Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 05-06-2020, 02:03 PM   #181
Moderator Emeritus
aja8888's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: The Woodlands, TX
Posts: 15,957
I was born into poverty in a Pennsylvania coal miner family. The mines closed shortly after I was born and Dad joined the Navy and fought in WWII as he could not find work in Pittston Pa. Mom and I lived with her mother in a "coal company" house for three years with no heat other than a kitchen coal stove and we had an outhouse for a toilet. Grandma raised chickens in the backyard. I guess I ate a lot of chicken early on!

When Dad returned from the war in 1946, we moved to Connecticut where Dad could find work. We got qualified to move into a "slum" housing project when my sister came along (needed two kids minimum to qualify for the housing project).

Dad was an alcoholic and Mom turned into one. They separated when I was 15 and Mom moved back to Pa to live with Grandma. She took my sister along. I lived with Dad in a rundown flat as we got booted from the housing project.

Frugal? We didn't have any money except to pay rent and buy food.

At 17 years old and just out of high school (1961), I left this mess behind and went to live on my own. I got a job, bought a $50 car, lived with a school friend, and made it pretty well until Uncle Sam called me for an extended vacation in South East Asia at age 20.

Going into the military was the best thing that had happened to me as I got to see and spend time with successful people ("successful" meaning many came from normal families and had resources to get educated, etc). I quickly realized that I needed a college education to get ahead. After the military, the G.I. Bill helped me go to college (paid me $222/month) and I worked part time to pay the rest. The rest was history and I earned an Mechanical Engineering degree and later an MBA in finance.

I guess I never had a spending problem (being non-frugal) when it came to what to do with money, since I/we never had much of it. So being frugal became ingrained into my lifestyle. Now, DW?....Well, let's not go there....LOL!
__________________
Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth...philosopher Mike Tyson
aja8888 is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 05-06-2020, 02:40 PM   #182
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,396
I think one's level of frugality is a combination of nature and nurture, to varying degrees. Some people are very frugal by nature, they were born that way and that is how they are no matter how they were raised. If someone is extremely frugal by nature it will not matter how they were raised...if they were raised with frugal parents they will cite their parents as their role model, whereas if they were raised by spendthrift parents they will say that they learned from their parents what NOT to do and that their parents' example taught them that they never wanted to struggle with money when they grew up.
JustCurious is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2020, 02:57 PM   #183
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: High Plains Non-Drifter
Posts: 314
Quote:
Originally Posted by aja8888 View Post
... At 17 years old and just out of high school (1961), I left this mess behind and went to live on my own. I got a job, bought a $50 car, lived with a school friend, and made it pretty well until Uncle Sam called me for an extended vacation in South East Asia at age 20 ....
Thank you for sharing your story, and thank you for your service.
WyomingLife is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2020, 03:25 PM   #184
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Marita40's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: St. Paul
Posts: 1,760
Like many of you I came from frugal parents. Family issues made money tight during my youth but my parents put money toward a nice house, good education, etc. We just didn't have much money for superfluous stuff. I was in graduate school "forever," then didn't make much in my early career, so I was very careful with money. These habits have endured, even though I feel like I'm spending far more now than I ever would have at one time--because I can. Things like expensive food or dining, designer clothes, etc have never appealed to me. I am conscious about never wasting money on "stuff."
Marita40 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2020, 03:56 PM   #185
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
38Chevy454's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 3,723
I grew up middle class, in typical suburbia. Dad had college education and good white collar engineering job, mom was the stay at home mother. We had good house and food. Not a lot extra, but I certainly was not one of the kids who got subsidized or free school lunch. I think what got me to being frugal is that I had to work for what i wanted. Even as a kid I mowed lawns, and did odd jobs for money to buy things I wanted. I worked full time since 15, with part-time during school time. Worked my way through college 25 hours/week during school and graduated debt free. All that gave me an appreciation for what it takes to get money. It leads to today when I still have the feeling of what it takes to make money, even though my investments make money without me doing any work. I do keep eye on expenses and budget, although not at the micro level. More macro level as long as it is in range, I'm good. Being good at math as an engineer, I can also keep tabs on money easily in my head.



Now I just do not like waste, and like to save money when I can. Just built into me. I do all my own house and car repairs that I can, which is quite a lot. I don't have to worry about money in the overall sense, as long as I stay within budget range. Eating out is hard for me to go to the expensive places, I like the more middle of the road or less places. I am more beer budget, even if I could afford top shelf liquor it just doesn't appeal to me. I tend to do excessive research on buying bigger purchase things to make sure I get what I want and pay a good price.


