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View Poll Results: what were your general influences growing up?
mostly Spendthrift models; tended towards being spendy 5 4.07%
mostly Frugal models; tended towards being Frugal 76 61.79%
mostly Spendthrift models; reacted by being Frugal 8 6.50%
mostly Frugal models; reacted by being spendy 5 4.07%
Average models; more Frugal by nature 22 17.89%
Average models; more spendy by nature 7 5.69%
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Poll: influences? Spendthrift or frugal?
Old 07-23-2008, 06:53 PM   #1
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Poll: influences? Spendthrift or frugal?

trying to think about the nature/nurture issue of why some people have more or less capacity to save, raised in several recent threads.

I'm taking as a given that people here have already adopted, or at least are flirting with, the Frugal path.

But some histories I know are checkered!!
So I was curious what tendencies people feel, going back to their "roots", prior to any ER awakening or epiphany.
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Old 07-23-2008, 07:38 PM   #2
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My parents were mostly average but frugal because they had to be . That being said they were the best . My Mom was great at stretching food and sewing and my Dad was just a great guy . I'd have to say the thing they taught me was middle of the road living . Enjoy some things but don't go overboard on anything and family connections are the most important thing you have .
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Old 07-23-2008, 07:49 PM   #3
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My parents were extremely frugal - they had to be! Money was tight. Dad was a clergyman, mom a SAHM and they had 4 kids! (not unusual for their generation).

I did rebel some growing up. Eating out was a very rare treat, and when we did my parents would make a big deal out of not ordering anything to drink except water because they thought drink prices were a rip off. They were right of course, but it always felt a little funny to splurge to go out but still be frugal.

So when I started earning my own money, I would eat out often and order drinks if I wanted!

But the frugal biggies rubbed off - leaving within my means, carrying little to no debt, paying off credit cards, saving money, etc. Oh yeah - and the "two alcoholic drinks limit" they obeyed stuck with me too.

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Old 07-23-2008, 07:54 PM   #4
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i voted frugal/frugal but that doesn't quite fit. my parents spent a lot of money. but they made a lot of money. they did europe and helicopter rides around hawaii and up onto glaciers and private boats and cruises. but also they worked their butts off. they spent a lot and left plenty.

i don't spend much but also i never made much. there's not a whole lot i care to spend on. i don't care for cruises or hotels (i'll do it but its not my favorite thing). i'm not into clothing or fashion or eating out. it isn't because i'm frugal; i'm just not into it. the shopping channel never did a thing for me. i probably spent as much time watching as it took to deprogram it from my t.v. set.

the one expensive item i own (besides my bicycles--i love my bikes) is just the car and that's nothing i would have paid for without having the cash for it. certainly i never would have bought such an item while i was working for money. but even there, i don't think that makes me frugal; i think that makes me not totally stupid. and frankly, now that everyone's driving so damned slow and getting in the way and no one wants to race me, even the fast car isn't fun anymore.

i wasn't taught anything about being frugal. i was never shown by example to overspend. neither my parents nor i live(d) in debt. i was taught that money is security. debt is definitely not security.
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Old 07-23-2008, 07:57 PM   #5
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Parents didn't have enough, but managed to get by because we lived rural and bartering was popular.

Every once in a while I get weird and go on a buying binge. If it weren't for the spouse I am confident that I never would have ended up ER.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:20 PM   #6
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I had a hard time answering the poll, because I don't know that my family is easily categorized. I ended up picking the "spend-thrift models; tended toward spendy". I grew up with my Dad, and he wasn't a big spender, but I wouldn't call him frugal, either. He definitely didn't care much about "stuff", so we never lived in a fancy house or had particularly nice clothes, cars, furniture, etc. If he needed something, he'd go to the first store he could find and buy it; there was never any shopping around or trying to find the best price. We ate out quite a bit if he had the cash to cover the tab. To the best of my knowledge, he rarely had much surplus paycheck-to-paycheck. My Mom was (and is) a total spend-thrift, but I spent much less time with her.

I was following blindly in Dad's footsteps until I met DW. She came from a *very* frugal household, and felt a lot of guilt about spending money. There are still certain purchases we've made that she won't tell her mother about because she "doesn't want to hear it".

I'd say that since we got together we've met in the middle. I don't spend as easily as I once did, and she doesn't feel guilty for buying things she wants or needs. We're socking away money at a reasonable rate (harder since the kids came), and also enjoying ourselves along the way. We haven't argued over money matters in over a decade, so I think we're doing OK.

I'm not ER yet, but like Martha, I wouldn't even be on the path if I hadn't met DW. Ironically, she has zero interest in investing, etc. so I handle all of our finances.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:53 PM   #7
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Dad was a salesman and mom was a SAHM. I remember things being tight but not bare until I was about 10. Then Dad started to become much more successful. He expanded the lifestyle, but didn't let it explode out of control. We had a few nice vacations, added a family room onto the house, he bought a car more often. He also started a Keogh Plan and incorporated himself just to save for retirement. He was investing in the 1980's. People around him moved up and out to a "better" zip code, but he stayed in the old house, just upgraded a few things. He was able to nicely retire the day he turned 59.5.

