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Old 04-21-2017, 07:51 AM   #41
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We're spending lots more. The after-tax entirety of both our pensions, plus investment income, plus my part-time job earnings.

Once I was home more, the floodgates opened on repairs and renovations, and they haven't closed yet, plus we had a plumbing leak that destroyed the basement carpet and led to a big plumbing upgrade. Plus all the teeth things. A new car, and other big expenses, some of which were anticipated.

We try to do some things ourselves, but as one poster already noted, that gets harder as you age and may not be worth it. I said in another thread that I arbitrarily value my time at $50 an hour (after tax!) and will pay for any chore whose hired-out cost works out to be less than $50 times the number of hours it would take me to do it. So far, that is almost everything except house cleaning, lawn mowing, and painting of walls no higher than 8 feet. We do those ourselves,

I tried hiring house cleaners, and absolutely hated the experience. And we could buy 3 lawn tractors for the quote I got to mow our yard for one season.
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:08 AM   #42
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I have to ask....why not a new car?
A couple reasons...one of them being that I'm cheap frugal and have a hard time justifying spending that much. My current vehicle is a 2007 Subaru Impreza bought new, but it was only $24k.

The other reason is that I want something a little more high end this time...maybe an Acura or Lexus. New ones approach $50k (+ taxes) to get AWD and some features, but a gently used one can be had for $30k or less. I don't drive much...maybe 10k a year, so a 3-year old vehicle with 30k - 50k on it will still easily last me a good 10 years.
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:10 AM   #43
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I am about to get a quick lesson. Moving to a new home in two months. DW plans to buy a load of new furniture. She has good taste and likes quality product so it won't be inexpensive. We have not bought much furniture over the past 10 years. We tend to buy higher end product that lasts so I guess that it is time.
When our landlord replaced our floors indoor and out for free, I had not anticipated all the new furniture and rugs that this "free" upgrade would require.
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:17 AM   #44
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I really don't have any problem spending money and could easily boost our spending by 10-20% per year. Could change a couple cars, get a new boat, upgrade a place or two, more charitable giving,more expensive trips with family, etc. Am already spending a fair bit but seem to be pretty good at identifying opportunities to spend more. All within our means of course.
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:05 AM   #45
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I'm in year 3 of semi-ER now, and I'm still working on loosening the purse strings and not being so miserly. I think a big part of my slow progress towards spending more liberally is that I'm not yet 50 years old and have no pension coming my way. Have to live exclusively on the nest egg and SS down the line. But still, FIRECalc gives me a 100% historical success rate at spending levels more than 2x what I'm currently budgeting and spending. Knowing that's the case does help whenever I get bogged down trying to decide if I should spend X$ on some frivolous, fun purchase. More and more these days, I'm giving in to the urge and feeling good about it afterwards.
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:11 AM   #46
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I am alone too. It does add an extra level of caution. No safety net. I was thinking about a will the other day, although no immediate need, and I will actually have to do a little research to figure out who the closest alive next-of-kin is.
I am leaving everything to charity even though I have a sibling.
No nieces or nephews.
Some first cousins but not close. They have kids.
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:17 AM   #47
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I retired at 52 this year. We have saved and lived well below our means for decades. We have 2.7M of which half is untaxable...our house is paid off, cars paid off, no debt....but we are struggling learning how to actually start spending the money. All those years of being miserly have become ingrained. Anyone else have this problem??
I retired at 61 in 2009, and had the same problem. Once two or three years had passed, and I had a better sense of what I would need to maintain my lifestyle in retirement, I realized that I could be spending even more. And then the market started soaring and hasn't stopped. So, I spend more each year and my WR stays the same.

After a while I figured I'd solve the problem by buying the one thing in the world that I was longing for... my Dream Home. It wasn't all that big or expensive but overall, the associated costs of buying, selling, moving, closing costs, repairs, and fixing up the new house got rid of $92K for me. But I still need to loosen those purse strings.

Right now I am basically fluffing out my current lifestyle. I buy a lot of cr*p doodads on Amazon. At first that was hard, but I am getting better at telling myself that it's just money, and that I can't take it with me.

There are worse problems. Don't forget that none of us live forever. I don't like traveling, but if you do, then you need to travel now before you get old and decrepit.
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:04 AM   #48
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I'm learning to save after years of spending. Actually we did always save money but in hindsight we could have done much better. We think of it as optimizing our spending - living better while spending less.