DW and I don't really splurge on things unless we really want that. I have old cars as my hobby, that can be bigger expenses. Although to be fair, I have not ever lost money on any older car; my labor may be minimum wage though! We have a big motorhome that many would call a luxury, but we enjoy it and taking trips. I have never been off north american continent, DW would like to do some European travel. I think it could be fun and suppose we will do more of that in future. I used to travel for work around US, just have not had much desire to fly since retirement.
__________________
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.
You can't spend yourself to prosperity.

Semi-Retired 7/1/16: working part-time (60%) for now [4/24/17 changed to 80%]
Retired Aug 2, 2017; age 53
38Chevy454 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2020, 10:15 AM   #186
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
kcowan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Pacific latitude 20/49
Posts: 7,592
Send a message via Skype™ to kcowan
We are living in forced frugality for over two months now. It feels fine! We order in gourmet meals and groceries. We save on the wine with those meals by drinking our stock from Costco or the grocery store.

We are thinking of doing the same thing after hibernation by inviting friends and having catered meals. Then everyone enjoys it. Maybe we will also order in salad and desert and BBQ the meat and potatoes.
__________________
For the fun of it...Keith
kcowan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2020, 10:35 AM   #187
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Sunset's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Spending the Kids Inheritance and living in Chicago
Posts: 13,878
Quote:
Originally Posted by intent View Post
I feel like the circumstances of my youth just sort of conspired to make me frugal. We lived in a rural location during my formative years and the main play activity for my friends and myself was to just go outside and play in nature. Build forts; play "baseball" using a broken branch as a bat, pine cones as the ball, and bushes or trees as the bases; football games with a nerf football; hiking and general exploring; that sort of thing. My parents gave me an allowance, but they didn't take me to the store very often, so I didn't really have much to spend it on, or much that I wanted (probably because I wasn't exposed to very many products). I had a happy childhood, so over time I think I came to the subconscious realization that I didn't need to buy things to have fun.

To this day, that seems to have stuck with me. I'm not necessarily actively frugal, I just don't feel a need to buy much.
You could have been my neighbor, as that was my formative years experiences, and I feel the same way, have everything I need.
__________________
Fortune favors the prepared mind. ... Louis Pasteur
Sunset is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2020, 10:52 AM   #188
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Sunset's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Spending the Kids Inheritance and living in Chicago
Posts: 13,878
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustCurious View Post
I think one's level of frugality is a combination of nature and nurture, to varying degrees. Some people are very frugal by nature, they were born that way and that is how they are no matter how they were raised. If someone is extremely frugal by nature it will not matter how they were raised...if they were raised with frugal parents they will cite their parents as their role model, whereas if they were raised by spendthrift parents they will say that they learned from their parents what NOT to do and that their parents' example taught them that they never wanted to struggle with money when they grew up.
It is complex.
I'm frugal but my sibling spends money as soon as it appears, or even before it appears.
I have lots of savings, my sibling has zero.

Yet we both grew up in the same house with the same parents, same stories and role models.
__________________
Fortune favors the prepared mind. ... Louis Pasteur
Sunset is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2020, 11:09 AM   #189
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: S. California
Posts: 665
Great question and subsequent thought process over here. So, pretty sure it's a combo of upbringing and adult experiences. I was raised in a household where there was money for the conspicuous bells and whistles (large home, nicer car), but no money for the little things (heat in winter, A/C in summer . . . SoCal in full disclosure, so the former not so important, but the later, yes!). I needed to provide for all of my own needs other than food and lodging (clothes, fun, school supplies, etc.) so I started babysitting at 13, working for local entities unofficially at age 15, and had two part time jobs as soon as I turned 16 and could work 'for real'. As a result, I grew up feeling squeezed even while, ironically, living in a very nice part of town.

As a young married adult, I spent like a crazy person because I had no comprehension of budgeting. Then around age 30, I read the classic frugal tome Your Money Or Your Life. And what an 'aha' moment for me that book was. Purchases and subsequent upkeep costs = ongoing life energy. That resonated with me in a way that nothing else ever had.

Going forward, the 2008-2010 Recession rattled my understanding of the security of, well, securities(!), and then, of course, our current global pandemic has just been the cherry on the whipped cream on the ice cream sundae.

Currently, with the means to be considered in the 1% - though at the lower end of that very broad bracket of folk - I view frugality as a continued focus on extracting maximum value from our spend. I'm not interested in trying to find the lowest possible cost if there is an offset in quality/enjoyment/durability. So I view myself as trying hard not to waste money that brings questionable return value, but very much happy to spend money in places that bring long lasting joy or satisfaction.

