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aida2003 06-17-2008 06:52 AM

Frugal living: when is it bizarre?
 
I hope this forum didn't have such a topic or if it did then it was long ago.
The following quote of CaseInPoint from "The Ultimate Cheapskate" thread: https://www.early-retirement.org/foru...tml#post670362 prompted me to start this thread ;).

Sure, there's a point at which overspending becomes garish and wasteful, but there's also a point at which being super frugal can become downright bizarre.
I really wonder how many people actually choose to live so frugally, as oppose to being forced into it.


I'm curious whether you are frugal by choice or your decision to become a frugal person was influenced by someone else (e.g. your spouse, friend, etc. or someone close went through bankruptcy that prompted you to evaluate your early lavish living, etc. etc.).

When do you think frugality becomes bizarre? Any real life examples?

I think our family hasn't crossed the line between 'normal' frugality and 'bizarre' frugality, but I'm sure in some cases we're considered CHEAP by other people.

The latest example would be this. I'm expecting a boy in Aug. We've also got a 2.5y.o. girl. So, some colleagues at work asked me whether his nursery is ready. I said no, he'll spend almost a year in our bedroom (in DD's crib) and when he moves to his sister's room who'll be moving to a guest bedroom, we'll just hang some pictures maybe. Their reaction "Oh, but don't you need to paint it in blue or something? Isn't your DD's room pink now?" Me: "No, the walls are off white like we bought the house new. We never came around to paint". Should I feel guilty for not decorating the room in the cute colors and buying matching bedding/furniture because my DH and I feel fine as is? Maybe we're lucky we don't have people coming to our house or otherwise they'd make us really guilty and would definitely 'push' us to start shopping and changing our interior.:bat:

Another example. When DD passes her crib to her brother, she'll sleep on the thick full size mattress instead of a child's bed. After grandparents leave us (they'll come to help us out in Nov. for 3-4 months), DD will move to the guest bedroom that has a queen size bed.
Our rationale for doing this way is that our house won't become a motel with beds/mattresses stored in each and every room. Do you think this is bizarre because I don't see that way?:coolsmiley:

80-90% of children's clothes and toys are from garage sales or Goodwill. I know that in a year or two I'll shop more in regular stores for kids if I find nothing good in Goodwill or a consignment shop. It's time (and gas) consuming to drive to various garage sales and find good clothes.

What about you?

OAG 06-17-2008 07:00 AM

All what you say sounds fine to me. Who or what is putting the "guilt complex" on you?

Walt34 06-17-2008 07:07 AM

Check out the Dollar Stretcher site: The Dollar Stretcher

There's a forum there too, some of those people take frugality very seriously. I haven't been dumpster diving for a long time and then only for moving boxes behind a department store but some do that all the time.

W2R 06-17-2008 07:18 AM

I think that labeling someone's frugality as "bizarre" is almost equivalent to saying "we don't do that" or an attempt to enforce conformity by means of social pressure.

Why should you feel social pressure to paint your childrens' rooms pink or blue if you don't want to? Personally I grew up in a relatively wealthy family, who could well afford paint, and yet the walls of my bedroom were a beige, flowered wallpaper. Fine with me!

When I was 8, my parents had my room re-papered to a blue flowered wallpaper (not pink), and it didn't bother me a bit.

What I think is bizarre about your story is that you are being pressured to decorate your own home in a fashion that doesn't appeal to you, for whatever reason (whether that happens to be due to frugality or not). It's your home, not theirs! I suggest that you shouldn't listen to them, and instead should do what you like with your own home. ;)

Or maybe they are just saying this because they think most people do the blue/pink thing, and weren't intending to pressure you. Either way, my vote is for you to do what you want! :D

We had zero money when my daughter was born. Her walls remained white, and I found some Mickey Mouse fabric in primary colors (mostly red and blue) and sewed curtains out of it. I bought her first teddy bear (and all her other toys) and raunchy old thrift shops in the bad part of town, yet I will never forget her delight and excitement at getting that teddy bear on Christmas morning. ("BEAR!!!" :2funny: She was only 15 months and I had no idea she even knew that word!)

She survived the white walls without any resulting psychological trauma or gender identification issues, and the only problem from the bear is that she had to do some sewing to patch holes in it (out of nostalgia) when she was in her teens.

CitricAcid 06-17-2008 07:25 AM

I take out the backseats of my car on my 50 mile roundtrip commute to work, perhaps that is "bizarre".

NotSoonEnough 06-17-2008 08:32 AM

For me, being frugal is all about ER, the more I save the sooner I can walk away and the less I spend the sooner I will have enough to satisfy a 4% SWR. I don't see myself as a frugality extremist, but some would probably say I live on the edge.

As I have mentioned before, I have a brother who spends every penny he earns. Recently he said I was being unpatriotic for not doing my part to spend the economy back to health, and he knows I make too much to be eligible for a stimulus check...:duh:

There are those who push frugality to extremes and others who do the same with their spending, finding a comfortable middle ground and being happy with my choices is all that matters to me, I could care less whether anyone thinks my lifestyle is "bizarre".

ladelfina 06-17-2008 08:42 AM

I don't think any attempts at frugality are ever bizarre unless they have a self-defeating aspect.

Case in point would be my MIL who saves the hot pasta water to wash dishes after the meal. Dishes are clean(ish) but with a haze of starch. For someone living alone, they may not care but I think not offering people clean dishes crosses a line.

My own schizo-frugal mom has gotten sick from eating leftovers that she didn't want to "waste". Also in the bizarre category might be the string savers and borderline hoarders who have drawers full of "useful" stuff they never actually use. BIL tried to be frugal by buying many years worth of bras/underwear at a time for his store not understanding that, not only do fashions change but the elastic goes bad! If your frugality is impeding your life unnecessarily, then it's self-defeating/bizarre.

Sarah in SC 06-17-2008 09:11 AM

What qualifies as bizarre is seining broken glass from a jar of peanut butter (see T-al for additional information) so as not to throw away a whole, but broken jar. I can now add Ladelfina's stories to my list--gah!

I think maybe some of those folks at work might be like me, childless and clueless, and have no other conversational gambits for talking to pregnant ladies. Seriously, I've been guilty of saying just that thing to other women, yet would certainly concede that your non-decorating plan is entirely reasonable. :) At least I know better than to ask when you are due (just in case you aren't actually pregnant!). :)

My sis's kids rooms are decorated now, but weren't when they were babies. She waited until they were old enough to weigh in on their choices. Hers sleep in queen beds right after getting out of the crib.

Marquette 06-17-2008 09:19 AM

I've contemplated building a small device the size of a toilet paper roll with a winding handle on the side. It would enable you to wind a new roll of TP from the bathroom stall for use at home (since those dispenser things are usually locked in some fashion and the roll doesn't fit a residential holder). That was just a thought exercise though as it'd be stealing and, if I really wanted to make a name for myself as the TP bandit, I could just swipe a roll off of one of the janitor's carts.

Otherwise, anything that's penny-wise but pound-foolish would get you on the bizarre list. Speaking of which, I had also thought about a retractable latching arm that would mount under your car. You could secure it to the back of a semi as a safer alternative to drafting. Again, just a thought exercise, don't hurt me.

DallasGuy 06-17-2008 09:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CitricAcid (Post 670402)
I take out the backseats of my car on my 50 mile roundtrip commute to work, perhaps that is "bizarre".

I've done the same thing in my PT Cruiser for a few years now since I do 98% of my driving alone....why should I haul around 100-200 lbs of seats that I rarely use?

happy2bretired 06-17-2008 09:32 AM

I don't think I was bizarre when I borrowed a crib and avocado green changing table for my daughter 21 years ago. I bought blankets of every imaginable design, whatever was on sale. Her room was blue, the color of the room when we bought the house and I knew the baby's sex beforehand too. I certainly didn't care what my relatives thought...they were just as frugal, probably more so, than we were. My friends were in the same boat...so no comments there.

I know times have changed and what HGTV says must be the norm...but, I don't buy it. Design/furniture based on when is current on HGTV is just a bunch of propaganda aimed at the gullible masses to sell products. The babies certainly won't notice their decor. It's only for "impressing" the adults and one-upmanship.

I don't do bizarre frugality. I like nice things, but I don't go overboard with all the newest and biggest just to impress others. I like comfortable more than showy.

tuixiu 06-17-2008 09:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marquette (Post 670457)
I've contemplated building a small device the size of a toilet paper roll with a winding handle on the side. It would enable you to wind a new roll of TP from the bathroom stall for use at home

Ooh you should go further and hook up something to harness the energy of your TP spindle rotating at home.

One bad batch of chicken curry you guys could light up the whole neighborhood for a few hours.

Helena 06-17-2008 09:54 AM

~


I live frugally by choice... or maybe by habit... but I just do what
comes naturally, so there is no effort or sense of deprivation.

When I was growing up, my depression era homemaker mother
made my clothes. My parents lived somewhat frugally...
but they managed to raise three children and own their home.
We did things as a family. We went on fun [low cost] weekend
outings [fishing, camping, arrowhead/fossil hunting, etc] and on
big camping vacations every summer [Yellowstone, Carlsbad Caverns,
Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountains, Zion Park, etc.] My parents had
a paid off home in the city a paid off small farm and very little debt...
Mom was a homemaker and Dad retired at age 62... and they did
all this on a carpenter's salary.