We go out to eat or to some kind of event most days using Groupons, library passes, free or low cost college events, museum and garden reciprocal passes, seat filler subscriptions, etc. Looking for the bargains for me is half the fun.
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:14 AM   #49
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We spent very, very little our first 18 months, then gradually opened the purse strings. I think this pattern is typical as almost all of us need to gain a comfort level with our income/spending once the regular paycheck stops.
This was exactly my experience for the first year or two after stopping work. I took it to more of an extreme than probably most here. I was eating cheap (and not terribly healthy) food, never eating out (even cheap eats), and basically watching every dollar. I remember an old work friend coming into town to participate in a spoken word evening. I balked at the $10 door entry fee, managing to find a way to get on the guest list instead. In retrospect, I think he might have been mildly insulted, as the door fees probably went to support their group. I was just so heavily focused on keeping my spending to a minimum that it was clouding my judgement in other areas. I was in partial financial lock-down mode. It wasn't rational, as I knew very well that my income was enough to support my lifestyle. It had to do with the fact that I knew that my "stash" was all I had. It felt very finite.

I've loosened up considerably since then. I've seen my portfolio grow, and watched the regular dividend payouts being deposited automatically into my savings account. The portfolio stash no longer seems finite and minimal. I view it now as more of a dynamic thing - a source of income that will most likely grow over time.

I still don't like spending money on things I don't value, but am now looking for ways to maximize my spending on things I do appreciate, whereas previously, I was simply trying to spend as little as possible. I'm sure glad that phase didn't last long.
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:40 AM   #50
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I have the perfect solution: Send the kids to private school!
Sounds like too much work. They won't even come to pick the kids up AND they have higher expectations that you volunteer Public school is working pretty well for us (though we did start carpooling the oldest to middle school mid-year splitting weeks with another family so we can avoid our 5:45 am school bus pick up)
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:54 AM   #51
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Ha - this is the "problem" with people in this forum. And by "problem" I don't really mean problem, because it got most people where they are. BUT - for the love of [insert your deity here], stop fretting over single George Washington expenditures. I'm sitting here imagining you driving home after they charged you an extra $1. I bet you don't go back now, but I also bet it is killing you inside. I also bet you do make more $1-$10 expenditures, but you probably go through an agonizing analysis for each one. Suggestion: change your numbers - especially if you are someone like OP with $2.7M. How about, if you want something that is $100 or less, just buy it. Who cares.

Ohh - and you know what? If you are having trouble spending your budget, that means you don't need a budget!! Just spend freely and check the account balance every month to ensure you are not off the rails. This completely goes against virtually every forum member's rules to live by.

I realize this post might come off somewhat like I am attacking you, but I am not. I'm really attacking me. When I read your post it sounded exactly like me. So I am giving myself some terse advice.
It does sound like you're attacking me, but I get it I'm a work in progress.

I've taken a very zen approach about losing the $1 at the grocery store. I'll still mention the error and sometimes go to the customer service for higher amounts but it's just not worth 5+ minutes to collect a dollar (ie I wouldn't stand in line somewhere for $10/hr so why would I do so at the grocery store?). I also know that statistically I probably average out on the $1 ripoffs and the $1 undercharges (they miss an item or they ring a cheap item twice thinking the second item is the same type when it's really more expensive), so I'm probably not losing as much money as I think (if the goal is to be charged exactly what you owe every single time).

The $1-10 purchases probably do happen more often, and they don't bother me. We could do 100 of the $1-10 purchases per year at an average price of $5 each and only increase our spending by 1%. Therefore, not really worth worrying about since these small purchases are more like weekly or monthly occurrences and not daily. We're already rocking it on the monthly and annual expenses (no cable, free cellphones, efficient utility usage, cheap insurance, dropped to 1 car, etc).

Great example of just doing the small purchases without worrying: DW wanted to buy some plastic superheroes for our 5 year old for his birthday (and we already have quite a bit of goodies for him AND a floor with several superheroes scattered across it). My main objection was the clutter ("is it materially better to have 9 superhero action figures instead of 7 of them") and not the $21 (actually I bought some gift cards online so it was more like $15 - frugality dies hard!). Will I ever miss the $15? No, it's unlikely.

