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Ridiculed for being cheap??
Old 12-02-2008, 03:31 PM   #1
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Ridiculed for being cheap??

I have noticed that since I tightened my belt a few years ago, I sometimes get comments from this friend about me being cheap. She would tell me about how much money she spent on her vacations, on her athletic club membership, to get her nails done, and tell me I would never pay as much. (She is right, I wouldn't.) But what bothers me is that she says it in such a ridiculing tone.

I actually wouldn't call myself cheap. I'd say I am sensibly frugal. I don't do impulse buy like I used to. (I used to be called an informercial queen.) I put together a budget (I am saving about 35% of my income now) and try to manage within my budget, so I do a lot of comparison shopping. I have a nice car, nice furniture, etc, but I have bought used stuff off craigslist, ebay, good will etc for things I feel are not that important. I don't buy expensive clothes ever any more (unless I can get them second-hand cheap but I have no desire to take a lot of time shopping really). I still go on vacations, but I don't spend money like water during my vacations (I never did anyway)

Does being frugal somehow offend people?

tmm
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Old 12-02-2008, 03:37 PM   #2
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Historically, being frugal has been socially frowned on by many in a society where you show the world you've "made it" with conspicuous consumption.

I've been a lot happier since I decided to let the Joneses win. The Joneses will still be slaving away at age 70, paying for all that stuff they bought and because they have no retirement savings. Then let's see who really "won."

In a few years, let's see what happens to your friend even as you have the financial independence to chart your own course with the rest of your life.

Besides, I don't know if it's a temporary blip or a very real and longer-term adaptation, but over the last few months being "cheap" is no longer the pejorative that it used to be. Frugal is becoming the new ostentatious.
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Old 12-02-2008, 03:45 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by tmm99 View Post
I have noticed that since I tightened my belt a few years ago, I sometimes get comments from this friend about me being cheap. She would tell me about how much money she spent on her vacations, on her athletic club membership, to get her nails done, and tell me I would never pay as much. (She is right, I wouldn't.) But what bothers me is that she says it in such a ridiculing tone.
tmm
She doesn't sound like much of a friend to me. She should be happy that you are living your life the way you want and by doing so, you are content.

You can't please all of the people all of the time, so do what pleases you. It's your life.
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Old 12-02-2008, 03:50 PM   #4
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Does being frugal somehow offend people?
Perhaps some folks would be offended by a passive investing strategy where mostly low-cost index funds were selected as an investment portfolio. I know for sure that scum sucking, commission-driven, 12-b1 loving low lifes stock broker/investment advisors would surely be offended by such action. So, the answer is yes.
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Old 12-02-2008, 03:55 PM   #5
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Ah the memories of being called cheap. At my last place of w*rk I was often referred to as a cheap ba$tard. They could not understand the concept of used cars paid for, no credit card carry, no loans etc.

The payback was 2 weeks before my exit, when the big cheese called us into a meeting for handing out assignments. I interrupted his monologue with: before you get to my tasks, just want to let you know that in 2 weeks I am retiring.

The dropped jaws and stunned silence was a sight to behold. I savored it. Then the boss said, you can't retire you don't have enough time here nor are you 65.

I said: oh that's OK, no problem. In two weeks I'll be gone, and pulled out my well crumpled notice, filled in that day's date and handed to him.

I said finally, you guys confused cheap with frugal. Last I heard the are still working the grind stone.
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Old 12-02-2008, 03:58 PM   #6
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In a economic downturn such as this, the fact that I don't have nail appointments, massages, expensive haircuts, salon highlights, housecleaners, $20/bottle wine, Lexus-leasing, Viking range-buying, the latest/greatest AV technology, high tech toys makes me feel, well, rich.
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Old 12-02-2008, 04:08 PM   #7
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Does being frugal somehow offend people?
God, I hope so! I love it when I can p*ss-off the 'Joneses' and their peers!
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
I've been a lot happier since I decided to let the Joneses win. The Joneses will still be slaving away at age 70, paying for all that stuff they bought and because they have no retirement savings. Then let's see who really "won."