When my son was growing up, he wore clothes from garage sales
and the Salvation Army. I like to shop at garage sales and the
Salvation Army thrift store myself. You can find gently used
quality items for a low price... nothing wrong with a bargain !

I semi-retired at age 55 and I have no debt [house and car are
paid off.] Thanks Mom and Dad for raising me with your family
and financial values. :)


~

CaseInPoint 06-17-2008 09:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aida2003 (Post 670385)
I hope this forum didn't have such a topic or if it did then it was long ago.
The following quote of CaseInPoint from "The Ultimate Cheapskate" thread: https://www.early-retirement.org/foru...tml#post670362 prompted me to start this thread ;).

Hi Aida,

Thanks for bringing out my comment for discussion!

In response to yours, is not wanting to paint your child's room a matter of trying to avoid the $20 expense, or is it a style decision?

As for the bed, usually parents use cribs for babies as a matter of safety to avoid falling, suffocation, etc. A new crib starts at about $50-$75 and goes up from there.

I personally view one indicator of bizzarness being when people go to tremendous lengths to avoid spending very small amounts of money rather than positioning themselves (or their spouses) to earn more money at their jobs. In other words, the amount of time and effort spent trying to save a buck or two is more than it would take to earn more money at work. (Of course, this assumes that people are capable of working.)

Another indicator is when people who can work are just too damn lazy and unmotivated to go earn a decent living, and instead opt for "super frugal" lifestyles, like dumpster diving, not using soap, toothpaste, etc. IMO, those people are are really super lazy, as opposed to just "super frugal."

Sorry to offend certain forum members, but I think that relying on sifting through other people's trash for one's daily necessities is out of the realm of "frugal," and into the realm of the bizarre. If someone believes that they need to do that, they may want to seriously consider spending their dumpster diving time figuring out what went wrong in their lives and how to fix it.

The funniest thing to me is that I've noticed a trend for the super lazy and underachievers of the world to proclaim themselves as environmentalists... As if they are saving the world by their big sacrifice of not using deodorant... ^-^

So, to each his/her own. I wouldn't presume to judge people as good or bad, but I also can't suspend my disbelief about this new culture of the bizarrely frugal.

aida2003 06-17-2008 10:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CaseInPoint (Post 670494)
In response to yours, is not wanting to paint your child's room a matter of trying to avoid the $20 expense, or is it a style decision?

As for the bed, usually parents use cribs for babies as a matter of safety to avoid falling, suffocation, etc. A new crib starts at about $50-$75 and goes up from there.

As regards to painting DD's room, we thought to paint first, but my DH is not the handiest person in the world :rolleyes:, and I didn't want to risk doing myself while being pregnant. Then came the challenge of creativity and we are both bad at that. On top of that, I just do NOT like shopping. So, we could afford to buy paint :p, but didn't want to hire a painter and didn't want to 'indulge' in shopping.

As far as the crib goes, grandparents bought the safest crib ever which will last years and years unless broken on purpose. Since DD is already 2.5y.o. it's time to start the transition to a bigger bed (mattress in her case). So, no need to have two cribs in the house, IMO.

aida2003 06-17-2008 10:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Want2retire (Post 670398)
What I think is bizarre about your story is that you are being pressured to decorate your own home in a fashion that doesn't appeal to you, for whatever reason (whether that happens to be due to frugality or not). It's your home, not theirs! I suggest that you shouldn't listen to them, and instead should do what you like with your own home. ;)

Or maybe they are just saying this because they think most people do the blue/pink thing, and weren't intending to pressure you. Either way, my vote is for you to do what you want! :D

You're right. Maybe people who question me might have nothing to do with the pressure for me to decorate. I personally think I don't have that "thick skin" because when I answer such or similar questions I feel kind of guilty because I know we can afford it but we don't do that by choice (factoring in how we detest shopping in general). Maybe I need a shrink who'd help me to overcome my guilt while talking with mainstream consumers:bat:.
Oh, and I frequently blame my family (in my mind) for the sense of guilt. My parents spend money as well as my sister. That could be me to rebel their living style and chose to be frugal instead. On the other hand, once in a while they'd say something about my frugality and it would hurt me. So, I know they consider me very cheap. When we go to visit them, we're the ones wearing the same clothes and shoes they've seen before and they would were something new.

haha 06-17-2008 11:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aida2003 (Post 670385)
What about you?

When I do it, it's prudently frugal. When my dinner companion does it, it's bizarre.

Ha

Bikerdude 06-17-2008 11:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aida2003 (Post 670385)
When do you think frugality becomes bizarre? Any real life examples?

You want bizarre I'll give you bizarre.

"The Witch of Wall Street"

Biography of Witch of Wall Street Hetty Green Part 2

crazy connie 06-17-2008 11:20 AM

I get real worried about what others think only when they are paying the bills. Too many folks have allowed their brains to be overloaded with right & wrong opinions from commercial advertising.

I like nice things and buy when I have the money. My home purchases are NOT based on HGTV or print media. I paint when it needs it or I want the change.

LRS 06-17-2008 11:34 AM

Lots of people don't use a crib at all. They dislike keeping children in "cages". They put a mattress on the floor so the baby won't get hurt if it rolls out, and they childproof their house.

Not me, I used all the handmedown equipment I could find from my sisters and the goodwill. Why pay a lot of money for expensive new clothing your child will outgrow in days? Or equipment you might only use once or twice? I did ensure that the used crib I bought met the safety standards, and I bought a new mattress because there's a sanitation issue with used mattresses. I enjoy quilting, so I made each of my babies a new quilt at birth. That was the extent of my decorating. Later, when the kids were old enough to have an opinion and to help out, I painted their rooms and put up vinyl decals.

Bizarrely frugal would be the guy I know of who lived in the woods in a homemade cabin with no plumbing or electricity, and no outhouse. He would crap in a bucket and once a week, whether it needed it or not, he would sneak into a nearby RV park and dump it in their restroom.

Frugality that involves tresspassing and/or stealing, like putting extra food in your purse at an all-you-can-eat buffet, is bizarre. One elderly aunt of my husband's always wants me, for some reason, to wrap up food in a napkin so she can stash it in her purse. The last time she wanted to steal crabmeat, although I implored her not to. And no, she wasn't deprived during the Depression; she was always rather well to do. I think the Depression excuse covers a lot of eccentric behaviors in our elders.

ladelfina 06-17-2008 12:08 PM

thought of another one.. we asked DH's nephew to send us a fax of some needed family document as we live a couple hours away from all of them. Instead of just going to some copy shop where they have a fax service (for which we would certainly have reimbursed him the couple bucks or whatever), he spent probably more than an hour to drive 1/2 way across Rome on his motorcycle to go to his parents' house to scan said document and then send it to us via e-mail. I can't say if he was motivated by frugality or stupidity. He has a 'laurea' in Economics and Commerce; go figure.

I think on another thread I described DH's ancient piano teacher who froze in an unheated apt. surrounded by valuable antiques and artifacts she refused to sell.

LRS, tell your friend about 'humanure':
Joseph Jenkins, Inc. - Humanure Headquarters

kombat 06-17-2008 12:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Helena (Post 670491)
My parents lived somewhat frugally... but they managed to raise three children and own their home. My parents had a paid off home in the city a paid off small farm and very little debt... Mom was a homemaker and Dad retired at age 62... and they did all this on a carpenter's salary.

With all due respect, there's "living frugally," then there's "being born in the right era."

It sounds like your parents had the fortune of living during the right era. I don't believe their accomplishments can be duplicated today. They had the benefit of almost non-existent taxes, a completely non-existent national debt (which contributed to the lack of taxes), very low property taxes and housing expenses relative to peoples' salaries, and a thriving economy.

Does anyone seriously believe that a carpenter could support 3 kids and a wife, while paying off a farm and a house, and still retire early, in this day and age? I'm sorry, no amount of frugality would make that possible today, in my opinion.

The Boomers borrowed their prosperity from their children. They ran up the national debt to keep their taxes low so they could pay off farms and homes and raise 3 kids on a carpenter's salary. And now we get stuck with the triple-whammy of having to pay their bill (via higher taxes), higher housing prices and educational expenses (relative to our incomes), and in many cases, paying for the medical care of our own parents.

But I'm not bitter.

Milton 06-17-2008 12:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by haha (Post 670556)
When I do it, it's prudently frugal. When my dinner companion does it, it's bizarre.

"I am firm; you are obstinate; he is a pig-headed fool." :coolsmiley:

SecondCor521 06-17-2008 12:23 PM

"Bizarre" seems to me to be an opinion word. I try to tell my three kids that they should only spend their argument effort on issues of fact, and that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

I also have a libertarian streak in me, so as far as I'm concerned, anyone else can live their lives and manage their money any way they please provided they aren't breaking any applicable laws or endangering other people.

If you want my opinion, not spending what is necessary on needs - air, water, food, shelter, and decent medical care - would be the only thing I would think would not make sense to me. I'm not sure I would go as far as saying "bizarre".

I think there is a tremendous pressure to conform in the US to societal/cultural norms and using a word like "bizarre" with a negative connotation -- rather than "different from me", which isn't as negative -- is usually an effort to enforce conformity in order for the person using the word to not have to think about anything as uncomfortable and involving effort as non-conformity.

