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Does Frugal Living Ever Change in Retirement?
Old 01-11-2019, 12:43 PM   #1
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Does Frugal Living Ever Change in Retirement?

Does a tiger ever change his/her stripes?

I have been a frugal consumer all of my life. We have always had relatively simple needs and wants, at least compared to most around us. LBYM has been a lifestyle long before there was that phrase or acronym. Our 1st mortgage was turned down before we even filled out the application because the amount we wanted to borrow was not enough for the bank to bother with. We are now retired and have enough income stream to not have to worry a lot about what the things we want cost. We feel fortunate for that.

One example of recent LBYM: DW recently needed a new laptop. The older laptop was a consumer grade Samsung and was acting up, not repairable. Her computing needs are small but she wanted one with a DVD drive. She didn't want to bother with the external drive I have. Did you know that DVD drives are no longer standard features anymore? We bought a USED 2 generation old business computer for little more than WIN10 alone would have costs. Being a business computer, it is repairable. I just added a used Bluetooth module for a bit over $5 so now she can download pics from her inexpensive Huawei Android phone.

When I look for an item online either Amazon or eBay or just a Google shopping search, I almost always sort the results by price. I still look at product and seller reviews, then select based on my perceived value. I don't like paying more for an item if it can be had elsewhere for a better price.

It is not like I can't spend more for those items I deem worth the value to me/us. I will pay up for certain "features" or "service". Case in point: I'm currently comparing various Alaska Cruise/Land packages. I'm looking at Balcony Stateroom or probably a Jr suite, even though there is a big $ difference (a couple thou for the 2 of us). But my process is still the same. I chose a cruise line and a particular date and itinerary. Then I revert to my old self and start the search for the best deals on that itinerary. In reality, any one of them would fit our planned budget. Maybe I should just pick one and stop searching for the best value.

Does this mentality of LBYM ever end?
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:05 PM   #2
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I was discussing this with a retired friend recently. I am only semi-retired, he is fully retired. It took him several years to get over the frugality. They have no kids, so the need to save for the kids isn't there, but it took him a while to note that there was really no reason to keep his bank account going up, that the reason he had saved for so many years was to be able to retire and have fun. I suspect the same for me, I need to feel comfortable that my savings are doing what I calculated prior to being comfortable to spend on a larger purchase.
My sister and her husband still live very frugally, but have 2 kids and therefore have the goal to ensure they get as much as possible.
So, it really depends on why you are frugal. Do you enjoy living that way? Is it for your kids?
I think shopping around is smart, not frugal. Living without heat to save money but could afford it? Frugal.
My $.02
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:13 PM   #3
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My Dad succeeded in changing his stripes. Depression baby, his parents both the children of immigrants who worked hard and saved harder. But in his later years he was driving a Lexus, belonged to two country clubs, had a house in Cincinnati and a condo on the Gulf of Mexico. He took cruises all over the place.He was living large.
This was the same guy who, when I was a kid, would put water in the ketchup bottle to dissolve what was stuck to the glass....it sucked big time....yeah..he changed, and he deserved to have some fun.
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:19 PM   #4
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I have beaten down the frugality beast that I built when it was needed. I looked at what I could spend at 4% and that was an eye opener.
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:35 PM   #5
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I still like getting good value for my money. I would not call an airline and automatically book 1st Class tickets, but I will check fares and gladly pay more to get the seats with some extra leg room. An economy seat with more legroom makes the flight more comfortable, but what really makes the flight great is whom I am traveling with and the anticipation of spending time together in interesting places, with friends and family who are far away, and enjoying time together.

It takes time to change, but after a while one starts to realize that time really is much more valuable than money.

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Old 01-11-2019, 01:36 PM   #6
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I have been unsuccessful at being unfrugal. I have never gotten close to spending what I am allotted. My ... standard of living, I guess you'd call it, could have been higher but since I don't feel like I am hamstrung or suffering or "doing without" I just don't spend the money. Especially since I have observed that in order to really increase one's standard of living to where it would matter you can't just spend a bit more, or a lot more, or 100% more. You'd have to go something approaching exponential.

Maybe 4 yrs ago was going to treat myself to a $1,000 guitar. I managed to beat myself down to a guitar that retailed for $600 on sale for $350. When I did my taxes that year I got a refund of $910. Have cake ---> eat it too. I couldn't decide if I should have felt good about that deal or like a putz.

2013 I needed a new car. Was going to take a major step up to a Cadillac. Maybe a fleet sale good-deal-used one. Well, I don't drive much and don't like to travel anyway. Ended up with a high-end model 2010 Ford Focus.
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:53 PM   #7
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We are spending our money and don’t care about leaving our kids inheritances. We helped our kids when they were young and needed it.
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Old 01-11-2019, 02:19 PM   #8
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It is good to know that we are not the only ones struggling with this. We spend about 70% of what FIRECalc says that we could prudently spend at 98% success... and 23% of the 70% is our 3.375% mortgage and 1.9% car payment of which a lot is principal so not really "spending" per se... just shifting money from cash to reduce debt/increase equity.

