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Old 04-16-2008, 07:40 PM   #41
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I only did this post as I read how too many seem so delighted that they can live subnormal and deprive themselves, and I ask myself "for what purpose is this?" Why take pride in looking like crap all the time, living in a cruddy apartment when you can live in a decent home, eating mediocre meals? I've known one too many of these myself, and I see no glory in this lifestyle.
I don't understand this. While I think you make some good points, you seem to be a little critical towards people who do not live by your standards (whatever those standards may be). Why do you believe a person is depriving themselves if they live a subnormal life? Who is to decide a subnormal life?

While I don't live in a cruddy apartment, I live in what some might call a "cruddy" house. But it's in a quite neighborhood, safe for pets, no crime, with good neighbors. What more do I need? My 9 inch television is 16 years old. It's been perfect for me. It has a rubber-band around the remote to keep it from falling apart. This doesn't have the slightest impact on my enjoyment of TV. I buy my clothes at Walmart and Target (and the thrift store), just like millions of other people. Some people may say that my $10.99 jeans and $5.99 T-shirts make me look like crap. But my clothes are comfortable and last a long time. Why do I need more? My 28 year old car does what a car is supposed to do. It gets me to where I want to go. When I have a choice of restaurants, I pick fast food. It tastes good. It's what I like.

I do not spend my money on things that I do not value. I have no desire to impress other people in this way. This is not deprivation. It is contentment.
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:46 PM   #42
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I don't understand this. While I think you make some good points, you seem to be a little critical towards people who do not live by your standards (whatever those standards may be). Why do you believe a person is depriving themselves if they live a subnormal life? Who is to decide a subnormal life?

While I don't live in a cruddy apartment, I live in what some might call a "cruddy" house. But it's in a quite neighborhood, safe for pets, no crime, with good neighbors. What more do I need? My 9 inch television is 16 years old. It's been perfect for me. It has a rubber-band around the remote to keep it from falling apart. This doesn't have the slightest impact on my enjoyment of TV. I buy my clothes at Walmart and Target (and the thrift store), just like millions of other people. Some people may say that my $10.99 jeans and $5.99 T-shirts make me look like crap. But my clothes are comfortable and last a long time. Why do I need more? My 28 year old car does what a car is supposed to do. It gets me to where I want to go. When I have a choice of restaurants, I pick fast food. It tastes good. It's what I like.

I do not spend my money on things that I do not value. I have no desire to impress other people in this way. This is not deprivation. It is contentment.
28YO car? What is your ride?? How many clicks on that odometer?

By the way I thought I was the only one who thought that way about the TV!!!

No big screen for me, not that interested. I like going to see a movie at the movies.
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:52 PM   #43
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It's all about priorities. One person mentioned dressing "in style". Nothing ranks lower on my priority list than dressing in style. I haven't bought a new shirt in years and buy 1 or 2 pairs of jeans per year, that's it. I get 1 pair of free shoes per year from work and haven't bought a pair of shoes for 8 years. My order of priority is 401K to max, then roth to the max then I can spend on entertainment. With an income of only $45K/yr there's not much left for entertainment. If I made $75K+/yr I probably wouldn't save any more money and would go on better vacations and such but I don't make that kind of money and retirement savings is more important to me at least at this stage of my life. I grew up so poor I don't want to be pushing 60 and still in debt like my parents. Nothing is more important to me than financial independence. It gives me piece of mind which keeps me sain.
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:53 PM   #44
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I save money in a counter-intuitive manner -- I don't use "money saving" coupons. If I could use a coupon to save $1 on a $10 item, for example, I might find myself "spending $9" to "save $1" if I'm not careful. So I resist the urge to use coupons to make sure I only buy stuff I really need.

Another way I save money is I've never had a cell phone or subscribed to cable or satellite TV. I've managed to survive for decades without any of these items, so what's a few more years of not having them? I have no idea what I'm missing, although I understand from what's on TV that I'm not missing very much. But based on all the saved money I'm able to invest, I'll probably be able to afford all of these goodies someday without any strain on my budget.
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:55 PM   #45
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Good post!

LBYM means not buying stuff you can't afford. Unless you have unlimited funds, this will involve a value judgement - "what is important?"
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:11 PM   #46
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I think of my investing professor who said if he spends even a penny in the day, he goes home and records it in the computer at night.
I also record every penny I spend, but only indirectly so that it's easy to do.

When I buy groceries, for example, I get an extra $10 - $50 of cash back that I use for walking-around money during the week (I have a debit card with the supermarket where I shop for groceries). I record this purchase as "groceries + cash" in my spreadsheet and the walking-around money is already spent as far as my accounting system is concerned (even though the cash may stay in my wallet for weeks before I actually spend it on something).