I am naturally frugal. I read stories by the posters here and think, "Yes, these people understand, these are my type of folks." On the other hand, my sister grew up with the same circumstances, same parents and she's like my total opposite. Money has very little meaning, she just doesn't think she needs to think about it. Just spend, buy what makes you feel good, because that's what matters. Instant gratification and having what you think other people expect you to have.

How did we turn out so differently?
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:15 PM   #8
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How did we turn out so differently?

Shot in the dark, but are you an introvert, and is your sister an extrovert? DW and I have discussed how this often seems to be a determining factor. We both came from dysfunctional home lives, and we're both better off than our siblings (we're both introverts, and the sibs are all extroverts). I think that being introverted makes one less susceptible to "keeping up with the joneses", and various other negative social influences.
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:28 PM   #9
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My parents were mostly average but frugal because they had to be . That being said they were the best . My Mom was great at stretching food and sewing and my Dad was just a great guy . I'd have to say the thing they taught me was middle of the road living . Enjoy some things but don't go overboard on anything and family connections are the most important thing you have .
Pretty much the same here. My folks grew up during the Great Depression in relatively poor families, so they knew how to get by on little to nothing. They stayed pretty much that way all of their lives, socking away almost all of their income for their future. In their later years they used their money for things that they really wanted.....new cars every few years, several nice vacations every year, remodeling/adding on to the house, etc. My Mom still lives fairly frugally even though she's doing very well financially...it's just an ingrained habit. Some times I have to sit down and convince her to spend some money on things she really wants, like vacations. I keep trying to tell her that she can't take it with her when she goes, and if she doesn't spend it now.....I'll spend it later.

Anyway, because of the hardships and lack that they went through growing up and then the way they lived their lives because of that, I live similarly. I live comfortably but not extravagantly. I usually contemplate things before I dish out money to buy stuff. However, I do splurge on nice vacations and on good food.....and I invest quite a bit in my model railroading and gardening hobbies.....of course that's why I squandered 30+ years of my life working to make the money in the first place! 8)

Although my siblings grew up in the same home, with the same parents, they obviously didn't 'get it'. They've ALWAYS lived their adult lives well beyond their means. Both are older than me, and will NEED to continue working well into their 60's or 70's to make up for their constant and continual lack of thrift.
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:19 PM   #10
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Hard for me to choose, but I chose "Average model; thrifty by nature".

My parents seemed frugal while I was growing up. They raised 4 kids on one salary; drove used cars; lots of hand-me-down clothes; no cable; rarely ate out; simple vacations we could drive to; public schools. At the time it just seemed normal, like most kids in my neighborhood lived the same way, so I never thought about it.

I sort of veered off toward the spendthrift side when I got to college ... built up some credit card debt, but always worked and had a good job after graduating, so I managed to stay on top of it. Then when I got married at 25, the goal of paying for our wedding ourselves got my wife and I disciplined about saving, and we started living frugally from then on.

Meanwhile, about the time I was in college, my parents became less thrifty in many ways, while their income suffered due to layoffs.

Now we're at a point where I see in my parents some very wasteful spending (processed frozen food, magazine subscriptions, credit card debt, little saved for retirement, donations to charities when they are in debt up to their eyeballs) while at the same time my wife and I live far below our means.

I don't know what that says about the relationship between LBYM and how you're raised. I rebelled against it when I first got out on my own, but then quickly went back to frugal habits once I was responsible for meeting a financial goal.
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:49 PM   #11
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Well my sister and I grew up influenced by the same people and we ended up on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to money. My dad's family is thrifty and money-savvy while my mom's family is generally more spendy. My sister followed my mom's footsteps (getting in credit card trouble), while I followed my dad's footsteps.
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Old 07-23-2008, 11:53 PM   #12
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Shot in the dark, but are you an introvert, and is your sister an extrovert? DW and I have discussed how this often seems to be a determining factor. We both came from dysfunctional home lives, and we're both better off than our siblings (we're both introverts, and the sibs are all extroverts). I think that being introverted makes one less susceptible to "keeping up with the joneses", and various other negative social influences.
EXACTLY!! We've even talked about this.

Also, I've noticed that she needs to always have new stuff. I don't know if it's to impress others or keep up or if it's just that she personally needs newness. She also seems to be willing to pay other people to pay attention to her. The spa, getting the nails done, the frequent hair visits, the pedicure, the therapist, the nutritionist. It's a continual cycle of feeding the ME need.

