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Pent up demand from Saving "Too Much" ??
Old 10-01-2013, 01:55 PM   #1
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Pent up demand from Saving "Too Much" ??

I'm 42, married, 2 kids 7 and 11. No debt at all. House has been paid off for 6 months. I make 65-70k a year, wife makes about 5-10k working parttime. We save 10% + our (old) house payment of $800 since we no longer have that obligation.

I hate debt and I had this thing about paying off the house. At the time my job wasn't going the best (new management) so I figured if I had the house paid for I could kind of tell them ....to put it nicely... buzz off if I needed to.

Now, my job is better. Thing is, I basically bought myself nothing in the past 10 years so I could take the money and get the house paid for. We did stuff almost every weekend, but nothing that cost much. We drove old cars, wore thrift store clothes. All the extra money I had I paid on the house and I sold off my collectibles I've accumulated prior to that (baseball cards, coins, a couple cars I restored etc). Once I remember joking we could leave our doors unlocked because nothing in the house is worth stealing. It was kind of a good feeling. That's all good except...

I kind of "want" stuff again. Nothing too big. Maybe $5000 worth of some of the things I sold to pay for the house. Thing is, I wonder if that's the "right" thing to do? And I wonder if I get those things back, will it feed the "wanting" more and more?

Anyone ever go through this??
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Old 10-01-2013, 01:59 PM   #2
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We bought some stuff after getting the house paid off, but it was smaller things, like a couple of chairs for the porch. But I guess the lbym kinda gets to be habit, where you know what else the money will buy (ie freedom) so you think...should I spend this or save it for just about every purchase.

Admittedly, we spend freely on the stuff we really want and value, but still try very hard not to waste money on stuff that isn't high value for us. For us this is experiences and not physical "stuff" for the most part.

If some of the stuff you sold to pay off the house is stuff you value really highly, then you will know it and consider those things to be worth the spending.
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Old 10-01-2013, 02:05 PM   #3
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Are you concerned you won't be able to control your "wants" if they get out of control in your eyes?
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Old 10-01-2013, 02:09 PM   #4
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Are you concerned you won't be able to control your "wants" if they get out of control in your eyes?
Not really. It's more I feel guilty spending the money maybe? Sometimes I have the "I don't NEED this, so I shouldn't have this" thought.
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Old 10-01-2013, 02:12 PM   #5
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What does your wife say about it? Is it in the budget to buy something nice for yourself (sounds like it is)? I guess you can see how it feels after you've acquired it. Maybe you can even return it if it doesn't feel good to keep it.

I have feelings of not being financially secure sometimes, yet we are approaching a hefty milestone in the next year. I know my feelings stem from other things, not from actually being financially insecure, but I recognize that. Not quite sure what to do about it yet! Maybe you're in this boat? Guilt stemming from something else?
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Old 10-01-2013, 02:22 PM   #6
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What does your wife say about it? Is it in the budget to buy something nice for yourself (sounds like it is)? I guess you can see how it feels after you've acquired it. Maybe you can even return it if it doesn't feel good to keep it.

I have feelings of not being financially secure sometimes, yet we are approaching a hefty milestone in the next year. I know my feelings stem from other things, not from actually being financially insecure, but I recognize that. Not quite sure what to do about it yet! Maybe you're in this boat? Guilt stemming from something else?
I have purchased things when we were just about done paying off the hosue and I resold them. I remember thinking 'why am I doing this? I'd not like I can't afford it.'

As far as guilt, I rember my first real job at 16 I had to drive 25 miles to work one way. I worked 6 days a week, 8-12 hours a day. My folks gave me an old car to use but the radio didn't work too well. So, towards the end of summer I bought a new radio for $55. It was the only money I spent all summer. Boy they yelled and yelled at me for that. I mean, it was a want, but also a need you know?

Reading this back, I'm wondering if there's a lot more to all this? And maybe I'm just screwed up?
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Old 10-01-2013, 02:32 PM   #7
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I think you're on to something there (no, not the screwed up part!). Having been torn a new one as a teen for a new $55 radio for your 50 mile a day commute by your parents - that probably scarred you a little bit. Planted that guilty feeling or bad feeling for spending or squelched your desire to do anything for yourself. Just a long shot!

Sometimes with purchases, I just sit on the idea for a few weeks. At first the urge might be strong, like I have to keep looking at it online. Then after a while I lose interest and then before I know it, I'm already living just fine without the purchase. So that is another method - sit on it for a while.

I lived in an uncertain and "walking on eggshells" type of home growing up. I later learned that children in those environments are always waiting for the "other shoe to drop." I know I do. My husband and I have over $700k NW and will be hitting $1M in retirement in the near future. We're 37 and 35. yet, I don't feel secure enough. So I'm going to work on getting a will and living will set up. Maybe that will ease me. I know where it stems, just quite not sure what to do about it.
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Old 10-01-2013, 02:34 PM   #8
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You're in a good spot in life. Completely debt free, including the house. I would have no problem rewarding myself or family if I was in that situation. Especially as long as I was saving for retirement.
You don't know what tomorrow brings, if you'll even have a tomorrow, you deserve to enjoy it a bit right now.
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Old 10-01-2013, 02:49 PM   #9
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Make the budget, figure out what you need to save for retirement, then you can spend the rest.

I'd have a big problem with buying back something like a collectible that I had sold, if I had to pay more. That doesn't save anything. But something that you've been delaying would be appropriate.
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Old 10-01-2013, 03:04 PM   #10
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When Mr. A. and I got married, we both had been living very frugally (I've posted elsewhere about his terrible old car, as well as how I "pared the cheese" very close for years, so I could escape apartment living and buy a little house for myself).