My 2 cents.

2Cor521

Achiever51 06-17-2008 12:40 PM

OK, I won't label this "bizarre", but in my opinion it does cross the line of simple frugalness:

When my DH's aunt died in her independent living facility, we couldn't hold a sale of her furniture, etc. due to the rules of the facility. And, since the stuff wasn't really worth much, we didn't want to rent a truck to move it out. So, instead, we posted a note at the building's elevators inviting the residents to take what they could use from her apartment.

Well, within 15 minutes, EVERYTHING was taken -- right down to the walls. Which was fine, but there was one lady who said she really needed a bedside table, so we tagged it for her, and after the residents left, my DH carried it to her apartment.

When the lady opened the door to her apartment, we saw that -- with the exception of a very narrow walkway from the door to the kitchen and the bathroom -- she had furniture and other stuff PILED TO THE CEILING in every square inch of the place! In case of an emergency, there would be no way out of that place and in case of a fire, forget it! There literally was no place to put the nightstand, although the lady begged us to leave it for her.

We found out later that this resident rarely left her apartment and refused to let anyone inside for fear of being evicted.

I don't think she was frugal or bizarre. I think she was mentally ill.

ladelfina 06-17-2008 01:11 PM

kombat, I understand your bitterness.. but gov. debt has in the last 20-30 years been outpaced by an unprecedented growth in private debt.

The cost of soaring private and public debt - MarketWatch

I think there are a number of reasons for this, but they are better left to the Soap Box so stay tuned.

kombat 06-17-2008 01:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ladelfina (Post 670624)
gov. debt has in the last 20-30 years been outpaced by an unprecedented growth in private debt.

That's hardly surprising. People's paychecks are raided by the government to pay taxes that are far higher than any their parents had to deal with, yet they still expect to live the same kind of lives their parents did. They still believe that 1 blue collar income should be able to buy a detached house on a half acre of land and support a wife and 3 kids. Why not? It worked fine for their parents, after all. When they find themselves coming up short, they turn to consumer debt to fill in the gap, not understanding why they're finding it so difficult to accomplish what their parents made look easy.

Quote:

Originally Posted by ladelfina (Post 670624)
I think there are a number of reasons for this, but they are better left to the Soap Box so stay tuned.

Fair enough.

Khan 06-17-2008 01:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aida2003 (Post 670545)
You're right. Maybe people who question me might have nothing to do with the pressure for me to decorate. I personally think I don't have that "thick skin" because when I answer such or similar questions I feel kind of guilty because I know we can afford it but we don't do that by choice (factoring in how we detest shopping in general). Maybe I need a shrink who'd help me to overcome my guilt while talking with mainstream consumers:bat:.
Oh, and I frequently blame my family (in my mind) for the sense of guilt. My parents spend money as well as my sister. That could be me to rebel their living style and chose to be frugal instead. On the other hand, once in a while they'd say something about my frugality and it would hurt me. So, I know they consider me very cheap. When we go to visit them, we're the ones wearing the same clothes and shoes they've seen before and they would were something new.

Your relatives actually note and recall what you are wearing from day to day? And comment on it?

Maybe you should tell them that you see no need to associate with people who put effort into insulting you.

Maybe (getting back to unwritten rules) you can ask them how much you would have to spend (and on what) to gain their approval; also ask how much they are willing to contribute to that end.

I'm always amazed at the crap people will put with because "they're family".

About the guilt: Unless you are actually causing harm, there should be no guilt.

Milton 06-17-2008 02:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Khan (Post 670637)
Your relatives actually note and recall what you are wearing from day to day? And comment on it?

Hopefully not. Perhaps all that Aida is referring to is some gentle family teasing regarding her thrifty ways. Within reason, that's no big deal, and not worth causing a fuss over.

If her relatives are actually making hurtful remarks regarding her clothes ("you're wearing that old thing again?!"), a taste of the same medicine might be in order. E.g., "You've got another pair of new shoes?! Wow, bet they set you back a bundle!". Or "Is that coat new? Looks expensive! How much? They sure saw you coming!".

Quote:

Originally Posted by Khan (Post 670637)
About the guilt: Unless you are actually causing harm, there should be no guilt.

Absolutely right.

toofrugalformycat 06-17-2008 03:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aida2003 (Post 670385)
I hope this forum didn't have such a topic or if it did then it was long ago.
The following quote of CaseInPoint from "The Ultimate Cheapskate" thread: https://www.early-retirement.org/foru...tml#post670362 prompted me to start this thread ;).

Sure, there's a point at which overspending becomes garish and wasteful, but there's also a point at which being super frugal can become downright bizarre.
I really wonder how many people actually choose to live so frugally, as oppose to being forced into it.


I'm curious whether you are frugal by choice or your decision to become a frugal person was influenced by someone else (e.g. your spouse, friend, etc. or someone close went through bankruptcy that prompted you to evaluate your early lavish living, etc. etc.).

When do you think frugality becomes bizarre? Any real life examples?

This is all about perspective IMHO. After seeing families living in their one room hand built grass/bamboo/wood huts, all the furor about decorating a McMansion seems beyond bizarre to me. And depending on what part of the world, many of the hut people are in general happier and healthier than your average overstressed desk jockey here. I'm thinking parts of the Yucatan and the South Pacific specifically.
DH and I are considered bizarre by many at my ex-office for exiting the rat race, retiring early, living in a small old house and driving 15- and 20-year-old compact cars. Frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a damn.
So what if I reuse my Chemex coffee filters? I'm not bizarre, I'm eccentric.

Helena 06-17-2008 03:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kombat (Post 670600)

With all due respect, there's "living frugally," then there's "being born in the right era."

It sounds like your parents had the fortune of living during the right era. I don't believe their accomplishments can be duplicated today. They had the benefit of almost non-existent taxes, a completely non-existent national debt (which contributed to the lack of taxes), very low property taxes and housing expenses relative to peoples' salaries, and a thriving economy.

Does anyone seriously believe that a carpenter could support 3 kids and a wife, while paying off a farm and a house, and still retire early, in this day and age? I'm sorry, no amount of frugality would make that possible today, in my opinion.

The Boomers borrowed their prosperity from their children. They ran up the national debt to keep their taxes low so they could pay off farms and homes and raise 3 kids on a carpenter's salary. And now we get stuck with the triple-whammy of having to pay their bill (via higher taxes), higher housing prices and educational expenses (relative to our incomes), and in many cases, paying for the medical care of our own parents.

But I'm not bitter.


My parents were part of the WW2 generation and I am a baby boomer.

There were plenty of people in both generations who did not do as well
because of lousy financial and life choices. In the end, one's lot in life
is based much more upon one's own personal life and financial choices
than what the government does or does not do. The first step for
improving one's lot in life is to stop thinking of yourself as a victim.


~

clifp 06-17-2008 03:23 PM

Maybe I should have posted this in the windmilling thread.

I once got a ride with a guy going up to Oregon. This guy was so fanatical about saving gas that in stop and go rush hour traffic, he got out of the car and pushed! I told I didn't think it was safe to push a car a freeway in non emergency... He told me other stories of frugality that were equal bizarre.

I don't have kids but nothing that OP said regarding not gong crazy with spending money on kids seems out of line.

ERD50 06-17-2008 03:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ladelfina (Post 670592)
thought of another one.. we asked DH's nephew to send us a fax of some needed family document as we live a couple hours away from all of them. Instead of just going to some copy shop where they have a fax service (for which we would certainly have reimbursed him the couple bucks or whatever), he spent probably more than an hour to drive 1/2 way across Rome on his motorcycle to go to his parents' house to scan said document and then send it to us via e-mail. I can't say if he was motivated by frugality or stupidity. He has a 'laurea' in Economics and Commerce; go figure.

Actually, he may have had a very good reason to do so. Here's the reasoning (note personal bias):

A) I HATE faxes -maybe this person is like me.

B) When you fax something, you really don't know how well it will come out - you are not on the other end to see it.

C) Due to 'B', you may have wasted the time (and money of a toll call or fax service).

D) Maybe he wanted an electronic copy for himself, or for you to have.

When you scan it, you can see what the scan looks like, and even clean it up if needed. Scans can be much higher DPI than a fax. When you put it a jpg or pdf format, you have a good idea that the person on the other send will see it just as you do.

E) I HATE faxes.

F) The fax on the other end might jam, run out of ink, whatever - you have no way of knowing. Or the line might be busy.

G) You end up having to call the person just to find out if they got it, and they would need to be there before you left the copy shop- with the email, they will just reply when they open it 'Yep, got it - looks good - Thanks!'

I had this happen just the other day. A FAX would have been a waste of time for me, and left me with no electronic copy for myself.

-ERD50 (who HATES faxes, BTW)

bosco 06-17-2008 04:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kombat (Post 670600)
With all due respect, there's "living frugally," then there's "being born in the right era."

It sounds like your parents had the fortune of living during the right era. I don't believe their accomplishments can be duplicated today. They had the benefit of almost non-existent taxes, a completely non-existent national debt (which contributed to the lack of taxes), very low property taxes and housing expenses relative to peoples' salaries, and a thriving economy.

