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Old 02-22-2008, 05:09 AM   #61
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LOL, W2R, I see myself here, love your last line. I allowed myself $3,000.00 to blow recently, but didn't exhaust myself at the mall, just went on-line: I gained a long-awaited laptop, digital camera and printer, all compatible, an e-book with compatible light and enough memory cards and batteries to last five years. Got manuals for the laptop with the credit card rewards certificates. I'm not as precise at bookkeeping as you are but I think I still have $200 left over.
Hey Cuppa... that close enough in in my book.... I'd take the 'change' and get me a nice bottle of JW Blue and some pate and cavier and put a mark in the win column.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:32 AM   #62
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Hey Cuppa... that close enough in in my book.... I'd take the 'change' and get me a nice bottle of JW Blue and some pate and cavier and put a mark in the win column.
I'll drink to that. I'd like to have you and Marquette as my personal shoppers! Marquette to remind me to dream bigger and you for celebration ideas. It's both reluctant shopper joins the Digital Age and a new stage of R planning. Cheers!
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:13 AM   #63
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That is the approach we took. Bear in mind, this is coming from me after an excruciatingly hard day and a lot of strong beer, but:

TANSTAAFL. Either you scrimp a lot while you are young and then slack off a bit, or you smooth things out and retire later. If you are married and have kids, the former choice makes paying for the kids easier, but it runs the risk of depriving you of doing all the frivolous things you won't have time for after the kids arrive (then again, if you are working and going to grad school at night and pursuing professional designations on the side like we were, you will think that having an hour of free time is a fantastic, priceless luxury). If you choose the latter, it makes things a little dicier later on, but maybe you get to enjoy life some more.

But always remember that you could be hit by a bus tomorrow, and all your plans for the future could be silly/worthless/foolish.
Ever notice how good HOMEMADE beer makes one so cogent??
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Old 02-22-2008, 12:38 PM   #64
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When trying to answer this question for myself, I ask:
What would this outlay gain me if invested in my FIRE account?

So, $10,000 put into an investment account and withdrawn at 4% a year is --- $400/year. In perpetuity.

Okay, that doesn't sound like a lot, but it pays my phone bills every month for the rest of my life.

Since one of our goals is to have our basic living expenses covered with passive income, that $10,000 suddenly becomes pretty important to me. So then I sit down and balance the potential generated income against the $10,000 outlay now. And sometimes I take that trip, but sometimes I bank the cash.

I tend to spend the money if:
1. It gives us time with friends and family (many of whom are aging -- we've missed some opportunities to visit folks that we've later regretted sorely).

2. It costs us money NOT to buy it. (For example, we always have money for bulk food purchases, because we cook so much from scratch and this lessens our tendency to "go out."

3. The long-term benefit will outweigh the potential income generated. (For example, owning my home is worth a lot to me, so spending money on our down payment / fixing up our home is something we budget for and do).

Good luck deciding!
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Old 02-22-2008, 03:04 PM   #65
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Short answer:

Set up automatic deductions to pay yourself first. Until it hurts. Then back off some. We saved over 20% (of gross, including match) a couple years ago (I'm 30 now). Now, we're down to around 15% of gross, as a result of not saving all of our pay raises.

I always think of adding more to retirement savings accounts, but, I figure we save enough, and I'd rather go on a fishing trip or something. Ahh, and then the car breaks down, or whatever. Time to replenish the emergency fund.

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Old 02-24-2008, 04:45 PM   #66
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Monday I went out with the firm intention of blowing the whole thing. I shopped for eight hours, until I was exhausted and my car was full. I bought things I have wanted for 40 years, and things that just appealed to me on an impulse. I bought clothes, lots of pillows just "because", a spice rack, baskets, a new doormat, and basically everything under the sun. Total bill: $287, so I still have $1112 left. I think I will give up and slink off to invest it, instead. How embarrassing. Until now I always thought there was so much I would buy, if I just had the money.
W2R, that's hilarious! You really must work harder at spending money!