The $100 spending is a different story as those can add up quickly. I think about it and if it's much work I'll pay to outsource it or if it brings value I'll buy it. This week it was $389 for the plumber to snake my main sewer drain (could have rented the big snake drain machine for $100 or so and DIY). And $220 for an HVAC cleaning and refrigerant recharge (I surely could have purchased a manifold gauge set, 1 lb of refrigerant, violated an EPA regulation and refilled the system myself, and DIY'd the cleaning). I think that's the first home expense all year so it adds a bit to our budget but it's not like we pay that much every month.

Re: the budget - we have a budget but just spend whatever for the most part. For example, our travel budget is $10,000 per year but I booked a 9 week vacation to Europe. We might come close to only spending $10,000 but who cares if it's $12-15k since we probably won't spend 9 weeks in Europe every summer (I miss Mexico and it's CHEAP!! And US road trips are CHEAP!!).

Most of our spending is discretionary or outsourced stuff that we could DIY. If our spending capacity ever shrinks then we can tighten out belts. Otherwise we can keep spending like drunken sailors (what it feels like right now, though objectively <$40,000/yr spending is very conscientious).
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Old 04-21-2017, 12:13 PM   #52
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Our first year in retirement felt funny so we spent very little. Then year 2 comes and we both end up with good p.t. gigs and now we spend like crazy. I am intent on traveling, going out and doing all the things that I missed through the years with raising kids, going to college, working f.t. etc. Also I have had 3 good friends die in their 50's and 60's so the point really hits home about life is short.
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Old 04-21-2017, 12:32 PM   #53
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I really do not remember how I spent the first year of retirement but in year two when my stash dropped by 40% I went in the frugal mode not super frugal just not free spending like I was doing .Now I spend moderately usually a few trips a year and home improvements and keeping the grand kids happy . Actually I feel really cheap when I watch HGTV and people are gutting perfectly decent kitchens because they dislike the granite color .
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Old 04-21-2017, 12:34 PM   #54
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I never really understood how different home means buy new furniture. I have moved 30x's and just take what we have.
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Old 04-21-2017, 12:47 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by NoOneGetsIt View Post
I retired at 52 this year. We have saved and lived well below our means for decades. We have 2.7M of which half is untaxable...our house is paid off, cars paid off, no debt....but we are struggling learning how to actually start spending the money. All those years of being miserly have become ingrained. Anyone else have this problem??
We have the same issue. But then again it's a good thing. Our savings continue to grow during retirement. There is no compelling reason to go on spending binges now. Spend money on travel and leisure and home improvements. Our top spending categories are now:

Travel and leisure
Health insurance premiums and co-pays
Property tax
Home improvements
Food

Your frugal habits got you to early retirement, why change? Do you want to end up broke and in your 60s like the vast majority of people?
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Old 04-21-2017, 01:04 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by NoOneGetsIt View Post
I retired at 52 this year. We have saved and lived well below our means for decades. We have 2.7M of which half is untaxable...our house is paid off, cars paid off, no debt....but we are struggling learning how to actually start spending the money. All those years of being miserly have become ingrained. Anyone else have this problem??
+1 on being so ingrained, and one year into "FIRE", I still struggle. It is easier to gift a 100K to our kids than pay for something without a discount for ourselves.

I really struggle with the whole income tax issue of touching IRA funds, we are still in a high tax bracket and with no end in sight we can't even efficiently roll Roth conversions. Leveraging cheap money by borrowing and letting our accounts grow just feels better. We travel first class and high end suites on cruises, but when I drop $$ on some little appliance for our kids new home, my wife cringes, maybe because we are spoiling them a bit. Buying things is not a priority, but kick starting our kids and future grandchildren seems to be an easier way for us to open the purse, than buying some new engine or toy for ourselves. I guess I get a little fulfillment from seeing our children live well, than the thought of them waiting 30 years for way too much at once.
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Old 04-21-2017, 01:55 PM   #57
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+1 on being so ingrained, and one year into "FIRE", I still struggle. It is easier to gift a 100K to our kids than pay for something without a discount for ourselves.