Does anyone seriously believe that a carpenter could support 3 kids and a wife, while paying off a farm and a house, and still retire early, in this day and age? I'm sorry, no amount of frugality would make that possible today, in my opinion.

The Boomers borrowed their prosperity from their children. They ran up the national debt to keep their taxes low so they could pay off farms and homes and raise 3 kids on a carpenter's salary. And now we get stuck with the triple-whammy of having to pay their bill (via higher taxes), higher housing prices and educational expenses (relative to our incomes), and in many cases, paying for the medical care of our own parents.

But I'm not bitter.

the number of factual errors in this post are too numerous to count. However, if you will check the link, current tax rates for median and half median incomes are as low as they have ever been, and even those at twice the median income are not much above 1955 levels. All tax rates have fallen since the mid-1980s.

Historical Federal Income Tax Rates for Family of Four

I love it when Americans, pretty much the least-taxed population in the industrial world, bitch about taxes. But then again, the country was founded on tax rebellion. And yes, I am an American taxpayer.

Ultimate Cheapskate 06-17-2008 05:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DallasGuy (Post 670461)
I've done the same thing in my PT Cruiser for a few years now since I do 98% of my driving alone....why should I haul around 100-200 lbs of seats that I rarely use?


Yikes! Cheap minds think alike! I've had this Nobel-prize-winning idea for years: We should make cars with detachable butt-ends (giant zippers right behind the front seat - 3 wheels on the front half, 2 on the back), so that you can leave the entire back seat and trunk at home when you don't need it.

Seriously, we can't apparently convince ourselves to drive smaller cars or car pool, but who would haul along the derierra of their car if they didn't need to? And, if you have a Big Car Ego, you'd still have bragging rights ... "You should see my back end! I don't use it much, but it's HUGE!"

Stay Cheap!
-Jeff Yeager

LOL! 06-17-2008 05:32 PM

I actually think it's bizarre to set up a room as a "nursery". Babies need loving care and safety. We bought a crib and not much else. The same crib was used for both our kids. Since our friends and family have kids that are about a year or two older than our kids, we basically bought no clothes for our kids: they survived very nicely on hand-me-downs and used toys.

We are not particularly frugal in that we eat out alot, drive expensive cars, have expensive consumer electronics, take family vacations overseas, etc.

Here's when frugality is bizarre: When my MIL would come to visit, she would go through our kitchen trash can to find food to eat. We had to make sure that we emptied the trash can before she stepped in the door. Even then we had to leave "decoy food" in the fridge for her to find and eat: things like broccoli stalks, carrot heads, a chicken neck, old fish bones, etc.

ChrisC 06-17-2008 05:40 PM

Hi Jeff, welcome to the board. I missed you at Arlington County library a few weeks ago. I'm gonna head to the library this week and get on the wait list for your book. Or I might go to the local mega book store and camp out to read your book while drinking some coffee. If the book is really good, I might break-down and order a copy for my kids to share -- taking a page from you.

unclemick 06-17-2008 05:45 PM

Whoosies - shut off the electricity. Don't own a car. Get back with us in a week or so and post( from work or a friend's) what you have learned.

There is only one frugal - extremely creative cheap bastardhood.

And dat's the name of that tune. Listen to Loretta Lynn's Coal Miner's Daughter to get in the mood.

;D ;D ;D

Of course with time in the market - I ain't going back there. I prefer creative to bizarre.

heh heh heh - 12k in the 90's all in - my personal best - and yes there were some threats from the SO - she had a frying pan with my name on it - should I attempt some of my more 'creative ideas'! :rolleyes: :angel:.

Ultimate Cheapskate 06-17-2008 06:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChrisC (Post 670820)
Hi Jeff, welcome to the board. I missed you at Arlington County library a few weeks ago. I'm gonna head to the library this week and get on the wait list for your book. Or I might go to the local mega book store and camp out to read your book while drinking some coffee. If the book is really good, I might break-down and order a copy for my kids to share -- taking a page from you.


Hey Chris - Thanks for the welcome. Sorry I missed you, but I had a blast at the Arlington Library; found .67 cents in the sofa cushions there ... those things are like upholstered ATM's! :rolleyes:

- Jeff Yeager
The Ultimate Cheapskate

Darryl 06-17-2008 06:42 PM

Most baby gear was hand me downs and/or second hand purchase including the crib. We did pony up for a mobile to entertain the little buggers. Then they graduated to a mattress on the floor so they didn't have far to fall, then a box spring and a mattress on the floor and finally up on a frame. Painting and decorating occurred when the kid(s) was old enough to offer an opinion. Don't let Madison Avenue or a shopaholic co-worker get you all jazzed up.

LOL! 06-17-2008 06:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darryl (Post 670846)
.... Painting and decorating occurred when the kid(s) was old enough to offer an opinion. Don't let Madison Avenue or a shopaholic co-worker get you all jazzed up.

In our house, painting and decorating occurred when the kid was old enough to do it herself. :)

ERD50 06-17-2008 06:53 PM

Hey Jeff, just checked your web site, funny stuff with a great message - good work!

I'm gonna have to put in a request at our library, they don't seem to have it, unless 'The Ultimate Mae West' is another one in your series? ..... No, I didn't think so.

Good luck with the book - ERD50

BunsGettingFirm 06-17-2008 07:37 PM

Had a friend drive me in an '80's K-car station wagon that had peeled roof liners, peeled vinyl roof, and rust everywhere. The kicker was the the tires were bald and out of balance, so we could only do 50 MPH on the expressway. Watching those semi trucks barreling toward us at 80 MPH was very scary. The constant vibration from the out of balance tires didn't add much to my sense of security.

Sue J 06-17-2008 08:07 PM

Returning to the original topic of decorating a baby's bedroom, we had our first son in 1984, but we didn't know the sex of the baby before the birth. I was never into the pink vs blue idea, so we went with wallpaper featuring pairs of smiling animals, giraffes, elephants, hippos, zebras, lions, tigers and antelopes. And in the background are large bushes, grasses and trees. It's really cute wallpaper. We used the room for both sons (#2 came along in 1987) until they moved to larger bedrooms upstairs when they grew out of the crib.

Soon after the younger son moved out of the room we needed to use it as a guest room for out of town family. We didn't have the time or energy to redecorate and the wallpaper was still in good shape so we just moved in a sofa bed. Then we got a computer and moved in a desk and made this into the office/computer room/guest room. You can't help but wake up happy with all these smiling animals around you.

The sons are now 21 and 23 and here I am on my computer with these smiling animals staring at me. Some day we will move all the furniture, computer equipment and large desk out of here and do a proper redecoration. But for now it's just the way it is.

igsoy 06-17-2008 08:47 PM

when my parents had their 1st newborn(late 60's), they didn't have a crib, so they used a dresser drawer.

when they built their second house we moved in before it was finished, so my 7 year old brother's bedroom was the master bedroom's 6X8 walk-in closet.

One year for my birthday my present was to get to pick the color of the carpet for my newly built bedroom in the basement.

They raised a lamb in the garage till it was ready to butcher. Boy did that smell horrible!

Dad had this quaint idea that you could heat the whole house with a wood stove in the living room. He would turn the heat off in your bedroom until bed time, so you basically couldn't live in your own room during the day.

As a result of all this frugality dad (65) is now a millionaire +, and doesn't even need it because he has a big pension that he doesn't even spend all of. They spend much more freely since they retired 10 years ago; vacations, cars, gourmet food.

Good times.

ladelfina 06-18-2008 04:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ERD50 (Post 670754)
Actually, he may have had a very good reason to do so. Here's the reasoning (note personal bias):

A) I HATE faxes -maybe this person is like me.

E) I HATE faxes.

-ERD50 (who HATES faxes, BTW)

Ha ha! Gotcha..
But believe me.. however much you hate faxes, you would hate sitting in Rome traffic breathing exhaust for an hour MORE.. :P

https://biscoteca.files.wordpress.com...0/traffico.jpg
https://www.rifondazionelazio.it/files/traffico.jpg
https://www.lastampa.it/cmstp/rubrich...30&ID_file=378

aida2003 06-18-2008 07:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darryl (Post 670846)
Most baby gear was hand me downs and/or second hand purchase including the crib. We did pony up for a mobile to entertain the little buggers. Then they graduated to a mattress on the floor so they didn't have far to fall, then a box spring and a mattress on the floor and finally up on a frame. Painting and decorating occurred when the kid(s) was old enough to offer an opinion. Don't let Madison Avenue or a shopaholic co-worker get you all jazzed up.

With the exception of the crib (we paid, but grandparents put the same amount in Euros in our German account :)), we're going to do something similar to you. DD will sleep on the mattress first, but when she moves to the guest bedroom, we'll remove spring boxes from the queen bed, so she'll sleep less than 16 inches high.
Yep, I always listen to my DH as regards to shopping/decorating "Why care what other people think? If you don't like/want to do it, don't do it. I'm fine the way we live."

I rather spend on our vacation and traveling instead :D and we did quite a bit before kids, but a bit less with DD who's not flexible:rant:. But I'm looking forward to our future vacation.

HFWR 06-18-2008 07:31 AM

Seems to me the ideal room for an infant would be concrete floors with a large drain in the center...

MGYog 06-18-2008 10:55 AM

my 2 sols worth
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by HFWR (Post 670980)
Seems to me the ideal room for an infant would be concrete floors with a large drain in the center...