When I came into a $1m (almost) inheritance, the only splurging I did was to upgrade my hotel room to the concierge floor the next time I went on a business trip. I probably spent more than you did
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Old 02-26-2008, 03:38 PM   #67
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Everytime we spend a large amount of money on a single item, we ask ourselves whether the purchase is worth delaying ER for. We just spend on what matters to US and diligently save the rest. It's a question of balance, choices and priorities.
My DH and I are not impulse buyers of anything. However, we do now and again purchase big ticket items (vacations, new car, etc.) after much consideration. Last year we bought a second home, which we figured could delay ER by a couple of years (from around 50 to 53 instead). However, having this place to get together with family and friends WHILE working toward RE was important to both of us. ER is 10 years away and we want to enjoy life now too, not just 10 years from now. I like your bottom line -- "ask yourself whether the purchase is worth delaying ER for". Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.

For us, we don't buy the little things so we can enjoy, and truly appreciate, the big things when we really want them.
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Old 02-26-2008, 05:28 PM   #68
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Beware the gazingus pin!

Good post, Goodwife.

Here's a suggestion: things are rarely worth postponing ER for, while experiences might be.

For example, I might be willing to push back retirement a few months if it meant that I can take the trip-of-a-lifetime African safari (or wherever); but I wouldn't delay 10 minutes just to have a fancier car, house, or set of clothes.

Of course, some things facilitate desireable experiences. Your second home will enable family get-togethers. A motor home or small airplane might be good for travel. Owning cross-country skiis might be cheaper than renting. A stereo system can stimulate entertainment and relaxation. It's easy to think of other examples.

But purchasing chattels or real property mostly for 'pride of ownership' seems to make little sense. Like the saying goes, you can't take it with you. Also, there are all the hassles of ownership to contend with, too (e.g., cost of insurance, storage and maintenance; 'clutter' factor; guilt regarding environmental footprint; etc.).
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Old 02-27-2008, 11:15 PM   #69
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I've always believed that if you aren't saving at least 10-15% for the future, you're living beyond your means. I think the math is there to back that up.

I'm willing to trade 'crap I don't need' now for 'comfortable life later'. Its a matter of perspective. I don't feel that I'm suffering for it, except when family / friends comment on all the stuff that people in my income bracket have that I don't have.

The one area where I may be disappointing my wife is the lack of travel, although that stems more from our common lack of planning skills than a money issue.

I find I get a lot more joy out of watching assets grow, knowing I will have many options in my 40s and 50s that most folks will not. I still have my indulgences, I just realize that money is a limited resource and I have to prioritize my wants/needs... In some ways I've countered my tendency to invest 40-50% of our gross income with a flexible job that is low stress - I don't feel that I'm on the corporate treadmill and slaving to get off it.. I know I can slash my investing rate in half at anytime and still be way ahead of where I thought I would have been at this age.

What I've noticed with my friends who aren't saving 10% (and some are saving negative amounts) is that they really feel the need to 'treat' the kids, vacations, buy nice cars. I shudder to think at what that string of cars, purchased new and dealer financed every 3-5 years will cost them in the long run. Makes my frugal, unexciting, nonsexy 1997 Saturn look a little better. Of course, these are the same people that had to upgrade to HDTV (early) and buy the store extended warranty as well...

My advice to the OP is to find that balance where you don't feel deprivation (or at least unhealthy deprivation that leads to destructive spending behavior) and focus on what you really value.. which doesn't always involve money (or things).

Value people and not things,
Use things and not people
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Old 02-29-2008, 11:29 PM   #70
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Ever notice how good HOMEMADE beer makes one so cogent??
He's done with his CFA, so he can afford to fry his brain cells. I have save mine for pension accounting. Oh, the fun. It's no wonder that companies started to favor defined contribution plans because the mass suicides of pension accountants meant no one is able tell what is what. I really could use a nice glass of whiskey.
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Old 03-01-2008, 09:50 AM   #71
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Actuaries drink? Perish the thought! I thought it was the golf that led to the suicides in pension accounting. No wait, I remember, those are the hedge fund auditors. No sense of humor there, at all!
I'm on the side of the fence that says pay for experiences, not stuff. The trip to Mongolia will cost more than both of the cars we drive and the pickup truck combined!
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Old 03-01-2008, 04:59 PM   #72
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I took the monk route.