I'm with Chuckanut... I don't mind spending money but I look for a good value but am willing to pay more for quality or convenience. For example, I cracked a tooth the other night and went to the dentist here in FL yesterday... they propose a crown, which makes sense, but it will be $1,700... or I could wait 4 months and do it when we get back home for $1,100... leaning towards waiting but haven't decided yet.
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Old 01-11-2019, 02:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
We are spending our money and donít care about leaving our kids inheritances. We helped our kids when they were young and needed it.



I do agree with your statement. My son's education cost me lots of mula,
any money left over when I hit the can is gravy for him
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Old 01-11-2019, 02:51 PM   #10
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You hit the key point when you said value. Many here including myself can spend a lot more than we do. LBYM is a habit that is hard to break. For me its all about value. Case in point. I am going on a trip soon and I know the places I want to visit. I found that I can buy passes ahead of time that is 22% off what I can purchase on the spot. Why would I want to pay 22% more at the door when I get more value for my $$ purchasing ahead? Of course if I didn't know about the pass I would just purchase it at the door and be just as happy. I looked at upgrading the seats for the 11 hr flight and couldn't bring myself to purchase the upgrade. All within my budget. I couldn't quantify the value. My guess is I will feel different when I arrive. That frugality monkey is hard to get off your back.
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:06 PM   #11
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There is a difference between being frugal through deprivation and simply spending for good value. I like the good value part. I don't see a reason to change. Being retired we have more time to price shop and optimize expenses.
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Old 01-11-2019, 04:49 PM   #12
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I'm still cautious about my withdrawal rate although, within that, I have no problem booking Business Class flights on long-hauls. I do have silly frugalities on the small stuff- I've never gone over the first tier of data usage on my Ting plan because it would add another $7 to my monthly bill! My phone is almost 5 years old. I just bought MS Office rather than get a monthly subscription. I rarely buy clothes because I've got plenty that are in good condition, look good and still fit. I could go on.

I'm convinced I can afford the big splurges because I'm careful on the day-to-day things.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:05 PM   #13
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I expect my lifestyle would appear very frugal to most people. Simple old ranch house without any smart appliances, indeed with more than a few soon needing replacement, as one example. But I spend where my heart and my joy is, currently that is on charitable contributions and onvery good and very expensive health care for my very old animals. Several passed last year, so eventually as the other do also, my joy will necessarily move to a younger crew of critters who will continue my lifelong volunteer work as therapy animals visiting the sick and the dying in nursing homes and hospice. Then, I expect, if my own health allows, my big spending will be on travel as it will be much easier to board my pets and/or take a few along with me on domestic trips at least.

In other words, I planned my ER to have enough to spend where I want and to be frugal by default where i really don't care about stuff. of course there will be the occasional blow that dough experience, such as perhaps at least a few more upscale clothing items once I lose enough weight, and soon a new, but probably late model used, car.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:07 PM   #14
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So far I still have tiger stripes.

I have tried just spending money because I could, but that felt wasteful and regretful more than it felt fun or good.

Also, and I think I got this from my Mom, I usually enjoy playing the game of trying to get a better deal - a sort of sport of frugality. Can I get a free airline ticket by using a companion fare, coupon, credit, certificate from getting bumped, fare mistake, credit card reward, or other trick rather than pay for it even though I have the money?

Occasionally I get tired of playing the game and at this point I can usually just pay for it then.
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Old 01-11-2019, 06:42 PM   #15
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I retired 11 years ago. I'm still as frugal as I have been over my lifetime. Picked up a penny today off the ground. Got some free samples. Spent a total of $3.

I did blow a kings fortune on vehicles last year. Hopefully automotive purchases are done for 10-20 years.
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Old 01-11-2019, 06:52 PM   #16
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I blew a hundred bucks on lunch today, it was tasty -
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:06 PM   #17
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. . . I look for a good value but am willing to pay more for quality . . .
This always has been my philosophy. You quickly forget how little you paid for something when it turns out to be crap.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:09 PM   #18
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For me I don't believe I will ever really change the way I spend money. If we need it, no matter what it costs, we spent it. I will though check and get the best buy I can. We just don't spend to spend but get what we want and careful what we spend also. I will always be frugal and my wife is very good and never over spends. I was very luck to have her as a soul mate.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:12 PM   #19
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I blew a hundred bucks on lunch today, it was tasty -
I guess this drives home the point that frugal living is still in my bones as I could not enjoy a $100 lunch.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:14 PM   #20
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Today, my wife 'purchased' a free box of pasta, a 29-cent can of corn, and a 96-ounce Simply Orange Orange juice for $5 (Safeway Friday deal in Hawaii)! Somehow, I don't think that type of frugality will change in retirement, but when it comes to camera gear, purses, and cosmetics, her spending is at a whole other level!
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