What!!!???? No bars?

gettingthere 06-18-2008 03:28 PM

I don't know if this qualifies as frugal or just crazy.

My mother (86) accumulated a collection of jars, cans and boxes of odd assorted nails, screws, nuts, bolts and other odd bits of hardware over the years. When her father (who was a carpenter) passed away, she "inherited" his similar collection.

The "odd bits" includes such things as old storm window mounting hardware, old doorknobs, cabinet knobs, rusty hinges, hooks with layers of old paint, mystery items ("I think this may have come off that old record-player you kids used to have"), 3-way electric outlet converters, fuses, carpet tacks, skeleton keys, other keys to unknown locks, padlocks with missing keys, skate keys (anyone remember those?), clasp that came off an old trunk, bent screwdriver with broken tip ("you might need that to pry up a paint can lid"), dried out rubber washers, assorted metal washers, rivets, grommits, shower curtain hooks, drapery hooks, broken drill bit, hammer head ("that's still good, it just needs a new handle")...and so on.


When she came to live with me, the whole mess, of course, came with her, and now sits in my cellar. She has resisted several attempts by me to get rid of it, so it continues to sit there. It seems to have some sentimental value for her, or something. I think I did manage to toss a gummy 50 year old roll of electrical tape, once.

Of course, occasionally something in one of the jars has come in handy, which just reinforces the "you never know when you might need one of these" attitude.

I gave up letting it bother me.

Nords 06-18-2008 06:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gettingthere (Post 671268)
I don't know if this qualifies as frugal or just crazy.
Of course, occasionally something in one of the jars has come in handy, which just reinforces the "you never know when you might need one of these" attitude.
I gave up letting it bother me.

HGTV and Oprah do a lot of "overaccumulation" stories. The worst cases of hoarding usually involve a psychological trauma or syndrome that requires significant counseling to overcome. It can also be an effect of aging-- when my grandfather went into dementia, no paper (other than toilet paper) left his two-bedroom apartment for over four years. Save a week's worth of junk mail & newspapers and then multiply by about 200.

But you've also described the business models of "Antiques Roadshow" and "Restoration Hardware"...

gettingthere 06-18-2008 08:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nords (Post 671404)
The worst cases of hoarding usually involve a psychological trauma or syndrome that requires significant counseling to overcome. It can also be an effect of aging--...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nords (Post 671404)
But you've also described the business models of "Antiques Roadshow" and "Restoration Hardware"...

Well, I don't think it's aging - this stuff has been accumulating for at least my whole life, It's nothing that began in her latter years.

She did grow up during the Great Depression, so maybe that was traumatic enough to trigger this.

If Antiques Roadshow should ever come to town, maybe I can rent a truck, haul it all there for an appraisal, and accidentally leave it in their parking lot?

Or, better yet, " Those skeleton keys are quite rare! Let's see, you've got 27 of them. At $18,000 to $25,000 apiece....."

retiringby50 06-18-2008 11:32 PM

My frugality was influenced by my parents and my experience. They were immigrants here and had a business, but it really only did well enough to pay the bills, but it still was better than earning minimum wage. Yet we never went on vacation as a family because someone had to watch the business. We didn't have a TV until 1977 because they never had time to watch TV. I was always wearing sad looking clothes... so I could have gone the other way... and I did for a while because I was earning money and living w/my parents with no need to save up money... and one day I got this $600 credit card bill which to me is like someone else getting a $15,000 credit card bill. I stopped spending and set aside money each month to pay it off in 4 months... and I've paid my bill in full ever since. I was in college at the time and earning about $300/month working part-time, so the bill was 2x my monthly pay!

I am more frugal than my DH; I'm sure he thinks I'm crazy sometimes. My daughter is sleeping on a mattress that is about 15 years old... I got this mattress because I wrote to Simmons to complain about feeling many of the springs on the original mattress. It was still under warranty, so they gave me this mattress in return... in the early 1990's. DD was about 9 when this happened: she had a nice comforter and several blankets, but DH wanted her to have a goose down comforter... granted it was mega on sale at Kohl's... $35 and include a couple of down pillow. I wouldn't buy it because she didn't NEED it, but he bought it anyway. Yeah, it's good to have an alternate comforter, I guess, but I was really mad at the time.

DD's room in the first house was beige with no decorations. When she was 2, we moved here, and her room is still beige. I'm sure she'd like a cute room, but it's less the money, but more the time. In fact, we bought the paint. We just haven't painted.

sailor 06-19-2008 04:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aida2003 (Post 670971)
I rather spend on our vacation and traveling instead :D and we did quite a bit before kids, but a bit less with DD who's not flexible:rant:. But I'm looking forward to our future vacation.

I'm curious about not being flexible.
While traveling with kids requires probably 4 times as much energy as before, we still like to travel together. We just need to cater to their interests, not only to ours.

sailor,
posting from a short, 7 weeks vacation in Europe, with DW and two small kids in tow.

aida2003 06-19-2008 06:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sailor (Post 671550)
I'm curious about not being flexible.
While traveling with kids requires probably 4 times as much energy as before, we still like to travel together. We just need to cater to their interests, not only to ours.

sailor,
posting from a short, 7 weeks vacation in Europe, with DW and two small kids in tow.

When I said DD not being flexible, in my mind I was comparing my DD to my manager's kids. My manager's kids are just HAPPY to sit in the car seats and our DD HATES being buckled up, so she screams, cries and whines. The longest she can sit quiet would be 20 min max. Entertaining is not really helpful (well, maybe she'll be distracted for 10min). And I refuse to buy a DVD player for the car. Since she isn't into watching TV, I assume DVD player will not help. But I do sit with her in the back and I do everything I can think of to entertain her.... Anyway, what I hope for is when she has a brother, they'll be able to entertain each other and our traveling will become easier :).

I'd be curious what you visited in Europe with your little kids (how old are they?) and which places were very child-friendly. Our dream plan is different. Since both sets of grandparents live there (two different countries) we might drop kids off at their homes and we'd take a short trip or two in a different direction ;D.

PBAT 06-19-2008 07:23 AM

Aida,
DD used to be the same way. Starting when she was about 2, I put a bag on the seat next to her with small toys/books/paper pad and crayons, so she could reach them herself. Keeps her occupied for hours! Especially if some of the items are new to her - kids books $.10-.25 at the thrift store!

Keim 06-19-2008 10:09 AM

Here is a great example of frugality:
They saved almost ALL of their kids babyclothes and toys. Over 30 years later when we had kids, they packed up a trailer and hauled it over to us. Filled the better part of my storage room.

My wife and I are of like mind. We used it all. Picture my daughter in 2002 crawling around in groovy early 70s clothing, and playing with vintage fisher price toys...

bongo2 06-19-2008 10:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bosco (Post 670776)
if you will check the link, current tax rates for median and half median incomes are as low as they have ever been, and even those at twice the median income are not much above 1955 levels.

That is an interesting table. You have to wonder about it's accuracy, though, when they clearly forgot the phase-out of the child tax credit for the last few years, which raises the marginal tax rate from 25% to 30% in 2006.

bongo2 06-19-2008 10:33 AM

Also: don't forget FICA, 15.3% today and 3% in 1955. Combined median average rate would be ~20% today and ~9% in 1955. Top looks like ~24% in 1990.

aida2003 06-19-2008 11:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PBAT (Post 671584)
Aida,
DD used to be the same way. Starting when she was about 2, I put a bag on the seat next to her with small toys/books/paper pad and crayons, so she could reach them herself. Keeps her occupied for hours! Especially if some of the items are new to her - kids books $.10-.25 at the thrift store!

Yes, this method kind of helped us a little bit on the airplane when we traveled to/from Europe. But the best distraction was playing with water: washing her table-tray and her seat... until her (leather) seat got very wet and a stewardess warned that there're electronics beneath the seat.

aida2003 06-19-2008 11:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Keim (Post 671647)
Here is a great example of frugality:
They saved almost ALL of their kids babyclothes and toys. Over 30 years later when we had kids, they packed up a trailer and hauled it over to us. Filled the better part of my storage room.

My in-laws saved toys and a few shirts. The wooden German toys are so cute and almost 40 years old.:D

free4now 06-19-2008 12:31 PM

I find that edibility of food is the prime area that I run into trouble with people thinking me bizarre. After having travelled overseas in places without refrigeration, I am comfortable eating leftovers that have been sitting out for a day or so. I'll get a doggie bag at a restaurant and eat my leftovers the next day while travelling. But many people used to refrigerators get very uncomfortable with that, so I've learned to be discreet and only engage in such behavior with people that know me well.

CaseInPoint 06-19-2008 01:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SecondCor521 (Post 670605)
I think there is a tremendous pressure to conform in the US to societal/cultural norms and using a word like "bizarre" with a negative connotation -- rather than "different from me", which isn't as negative -- is usually an effort to enforce conformity in order for the person using the word to not have to think about anything as uncomfortable and involving effort as non-conformity.

Well... There's obviously a big difference between being just "different" and being bizarre.

Sarah in SC 06-19-2008 01:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by free4now (Post 671717)
I find that edibility of food is the prime area that I run into trouble with people thinking me bizarre. After having travelled overseas in places without refrigeration, I am comfortable eating leftovers that have been sitting out for a day or so. I'll get a doggie bag at a restaurant and eat my leftovers the next day while travelling. But many people used to refrigerators get very uncomfortable with that, so I've learned to be discreet and only engage in such behavior with people that know me well.

