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Are you afraid to touch your own money?
Old 04-16-2008, 11:25 AM   #1
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Are you afraid to touch your own money?

In February, my wife and I made our last car payment. We agreed to set up an automated transfer with our bank, so that each month, the old car payment is still taken out of our account, but moved to another (otherwise unused) account. The money will be our emergency fund, and travel fund. In March, the first payment was transferred.

Then we booked plane tickets home for a get-together with some friends this coming fall. This trip was planned, and we agreed that these kind of things are what this money fund is intended for.

The tickets worked out to be almost exactly equal to our first month's savings, taking us back down to 0 after just one month of transfers.

Now, I know this sounds silly, but I felt guilty. I felt like there was someone at the bank watching what I was doing, shaking their head and saying, "tsk, tsk, tsk, you've only made one payment so far and you're already pilfering your money." I used to feel the same way when I would get my line of credit down a bit, then have to use it again to pay off an unexpected credit card bill. I felt like these actions would come back to haunt me if I have to go to the bank for other business.

"Sure, Mr. Kombat, we can order you some new checks. Oooo... I see here you took money out of your account the very first month after you set up an automatic transfer. Better not do that again or we'll close that account until you learn to be more responsible."

Anyone else ever have this irrational fear that someone at the bank is watching your actions and judging you? Of course I know it's irrational, I'm just curious if I'm the only one to ever get this feeling .
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Old 04-16-2008, 12:18 PM   #2
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it's irrational
The first step to recovery is admitting that there is a problem. Sounds like you've done that! You're on your way!
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Old 04-16-2008, 12:33 PM   #3
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Well, they are watching, no? When I bought my laptop and stuff, Chase froze my credit card. I called to find out why; it was because I changed my habits, the old Cuppa was a cheapskate, they know that.
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Old 04-16-2008, 02:57 PM   #4
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I'm not afraid that the bank is watching, but I hate when I have to use my savings account for things instead of just extra money in my checking account.

For example, I want to do some remodeling in my house - nothing big, will cost about $3K. I was going to do it last month, but then my car needed $2K worth of repairs. So, I didn't. I can't do it this month, because I just made the final payment on my Alaska cruise this summer (travel is my splurge, but even then, we are camping for a week while on land - no hotel costs!).

I'll probably be able to do it in May (a 3-check month!)....

My savings account is really my emergency fund, but I'd rather treat it as a "car" fund, for the next time I need a car, so I don't want to spend it. None of these things are emergencies!
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Old 04-16-2008, 03:08 PM   #5
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I'll probably be able to do it in May (a 3-check month!)....
May is a 3-check month for me too! I'm hoping to put some of the money toward renovating my kitchen. I figure now is a good time since so many contractors are available!
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Old 04-16-2008, 03:10 PM   #6
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irrational fear that someone at the bank is watching
This sounds like a good psychological ploy to self-check your impulsive use of these funds. Spend what you want to spend as you have earned it, but never live beyond your means.
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:54 PM   #7
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Yes you are bordering on 'nutty'. ... but admitting it and wondering about it is the 1st step in your 'cure'.

IMO, we (forum members in general) need to give ourselves the permission to spend a coupla bucks on ourselves. As anal as most of us are, we won't overdo it. Look at it like an award for doing something good (like getting youself to or ready for FIRE).

My DW best friend just told her to lighten up and stop being so frugal and treat herself once in a while. I agreed. Years of habits ARE hard to break though.

Good luck and HEY give youself a break ... I'm OK, Your OK.
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Old 04-16-2008, 10:15 PM   #8
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Sounds like the confines of the accounts influence your thinking, sooo.. since I imagine most banks let you have multiple linked savings accounts, you could set up an interim travel/big-ticket-whatever acc't. at a certain amt./year .. let's call it the PRE-savings, which if it doesn't get spent or goes over a certain amt.. goes to the REAL savings which you then don't touch unless in case of emergency. Take a little slack from each side of the budget to bridge this buffer account.
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Old 04-17-2008, 03:43 AM   #9
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It is not the bank watching... it is gubmint. Think Patriot Act. Talk about a euphemism for the name of a bill. I suppose it is the only way to get something like that passed or the public would scream. They do look for money laundering, etc...

But I could care less what they think. I suspect the individual watching... if it happens, is doing so with envy. "How did they do it?" I wish I had saved!
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Old 04-17-2008, 06:14 AM   #10
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Trying to get over that "not spending your own money" syndrome. Hope I did not go overboard this month: Cable for Printer (to convert Parallel port to USB), New WiFi Router, new replacement Desk top computer (thanks CFB and Fat Wallet). Most spent on "toys" since last month (New Notebook Computer (thanks CFB?)) and new 1080i TV. Frankly, I was waiting for VISA to call me as these types of spending are not "normal" for me. I guess as long as I pay the "full boat" each month they could care less.
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Old 04-17-2008, 06:45 AM   #11
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I think there is a difference between "not spending yoir own money" syndrome and not having self control to save.

You said in part that this new account was an emergency fund, that implies you don't already have one. Where would the money for the trip come form if you were still paying off the car?

