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It is a long hard struggle...
Old 09-24-2012, 08:46 PM   #1
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It is a long hard struggle...

After 15 yrs of DCA and socking away 15-25% a year....it is tough. I have to admit that I thought it would get eventually easier as time goes by. It is amazing how human nature is to spend everything you make even as hard as you try not to. Thank goodness for forced savings thru payroll deductions.

Wife and I constantly fight the monthly budget, cuss and discuss the vacations we are not taking, the cars we are not driving, the and the crappy furniture we still have! I guess I am just venting - what kind of pep talk do you give yourself to stay the course?

For these first years, the excitement of tracking expenses and seeing $$$ grow seemed to be enough to keep motivated. Now it is just a massive test in delayed gratification.

(By the way, I am about to turn 40....hope I am still allowed to post here!.... I feel more younger than older!)
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:11 PM   #2
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If you really feel deprived, then perhaps you are overdoing it. LBYM for me is a delicate balance of living for today while simultaneously saving for tomorrow.

While I am now RE'd and happy about it, along the way I had to continually remind myself of a great-uncle who saved like the dickens for his "retirement" and dropped dead of a heart attack six months later and never really got a chance to enjoy the fruits of his labor and savings.

Like just about everything in life, everything in moderation, nothing in excess.

That said, DW still occasionally accuses me of being a cheap SOB. While it is easy to think now that I am FI, I probably could have spent more on things that we would enjoy and would make our lives easier during our accumulation phase, but hindsight is 20/20.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:43 PM   #3
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I agree with Pb4uski. It seems to me that you might be trying too hard. You can't be "one dimensional" or you could feel like you do. I saved a lot but I always had enough $$ on hand to spend on the important things like good transportation or even nice furniture if it would make your wife happy and your daily lives more pleasurable.
Bottom line is that you need to save for the future but you still have to live for the day and make sure that you treat yourself and your family to some fun times along the way. You don't want your savings to be a great hardship for you that affects your mood all the time. It should just be something that happens in the background that you don't notice (much).

Good luck and keep the faith. There is a future beyond work! It's all good.
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:29 PM   #4
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I'd pick your savings rate (is it 15% or 25%?) and then spend the rest. We decided that bonuses (usually small) were spent, stock options (usually bigger) were saved for retirement. My goal was simply to provide a retirement that was early enough and matched the same lifestyle we had before retirement. It does get easier after you've had time to save for the furniture you want and can pay cash for a new car. Just for the last few years we decided to freeze the budget except for CPI adjustments and everything else went towards retirement.
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:43 PM   #5
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I have furniture in my house that goes back to my childhood and further. The oldest thing I have is a 140 year old church pew. Next oldest is my kitchen table at about 120. Still have my moms toy chest which I and my children used. My cars are both four years old.
I still have tools that I bought in High School.

Deferred gratification I guess. I am now retired and every day I wake up that I don't have to go into corp hell is a good day.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:07 PM   #6
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Weird. Our nature is to not spend everything. In fact it is to spend as little as possible and still have a good quality of life. Have you decided what really is important to you?

We tended to spend money on a nice neighborhood (house now paid off). Good cars that last a long time. My Lexus is 13 yrs old (paid cash for it). My spouse is happy with his 2001 corvette that he paid cash for. I am happy with our 1990s vintage RV which I paid cash for. Vacations to interesting places have been taken but they were no hardship. We went in the middle of the price range (balcony cabin on a cruise for example, ocean view when sailing around the world). My furniture is a mix of good quality wood I got at garage sales right out of college and nice leather pieces that were a good price and have lasted a long time. It is comfortable and makes me happy.

Nothing that is really important to me is beyond my grasp. Is that new furniture so important that it is worth being miserable over? Are your cars unsafe? You need to live in a way that makes you happy. If your happier being in debt and/or constantly on the edge of a financial cliff then maybe you weren't meant to be wealthy. Just something to think about.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:15 PM   #7
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Weird. Our nature is to not spend everything. In fact it is to spend as little as possible and still have a good quality of life. Have you decided what really is important to you?

We tended to spend money on a nice neighborhood (house now paid off). Good cars that last a long time. My Lexus is 13 yrs old (paid cash for it). My spouse is happy with his 2001 corvette that he paid cash for. I am happy with our 1990s vintage RV which I paid cash for. Vacations to interesting places have been taken but they were no hardship. We went in the middle of the price range (balcony cabin on a cruise for example, ocean view when sailing around the world). My furniture is a mix of good quality wood I got at garage sales right out of college and nice leather pieces that were a good price and have lasted a long time. It is comfortable and makes me happy.

Nothing that is really important to me is beyond my grasp. Is that new furniture so important that it is worth being miserable over? Are your cars unsafe? You need to live in a way that makes you happy. If your happier being in debt and/or constantly on the edge of a financial cliff then maybe you weren't meant to be wealthy. Just something to think about.
Yes, are your building wealth or renting a lifestyle? Definitely something to think about. Most board members here are on board with this.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:16 PM   #8
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We have almost entirely inherited furniture and art work from several different relatives' estates. I'm sure a designer would hate it, but it's eclectic and each carries a memory. However, sometimes I do wish for some brand new items. I guess we're just too LBYM to replace something functional with something new.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:18 PM   #9
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My artwork consists of pictures of family, kids, grandkids ect. Guess we are not very artistic.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:29 PM   #10
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My artwork consists of pictures of family, kids, grandkids ect. Guess we are not very artistic.
Those are the most treasured kind!