In a few years, let's see what happens to your friend even as you have the financial independence to chart your own course with the rest of your life.
Over the years I've had a lot of friends, co-workers, and acquaintances who've made remarks about me being cheap. Most were my age or close to it. Scr*w 'em! I'm FIRE'd, NONE of them are, or even close to it! Of course, they're the ones keeping those CC companies in business by paying all those high interest rates on all that cr*p they buy in their feeble attempt to keep up with the 'Joneses'.

BTW, I never do without what I want, but then again I don't want much, 'cause I don't need much. My clothes are neat & clean, I eat well....very well, I drive a nice car, live in a nice (old) house that's paid off, I travel as much as want to...to wherever I want...whenever I want to, and I'm not a wage slave! I'm as happy as can be....NO stress....NO hassles....NO debt. Besides....I never see the 'Joneses'...they're still slaving away with their noses to the grindstone, so they're not out & about except on weekends...and that's when I stay home!

Frugal & FIRE'd......Hey 'Joneses', stick that in your pipe and smoke it!
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Old 12-02-2008, 04:17 PM   #8
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In a economic downturn such as this, the fact that I don't have ....expensive haircuts....makes me feel, well, rich.
Got that right! In fact, I'm breaking out my hair-clippers tonight (that I bought in 1974 for $19.90 including sales tax) and giving myself a haircut. Cost: roughly 12¢....and getting cheaper every time!


{I bought the clippers after my old barber retired in '74.}
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Old 12-02-2008, 04:22 PM   #9
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In a economic downturn such as this, the fact that I don't have nail appointments, massages, expensive haircuts, salon highlights, housecleaners, $20/bottle wine, Lexus-leasing, Viking range-buying, the latest/greatest AV technology, high tech toys makes me feel, well, rich.
I've spent the last five years -- since selling a house in California -- preparing for times like these. We moved into a small, paid-off house in a place with a low cost of living, padded the emergency fund, had enough left over to pay cash for everything so we have no debt and more than a year's worth of cash in the bank. Much of our financial decision-making was geared to making sure we could maximize our chances of "surviving" something like this.

Yes, I have some fear about the next few years and about the status of my j*b. But I guarantee you that if we still had that nearly $2000/mo house payment in California and less than five grand in the bank, I wouldn't just have a little nervousness about the future. I'd be scared as hell and we'd be the Joneses. As are many people today who live paycheck to paycheck because they caught affluenza -- and who are one pink slip away from a serious world of hurt.
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Old 12-02-2008, 04:25 PM   #10
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I guess my sentiments are similar to Is99 and Goonie.
My one friend was so shocked (do I really look that stupid) that I could afford to retire that he accused me of selling drugs in order to afford ER.

It's not cheap, its what you choose to spend your money on.

I choose freedom.

Free
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Old 12-02-2008, 04:26 PM   #11
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Ah the memories of being called cheap. At my last place of w*rk I was often referred to as a cheap ba$tard. They could not understand the concept of used cars paid for, no credit card carry, no loans etc.

The payback was 2 weeks before my exit, when the big cheese called us into a meeting for handing out assignments. I interrupted his monologue with: before you get to my tasks, just want to let you know that in 2 weeks I am retiring.

The dropped jaws and stunned silence was a sight to behold. I savored it. Then the boss said, you can't retire you don't have enough time here nor are you 65.

I said: oh that's OK, no problem. In two weeks I'll be gone, and pulled out my well crumpled notice, filled in that day's date and handed to him.