We started our serious savings plan years ago in much the same way, by continuing to make regular payments after a car was paid off for a future car purchase, we also put away a little every month for taxes. When it came time to pay taxes if the money was available from regular checking we didn't touch the fund. Over time the account grew large enough that we have never borrowed for a car again. When it grew bigger than we needed for emergencies and cars, we bought mutual funds. Then we started saving most of our raises instead of buying more stuff. We didn't deprive ourself of things we wanted, we just didn't allow our life style to increase as fast as our income. When we built a new house we built less than half what the bank was willing to fund. All this allowed me to retire at 58, not as early as some on this forum, but a lot earlier than most of my coworkers will ever do.

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Old 04-17-2008, 07:50 AM   #12
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Anyone else ever have this irrational fear that someone at the bank is watching your actions and judging you? Of course I know it's irrational, I'm just curious if I'm the only one to ever get this feeling .
As others have pointed out, it's not the BANK that is watching your actions and judging you, and that feeling is merely a reflection of your own ambivalence. It's you that is watching your actions and judging them, in other words. I think that firmly deciding on some specific goals that you really want to meet, might help.

I think it is totally acceptable to rationally decide to spend one month's car payment as a "good for you" reward from yourself to yourself. I did that too, when I paid off my house. Maybe if you figure out how much you will have saved by the end of the year, that will help you to feel better about it!
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Old 04-18-2008, 11:42 AM   #13
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I couldn't care less if the bank is watching or what my bank's paper pushers think. But I don't like using our savings either. Last week our A/C finally decided to "quit". So this week we paid $5700 for a new one, and although we had saved money for that purpose (because we knew it was just a matter of time), it was still hard to let go of the money.
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Old 04-18-2008, 12:02 PM   #14
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I couldn't care less if the bank is watching or what my bank's paper pushers think. But I don't like using our savings either. Last week our A/C finally decided to "quit". So this week we paid $5700 for a new one, and although we had saved money for that purpose (because we knew it was just a matter of time), it was still hard to let go of the money.
Ouch!! That kind of hit on savings would be pretty tough to take, I agree.
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Old 04-18-2008, 12:05 PM   #15
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So this week we paid $5700 for a new one, and although we had saved money for that purpose (because we knew it was just a matter of time), it was still hard to let go of the money
Yeah, that's understandable. But if the glass can be seen as half full, it's in that you didn't have to go into debt to replace it.

I've seen people trying to get out of debt and build an emergency fund get demoralized when they save a couple grand and then the car breaks down rather spectacularly for (say) a $1,200 repair bill. It's human nature, I know, but when I hear people I say that, I tell them: doesn't it feel good that you didn't have to whip out the plastic to pay for the repair because you didn't have the money for it?
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Old 04-19-2008, 01:06 PM   #16
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Yeah, that's understandable. But if the glass can be seen as half full, it's in that you didn't have to go into debt to replace it.

I've seen people trying to get out of debt and build an emergency fund get demoralized when they save a couple grand and then the car breaks down rather spectacularly for (say) a $1,200 repair bill. It's human nature, I know, but when I hear people I say that, I tell them: doesn't it feel good that you didn't have to whip out the plastic to pay for the repair because you didn't have the money for it?
Well it was hard to let go of the money because we had just finished replenishing our "home repair" fund after paying $12K cash for a new roof last year (following a hail storm) and we had hoped that the A/C unit would last a few more years. I am sure that once the "money pain" subsides we will enjoy our new A/C. Two years ago our old system broke down in Early July and we had to wait until the end of August to receive the replacement part. Living in a house with no A/C in the middle of the hot and muggy Alabama summer was at best very unpleasant if not downright unbearable at times. So I know it's money well spent, but still...
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Old 04-19-2008, 06:33 PM   #17
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I admit, I am guilty of this sometimes. I'd love to do some things to the house like update the kitchen with new appliances, get new blinds, etc. but I HATE knowing that in order to do so, we'd have to take the money out of our savings account. Yes, I know it's crazy, especially given our net worth for our age, but a big part of me likes to see the net worth grow month after month.

Every once in a while, I need a kick in the butt from my sister, who has NO trouble buying things for her house.
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Old 04-19-2008, 07:56 PM   #18
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I admit, I am guilty of this sometimes. I'd love to do some things to the house like update the kitchen with new appliances, get new blinds, etc. but I HATE knowing that in order to do so, we'd have to take the money out of our savings account. Yes, I know it's crazy, especially given our net worth for our age, but a big part of me likes to see the net worth grow month after month.

Every once in a while, I need a kick in the butt from my sister, who has NO trouble buying things for her house.
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Emotionally get my jollies being more of a cheap bastard than spending.

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Old 04-19-2008, 09:45 PM   #19
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Most times I am afraid to touch my own money, but since other people won't let me touch theirs.....

I save, figure and drive myself crazy trying to cut expenses...then I saw a car that had to be mine. Money was touched...big time.

Hormones are expensive.
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Old 04-19-2008, 11:12 PM   #20
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Most times I am afraid to touch my own money, but since other people won't let me touch theirs.....
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