I spent nothing for 10+ years working unless I had too. Lived a life of sacrifice.

Retired at 30. Very happy I did so.

Along the way I realized that all that "stuff" you would be blowing money on is worthless anyway.

Save now, goof off later. be disciplined. And yes I travel and goof off now. If you have to justify a purchase you probably do not need it anyway.
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Old 03-01-2008, 05:23 PM   #73
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I took the monk route.

I spent nothing for 10+ years working unless I had too. Lived a life of sacrifice.

Retired at 30. Very happy I did so.

Along the way I realized that all that "stuff" you would be blowing money on is worthless anyway.

Save now, goof off later. be disciplined. And yes I travel and goof off now. If you have to justify a purchase you probably do not need it anyway.
I wish I had come to that conclusion before I was 50.
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:26 AM   #74
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Yep - - I, too, am an amateur at blowing money and have much to learn!
Hilarious to hear these stories. I started a stash many years ago, just squirelling away spare dollars with the intent I'd blow it on something frivolous one day. The stash is now over $6,000 and I've consciously tried to bring myself to spend it several times and blown $100 here or there, but it still builds far faster than I spend from it. It's a (blissful) disease, I've been incredibly fortunate in this life and I just don't want for anything...
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Old 03-02-2008, 01:26 PM   #75
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We're going to try to spend a lot of money on our upcoming trip to Hawaii, but being down $85,000 from the peak of the stock market is going to make that a little bit harder.

I suggested to DW that we bring the plastic lei from the dollar store, but no, she wants a real one.
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Old 03-02-2008, 01:36 PM   #76
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Amazon.com makes it easier for me to spend money!

I have been planing to upgrade our TV room for three years. I have known for almost that long exactly what I was going to purchase. I would go to the store, look at the stuff, and walk out. I just could not bring myself to actually buying the stuff. It was different on the computer. Soooooo easy just to push the button on amazon! They already have my credit card data and you just check out. Makes it to easy!
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Old 03-02-2008, 01:48 PM   #77
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Old 03-02-2008, 05:14 PM   #78
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Hilarious to hear these stories. I started a stash many years ago, just squirelling away spare dollars with the intent I'd blow it on something frivolous one day. The stash is now over $6,000 and I've consciously tried to bring myself to spend it several times and blown $100 here or there, but it still builds far faster than I spend from it. It's a (blissful) disease, I've been incredibly fortunate in this life and I just don't want for anything...


I'll send you my address. Oh, and you'd still have $500 left over. I'll get together a list for that remainder if you want.
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Old 03-10-2008, 09:22 PM   #79
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Here's a suggestion: things are rarely worth postponing ER for, while experiences might be.

For example, I might be willing to push back retirement a few months if it meant that I can take the trip-of-a-lifetime African safari (or wherever); but I wouldn't delay 10 minutes just to have a fancier car, house, or set of clothes.
Apparently even the very rich are starting to value experiences over things. As noted in The Wealth Report - WSJ.com : Predictions for the Rich in 2008, "'experience' (is) the new luxury, since the rich already have so many cars and boats and planes that they’re looking for more-meaningful moments in life. A Bentley just sits in the driveway; memories of you and your family trekking with penguins at the South Pole last a lifetime."
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Old 03-12-2008, 04:41 PM   #80
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I pretty much buy whatever I want, within reason. I have 18% of my salary going into my TSP, each year of work is 1% added to my pension. I also have my National Guard pension locked in and it's COLA'd until I start drawing it.

So, whatever $ is left over I buy whatever I want. I have several hobbies and try new things often. I don't go overboard etc, but don't deprive myself. Well, I am waiting until my current TV dies before buying a new thin screen HDTV.
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