I said finally, you guys confused cheap with frugal. Last I heard the are still working the grind stone.
Priceless!
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Old 12-02-2008, 04:40 PM   #12
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Does being frugal somehow offend people?

tmm
Some people the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

Agree to disagree with your friend. Just tell her she looks great.
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Old 12-02-2008, 04:44 PM   #13
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i've had friends direct derogatory ethnic remarks as commentary upon my habits yet who of late pattern their own lives on how i've long lived mine.

often inflicted ridicule is just the outward appearance of someone coming to grips with their own inner conflicts.

some of them still ridicule, only now they are laughing at themselves. that's ok. don't take it personally. people learn in their own good time.
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Old 12-02-2008, 04:47 PM   #14
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Ah the memories of being called cheap. At my last place of w*rk I was often referred to as a cheap ba$tard. They could not understand the concept of used cars paid for, no credit card carry, no loans etc.

The payback was 2 weeks before my exit, when the big cheese called us into a meeting for handing out assignments. I interrupted his monologue with: before you get to my tasks, just want to let you know that in 2 weeks I am retiring.

The dropped jaws and stunned silence was a sight to behold. I savored it. Then the boss said, you can't retire you don't have enough time here nor are you 65.

I said: oh that's OK, no problem. In two weeks I'll be gone, and pulled out my well crumpled notice, filled in that day's date and handed to him.

I said finally, you guys confused cheap with frugal. Last I heard the are still working the grind stone.
Great story. I'm surprised, however, that none of them learned from your example. I would think your early retirement would have opened their eyes to the benefits of frugality.

Then again, the discipline required to carry it out would probably turn off most spendthrifts.
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Old 12-02-2008, 04:50 PM   #15
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Old 12-02-2008, 05:06 PM   #16
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Some family members have long ridiculed our frugal lifestyle. We have very good jobs with a good income to boot and, apparently, people have a good idea about how people like us should be living. The problem: we don't fit the mold. We live in a very average-looking house, in an average neighborhood, driving 7 and 11 year old cars, most of our furniture is second-hand (I prefer the term "vintage"), we shop for clothes at Kohl's (when they have a sale), we eat out once a month if that much, etc... The funny thing is that most of the people who spend their time deriding us are now in financial troubles and asking for a handout... No more making fun of frugal people here!
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Old 12-02-2008, 05:09 PM   #17
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Some family members have long ridiculed our frugal lifestyle. We have very good jobs with a good income to boot and, apparently, people have a good idea about how people like us should be living. The problem: we don't fit the mold. We live in a very average-looking house, in an average neighborhood, driving 7 and 11 year old cars, most of our furniture is second-hand (I prefer the term "vintage"), we shop for clothes at Kohl's (when they have a sale), we eat out once a month if that much, etc... The funny thing is that most of the people who spend their time deriding us are now in financial troubles and asking for a handout... No more making fun of the frugal people here!
You are "The Millionaire Next Door".
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Old 12-02-2008, 05:14 PM   #18
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You are "The Millionaire Next Door".
Not quite a millionaire yet, but I have always admired the inconspicuous lifestyle of the Millionaire next door...
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Old 12-02-2008, 05:17 PM   #19
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IMHO, being frugal/cheap enough to retire involved dragging my ego into the alley and stomping it flat.

I drove the same car for 18 years; I went to a retirement party a year after retiring and was told there were bets as to whether I would still be driving the same car.
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Over the years I've had a lot of friends, co-workers, and acquaintances who've made remarks about me being cheap. Most were my age or close to it. Scr*w 'em! I'm FIRE'd, NONE of them are, or even close to it! Of course, they're the ones keeping those CC companies in business by paying all those high interest rates on all that cr*p they buy in their feeble attempt to keep up with the 'Joneses'.

BTW, I never do without what I want, but then again I don't want much, 'cause I don't need much. My clothes are neat & clean, I eat well....very well, I drive a nice car, live in a nice (old) house that's paid off...
Frugal & FIRE'd....
Hey 'Joneses', stick that in your pipe and smoke it!
What he said.
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Old 12-02-2008, 05:18 PM   #20
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You are "The Millionaire Next Door".
FIREdreamer, I was hoping your response to Sparky was going to be, "I'm not sure. What's your address?"
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