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Needs vs. Wants
Old 06-27-2014, 08:02 AM   #1
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Needs vs. Wants

We are closing quickly in on the dates that we both RE and I am starting to have minor panic attacks. Well he is retiring, I am resigning and will take a lower retirement when I turn 55. Financially we will certainly be ok.

What I am struggling with right now is my needs vs. wants. H doesn't spend money or really have wants that cost much. I have always been awed by pink sparkly things and love to grab the latest kitchen gadget (ie: donut maker that cost $50 and you use once). In other words I like stuff because I like the high from acquiring it. Then have instant buyers remorse.

So that being said I find myself thinking (not out loud to H) well if I want to buy such and such or go here or there, H would work part time . So logically I know spending has to stop. But, emotionally I am really struggling with it. I guess what I am trying to ask did anyone struggle with the transition from "we make a great living and can buy what we want and travel when we want to" now "we will be on a fixed income and I have to live within my means.

I know it sounds easy peasy and I am really trying to control the urge to shop. And before I buy anything I do the do I need this or do I want this? I don't spend time browsing on line or going to malls anymore so that has helped.

BUT I still get the tingling feeling that I want what I want and I want it now. H does know this and he feels that he isn't going to say no to me because we have worked hard, I did the lion's share of raising three children and didn't do for myself and now it is my turn.

Any advice on the transition? Other than pull up my big girl panties and control myself.
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Old 06-27-2014, 08:16 AM   #2
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I too have the same fears about a "fixed" income, but my spending would be for travel.

Have you figured some "wants" amount spending into your RE budget? It sounds like you should have an amount allocated/available to allow you to buy the random item.
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Old 06-27-2014, 08:17 AM   #3
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Recognizing and admitting you have a problem is a big step in changing behavior. Good on you for taking that first big step.

This is a common problem and you can find all sorts of tips and advice online on how you can modify/limit your behavior - and you must. I have personal experience on the damage it can do to a marriage.
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Old 06-27-2014, 08:30 AM   #4
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Thanks guys, We have built in discretionary spending but it is when the whim hits I worry about. I have been known to blow a significant amount of money very quickly during one of my binges then have the "What have I done?" Mostly done in boredom like mindless eating.

I am trying to recognize it early and head it off. My H has worked hard and long to get where he is and he deserves to walk away and not work if he doesn't want to. I don't want to be the cause of his having to.

Summer is here so that will help, I can walk to the library, etc. rather than drive to the mall for entertainment.
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Old 06-27-2014, 08:34 AM   #5
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Thanks so much for this timely post. I have been wrestling with the same issue. I have been "practicing" for retirement - no paycheck for the last two months since I transitioned to an academic appointment. I think I can curb the "I want" spending, but it's certainly a struggle at times. Especially when I'm stressed. It helps that I live in in the middle of nowhere, but I have to watch the online buying. I hope to move back to civilization when I fully retire, but I worry about the easy access to stores and restaurants. Hope you find a workable solution - good luck!!
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Old 06-27-2014, 08:44 AM   #6
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Boy do I feel better not being alone. I have been feeling like a spoiled brat lately asking "BUUUT WHYYYYYY?"

My choice is to wake up each day and make the choices that will allow us to live within our means. Sometimes once you say it out loud the solutions feel more attainable.
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Old 06-27-2014, 08:58 AM   #7
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Sometimes people use shopping as a stress reducer so once you are retired you may not have that urge to shop .
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Needs vs. Wants
Old 06-27-2014, 08:59 AM   #8
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Needs vs. Wants

Might try either walking across the country with just a backpack or spending a month or so volunteering to help others (maybe in 3rd world country).

Otherwise I do not see a problem buying what you want if that is what want to do. But it sounds like maybe it is not what you want so now I am confused.
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:13 AM   #9
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Sometimes people use shopping as a stress reducer so once you are retired you may not have that urge to shop .
So true, I hadn't worded it like that in my head....Thank you
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:16 AM   #10
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Otherwise I do not see a problem buying what you want if that is what want to do. But it sounds like maybe it is not what you want so now I am confused.
It really isn't what I want. You could say I have a very addictive personality. shopping, eating, drinking. It is about controlling the urge so that we can live the life we deserve in retirement. Coming up with healthy habits instead of destructive ones.
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:22 AM   #11
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Needs vs. Wants

Figure out the minimum amount for a set "retail therapy" allowance paid to you each month. It could be $50 a month or $2000 a month--whatever you guys agree upon.

