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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 01:04 PM   #21
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

I agree with some other people here:

1.* Good shoes - never skimp on shoes!
2.* Big, thirsty towels.* They last for a long time anyway, but when I do buy them I get the good ones (on sale, of course).
3.* Lunch out every Sunday after church.* OK, we use coupons, but it's a tradition.
4.* LL Bean and Lands' End clothes - they outlast 2 or 3 of the cheaper stuff.* But watch for the clearance catalogs.
5.* Anytime we replace carpet, it's always the best.* It wears better, feels better, and cleans up easier (for those of us with cats that puke regularly)
6.* Harry & David chocolate truffles.* They do put them on sale pretty often if you have a store near you.* I refuse to pay for shipping.

I find if you are frugal on the really big things and a lot of the everyday things, a splurge every now and then is fine...

CJ
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 01:04 PM   #22
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

Lets see...we eat out about once a week but avoid paying for alcohol which helps a lot.

We do like sea food but usually cook it our selves.

Gotta have that glass of red (or 2) before dinner.

The occasional hardback book.

Usually one semi-decent vacation per year.

Spoil the kids at Christmas.

Some of this may change after RE.
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 01:21 PM   #23
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

Prior to FIRE we spent almost nothing on furniture or fixing up the old house. Now in our new house we are buying alot of new furniture and donating the old stuff to Good Will. We have spent upwards of $25K since February on furnishings and fixing up the new house. We expect this to be the last place we will own and want it to be as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. During the accumulation phase we were careful to live below our means. Now in the distribution phase we will be just as careful to live up to our means. By that I mean that we will not deny ourselves those indulgences that we know our SWR can support. For example, if friends want us to meet them at a top of the line restaurant where the dinner bill for two will be $120 we don't even worry about it. It is nice to be in this position.

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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 01:44 PM   #24
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

As I watched my spouse washing out ziploc bags for use with her lunches, I was thinking of the dinner our family just had. We had just come back from a Japanese restaurant.

We eat out about 4 times a week for dinner and a few times for lunch. I drive a beater lexus, wear Brooks Brothers shirts (but buy only a few each year), travel with the kids enough to make it to Elite FF status each year.

That written, we don't have cable. I don't have a cell phone. I allow myself anything that I want. It's just that I don't really want anything at this stage of my life.

And we still invest about 50% of our take-home each year.
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 02:18 PM   #25
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

Adding to my earlier post after reading some others...

I also don't have cable or satellite. I have a company-paid cell phone for work, but I didn't use it much for personal use; I recently got a cell phone, but it's on a pooled plan with some family members and quite cheap. I'm paying too much for DSL, but that's because I want the option of running web servers off of it.a

I very rarely buy alcohol at restaurants. I don't drink much, anyway, and I don't smoke. Weekly smokes and beer at the convenience store take a frightening bite out of many people's budgets. After moving next to a winery I've lost my taste for cheap (Franzia) cheap box wines, but thanks to this board I have some good budget options to try out when I move away from the winery.

I found good shoes and clothes are actually more frugal than the cheap ones even if you ignore the potential health problems of bad shoes. I'm a practical person--not a fashionable one--so I tend to buy cheap by default unless and until I discover paying more is better. With shoes, paying more is actually cheaper because they last longer. Same with clothes, tires, car batteries and more.

My big expense items quoted were for this year, and that's probably not representative of my average spending. The TV was probably a 5-10 year deal and a celebratory purchase. The PC was probably a 2-3 year expense and arguably a valuable training tool (given my current career) and potential moneymaker (given my website aspirations). I've been flying a lot but am planning to move back close to family, so it's a temporary expense.

I'm also mechanically inclined and in the past my repair skills for home items, cars and electronics/computers has probably been the financial impact of a second job (penny saved = penny + taxes earned). In recent years I've done fewer car repairs myself (and almost no home repairs--apartment) but have had better cars, and I'm convinced my knowledge of car repair has saved me money from incompetence and/or dishonesty when having my car serviced.

To answer the original question a little more directly, I think I approached frugality from the other direction. I "lived" a lot but after running out of money and running up debt I found ways to cut a lot of spending without compromising what I really enjoy. Now I can spend and save and feel like I've got it made.
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 04:09 PM   #26
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

On Our trip to Italy, we seemed to spend alot of time buying gifts for the kids and a few things my wife always wanted like some Tuscan ceramics in Siena. I couldn't come up with anything I wanted no matter how much proding I got.