Poor thing, if she hadn't married into money on the 2nd try how would she support all this? It's funny, her husband is very much like me. Introverted, frugal, wears the same old weekend clothes for years, he really needs to be pushed to shop for himself. I like him a lot.
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Old 07-24-2008, 12:39 AM   #13
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Shot in the dark, but are you an introvert, and is your sister an extrovert? DW and I have discussed how this often seems to be a determining factor.
One would think so, but observing my own siblings and their spouses, plus my friends and their spouses, I only see a weak correlation. And there are plenty of exceptions.
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:49 AM   #14
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I checked frugal/frugal. DW and I both grew up that way; our family got our cars from a junkyard and did the necessary repairs to get them running, she shared a pillow with her sister until she was about eight. I remember being embarrassed in Jr. High about my shabby clothes and she wore hand-me-downs until HS. On top of that we're both introverts, although I'm borderline extroverted, she is definitely introverted.

My parents grew up in the '30s and were affected by the Depression then; Dad's father worked as a laborer in a paper mill and Mom's father was a railroad brakeman but had to retire early because of failing eyesight.

When I got the job with the county I was suddenly making more than my father ever did and I didn't quite know what to do with all the money. Growing up, a six pack of Coke and a box of Ritz crackers was a luxury so in my first apartment I always had Coke in the refrigerator. Shortly after I got the apartment my mother came to inspect it and frowned upon opening the refrigerator door. I guess to mothers their kids are always kids.

Although I did want to own my own home, a dream I'd had since about age 5 was to learn to fly an airplane and I suddenly had the money to do that so I bought an airplane and kept that for two years, figuring that I'd be 50 before I had another chance. I also had a 650 Yamaha motorcycle I kept in the living room of the ground-floor apartment.

Met what I thought was a wonderful girl and married her, found out that what she said and what she did were entirely different. That's the only time in my life I've ever bounced a check, was late on rent/house payments, etc. and in hindsight I'm surprised it lasted five years. She was offended at the suggestion that she brown bag lunch, she had that "sense of entitlement", where it came from I don't know. She wanted Pennsylvania House solid cherry furniture but was unwilling to save for it.

I haven't paid a dime in credit card interest since 1983, since CC debt always felt like a dark cloud hanging overhead, restricting future options until it was paid off.

The only time DW paid CC interest was when she was in her 20's, her car used to get to work needed a transmission repair, and she had that paid off in three months.

When I bought a house on my own was when I became seriously frugal because I had to be. It took one entire paycheck out of two for the month to make the house payment. Brown-bagged lunches for years and about 90% of the time after that. When we moved after retirement DW wanted a new bedroom set of furniture and kept a clipped-out photo of it for a year and a half, but didn't want to spend the money. Finally I told her "We've got enough in savings to write a check for two new cars! I don't want to be one of those people who dies with a million dollars in the bank."
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Old 07-24-2008, 08:58 AM   #15
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How interesting to observe that:

5.66% of those responding so far characterize their parents as spendy, while
61.40% characterize their parents as frugal! The rest were characterized as average.

I suppose many had parents who lived through the Great Depression, as I did. I know that shaped my parents' attitudes in many ways.

As for ourselves,
20.76% of those responding so far characterize ourselves as spendy, while
79.25% characterize ourselves as frugal.
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Old 07-24-2008, 09:06 AM   #16
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Only person here for spendthrift/frugal, but nothing particularly interesting about it.

The introvert/extrovert thing I have not noticed. I feel that introverts slightly spend less money than the extroverts (which would be agreeing with the case). I feel extroverts think about money more, however, so if they are reasonably intelligent, many extroverts are more aware of their financial situations or have ambitions of savings.

Maybe I am just biased because I am very frugal and very extroverted.

Edit: For Marquette, as W2R points out above, it seems that most people here who are able to stretch a penny learned so from their parents being frugal, not from their parents being spendy. Hmmmmm, I'll take a point for this one.
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Old 07-24-2008, 09:09 AM   #17
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Edit: For Marquette, as W2R points out above, it seems that most people here who are able to stretch a penny learned so from their parents being frugal, not from their parents being spendy. Hmmmmm, I'll take a point for this one.
I am not so sure about that. It appears that very few of our parents were spendy at all, no matter how we turned out.
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Old 07-24-2008, 09:25 AM   #18
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I am not so sure about that. It appears that very few of our parents were spendy at all, no matter how we turned out.
However, taking demographics into account:

1.) The general population of this board (according to this poll) typically had more frugal parents
2.) The general population of this board as a whole (anecdotal evidence) is more frugal
3.) When somebody says spendthrift in regards to themselves, I feel they actually could be more frugal than much of the population anyway.
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Old 07-24-2008, 09:33 AM   #19
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Edit: For Marquette, as W2R points out above, it seems that most people here who are able to stretch a penny learned so from their parents being frugal, not from their parents being spendy. Hmmmmm, I'll take a point for this one.
:confused: I'm confused.
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Old 07-24-2008, 09:34 AM   #20
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However, taking demographics into account:

1.) The general population of this board (according to this poll) typically had more frugal parents
2.) The general population of this board as a whole (anecdotal evidence) is more frugal
3.) When somebody says spendthrift in regards to themselves, I feel they actually could be more frugal than much of the population anyway.
Well, those are your assumptions, not mine....
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