When we lived on the boat, we didn't have anything but a lukewarm icebox, so got used to this. I can tell you that a friend still talks incredulously about our keeping mayo unrefrigerated. It is of course fine (before being mixed with other stuff) as are eggs, hard cheese, etc. but the US belief that everything must go into the fridge must be a vast marketing conspiracy of the folks selling those ginormous models.

CaseInPoint 06-19-2008 01:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by toofrugalformycat (Post 670708)
This is all about perspective IMHO. After seeing families living in their one room hand built grass/bamboo/wood huts, all the furor about decorating a McMansion seems beyond bizarre to me. And depending on what part of the world, many of the hut people are in general happier and healthier than your average overstressed desk jockey here. I'm thinking parts of the Yucatan and the South Pacific specifically.

Just picking up on the overstressed American desk jockey, it makes me wonder who has more stress: Sure, working people do have job-related stress. But, it seems to me that many people who are retired early have enormous amounts of financial stress, and no immediate way of solving their financial problems (unless, of course, they return to being desk jockeys...)

So what good is ER when it entails being constantly stressed about money, and using the term "frugal" to refer to their living on the edge of poverty? Seems to me that many ER people have only exchanged one form of stress for another -- possibly worse -- source of stress.

haha 06-19-2008 03:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CaseInPoint (Post 671761)
So what good is ER when it entails being constantly stressed about money, and using the term "frugal" to refer to their living on the edge of poverty? Seems to me that many ER people have only exchanged one form of stress for another -- possibly worse -- source of stress.

Hey fella, whose Emperor you calling naked?

You some kind of pinko-commie-hippie- nonconformist? :)

Ha

Finance Dave 06-19-2008 07:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aida2003 (Post 670385)

When do you think frugality becomes bizarre? Any real life examples?

My dad buys Kleenex in the rectangular box to "refill" the Kleenex in his square box because the rectangular boxes are less expensive per tissue.

jclarksnakes 06-19-2008 09:49 PM

My brother in law's father did fairly well running his own business and is now retired with no financial worries. He brags that in his entire life he never bought a new car (which I think is commendable) or a new tire (which I think is bizarre). BIL says that he remembers many times his dad would stop at gas stations to look thru the rack of used tires and often bought the most worn and cheapest ones. Some tires would last less than a month before he needed to replace them.
Jeff

CaseInPoint 06-19-2008 10:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by haha (Post 671819)
Hey fella, whose Emperor you calling naked?

You some kind of pinko-commie-hippie- nonconformist? :)

Ha

Oh, yeah... Wouldn't want to confuse anyone with... facts.

;D

sailor 06-20-2008 05:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aida2003 (Post 671568)
When I said DD not being flexible, in my mind I was comparing my DD to my manager's kids. My manager's kids are just HAPPY to sit in the car seats and our DD HATES being buckled up, so she screams, cries and whines.

DS at 1y.o. behaved same way.
When we had only one kid we traveled around his nap times and doing longer distance driving in the evening. We joke that one of our 2005 vacations was a "2005 Ireland playground tour".
Quote:

I'd be curious what you visited in Europe with your little kids (how old are they?) and which places were very child-friendly.
Our kids are 3.5 and 1.5 now.
With kids in Europe we visited Ireland, Greece, Amsterdam, Paris & UK (2005 till 2007).
We are staying two more weeks in Krakow (Poland) and heading to UK for our last week.
Also as far as strapping kids into the seats I have not had them strapped for probably last 3 weeks - while we have a car here I mostly use public transport or a bicycle with child carrier. My kids love street cars and trains & prefer a bicycle vs. a car ride.
As far as child-friendly I would say all of these places have been moderately child friendly (people attitude is great, but I rate only moderately because of smokers everywhere).

cjking 06-23-2008 06:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ultimate Cheapskate (Post 670806)
Yikes! Cheap minds think alike! I've had this Nobel-prize-winning idea for years: We should make cars with detachable butt-ends (giant zippers right behind the front seat - 3 wheels on the front half, 2 on the back), so that you can leave the entire back seat and trunk at home when you don't need it.

Seriously, we can't apparently convince ourselves to drive smaller cars or car pool, but who would haul along the derierra of their car if they didn't need to? And, if you have a Big Car Ego, you'd still have bragging rights ... "You should see my back end! I don't use it much, but it's HUGE!"

Stay Cheap!
-Jeff Yeager

The Smart car is a 2-seater car that has about the same length as a motorcycle. (There is no back seat.) I like the funky styling, I like the fact that the body panels are plastic and can be easily replaced when damaged (of if you want to change the colour of the car) and would like to own an electric version of it. There is an electric version on the way, but it doesn't use the latest electric technology, so won't have the performance and the range that would come with using wheel-motors and Altair-Nano batteries. However if it was offered with that technology, it would still have the shortcoming of not being able to transport 5 adults and some luggage, which I need to do a handful of times each year. The other day it occurred to me that the solution would be a closely coupled trailer with a single bench seat, 2 doors, a capacious trunk and an intercom system to communicate with the front. The trailer would be in the same funcky styling and when in use the overall six wheeled vehicle would work like one of those buses with an articulated section, what we in London call "bendy buses."

It wouldn't be necessary to own the trailer, you would just hire it on the handful of occasions you needed it. The Smart car comes in a limited range of colours, so for those who like things to match, looking good wouldn't be difficult to arrange.

TromboneAl 06-23-2008 08:41 AM

Quote:

Yikes! Cheap minds think alike! I've had this Nobel-prize-winning idea for years: We should make cars with detachable butt-ends (giant zippers right behind the front seat - 3 wheels on the front half, 2 on the back), so that you can leave the entire back seat and trunk at home when you don't need it.
And you could call it a

https://scienceblogs.com/bushwells/up...evil.laser.jpg

"Trailer." ;)

Ha ha, just kidding. I'm going to see how easily my rear seats would come out.

ERD50 06-23-2008 10:10 AM

Here's another twist on that idea. It's been around a long while:

https://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:.../1976_10_7.jpghttps://sidecar.home.insightbb.com/t_truetrue02.gifhttps://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:...vidson-j-6.jpg

-ERD50

al_bundy 06-23-2008 10:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cjking (Post 673377)
The Smart car is a 2-seater car that has about the same length as a motorcycle. (There is no back seat.) I like the funky styling, I like the fact that the body panels are plastic and can be easily replaced when damaged (of if you want to change the colour of the car) and would like to own an electric version of it. There is an electric version on the way, but it doesn't use the latest electric technology, so won't have the performance and the range that would come with using wheel-motors and Altair-Nano batteries. However if it was offered with that technology, it would still have the shortcoming of not being able to transport 5 adults and some luggage, which I need to do a handful of times each year. The other day it occurred to me that the solution would be a closely coupled trailer with a single bench seat, 2 doors, a capacious trunk and an intercom system to communicate with the front. The trailer would be in the same funcky styling and when in use the overall six wheeled vehicle would work like one of those buses with an articulated section, what we in London call "bendy buses."

It wouldn't be necessary to own the trailer, you would just hire it on the handful of occasions you needed it. The Smart car comes in a limited range of colours, so for those who like things to match, looking good wouldn't be difficult to arrange.

i saw them in italy over 10 years ago

they are OK if you are single, but even with 1 child they are way too small

i'm actually surprised they made it to the US. we used to joke that they were death traps

al_bundy 06-23-2008 10:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bosco (Post 670776)
the number of factual errors in this post are too numerous to count. However, if you will check the link, current tax rates for median and half median incomes are as low as they have ever been, and even those at twice the median income are not much above 1955 levels. All tax rates have fallen since the mid-1980s.

Historical Federal Income Tax Rates for Family of Four

I love it when Americans, pretty much the least-taxed population in the industrial world, bitch about taxes. But then again, the country was founded on tax rebellion. And yes, I am an American taxpayer.

federal taxes are low, but local property taxes are off the charts in a lot of places to pay for insane retirement benefits

NYC you can get away with $3000 a year in taxes. in most NYC suburbs you will pay at least $6000 a year in taxes. in NJ an OK house in a halfway decent town will cost closer to $10,000 a year in taxes

to compare, my wife and i looked at new Toll Brothers homes north of denver a few years back. $5000 a year in taxes for a $550,000 home that is over 2000 square feet with all the amenities

al_bundy 06-23-2008 11:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aida2003 (Post 670385)
I hope this forum didn't have such a topic or if it did then it was long ago.
The following quote of CaseInPoint from "The Ultimate Cheapskate" thread: https://www.early-retirement.org/foru...tml#post670362 prompted me to start this thread ;).