All I wanted was what I was doing, walking the streets, trying to stay awake in museums ( I would like to have use of a motorized reclining wheelchair in those ), looking for the next place to eat and drink, eating and drinking, talking with people, looking for and using the next toilette, admiring the people, the ancient buildings and streets and playing chicken with the millions of scooters driven by italians. The Milan taxi to the airport was breathtaking, even more so when I realized every other vehicle on the road was weaving and going over 100....But inspite of all the crazy driving I never saw an accident. So, I guess I was happy to get out of Italy with just my wife and my life.
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 06:06 PM   #27
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

We enjoy a good restaurant, and several vacations a year at nice places.
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 06:23 PM   #28
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

We eat out twice a week, take one vacation together and he takes a couple trips with the "boys" to some bike event. our vacation is to relatives so we stay for just grocery money. The trips with the boys are frugal with them all sharing expenses. Our biggest splurge is having the two bikes but we don't drink so we figure we've saved enough over the years to afford them. Cable internet and my cell phone are paid for by work but I'd have them anyway but probably switch to cheaper DSL if I left. We like the fact that we can have just about anything we want but don't feel the need to, just being able to is enough.
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 06:24 PM   #29
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
I'll be the first taker on this one.

Occasional dining out at cheap restaurants (Sam's club pizza, $4 mexican place, etc) - usually use coupons, or free gift cards from credit card rewards program

-"gourmet food" from grocery store on occasion (crab cakes and seafood salad was most recent purchase)

-Vacations - haven't had one in a while due to the new addition to our family, but we're going on a cruise as soon as we can figure out the logistics

-cable, although we just cut back to the basic (first ~25 channels)

-decent, reliable cars (year 2000 Hondas)

-nice house, more than we need

-gifts for ourselves and others

-computer games (perhaps $10 per year on average) and functioning "late model" computers
I hope you are joking, but something tells me you are not.

Ha
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 06:39 PM   #30
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
I hope you are joking, but something tells me you are not.
Not joking. I did my best to identify things that I spend money on, but that could be avoided, or done more cheaply. If we want to do something else, we'll do it. "Free" things that we enjoy doing didn't make the list. Spending time with family and friends. Watching the sun set over the lake in our back yard. Walking around our neighborhood to shops, the library, etc. Reading. Cooking good meals. And the list goes on.

You may find it hard to believe that one can be satisfied with relatively small levels of consumption. Some people are different.

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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 06:56 PM   #31
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

The point of this thread put out by the OP is...

That to live well, or to 'live a little' as the OP puts it, one must spend gobs of money. The corollary, that not spending money, means that you don't live well .

I think this line of thinking is mostly false and the opposite may be true. The greater your quest for consumption, then (perhaps) the less satisfied with life you may be. Chasing those consumer items (whose want and need that are drilled into everyone by advertising) means that you get to work long hard hours to obtain them. The tradeoff with a quality life just may not be worth it.

Think about it, would you rather have that BMW (or whatever) and the long work hours that are required to obtain it. Or would you rather drive an older common car and take the afternoon(s) off to see your kid play soccer. This is but one example of the kind of choices we make. Is getting promoted a couple of levels really worth it ? Sure you get more money, you get more stuff, but you pay for it with your life.

The choice is yours.


People on this forum come at it from another aspect. Many of them have worked incredibly hard and saved incredibly hard for a decade or three to stockpile enough cash to see them through for the duration. Their goal is to drop out of the workforce on their own terms to pursue a better life.






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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 07:22 PM   #32
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster
Think about it, would you rather have that BMW (or whatever) and the long work hours that are required to obtain it. Or would you rather drive an older common car and take the afternoon(s) off to see your kid play soccer.
I read the above and thought: Slacker!* *You shouldn't have to make the choice.* You should drive your kid to soccer in the BMW.* And you shouldn't just be watching your kid play soccer, you should be coaching your kid and all the other kids. I mean, where is the commitment? :P

Live well, yet well below your means.
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 07:42 PM   #33
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

My list is pretty short right now, although we don't feel the least bit deprived:

1. Travel - we have ample vacation time and no kids yet, so trying to take advantage of it while we can.

2. Bicycles - I finally bought a quality bike this year and its been worth every penny. *The husband has a high end triathlon bike which he likes tinkering with. *Just had an accident with it which involved upgrading replacing a bunch of parts. *His triathlon and marathon entry fees, plus travel to events are also damned expensive.