I read once that the difference between cheap and frugality is that cheap negatively affects other people, while frugality does not. I like that definition!
ElizabethT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2020, 01:50 PM   #190
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 14,327
I was born naked, wet and poor. I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and am now a shining success story and my family worships me.

The End.
travelover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2020, 01:55 PM   #191
Administrator
MichaelB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Land of Florida Man
Posts: 37,339
Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
I was born naked, wet and poor. I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and am now a shining success story and my family worships me.

The End.
You had bootstraps. Luxury!
MichaelB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2020, 02:12 PM   #192
Moderator Emeritus
aja8888's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: The Woodlands, TX
Posts: 15,957
Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
I was born naked, wet and poor. I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and am now a shining success story and my family worships me.

The End.
Wow! Next time around I'm going to try it your way!
__________________
Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth...philosopher Mike Tyson
aja8888 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2020, 03:57 PM   #193
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 14,327
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
You had bootstraps. Luxury!
Yes, but I made them myself from a grizzly bear I'd killed and skinned when I was 5.
travelover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2020, 03:01 AM   #194
Recycles dryer sheets
Morricol61's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Toowoomba, Qld Australia
Posts: 90
Learned it all as an adult by reading finance blogs and books.

My family growing up was the same as everyone else's that lived in our neighbourhood, so I didn't feel like we were poor or anything, but we certainly weren't rich. Dad was an alcoholic who earned good money but pissed it up against the wall before he got home on payday. As an adult I realised that renting for life and worrying about money like my parents had done wasn't the only way to live, so once I decided that I wanted to buy my own home I read as much as I could about how to save and manage money. When I tried to talk to my husband about saving up to buy a house and stop wasting money on drugs, alcohol and junk food he disagreed most strenuously and our marriage broke down as a result.

I moved out with two very young children into a rented flat behind the shop where I worked and started saving like a mad woman. A year later I had a better job and the deposit and a loan approved to buy my first home, as a single mother of two.

Marriage got back on track after that and although my husband and I had different values and goals, I never wavered from wanting financial independence. As my marriage went on the rails once, I realised it could do so again so I was driven to economise and save where ever possible.

Happily the marriage is still on track 41 years later and we have a good retirement fund, own our home, 3 cars and caravan and have enough cash in term deposits to live on for 2 years if we have to. We both retired at age 57 and are living the dream. I still prepare a budget every year and track expenditure closely because it helps me sleep at night.

I learned how to be frugal and we live comfortably now, whilst still spending less than most of our friends. It is a habit that I'll continue to practice till I die.
__________________
Doesn't even own a dryer.
Morricol61 is offline   Reply With Quote
Why are you Frugal?
Old 05-08-2020, 06:11 AM   #195
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Punta del Este
Posts: 477
Why are you Frugal?

I can attribute my tightwad ways to 3 things.

One, I wanted to prove myself when young to my father who was quite successful so I worked very hard and grew my money.

Two, was married for too long a time to a woman who was a spender, and it simply turned me off.

But the third reason and what carries me forward today was having to take over my fathers financial affairs in his later years to find that he had no money! Property yes but couldn’t pay his bills and he had made a lot of money during his career! He just never looked at his spending! Even near the end, he would try to offer me money, which he didn’t have, and insisted he was rich.

So instead of what most people seem to say, that being frugal was something they learned from their parents, my frugality comes from the opposite, the seeing the wastefulness of my parents.

My favorite is: “I am not a rich man...I am a poor man with money. and they are not the same thing!”
Retired Expat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2020, 07:19 AM   #196
Recycles dryer sheets
Dd852's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: London/UK (dual US/UK citizen)
Posts: 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morricol61 View Post
Learned it all as an adult by reading finance blogs and books.

My family growing up was the same as everyone else's that lived in our neighbourhood, so I didn't feel like we were poor or anything, but we certainly weren't rich. Dad was an alcoholic who earned good money but pissed it up against the wall before he got home on payday. As an adult I realised that renting for life and worrying about money like my parents had done wasn't the only way to live, so once I decided that I wanted to buy my own home I read as much as I could about how to save and manage money. When I tried to talk to my husband about saving up to buy a house and stop wasting money on drugs, alcohol and junk food he disagreed most strenuously and our marriage broke down as a result.

I moved out with two very young children into a rented flat behind the shop where I worked and started saving like a mad woman. A year later I had a better job and the deposit and a loan approved to buy my first home, as a single mother of two.

Marriage got back on track after that and although my husband and I had different values and goals, I never wavered from wanting financial independence. As my marriage went on the rails once, I realised it could do so again so I was driven to economise and save where ever possible.

Happily the marriage is still on track 41 years later and we have a good retirement fund, own our home, 3 cars and caravan and have enough cash in term deposits to live on for 2 years if we have to. We both retired at age 57 and are living the dream. I still prepare a budget every year and track expenditure closely because it helps me sleep at night.