The latest example would be this. I'm expecting a boy in Aug. We've also got a 2.5y.o. girl. So, some colleagues at work asked me whether his nursery is ready. I said no, he'll spend almost a year in our bedroom (in DD's crib) and when he moves to his sister's room who'll be moving to a guest bedroom, we'll just hang some pictures maybe. Their reaction "Oh, but don't you need to paint it in blue or something? Isn't your DD's room pink now?" Me: "No, the walls are off white like we bought the house new. We never came around to paint". Should I feel guilty for not decorating the room in the cute colors and buying matching bedding/furniture because my DH and I feel fine as is? Maybe we're lucky we don't have people coming to our house or otherwise they'd make us really guilty and would definitely 'push' us to start shopping and changing our interior.:bat:

Another example. When DD passes her crib to her brother, she'll sleep on the thick full size mattress instead of a child's bed. After grandparents leave us (they'll come to help us out in Nov. for 3-4 months), DD will move to the guest bedroom that has a queen size bed.
Our rationale for doing this way is that our house won't become a motel with beds/mattresses stored in each and every room. Do you think this is bizarre because I don't see that way?:coolsmiley:

80-90% of children's clothes and toys are from garage sales or Goodwill. I know that in a year or two I'll shop more in regular stores for kids if I find nothing good in Goodwill or a consignment shop. It's time (and gas) consuming to drive to various garage sales and find good clothes.

What about you?

ignore these people

for most of history babies slept with their parents. the whole idea of a kids room and making it up is a marketing scam made up in the last 50 years in western countries.


toys are another scam as well. every toy hypes they will make your kid a genius and most are just cheapo pieces of plastic with a few flashing lights

kombat 06-23-2008 11:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by al_bundy (Post 673448)
i'm actually surprised they made it to the US. we used to joke that they were death traps

Are you surprised motorcycles are legal in North America? Why not? Aren't they even less crashworthy than a Smart Car?

I never understood why peoples' first reaction upon seeing a Smart Car is, "Geez, wouldn't want to get into an accident in that thing." But these same people don't make those same comments when they see someone drive by on a motorcycle. I don't get it. Has the media conditioned us to be fearful of the safety factor of these cars, to keep us buying gas-guzzling behemoths?

al_bundy 06-23-2008 12:21 PM

motorcycles have two wheels, are a lot more manueverable and can ride between cars

FinanceDude 06-23-2008 12:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by al_bundy (Post 673501)
motorcycles have two wheels, are a lot more manueverable and can ride between cars

Having survived a motorcycle accident, I will take metal around me anytime.........;)

Milton 06-23-2008 02:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by al_bundy (Post 673448)
they are OK if you are single, but even with 1 child they are way too small

i'm actually surprised they made it to the US. we used to joke that they were death traps

Yes, the Smart Car fortwo is not for large families. But then, statistics show that the average passenger vehicle typically carries only 1.2 occupants. And those with large families self-evidently don't care much about frugal living, so it's a moot point.

Regarding your 'death trap' crack, the fortwo has many safety features and has successfully undergone extensive testing [see further CanadianDriver: Auto Tech - Smart fortwo crash-test results]. It is allowed in the US because it meets the same standards as other vehicles.

Disclosure: I don't own a Smart Car.

toofrugalformycat 06-23-2008 05:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CaseInPoint (Post 671761)
Just picking up on the overstressed American desk jockey, it makes me wonder who has more stress: Sure, working people do have job-related stress. But, it seems to me that many people who are retired early have enormous amounts of financial stress, and no immediate way of solving their financial problems (unless, of course, they return to being desk jockeys...)

So what good is ER when it entails being constantly stressed about money, and using the term "frugal" to refer to their living on the edge of poverty? Seems to me that many ER people have only exchanged one form of stress for another -- possibly worse -- source of stress.

I cede your point. I'm sure there are ERs living as you describe.
Of the ERs I know, including myself, some of us are indeed sometimes stressed about money.
However, I find my total stress is much less than when I was a desk jockey, because I was stressed about money even when I was working and making a decent wage. I had lots of money, but because I was surrounded by other desk jockeys spending money on clothes and houses and nice cars, I wanted more. This was on top of the job stress, repetitive motion injuries, no time for fun, etc.
But so far I don't have to dumpster dive to survive. If I HAD to, I would not be a happy camper, I agree.

Ultimate Cheapskate 06-23-2008 05:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cjking (Post 673377)
The Smart car is a 2-seater car that has about the same length as a motorcycle. (There is no back seat.) I like the funky styling, I like the fact that the body panels are plastic and can be easily replaced when damaged (of if you want to change the colour of the car) and would like to own an electric version of it. There is an electric version on the way, but it doesn't use the latest electric technology, so won't have the performance and the range that would come with using wheel-motors and Altair-Nano batteries. However if it was offered with that technology, it would still have the shortcoming of not being able to transport 5 adults and some luggage, which I need to do a handful of times each year. The other day it occurred to me that the solution would be a closely coupled trailer with a single bench seat, 2 doors, a capacious trunk and an intercom system to communicate with the front. The trailer would be in the same funcky styling and when in use the overall six wheeled vehicle would work like one of those buses with an articulated section, what we in London call "bendy buses."

It wouldn't be necessary to own the trailer, you would just hire it on the handful of occasions you needed it. The Smart car comes in a limited range of colours, so for those who like things to match, looking good wouldn't be difficult to arrange.



OK, so once again I'm behind the times ... sounds great, let's just do it!

-Jeff Yeager
Ultimate Cheapskate

d 06-23-2008 06:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CaseInPoint (Post 671761)
... using the term "frugal" to refer to their living on the edge of poverty?

seems you are doing that, don't believe others here are.

al_bundy 06-23-2008 08:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FinanceDude (Post 673504)
Having survived a motorcycle accident, I will take metal around me anytime.........;)

and cars have roofs, heat, AC, and radios

cjking 06-24-2008 02:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by al_bundy (Post 673448)
i saw them in italy over 10 years ago

they are OK if you are single, but even with 1 child they are way too small

i'm actually surprised they made it to the US. we used to joke that they were death traps


Some horrible electric cars are around that are about the same size and shape, and they are death traps. In a recent test the crash test dummy was left in three pieces. I think those cars are only allowed on the roads because they are licensed as a "quadricycle."

The Smart car itself is built by Mercedes Benz and has a Euro NCAP 4 (out of 5) safety rating, which is the same (to take a random example) as the Honda Civic Hybrid. Another reference point: the Nissan Navara pick-up truck only scores 3. A Chrysler Voyager scores only 2. (These figures assume I've interpreted their web-site correctly, I find it a bit confusing.)

free4now 06-24-2008 09:32 AM

The lesson for the day is that good engineering, rather than mass, protects you from accidents. My Toyota Prius has a teeny tiny engine compartment, much smaller than most cars. But it still is rated tops for impact protection, because of the way it's designed. Similarly the SMART had a lot of work put in on active and passive safety systems, so it's a decently safe vehicle.

ERD50 06-24-2008 09:50 AM

free4now, you are missing the point.

TRUE: Big car with good safety design better than Big car with poor safety design.

TRUE: Small car with good safety design better than Small car with poor safety design.

If a Small car with good (or poor) safety design hits a Big car head on, the occupants in the Small car get much higher G-forces - go back and watch the S-Class vs the Smart car linked above.

The difference in G-Forces trump the differences in design. Just like a mediocre Heavyweight boxer can beat an excellent Featherweight.

Yes, the small car might outmaneuver in some cases, but look at those stats I provided, the death rates were much lower in the Mini-Vans compared to compact/subcompact. Those MVs don't maneuver too well. It only goes so far.

-ERD50

haha 06-24-2008 10:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ERD50 (Post 673931)
Yes, the small car might outmaneuver in some cases, but look at those stats I provided, the death rates were much lower in the Mini-Vans compared to compact/subcompact. Those MVs don't maneuver too well. It only goes so far.-ERD50


Definitely true. Small car "maneuverability" is mostly car-enthusiast magazine and advertiser copy. It might be fun, and some things like traction control will help you a lot- but in a wreck, especially vehicle on vehicle, you gotta love iron.

Many wrecks happen so fast that reacting is mostly a fantasy. Your main reaction is going to be autonomic- as in how much do you bleed?

There is a reason why Germans still drive Mercedes, even with the gas prices they pay.

As for me, when it comes to adopting very small cars-“After You , My Dear Alphonse”.

Ha

SecondCor521 06-24-2008 10:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by haha (Post 673945)
Many wrecks happen so fast that reacting is mostly a fantasy. Your main reaction is going to be autonomic- as in how much do you bleed?

I'm not the best driver in the world and as a result have been in four collision accidents. Three of them occurred before I even realized it, and in the fourth I had a split second to react before impact. My action in that split second was to slam on the brakes which turned out to quadruple the repair costs to my car because instead of hitting bumper to bumper my front bumper went under their rear bumper which crumpled the front part of my engine compartment.

2Cor521

kombat 06-24-2008 12:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ERD50 (Post 673931)
If a Small car with good (or poor) safety design hits a Big car head on, the occupants in the Small car get much higher G-forces - go back and watch the S-Class vs the Smart car linked above.

I don't think anyone is denying that.

My point was simply that the crash is even more lop-sided when you substitute a motorcycle for the Smart Car in the S-Class crash, yet reduced crashworthiness is mentioned far less frequently in discussions regarding motorcycles compared to Smart Cars.

It seems as though people assume Smart Cars are actively trying to kill them, yet (the more dangerous) motorcycles enjoy a free pass. I'm just struggling to understand why people would shun a Smart Car, calling it a death-trap, then turn around and hop on a motorcycle without a second thought. Is it hypocrisy? Stupidity? Denial?