I do my accounting this way because I would rather focus on my incomes and outgoes overall than where every penny goes. I found that I would always forget to record every penny that I spend, but this method of "considering my cash-back money spent as soon as I get it" is easy and automatic to implement.

I also make sure I only spend the walking-around money on things I really need. Spending $3 a day on Starbucks coffee, for example, is equivalent to many thousands of dollars of retirement money over a lifetime (which is why I rarely go to Starbucks, even though the coffee there is delicious).
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:26 PM   #47
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I agree some folks seem to take LBYM too far. I read a book a while ago about someone who was living on almost no income as a choice to "drop out" of the rat race and their version of LBYM included living in an unsafe house with holes in the floor while they searched for free materials to repair them. No way I'm doing that. Likewise I know people who try so hard not to spend any money they are always quibbling about bills and trying to take advantage of others. Again, no thank you. I don't want to live like that.

I suggest LBYM means different things to different people. I consider myself solidly (if not fanatically) LBYM. I could easily afford many things my neighbors spend money on, but I choose not to and save the money instead. On the other hand, I freely spend for those things that are important to me. I suspect everyone has different interests, so the LBYM spending is different for everyone. I live in a very nice but no McMansion house in a neighborhood full of Mercedes, Volvo and BMWs. I drive an old pickup truck. I have an old TV with no cable, but high speed internet. I used to be a wine snob, but my favorites are all way too pricey now, so I'm just a hobbyist exploring midprice wineries and looking for excellence at reasonable prices. I have simple tastes in food but no budget and freely buy top quality fresh ingredients at any price instead of processed and frozen convenience. Everyone on my block has a lawn service but I cut my own (sometimes less than I should). My clothes are not fashionable and I prefer casual, but they are always clean. I'd rather host a party than go out to a restaurant, but if we do go I tip generously and contribute more than fairly to any joint bill - or maybe just pick up the whole tab. There's a difference between cheap (tight) and LBYM in my opinion. My kids won't see much in the way of video games or fashion clothes from me. But I'll sponsor them for teams and activities and contribute to scholarship funds so others can join in too.

To me LBYM means I can choose what I value to spend my means on, but that also includes choosing NOT to spend on things I don't value. One of my values is saving for retirement (and financial freedom) so I make sure to include that.
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:30 PM   #48
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I respect frugality, but if I didn't have to practice it I would not. And I don't practice it any more vigorously than I feel I have to.

I am old enough to realize that things which are pleasures now may not always be. I don't happen to like Starbucks Coffee, but there are other coffee houses that I do like. I enjoy them as often as I think I can afford to, as I know plenty of older men who don't seem to enjoy much of anything.

We get conned into thinikng that life is continuous, or even cyclical. It isn't. It has huge discontinuities, and as we age most of them are negative.

So gather ye rosebuds while ye may... within of course your own comfort zone.

Ha
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:34 PM   #49
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Minimalism is delightful. Modesty wears comfortably. Simplicity brings freedom. Possessions can be weights that hold us back or drag us down. Learning to be happy with little is satisfying.

On the other hand, reveling in one’s own self control or in one’s ability to be satisfied with little can itself become a kind of vanity. One can take excessive pride in one’s humility. And a self conscious aversion to impressing others can become a sort of non-exhibitionist exhibitionism.

Maybe it’s like my granddad used to say: “People are just no damned good.”
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:44 PM   #50
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We get conned into thinikng that life is continuous, or even cyclical. It isn't. It has huge discontinuities, and as we age most of them are negative.

So gather ye rosebuds while ye may... within of course your own comfort zone.

Ha
A generic baloney/mustard sandwich from the day old bread store - chased down with a Michelob.

It's the contrast!

heh heh heh - cheap bastard on the ho hum - plurge on the passion of choice - tech toys, food, whatever.
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:49 PM   #51
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I don't feel deprived.

I buy extra stuff at the end of the month if there is money left.

I don't want to travel, go to movies, go out to eat.

As far as clothes, I have been slowly losing fat/weight since I retired; I have been resurrecting old clothes. Will need to buy some in the near future; first stop will be the thrift stores. I don decent clothing for venturing out.

Spend quite a bit on higher quality/local food.

Have lately gotten into keychain gadgets and credit card size gadgets; lots of low cost, neat stuff out there.

Do not want expensive home theater stuff; am looking into dropping cable and watching local TV on the laptop.
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:27 PM   #52
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It's just about picking one's priorities, unless one has Bill Gate's income, which (sadly) we don't. Sure, at retirement, DW and I bought two new vehicles but that purchase had been planned five or six years beforehand. Others feel (strongly!) that depreciation makes buying a new vehicle a waste of resources that could be better spent on (insert your priority here________). Our priority was reliability and knowing what the maintenance histories are on what we drive, both having been burned on that in the past. But we'll keep them until either reliability, parts availability, or repair costs become an issue. One is a full-size pickup truck that on a good day gets 18 mpg, the other is a smallish sedan that gets just below 30. As one relative said about his choice of a Chrysler 300 "My money, my choice!" But we do not have a 50" plasma TV, home theater, or even a decent stereo system, choosing instead to spend that money on DW's BA degree (which she will have in 1 year! Yay!) and other activities.

