborghinis are what make you truly happy... But, the point is intended to make sure you don't budget out things in your life that truly help you get through it. If fancy yarn and granny necklaces are your jam - then so be it! :D

magicrat
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by magicrat » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:41 am

Over time I have learned what I really value (travel, experiences, music, time with friends) and what I don't value (cars, houses, fancy clothes, new electronics, general stuff). I spend a lot on the former and the bare minimum on the latter. As for what other people think, I could not care less.

Gnirk
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by Gnirk » Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:34 pm

As long as you are meeting your savings/investing goals, and aren’t going into debt, it’s fine to indulge in a few nice things, guilt-free. I’m in my seventies, and can afford to buy myself nice things. But guess what? Old habits die hard, and I just can’t do it. I do, however, spend money on travel now and then..though not on luxury travel, which I could afford.
Enjoy that Alpaca hat and that special necklace!!!!

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flamesabers
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by flamesabers » Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:46 pm

texascat1 wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:57 pm
How do you justify your spending on unnecessary things?
When I'm already meeting my savings goals, I ask myself if I'm going to get a lot of use out of this nice thing and whether it will improve my quality of life. If the answer is yes to both questions, then I don't feel guilty.

baseball2horse
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by baseball2horse » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:54 pm

One thing I do is balance frivolous spending with charitable givem/ ie if I want to spend on some nice thing just for me that I don't need I donate the same amount to a charitable cause. This way I get something nice and the world gets something nice too. I feel that helps combat some of the guilt that it sounds like comes from the fact that you were able to graduate school debt free

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prudent
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by prudent » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:05 pm

You know you're saving enough but you still feel guilty if you buy something - only you can resolve that. What I do is budget for a "personal happiness" category. As long as I stay within that budget, I'm not splurging because I planned for it, and I don't feel guilty. If you don't budget for such things, it might always seem "squandering" to you.

As far as friends asking about purchases, that's not an experience I've ever had. No one has ever asked me what I spent on something, not even my closest friends or family.

daveydoo
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by daveydoo » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:06 pm

texascat1 wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:57 pm
...This could be for a $30 skein of yarn to knit myself something amazing with or the $870 necklace I just purchased myself...
Been there; still there. You are on a good path and you seem to know yourself well enough to understand the joys and consequences that come from your purchases. If your pattern is that the small splurges that you have made continue to give you joy over the years (and that necklace sounds like the perfect example), then I suspect you're fine. If you buy things and find that you regret or ignore your purchases, then those were clearly a waste.

Inertia has saved me from myself; the ardor cools after a week or two and I'm on to something else.
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

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Sandtrap
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:12 pm

All things in "moderation". . . . including moderation. . . :shock:
j

H-Town
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by H-Town » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:17 pm

texascat1 wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:57 pm
How do you justify your spending on unnecessary things?
I don't because I don't spend on unnecessary things (in my point of view). However, I control the definition of unnecessary things and I live by it. This helps me being frugal while never feel I miss out on anything.

For example, I spent 10k-15k a year on traveling and I don't call this unnecessary. On the other hand, I still use a 7 year old phone because I think paying $700 for a new phone is unnecessary. I brew my own coffee and never pay for a cup of Starbucks coffee for myself (unless it's a treat for my wife).

Some people might call it penny wise, pound foolish... but as long as I save at least 100% of my annual spending (excluding tax), I don't see why I need to change my approach.

pdx-ursa
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by pdx-ursa » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:43 pm

Great job on being in good shape now and saving so much for the future.

One strategy that worked for me is buying small things I love. I enjoy backpacking, and I get nearly as much thrill from buying a $12 titanium spork or $50 mug as I would buying a new car.

The damaging purchases in life are too much house, new cars every couple years, and 1% broker fees. Another extremely costly decision is being too timid with investment allocation, especially in reaction to market corrections.

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lthenderson
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by lthenderson » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:10 pm

thangngo wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:17 pm
texascat1 wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:57 pm
How do you justify your spending on unnecessary things?
I don't because I don't spend on unnecessary things (in my point of view). However, I control the definition of unnecessary things and I live by it. This helps me being frugal while never feel I miss out on anything.

For example, I spent 10k-15k a year on traveling and I don't call this unnecessary. On the other hand, I still use a 7 year old phone because I think paying $700 for a new phone is unnecessary. I brew my own coffee and never pay for a cup of Starbucks coffee for myself (unless it's a treat for my wife).

Some people might call it penny wise, pound foolish... but as long as I save at least 100% of my annual spending (excluding tax), I don't see why I need to change my approach.
This has been my approach too. If it is unnecessary, why buy it in the first place? Where I have a more difficult time balancing spending is what necessary things should I buy cheaply or spend more money on in hopes of getting something of more quality.