DallasGuy 06-24-2008 12:18 PM

I wouldn't hesitate to drive a Smart Car....but I don't think I'd ever drive a motorcycle for everyday use just because one wrong move at high speed, say over 60mph, (by you or someone else) and you're pretty much toast. At least in a Smart Car you have a fighting chance. Also, I think people in smaller cars tend to (but not always) drive slower...that helps in two ways...you have more time to react and if you do get into an accident the damage is lesser at the slower speeds.

I do agree though, given a small car with the same safety rating as a large car...people in the larger car will probably come out better. Since this thread was about frugality, the question should be...how much are you willing to pay in higher costs (gas, insurance, vehicle price to begin with) for that extra safety?

CitricAcid 06-24-2008 12:22 PM

Agree with kombat and free4now, and also feel that perhaps there is an irrational perception about the smaller cars. Not that they are safer than the larger cars, which as anyone with even a slight background of physics or mechanics will tell you is generally not true, but that the safety of the car is looked as suspicious while those of motorcycles, driving with a cellphone, speeding, tailgating, etc. aren't quite looked at the same.

ERD50 06-24-2008 12:23 PM

Re big crushes small car -

Quote:

Originally Posted by kombat (Post 673989)
I don't think anyone is denying that.

I think that maybe free4now was.

Quote:

My point was simply that the crash is even more lop-sided when you substitute a motorcycle for the Smart Car in the S-Class crash, yet reduced crashworthiness is mentioned far less frequently in discussions regarding motorcycles compared to Smart Cars.

It seems as though people assume Smart Cars are actively trying to kill them, yet (the more dangerous) motorcycles enjoy a free pass. I'm just struggling to understand why people would shun a Smart Car, calling it a death-trap, then turn around and hop on a motorcycle without a second thought. Is it hypocrisy? Stupidity? Denial?
I thought that was a very interesting point you made. Made me think. So the law says we can't sell certain vehicles because they don't meet crash standards, yet a vehicle that is much, much worse can be sold (just because it has 2 wheels instead of 4) - it really does not make sense.

If someone wants to take the view that motorcycles are inherently dangerous, so the driver should just accept this.... well, why not accept that some make/model of car is dangerous. Just put a sticker on it.

I imagine it is just a matter of being pragmatic. There are fewer motorcycles on the road, so the law is trying to protect the largest groups? Plus, you couldn't do much other than ban motorcycles (at least as we know them today), and they probably figure they just couldn't get a law like that passed, so they do what they can.

Crazy, yes - but what would you do if you were King? You really want Hell's Angels to come visit you, you know, to give you a little 'advice'?

-ERD50

CitricAcid 06-24-2008 12:31 PM

Yet, to what restraints do we pass laws/regulations that disconnect individual's from their own choices?

ERD50 06-24-2008 12:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CitricAcid (Post 674002)
Yet, to what restraints do we pass laws/regulations that disconnect individual's from their own choices?

Yes, I was thinking that as I typed. Kinda off topic from the OP, but...

I am not fond of govt involvement, except where they can do it better than the alternatives. This is probably a good case for that.

An individual interested in better safety doesn't really have that much 'vote with your wallet' impact with the big car companies, unless the vast majority are interested in better safety. I don't think the average person has a good grasp on what makes a car safe or not. So while I'm certain these regulations are flawed and convoluted and maybe even sometimes counter-productive, I'd bet that we are better off with them, than without them.

While the crash test standards are a good way to drive good design, I think those 'annual driver deaths' per cars sold ratio, broken down by car model would be an interesting thing to put on the sticker of every car sold.

Imagine the impact of a big YELLOW sticker like those Energy Star stickers on washing machines:


Quote:


<----- (BEST) ----- NUMBER OF DRIVER DEATHS per 1000,000 CARS SOLD -----(WORST)----->

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[ THIS CAR ]-------
:o :o :o

-ERD50

Khan 06-24-2008 02:08 PM

My plan is to buy the smallest (highest MPG) vehicle for everyday use, and if I ever want to take a 2 or 3 week road trip I can always rent something bigger if I feel that there is some sort of comfort or safety advantage.

Finance Dave 06-24-2008 02:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Milton (Post 673572)
the average passenger vehicle typically carries only 1.2 occupants.

I can fit the .2 person in the trunk. :p

Just jokin' with ya Milton...I agree that they have their place in society. My wife and I have considered one...we'd use it only "in town". I live in a small town where the speed limits rarely are over 35 mph. I know that serious accidents can still happen at that speed too...we always must drive carefully and wear seatbelts.

cjking 06-24-2008 10:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ERD50 (Post 673931)
TRUE: Big car with good safety design better than Big car with poor safety design.

TRUE: Small car with good safety design better than Small car with poor safety design.

-ERD50

I thought the issue was is a big car with poor safety design better than small car with good design.

This discussion started because Smart Car was ruled out on safety grounds because of its size, yet Chrysler Voyager (being large) implicitly wasn't. The crash test results (I presume) mean there are accidents where you would walk away if you'd been in a Smart car, but not if you'd been in a Voyager.

Anyone care to post a statistic of what proportion of accidents are head-on collisions? I'm going to guess fewer than 5%. I'm open to correction, but I believe the most common type of accident where you're likely to be injured is where you are hit from the side with your drivers door being the point of contact.

I do vaguely recall seeing a TV program where an extremely large car (jeep or SUV) was test crashed head-on into something half the size, and it was only the driver in the large car who would have had his legs mangled.

Of course in real life no one is torn between a Smart and a Voyager on safety grounds. For most consumers relative safety carries between zero and negligible weight in their choice of vehicle. I think this is rational. Even though crash tests may identify weaknesses in particular models, for 99.9% of us they won't matter as we'll never be in an accident where a different car would have made a difference to the health outcome for us.

Having said that, my parents where glad they were in a Mercedes when a pick-up truck driver wandered over to their side of the road and hit them head-on. They walked away, the truck driver was dead.

haha 06-24-2008 11:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cjking (Post 674337)
Of course in real life no one is torn between a Smart and a Voyager on safety grounds. For most consumers relative safety carries between zero and negligible weight in their choice of vehicle. I think this is rational. Even though crash tests may identify weaknesses in particular models, for 99.9% of us they won't matter as we'll never be in an accident where a different car would have made a difference to the health outcome for us.

Having said that, my parents where glad they were in a Mercedes when a pick-up truck driver wandered over to their side of the road and hit them head-on. They walked away, the truck driver was dead.

I think your second point contradicts your prior statement. Start talking to people- I was saved from much worse injuries than I got by having a new, safe car when I was struck first from the side, then head-on by a third car. Your parents had their experience. Talk to your friends- many have been in crashes in a Volvo or other safe car that they very likely would not have survived in an old Corolla, and old Corollas are by no means the worst example. The Institute of Highway Safety gives a different, more real world look than the government tests.

Another intersting thing to do is talk to highway patrol, or EMTs. See what they say about who does best in the many crashed they see- the guy in the old Beetle, or the guy in the SUV?

And you couldn't get me on a motorcycle for anything. Why be hyper-conservative with investments, then ride around on a motorcycle?

Ha

cjking 06-25-2008 03:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by haha (Post 674348)
I think your second point contradicts your prior statement. Start talking to people- I was saved from much worse injuries than I got by having a new, safe car when I was struck first from the side, then head-on by a third car. Your parents had their experience. Talk to your friends- many have been in crashes in a Volvo or other safe car that they very likely would not have survived in an old Corolla, and old Corollas are by no means the worst example. The Institute of Highway Safety gives a different, more real world look than the government tests.

Another intersting thing to do is talk to highway patrol, or EMTs. See what they say about who does best in the many crashed they see- the guy in the old Beetle, or the guy in the SUV?

And you couldn't get me on a motorcycle for anything. Why be hyper-conservative with investments, then ride around on a motorcycle?

Ha

I kind of agree with you about motorbikes, I had them as transport when I was a student but couldn't ever see myself going back to them.

My parents accident certainly does illustrate that the right car can make a difference, however I never really said otherwise. What I said was that the times when it does are so rare that it's probably not worth worrying about.

If we were concerned about safety at all costs we would never venture out at all. Given that we do, there must come a point where a safety difference between two cars is outweighed by other factors. For example, suppose I had to choose between being lent a Nissan Murano and a Toyota Prius for a year. I've estimated that a years worth of fuel for the Prius would cost me $2400, but for the Murano it would cost me $8300. So I would choose the Prius, even if you proved to me the Murano was safer.

I have absolutely no reservations about the Smart car on safety grounds. My reservations in the past have been purely to do with practicality and value for money. (I don't like to buy cars like BMW's and Mercedese's and Smart cars which suffer from "positive brand image", meaning they are so desirable they are sold at a price that gives you less car for your money. My current car was an extreme case of getting value for money by going for an unpopular brand; I bought it 3 years old for a quarter of what it cost new. The "negative brand image" that allowed me to do this was partly to do with the manufacturer having gone bust a few months earlier, plus the fact that every other model the manufacturer made was inferior to the competition.)

Going back to motorbikes, if my finances now resembled my finances when I was a Student, then I probably would consider them again. Being wealthier enables me to be more cowardly. If Bill Gate's had to face the Murano versus Prius choice, I doubt the fuel costs would sway him towards the Prius.


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