We buy clothes on sale, but not in a thrift store (yet) because we were unimpressed by what we saw there. Neither would ever conceive of spending three figures on jeans. If it's something I'd buy anyway and I happen to find a coupon for it, I'll clip the coupon - forgetting to bring it more often than not - but I won't buy something just because there's a coupon in the paper.

Discussing finances with my FIL one time, I mentioned that we don't look at what we have in the bank, which is probably more than three times her sister's family even though they have three times our current income. We look at what is a sustainable level of spending, and everyone has their own "comfort zone" on that. He said that's why he worried less about us than any of the other three adult children he has.

That said, if I was single and didn't have DW's interests to think about, my will would read "Being of sound mind and body, I spent all my money while I was alive."
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:38 PM   #53
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Orchidflower.. haven't had time to read all the posts but just wanted to respond quickly .. so I apologize if someone's already said this:

I think the emphasis here tends mildly towards "vow of poverty" just because the Wide World (much wider than this little forum) spends all its time and money to send the OPPOSITE message. So there's a bit of a backlash. Take it in stride and think of the "Young Dreamers" and others who may visit here and get a re-orientation. I see plenty of vacation pics and other consumption-related topics that display people's priorities here, often in terms of how they worked/saved hard to be able to pay for this or that toy IF they want it.

Just flashed on aaron's response and HE is on the right track, for example.
I think your using the word "subnormal" is going to, or already has, raised some hackles. In Haiti, eating dirt pancakes is now "normal". What we think of as the 'average' US lifestyle is not normal. And in fact, it may well not be 'normal' even for Americans at some point.

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I also will not go for a cheap haircut or do without haircuts to save a few bucks .
Moemg, I think it depends somewhat on the type of hair one has.. so I would hesitate to judge. I have had my hair cut probably 3 times in the last 20 years, most recently for my wedding in 2000. I've saved a ton of $, no one points and stares... well.. in Boston one stranger lady came up to me and said that my hair "looked like an angel's" (this was during a snowstorm.. it's not angelic-looking now!). Bizarrely, it just stays the same length (bottom of shoulderblades). I'm the first to admit no-one would judge it as particularly chic!!!
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:58 PM   #54
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The fact that you express this sentiment here makes me fear that you haven't been reading SimpleLiving.net. The thread on the broken glass in the peanut butter, in particular, is one example of crossing from straightforward frugality to short-sighted dangerous deprivation.

Confused and scared
Actually I have read SimpleLiving.net and other similar simple living websites in the past. But since I don't even rinse plastic baggies, I feel like there is no way I could ever embrace the other "wild" stuff suggested on some of these sites (like separating the plies of toilet paper to make it last longer...).
I have to confess that I don't hate our consumeristic society. I love my ipod, my large screen TV, my Wii, my computer and high speed internet. I like to spend several weeks in Europe every year. I even like to splurge on a nice watch some time to time. That does not make me a bad person, does it? After all that, I still save 35% of my income! Sure I could save a lot more, live on a lot less, and I could also retire a lot sooner, but quite frankly, given our income, anything less than our current lifestyle would start to feel like deprivation. Don't get me wrong, I understand some people happily embrace a minimalist lifestyle whether for religious, ecological or ideological reasons... Good for them. And maybe, down the road, and once I mature a bit more, I will too. But right now, it's just not for me. About 50% of our planned retirement budget is allocated for discretionary expenses and the other 50% for paying bills... We have already saved enough to take care of the latter, now we are saving for the former...
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Old 04-16-2008, 10:59 PM   #55
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$12.95 plus tip is about the cheapest I've seen around here. But if my forehead gets any larger, it won't matter much anyhow...
My forehead extends all the way up and over the top, and half way down the back of my head. I got tired of paying 12-13 bucks for a haircut that took about 30 seconds with the clippers, so I splurged and bought a clipper for 15 or 16 bucks about 9 years ago. Once every 3-4 weeks DW runs it for about 30 seconds and shaves my neck. Takes all of 5 minutes to set up, do the cut, shave, and clean up.

Total saved: ($12 x 12 months) x 9 years = $1296 - 16 (capital cost) = $1,280 net savings. By the way, I don't have to walk or drive to the barber.

I wouldn't recommend this for everyone, not all of us are bald. But I would rather spend less on myself and have DW spend more on her haircut.