I really struggle with the whole income tax issue of touching IRA funds, we are still in a high tax bracket and with no end in sight we can't even efficiently roll Roth conversions. Leveraging cheap money by borrowing and letting our accounts grow just feels better. We travel first class and high end suites on cruises, but when I drop $$ on some little appliance for our kids new home, my wife cringes, maybe because we are spoiling them a bit. Buying things is not a priority, but kick starting our kids and future grandchildren seems to be an easier way for us to open the purse, than buying some new engine or toy for ourselves. I guess I get a little fulfillment from seeing our children live well, than the thought of them waiting 30 years for way too much at once.
Hope this isn't too forward...we have about 3M...are we in the same ballpark as you?
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Old 04-21-2017, 01:57 PM   #58
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+1 on being so ingrained, and one year into "FIRE", I still struggle. It is easier to gift a 100K to our kids than pay for something without a discount for ourselves.

I really struggle with the whole income tax issue of touching IRA funds, we are still in a high tax bracket and with no end in sight we can't even efficiently roll Roth conversions. Leveraging cheap money by borrowing and letting our accounts grow just feels better. We travel first class and high end suites on cruises, but when I drop $$ on some little appliance for our kids new home, my wife cringes, maybe because we are spoiling them a bit. Buying things is not a priority, but kick starting our kids and future grandchildren seems to be an easier way for us to open the purse, than buying some new engine or toy for ourselves. I guess I get a little fulfillment from seeing our children live well, than the thought of them waiting 30 years for way too much at once.

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Originally Posted by Freedom56 View Post
We have the same issue. But then again it's a good thing. Our savings continue to grow during retirement. There is no compelling reason to go on spending binges now. Spend money on travel and leisure and home improvements. Our top spending categories are now:

Travel and leisure
Health insurance premiums and co-pays
Property tax
Home improvements
Food

Your frugal habits got you to early retirement, why change? Do you want to end up broke and in your 60s like the vast majority of people?
No but also have no one to leave it to and you ant to enjoy it...it is a struggle
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Old 04-21-2017, 01:58 PM   #59
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Old 04-21-2017, 02:03 PM   #60
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It does sound like you're attacking me, but I get it I'm a work in progress.

I've taken a very zen approach about losing the $1 at the grocery store. I'll still mention the error and sometimes go to the customer service for higher amounts but it's just not worth 5+ minutes to collect a dollar (ie I wouldn't stand in line somewhere for $10/hr so why would I do so at the grocery store?). I also know that statistically I probably average out on the $1 ripoffs and the $1 undercharges (they miss an item or they ring a cheap item twice thinking the second item is the same type when it's really more expensive), so I'm probably not losing as much money as I think (if the goal is to be charged exactly what you owe every single time).

The $1-10 purchases probably do happen more often, and they don't bother me. We could do 100 of the $1-10 purchases per year at an average price of $5 each and only increase our spending by 1%. Therefore, not really worth worrying about since these small purchases are more like weekly or monthly occurrences and not daily. We're already rocking it on the monthly and annual expenses (no cable, free cellphones, efficient utility usage, cheap insurance, dropped to 1 car, etc).

Great example of just doing the small purchases without worrying: DW wanted to buy some plastic superheroes for our 5 year old for his birthday (and we already have quite a bit of goodies for him AND a floor with several superheroes scattered across it). My main objection was the clutter ("is it materially better to have 9 superhero action figures instead of 7 of them") and not the $21 (actually I bought some gift cards online so it was more like $15 - frugality dies hard!). Will I ever miss the $15? No, it's unlikely.

The $100 spending is a different story as those can add up quickly. I think about it and if it's much work I'll pay to outsource it or if it brings value I'll buy it. This week it was $389 for the plumber to snake my main sewer drain (could have rented the big snake drain machine for $100 or so and DIY). And $220 for an HVAC cleaning and refrigerant recharge (I surely could have purchased a manifold gauge set, 1 lb of refrigerant, violated an EPA regulation and refilled the system myself, and DIY'd the cleaning). I think that's the first home expense all year so it adds a bit to our budget but it's not like we pay that much every month.

Re: the budget - we have a budget but just spend whatever for the most part. For example, our travel budget is $10,000 per year but I booked a 9 week vacation to Europe. We might come close to only spending $10,000 but who cares if it's $12-15k since we probably won't spend 9 weeks in Europe every summer (I miss Mexico and it's CHEAP!! And US road trips are CHEAP!!).

Most of our spending is discretionary or outsourced stuff that we could DIY. If our spending capacity ever shrinks then we can tighten out belts. Otherwise we can keep spending like drunken sailors (what it feels like right now, though objectively <$40,000/yr spending is very conscientious).
May I dare ask about how much you needed to feel comfortable retiring at 33? I love that you did!!
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