DDS
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by DDS » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:43 am

Finished dental school 2 years ago and had similar issues at first. It becomes easier as your income goes up and you're having to get creative to increase savings/retirement.

At this point I honestly don't even think twice about traveling or eating out frequently. You'll get there.

If owning a practice or being a partner is an option there will probably be a large pay raise at that time for you making these types of decisions even easier. Basically max out retirement, save what you're comfortable with. Make sure your buckets are full (tax, savings, retirement, rainy day, nest egg) then spend the rest and enjoy being a doctor.

Glockenspiel
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by Glockenspiel » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:48 am

I see so many people with $50,000-$80,000 cars in my neighborhood where most of the houses are $350-$450k, and I think to myself, "WHY?" Why do you need that expensive of a vehicle? Is it just to try to show others how much money you have? I can buy a brand new car for $25,000 and drive it for 10-15 years and it will get me from point A to point B just fine!

H-Town
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by H-Town » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:11 am

Glockenspiel wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:48 am
I see so many people with $50,000-$80,000 cars in my neighborhood where most of the houses are $350-$450k, and I think to myself, "WHY?" Why do you need that expensive of a vehicle? Is it just to try to show others how much money you have? I can buy a brand new car for $25,000 and drive it for 10-15 years and it will get me from point A to point B just fine!
Because it's a free market and people have different level of needs and wants. I would say that you could buy a used car for $10,000 and drive it for 10-15 years with no problem getting you from point A to point B. See what I did there?

Glockenspiel
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by Glockenspiel » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:17 am

thangngo wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:11 am
Glockenspiel wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:48 am
I see so many people with $50,000-$80,000 cars in my neighborhood where most of the houses are $350-$450k, and I think to myself, "WHY?" Why do you need that expensive of a vehicle? Is it just to try to show others how much money you have? I can buy a brand new car for $25,000 and drive it for 10-15 years and it will get me from point A to point B just fine!
Because it's a free market and people have different level of needs and wants. I would say that you could buy a used car for $10,000 and drive it for 10-15 years with no problem getting you from point A to point B. See what I did there?
Yeah I get it, it's an internal hurdle in my head, though. Yes, there are millions of people who will never buy a vehicle more than $10,000, and they will have no problems getting from point A to B.

goodlifer
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by goodlifer » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:20 am

My family tries to get me to tell them the price of things and what justification I have for buying it. My only answers are either "Because I wanted it" or "Because I can". I have never had this angst about buying things. I see it, I like it, I buy it. The only justification for "needing" it is that I want it. If I don't have the cash available, I save up for it. When I don't want it anymore, I sell it and use the money to buy something else, or I donate it.

goodlifer
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by goodlifer » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:29 am

Glockenspiel wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:48 am
I see so many people with $50,000-$80,000 cars in my neighborhood where most of the houses are $350-$450k, and I think to myself, "WHY?" Why do you need that expensive of a vehicle? Is it just to try to show others how much money you have? I can buy a brand new car for $25,000 and drive it for 10-15 years and it will get me from point A to point B just fine!
I have never understood this way of thinking. I don't add up the value of other people's things and think that they are showing off. I don't even notice what other people have 99% of the time, unless they point something out to me. I buy things for me, not for other people. I just assume everyone else does the same.

For what it is worth, I have a $450,000 home and will be buying a $50,000 within the next year. Because I want it, and I need the towing power.

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JaneyLH
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by JaneyLH » Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:41 am

magicrat wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:41 am
Over time I have learned what I really value (travel, experiences, music, time with friends) and what I don't value (cars, houses, fancy clothes, new electronics, general stuff). I spend a lot on the former and the bare minimum on the latter. As for what other people think, I could not care less.
+1

I used to spend quite a lot of money on things while simultaneously building an investment portfolio. Years later, I can barely remember what those things were, let alone remember any pleasure at having them. The investment portfolio is now funding the travel and experiences that are proving to be most meaningful as the years pass. I wish I had been smarter about collecting things that turned out to be poor investments.

crazygrow
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by crazygrow » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:54 am

Spend money on what you are passionate about. For me that is showing my wife and kids (and me) the cultures and physical beauty of the world and I never regret the dollars I spend on that. I generally do regret large purchases of "things" unless they make my wife smile. But that is me. Find your path and follow it.

texascat1
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Re: Guilt at buying nice things for myself

Post by texascat1 » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:01 pm

Thank you all for your comments. You have given me a lot to think about. I tend to work on an informal budget since my side gig income fluctuates widely with the holidays and I think I need to get a written plan so I feel less guilty when I use my designated me money.

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