We have art work because my dad, my brother and sister-in-law were/are artists for a living. I inherited lots from my Dad's estate.
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:40 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ally
We have almost entirely inherited furniture and art work from several different relatives' estates. I'm sure a designer would hate it, but it's eclectic and each carries a memory. However, sometimes I do wish for some brand new items. I guess we're just too LBYM to replace something functional with something new.
A friend called it "Early Dead Relative Style". That's what I have - there is a story attached to each piece. I like it and I don't care if it matches. It's comfortable and comforting.
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Old 09-25-2012, 01:09 AM   #12
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Weird. Our nature is to not spend everything. In fact it is to spend as little as possible and still have a good quality of life. Have you decided what really is important to you?
Mine too.

We were saving more than 50% of our income prior to DW going part time. While I may have liked the looks of the cars and collectables that some of my contemporaries have accumulated, I have never felt deprived by not having them.

Financial independence and security is far more important to us than whatever pleasure I would get from owning a car (or just about any other consumer item).
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:17 AM   #13
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This is the way I feel also. Not spending everything I earn is just the way I am. It does not feel like a sacrifice. And I still can afford to pay for many trips abroad every year.
Quote:
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Weird. Our nature is to not spend everything. In fact it is to spend as little as possible and still have a good quality of life. Have you decided what really is important to you?
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Old 09-25-2012, 06:11 AM   #14
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Not much I can add, since I'm still in the early years that you found to be easy. I see every dollar saved as really "purchasing" financial security and freedom, as others have put it. That's worth more to me and my wife than a nicer car.

Just wondering: what does your bigger financial picture look like? I ask because many people here save up to 50% of their household income, so on the surface 15-25% doesn't sound like it should be a struggle, but I realize that it could be in certain situations... earn a median income, have a non-working spouse, several kids at home, etc. If that's the case then you could be living quite modestly, and your savings rate is a real achievement.

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Old 09-25-2012, 07:06 AM   #15
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This is not a suggestion. It is just the way it worked out for me. First I chose frugal parents who always paid themselves before the bills. I was taught the difference between need and want, the benefits of delayed gratification, and learned to fix things that were broken instead of throwing away. Then I followed their example. It was difficult at first with a low paying job (this continued until retirement) and a spouse that wasn't of the same mindset (this didn't). She left and I picked a more compatible one. We have never argued over money in 25 years . We bought a small concrete block "fixer-upper house a couple of blocks from the beach in Florida and made extra payments on the principal until it was paid off. Then we maxed out both 403b and Roth IRAs. We bought good used cars, took care of them, and drove them until it wasn't worth repairing anymore. Vacations were camping while we traveled. We prefer the quality and cleanliness of our own cooking. Continued with low paying jobs until we retired (she last year - me 3 weeks ago).
We are still frugal but can now afford most anything that we really want. We recently landscaped the back yard complete with a large custom pergola (ready for the new hot tub), and raised bed vegetable garden, we each bought a new car to see us through retirement and are taking a Mediterranean cruise in a few weeks (still frugal since we have bottom deck inside cabin - we only sleep there anyway) with plans for more cruises to Alaska, Great Britain, Iceland, etc. and land tours in Europe. Surf fishing is at the end of the street. The kayaks can be tossed in her truck to take us to nearby saltmarshes and river. Military base with commisary, exchange, medical facilities, and an olympic pool 2-3 miles away (wife is retired 23 year reservist). My wife plays tennis 3-4 times a week and I am back in college studying sculpture and ceramics. Plans are in the works for a solo motorcyle trip in the Fall.
Life is good and the frugal lifestyle paid off.

Cheers!
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:59 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTheRadar
Wife and I constantly fight the monthly budget, cuss and discuss the vacations we are not taking, the cars we are not driving, the and the crappy furniture we still have!

For these first years, the excitement of tracking expenses and seeing $$$ grow seemed to be enough to keep motivated. Now it is just a massive test in delayed gratification.
Unusual. Based on the many discussions that I have read here over the years, most people on this board don't seem to feel deprived. I certainly don't.

Maybe your difficulty is that you are using a budget, rather than allocating a certain amount or percentage to savings and not sweating the details of how the balance is spent.
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:11 AM   #17
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Bottom line...it's all just "Stuff":

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Old 09-25-2012, 08:17 AM   #18
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Sounds as if you just have one goal in mind. Might help to take a few long weekends so that you can practice retirement.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:06 AM   #19
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The hardest part for me right now about saving is the negative real return on anything that is "safe". It is very hard to forgoe the nice things and put your money in a CD that is earning -1% real rate. I still manage to save (a lot), but it is hard to stomach these rates and hard to stop myself from putting everything into riskier investments such as the stock market or junk bonds.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:56 AM   #20
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Some thoughts:
Do you have a goal to save for?
Is your DW on the same page with you and the goal?
Do you share and celebrate the small success along the way, like important milestones?
Do you allocate a defined portion of your income for fun? Do you + DW agree about what that fun is?
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