We went a little wild the first few years, bringing our wardrobes up to date, going to shows, restaurants, etc. It really was pent-up demand, combined with newlywed nest-building. We bought a little sports car, sold our house, bought a fancier one, and decorated/landscaped it.

Then we decided we'd indulged ourselves enough, and it was time to get back to our frugal ways. I can't really explain it, except that it was like indulging yourself with a fancy meal and rich dessert, and then going back to your usual oatmeal for breakfast. We still like to talk about those free-spending years, and are not sorry we had them.


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Old 10-01-2013, 03:29 PM   #11
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CONGRATS!!! Nothing wrong with treating yourself (& family) after a big accomplishment like paying off the mortgage. Spending a bit to reward achievement is not like an alcoholic falling off the wagon. I've even seen a number of local church congregations which held "mortgage burning" parties to celebrate. It doesn't hurt to loosen up periodically & live a little- within reason of course.
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Old 10-01-2013, 03:41 PM   #12
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Make the budget, figure out what you need to save for retirement, then you can spend the rest.
I think the key is to begin with the end in mind. Have a retirement plan in place, and a budget that supports it. Then spend freely and without guilt based on your budget.

We have our guilty pleasures built into the budget for each year. That way I don't agonize over each and every optional purchase all the year through.
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Old 10-01-2013, 03:49 PM   #13
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I kind of "want" stuff again. Nothing too big. Maybe $5000 worth of some of the things I sold to pay for the house. Thing is, I wonder if that's the "right" thing to do? And I wonder if I get those things back, will it feed the "wanting" more and more?

Anyone ever go through this??
Well, one could call Suzie Orman and ask "Can I afford this?". (That's a joke aimed at the forum members in general, not you. She's not highly regarded if you haven't seen those threads.)

Seriously, I can relate. I grew up in a "walking on eggshells" environment with an alcoholic father. We bought our cars at a junkyard and did the needed repairs to get them roadworthy again. A six-pack of Coke and a box of Ritz crackers was a rare treat. So I'm familiar with the "pent-up demand" feeling.

So I'd say as long as other responsibilities are met you're not doing yourself or your family any favors by depriving yourself for some unknown and undefined purpose simply because "that's the way I've always done it".

And it did take me a while to get there. In spite of knowing all that on a rational level, I still felt a twinge of guilt when I dropped $12k on a motorcycle five years ago.
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Old 10-01-2013, 04:05 PM   #14
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I'm on a super-frugal, fairly painful course to pay off my mortgage in one year (Nov. 2014) which will make me debt free. I've been staying the course but chomping at the bit and already have a list of things I will buy--from the mundane (new undies and socks; a blender) to the altruistic (more charity giving; treating friends to dinner) to the splurge (beach vacation; pilates classes). Anticipation is keeping me going!
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Old 10-01-2013, 04:19 PM   #15
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Buying something you have wanted and anticipated for ages is wonderful and I think a life of LBYM needs to have these treats built into it. Otherwise it could get dull and you might feel deprived. The trick is not to get sucked into having those treats too often and to keep the cost within reasonable limits. For example, this summer I spent a few hundred dollars on new gadgets for my kitchen. As a result, I am getting far more enjoyment out of cooking at home (as well as eating better and saving money). OTOH, I am not buying a boat anytime soon!
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Old 10-01-2013, 04:37 PM   #16
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Anyone ever go through this??

All the time.

Whether I'm thinking about and researching a new truck, a boat, maybe a couple of jet-skis or some dirt bikes.

Then a few days go by and I forget all about it.

Until the next time I start daydreaming again.

I think it really is the LBYM habits that become ingrained over time. I'm not sorry for it nor do I regret it because just going thru the motions of researching a purchase can often satisfy the urge to make the purchase itself.
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Old 10-01-2013, 04:38 PM   #17
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...... OTOH, I am not buying a boat anytime soon!
Me neither. I can't decide between horses and an airplane.
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:54 PM   #18
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I understand how you feel.
We are mortgage free and almost ready to pull the pin to be FIRE.
Once we are there DH and I have decided to have 5k each to "blow" on whatever we want.
We have done without for longer than a decade and will have retired at ages 38 and 41.
We both may not even spend it...that's how we feel now we can afford something; we don't want it anymore and enjoy the freedom of choosing not to buy it over the actual thrill of the purchase.
It's weird, but liberating.
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Old 10-02-2013, 03:36 AM   #19
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I can both emphasise and sympathise.

I'd suggest running the numbers and (assuming all is well) decide how much you can spend without putting a hole in your FIRE plans. Whatever you come up with, I'd suggest waiting at least 3-4 months - not only do you get the benefits of delayed gratification, but you may rethink the idea all together.

Also, there has been quite a lot written about money spent on experiences rather than things producing a better feel good factor.

Further thought - maybe spend the money on something that has at least some chance of holding its value if you want to resell it at some point in the future (e.g. old coins, stamps, antiques etc - whatever appeals to you).
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Old 10-02-2013, 07:27 AM   #20
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....I kind of "want" stuff again. Nothing too big. Maybe $5000 worth of some of the things I sold to pay for the house. Thing is, I wonder if that's the "right" thing to do? And I wonder if I get those things back, will it feed the "wanting" more and more?....
I've never really gone through this but I do have a "wish" list of things that would make life easier/better and I pick things off the list here and there.

If you're doing well I doubt that $5k one way or the other is going to derail your plans. I suggest that you make a list, prioritize things, buy the first thing, sleep in the list for a month and then revisit it and see if the next item on the list is still attractive. You deserve a splurge after how well you have done.

There is a delicate line between depriving oneself saving for a goal and prudently saving for a goal that I have struggled with for a long time.
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