The tough-love approach to retraining your pleasure centers is to switch to cash. Your brain understands those pieces of paper are power and ability to buy things, and loves having money available to spend. This switch makes it clear to your brain you are SPENDING MONEY (reducing your available power) to get the brief pleasure of buying a donut gadget. It takes the need/want conversation up a notch. "If I spend $50 here, I will only have $375 to last the month--and that other thing I want is $425. Do I really want to spend $50? Or would I be just as happy tomorrow if I spend $5 on a coffee drink? Or not spend at all?"

Changing to cash also limits impulse spending. If you only have $40 in your wallet, you cannot impulse buy the $50 gadget.

Changing to cash also kills online purchasing. You have to make a special trip to a local store to acquire a specific item. If that's too severe, make it a rule you can only buy an online item if it has been through the waiting process. It has to wait at least one month for every $100 the item is (minimum of one month). I used to bookmark/wishlist items and would review the bookmarks every month. I would feel smug and proud about how many items I no longer wanted and weed them off the list. If an item stayed on the list long enough, I would have the "where would this live"/clutter conversation. If it passed that test, I would imagine my cash balance reduced by that amount. Would having the item make me happier or more productive or healthier or safer than having that $300 (or whatever) available?

You can retrain your spending habits and gain as much pleasure from conscious and planned purchasing as you do from impulse purchasing.

Good luck.

(edited for touchscreen-induced typos)
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:33 AM   #12
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I love this thread and thank the OP.

We are getting close to pulling the plug. Maybe a little OMY going on but it is so I can feel comfortable having enough to have a slush fund for DW and myself.

It might be therapy, not sure but I have always enjoyed the hunt. Like buying a new camera and doing hours and hours of research. I think the ky is that it is within your means and it is something you will use and enjoy.
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:44 AM   #13
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Go binge shopping at thrift stores and Goodwill. Prices are amazingly cheap, good quality stuff, and you get your fix for the purchase. When you walk out the door, go to the back of the place, and give it back to them as a donation, so you dont end up cluttering the home up with unnecessary junk.
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:52 AM   #14
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You are trying to fill a hole with "things". Figure out what is missing and address that. There are people that specialize in figuring out this stuff.
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:52 AM   #15
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Nice to see posts from people in the same boat. Ditto addictive personality, and ditto I absolutely relish the hunt. That's definitely the best part. Love the suggestion to wait a month per $100 value - terrific idea!!! I can usually talk myself out of the purchase if I just give myself a cool down period. One of my issues is that DH eggs me on. He's very much an instant gratification junkie.
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:00 AM   #16
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Sometimes people use shopping as a stress reducer so once you are retired you may not have that urge to shop .
+1

I noticed this in myself. Plus now that I'm home a lot more of the time, I can better see the accumulated results of my former splurges. I have cut way back on acquiring more stuff. In fact, I've been doing purges...and seeing how much stuff I am getting rid of that I really used very little (or not at all ) has definitely impacted my desire to spulrge on more 'stuff'. I now prefer to spend on travel and 'experiences'.

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Old 06-27-2014, 10:04 AM   #17
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One defining characteristic of people that FIRE is our ability to defer consumption and save. It could be considered a critical success factor. As others have pointed out, uncontrolled spending can come between people and break up marriages. You ask for advice but you seems to know what to do:

This helps

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgfgrover15 View Post

Any advice on the transition? Other than pull up my big girl panties and control myself.
This is the way out and is especially important if your genes are not cooperative.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgfgrover15 View Post
Coming up with healthy habits instead of destructive ones.
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:05 AM   #18
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Love the suggestion to wait a month per $100 value - terrific idea!!!
That is an awesome suggestion.

Sometimes people IRL look at me like I am nuts when I mention online forums I lurk on or regularly post on, but, it helps me so much to ask a question and get ideas and advice from folks who have BTDT.

I cannot even tell how much better I really feel knowing I am not alone. I thought most RE folks had so much more self control than me. And naturally know how to be frugal and budget conscious.
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:06 AM   #19
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:06 AM   #20
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You ask for advice but you seems to know what to do:

This helps



This is the way out and is especially important if your genes are not cooperative.
Yes I do "know" what to do. Just like when I need to lose a little weight. Knowing and putting it into action is when my brain clicks out and my emotions take over.
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