I learned how to be frugal and we live comfortably now, whilst still spending less than most of our friends. It is a habit that I'll continue to practice till I die.

This is really impressive.
Dd852 is online now   Reply With Quote
Why are you frugal?
Old 05-08-2020, 07:33 AM   #197
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Markola's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 3,274
Why are you frugal?

I just wanted to be wealthy for as long as I could remember but my problem was, I never felt I had business or entrepreneurial skills or qualifications for a high-paying career. However, I managed to get hired at 27 in a non-profit field I would have never picked for myself. Along with it came a 403b and the opportunity to save, so I decided to commit, as that seemed my only viable path. I strategically built a good resume and eventually moved into management, with its higher paychecks.

I stayed out of debt, bought used cars and kept them ten+ years, we never had kids and were willing to move for better opportunities. DW also developed her nonprofit career strongly but saved only because I wanted to and because I managed our money. At least half of every raise, small or large, went to increasing our 403b contributions. Our peak earnings period has ended but for several years we earned over $250K together, saving and investing half according to Bogleheads principles. We have owned 4 homes and got lucky on two of them by buying in low markets and selling in high.

So, for me, frugality is a means to an end and mostly a learned behavior. My brother is also a successful professional, drives a BMW, has chosen a live-for-now approach and seems entirely unconcerned about debt or savings. For me, however, personal finance has become a super power.
Markola is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2020, 08:43 AM   #198
gone traveling
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 309
The simple answer is I'd like to retire early the more interesting answer is it's somewhat of a game, if I can get the same or very similar value for a lot less I've done better. I recently bought a refurbished iphone for $25 I could have spent $1000 on the newest iphone but is it 40x better or 10x better or even twice as good? talk about diminishing returns.

The term "you get what you pay for" drives me crazy and implies that an inefficient market doesn't exist.

The older I get the more I know that money doesn't buy happiness and I get a lot more happiness out of the free things in life.
SmallCityDave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2020, 11:58 AM   #199
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 8,779
I am not frugal in the ride my bike to in a snowstorm to save $1 on gas frugal, but like many others here I also like to get good value for my money. My hobby is how to live well with relatively low overhead. I have boxes of books ($5 a bag on end of sale Sundays) from library sales on topics like cooking without recipes, yoga, happiness research, sustainable living, alternative health - all ways to be healthy and happy without spending a fortune. I like reading the books, developing projects and researching new ideas.

Last night I was reading a book on psychology and money and realized I'm just wired differently than most people (most people in general but there are probably more like me on this forum). The happiness studies are often about making more or having more than your neighbors to be happy, but my interest is more in LBYM and sustainable living. We live in a HCOL area where many of our friends are wealthier than we are and it does not bother me at all. I like living in a HCOL area as the tax base allows for great parks, senior services and library services, the thrift shops and freecycle type sites are amazing, there's a nice selection of seat filler tickets (when there is no pandemic) and lots of organic and healthy closeout / overstock food at the discount grocery stores. My budget is based on taking advantage of rich people's leftovers. I grew up poor so going to the symphony on seat filler tickets or going wine tasting in Napa on a Monday with pass bought during a Groupon sale is still pretty cool. Half the fun for me is the treasure hunt of finding the deals.
__________________
Even clouds seem bright and breezy, 'Cause the livin' is free and easy, See the rat race in a new way, Like you're wakin' up to a new day (Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether lyrics, Alan Parsons Project, based on an EA Poe story)
daylatedollarshort is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2020, 05:13 PM   #200
gone traveling
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: NW Ohio
Posts: 1,156
My parents were brought up during WWII, and remember their Mom's having to scrimp/save to make ends meet due to the war effort, while their Dads fought the good fight. They each spent the rest of their childhood in one income families, with 5 kids.

Naturally, my parents were almost minimalist in nature which instilled it in me. I could very easily purge the vast majority of our possessions, and live a much cleaner/simpler existence, but my DW loves animals, and books/movies.
ckelly78z is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Are you unnecessarily frugal? Midpack FIRE and Money 42 02-13-2010 03:45 PM
Are you frugal or a cheap b@$t@rd? Grizz FIRE and Money 108 09-29-2007 07:50 PM
How frugal is too frugal? setab FIRE and Money 36 05-18-2006 12:51 PM
Are you frugal or are you stingy? Martha Other topics 60 03-25-2006 03:30 PM
So, frugal people, what DO you allow yourselves? LRAO FIRE and Money 131 11-25-2005 01:21 PM

» Quick Links

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:47 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.