LBYM: It all relative. Going to the free turkey dinner for the homeless when you have a few million in the bank: nothing more than cheap, unscrupulous scoundrel.

R
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:42 AM   #56
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My forehead extends all the way up and over the top, and half way down the back of my head. I got tired of paying 12-13 bucks for a haircut that took about 30 seconds with the clippers, so I splurged and bought a clipper for 15 or 16 bucks about 9 years ago. Once every 3-4 weeks DW runs it for about 30 seconds and shaves my neck. Takes all of 5 minutes to set up, do the cut, shave, and clean up.

Total saved: ($12 x 12 months) x 9 years = $1296 - 16 (capital cost) = $1,280 net savings. By the way, I don't have to walk or drive to the barber.

I wouldn't recommend this for everyone, not all of us are bald. But I would rather spend less on myself and have DW spend more on her haircut.

LBYM: It all relative. Going to the free turkey dinner for the homeless when you have a few million in the bank: nothing more than cheap, unscrupulous scoundrel.

R
There is a large free Thanksgiving dinner in Dayton, Ohio; the ads emphasize that it is open to anyone, regardless of income.
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Old 04-17-2008, 08:46 AM   #57
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Moemg, I think it depends somewhat on the type of hair one has.. so I would hesitate to judge. I have had my hair cut probably 3 times in the last 20 years, most recently for my wedding in 2000. I've saved a ton of $, no one points and stares... well.. in Boston one stranger lady came up to me and said that my hair "looked like an angel's" (this was during a snowstorm.. it's not angelic-looking now!). Bizarrely, it just stays the same length (bottom of shoulderblades). I'm the first to admit no-one would judge it as particularly chic!!!

You are right . Some people have the ability to cut and color their own hair . I tried coloring my hair once and I looked like Lucille Ball and had to wear a hat until it grew out . That was it for me.
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Old 04-17-2008, 09:33 AM   #58
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Yes, the free turkey dinner is open to all, but how much of a cheap mooch do you have to be when you have tons of money and the meal is really for the poor, homeless and downtrodden? And there has been more than one on this board that would brag about going to something like that.
I cut my own bangs, always colored my own hair, wash out the Ziploc baggies, love junking for thrift stuff, search out good deals always when I purchase something on the bigger side and all the other cost cutting ways many here use. I live well, but am cheap as the next guy. BUT expect others to pay my way or go to a meal given free to the homeless...puh-leeeease, no way!
My protest is those who do live in a subnormal standard for Americans, and seem to think that this makes them superior to the rest of us. It doesn't. But they are Oh! so proud of the fact that they deprive themselves as if it is a badge of their superiority over the rest of their fellow Americans. Their incessant bragging about how much they can live without...whoop-tee doo!
You know who is thrilled you are doing without and living a minimal existence normally? Well, look behind you and you will see your heirs jumping up and down with joy for this. So, while you do without... I think you are getting the picture?
And, ladelfina, if you are personally offended by the use of the word subnormal, well...guess you are just offended.

**This conversation just reminded me of an old Eddie Murphy album (when he was still funny). He has a bit from his stepfather about being so thrifty they ate the Tonka toys. This reminds me of that bit.
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Old 04-17-2008, 11:28 AM   #59
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I guess I look at this from a completely different angle. LBYM, or at least L_Within_YM is not deprivation - it is empowerment, and let's you enjoy MORE 'stuff'!

If you Live Above Your Means, by definition you are borrowing money to buy the stuff you want today. And you are probably borrowing at pretty high rates. So, overall you can actually afford less 'stuff', because you pay a premium for all that 'stuff'.

Heck, I'm greedy. So therefore, I follow LBYM, so I can afford as much stuff as possible.

It's just long term vs short term thinking, or maybe L_A(bove)_YM people are *hoping* that their income will be much higher in the future, or they will win the lottery, so they 'mortgage' the future for present enjoyment. I'm not going to count on that, I'll adjust spending as it becomes available, not before.

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Old 04-17-2008, 01:25 PM   #60
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28YO car? What is your ride?? How many clicks on that odometer?

By the way I thought I was the only one who thought that way about the TV!!!

No big screen for me, not that interested. I like going to see a movie at the movies.
I have a 1980 Toyota Corolla (5 speed, station wagon). It was purchased used in 1985. It has 255K on it. Great car. I haven't taken it to the mechanic in about 2 years (when it passed it's last smog test, although barely). It still gets about 35 mpg on the highway, and has the power to pass other vehicles on long up hill grades. I'd buy the same car again if given the chance.

I like watching TV but see no need to get something "bigger and better." I purchased the 9'' 16 years ago because it made me feel more mobile. At that time, I could fit all of my belongings other than my books and couch into my car. Can't do that any more.
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