3. *Sushi once a week - we live in Japan so its hard to resist.

4. Single malt scotch

5.* Entertaining - we host people in some capacity every week and our friends (many of which are single Marines) eat and drink a lot.

A few other little things here and there but cars, clothes, and home electronics tend to get the short end of the paycheck... at least for now.

*
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 07:50 PM   #34
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

Quote:
I read the above and thought: Slacker!* *You shouldn't have to make the choice.* You should drive your kid to soccer in the BMW.
I think you missed the point entirely.* Sure you can be the type-A who drives yourself crazy trying to have it all. But unfortunately you'll likely miss alot along the way. The cost in terms of what you have to give up is way too high.

The BMW was but an example. It's the whole BMW lifestyle that I was referring to and the (high) cost to you as a person of maintaining that ultimately false lifestyle.

- By the way, You don't know me or anything about me. So leave the terms like slacker out.



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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 07:52 PM   #35
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

Personally I dont think I live below the 'standard' at all . I personally believe, at least for people at my income level, *that the biggest factor is a new car. *People who go out and buy a new car end up with a $400 monthly payment plus at least $200 in insurance. *I got on ebay and bought a 92 firebird with 40k miles for 2,000. Its lasted 3 years so far with no problems(now with 65k miles) and I expect it to last another 4 or so years.


I probably eat out at least 7 times a week, cutting back because I hate running!
Honestly eating out isnt that more expensive for me as I dont have a family. *Maybe 1 dollar more a meal... Unless i loved top roman.

Anyway all you youngens... FORGET THE NEW CAR AND SAVE THAT EXTRA $600 A MONTH!!!!!!!!!!.......
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 08:45 PM   #36
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

I have to admit........I am pretty much a frugal person. New cars, bigger house, expensive clothes are not important to me. I could afford it all but its not gonna make me any happier than I already am. I'm not criticizing anyone that enjoys all that, it's just not my thing.

I do enjoy playing golf and I belong to a country club. Thats not the cheapest hobby in the world.* * I also enjoy having dinner in a nice restaurant at least once a week. I don't travel very much at the moment due to my work schedule, but that will change when I punch out in a few months. I guess thats about it.*

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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 09:27 PM   #37
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

I identify with what masterblaster said. If DW and me stoped saving, I don't know what we would spend it on. I would like to travel a bit more but beyond that there really isn't anything I want.*
A month ago we went to the Hard Rock Cafe in Osaka* (American grub and happy hour). Last week we took some sandwiches and the dog to the river. You know, I had more fun at the river.*
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 09:28 PM   #38
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

Quote:
Originally Posted by trixs
Personally I dont think I live below the 'standard' at all . I personally believe, at least for people at my income level, *that the biggest factor is a new car. *People who go out and buy a new car end up with a $400 monthly payment plus at least $200 in insurance. *I got on ebay and bought a 92 firebird with 40k miles for 2,000. Its lasted 3 years so far with no problems(now with 65k miles) and I expect it to last another 4 or so years.

sounds liek a deal on the firebird. i jsut bought an 87 camaro (same car) min with t-tops and sold it for 1k more than i bought it for. it took em all of 2 weeks to buy and sell....my girlfriend would have KILLED me had I kept it....i guess 2 is enough..
I probably eat out at least 7 times a week, cutting back because I hate running!
Honestly eating out isnt that more expensive for me as I dont have a family. *Maybe 1 dollar more a meal... Unless i loved top roman.

Anyway all you youngens... FORGET THE NEW CAR AND SAVE THAT EXTRA $600 A MONTH!!!!!!!!!!.......
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 09:30 PM   #39
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

expensive car
mostly organic food
eat "nice" dinner out twice a week
overseas travel for 1-2 weeks a year

I don't have a cell phone or cable (but do have DSL). I use the library often. I sometimes use the bus or ride my bike (but not if temps are above 80). My other vacation spots are the backcountry in national parks or forests (read: cheap).
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?
Old 11-16-2005, 09:45 PM   #40
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Re: So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves?

-Eat out 2 to 3 times per week

-Take a vacation every 4 months or so outside of the country. In the winter we head for someplace warm to recharge our batteries and last fall we went to Europe for a month

Other than that, no big expenses. One of my little joys is watching our net worth grow every quarter (yes, I need to get out more :P )
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