What are you spending it on?!?

Nords

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Every few months my spouse & I bring up Cut-Throat's "What are you saving it for?" sentiments. We heartily agree that he's absolutely correct and then we go right back to clipping coupons, doing our own house & car maintenance, and shopping at Goodwill.

It's not cognitive dissonance-- we agree that we can spend more. We're not even at 4% yet.

The "problem" that we're confronting is that spending doesn't seem to hold much value for us and we don't get around to it. We're in a comfortable parenting & recreational rut and we have plenty of other things that we'd rather do. For example I prefer surfing to watching a movie. We'd be happy to own a Prius but it's just as easy to nurse along our beat-up eight-year-old Nissan Altima. (Of course I'd love to do the aftermarket battery mod to a Prius...) I don't have a lot of power tools toys to take care of. We don't play dress-up. I don't want to dust more junk tchotchkes. We dive but I don't golf. I enjoy picking stocks but they're making money. We enjoy Costco pizza more than fancy restaurants. It's more fun to plant veggies & harvest fruits with my FIL than it is to listen to his complaints about produce prices.

Some spending has warmed up. For example spouse does Saturday-morning garage sales and sometimes blows as much as $5! She's also discovered Craigslist (dozens of husbands just went "Ruh-roh..."). In the last month we've squandered $100 for an electric mower (she's very happy, and so I'm happy) and $175 for a screened swing chair. I see a lot of possibilities for the swing chair-- a canopy with mosquito netting, a nice comfortable swing that folds out & locks into a full-size futon, a variety of comfy pillows. It's perfect for that transition from talking/reading to napping or other al fresco activities. (We call it the "kissing chair" so of course our 13-year-old & her friends want nothing to do with it.) I bought a new computer instead of a new power supply last year, and now my FIL can have the "old" computer instead of his 1990s Win98 relic.

I read a ton of books, mostly through the library, and my reading list is nine pages long. Lately I've decided that if I can't find them at the library within a year or two, I'm gonna spend real money at Amazon or eBay. I probably burn through $150/year, donate them to Goodwill, and take the tax deduction.

We're getting ready for a summer vacation-- probably a meander from Gettysburg (kid loves the Civil War) to DC & Annapolis (Smithsonian, college tours, family & friends). We could probably spend 10 days, however the kid wants to take summer school PE and they haven't put out the schedule yet. I'd prefer to avoid touring that part of the country in July but we might have to suck it up. So that's a few thousand dollars, well within the budget, to listen to a couple weeks of "You live in Hawaii and you're vacationing HERE?!?"

Now that the solar projects are out of the way, we're working on rain barrels & landscaping. Three plastic 55-gallon drums cost $30 and we'll probably connect them to the gutters for another $20-$30 in parts. Free water for the downhill slope anytime we want. If we wanted any more than this it'd require a cistern.

One day the kid will fly out of the nest and I'll get my storage shed playhouse workshop back. But it doesn't have electricity so I'll need to drop conduit from the meter, underground, under a lava-rock wall, and down to a sub-panel. Another $250 or so of hedonistic spending.

The other project under "design review" is replacing the back lanai. The 17-year-old painted concrete is gouged, wavy, & peeling. Replacing it is pretty straightforward (although the property's lava-rock walls call for a 50-foot grout pump or a buttload of wheelbarrows) but of course it's not that simple. First, my spouse (ruh-roh again) wants to widen the sidewalk along the house. But to do that we'd have to move the mature gardenias away from the kitchen & livingroom windows. And then we'd probably want to put up a pergola along that wall so the support pillars would have to be coordinated with the sidewalk. As long as there's a lovely pergola to walk out to, we should probably replace the LR windows with a French door. Oh, and before we replace the back lanai concrete we want to even up the slippery lava-rock steps going down to the back slope, which would probably require extending the staircase by cutting a slot into the lanai. So we'll have to replace the wrought-iron gate, one of a matched set of three around the house that might as well be replaced in a package deal. And as long as we're destroying the yard, let's kill off the jungleweed lawn and start over with El Toro zoysia. Or should we turn some of that into a raised-bed veggie garden, irrigated of course from our rainbarrels?

At which point we nod our heads & agree that we should do something about that someday. She goes back to watching HGTV ("Dream House" or "Groundbreakers") and I check the surf forecast.

Empty-nesting-- mmmmmm. Diving in Chuuk? The Great Barrier Reef? Spending a month in Thailand? A week in Monterey? No problem, we're all over it.

So, those of you in the withdrawal phase of your lives, is anyone else baffled by habitual frugality? What are you spending it on?
 
Nords said:
So, those of you in the withdrawal phase of your lives, is anyone else baffled by habitual frugality? What are you spending it on?

:D If this post hadn't been so long and lacked reference to the Norwegian widow, I would have sworn it was from unclemick. Heh heh heh
 
  If this post hadn't been so long and lacked reference to the Norwegian widow, I would have sworn it was from unclemick.  Heh heh heh


I thought mick was on a cruise right now (actually spending some dividend cash).
 
maddythebeagle said:
I thought mick was on a cruise right now (actually spending some dividend cash).

Yes, he is. But I'm not about to allow that stand it the way of taking a shot at Nords lamenting about what a cheapskate he's become. ;)
 
Well, not retired yet, so still accumulating, but I can't think of many thngs I want...

Maybe a planer, drill press, and shaper table.

Or a couple more guitars (only have four electrics, two acoustics, and a bass...), and maybe a class A amp...
 
Since I am still working and have not enough time or money to have such dilemmas, I can only envy your dilemma. But maybe you have already figured it out: you are happy with things the way they are, so why rock the boat? Rebuild the Lanai (does that translate as "patio" in mainland Merkin?), and otherwise keep doing what you enjoy. Its not as if this is your last chance to consume; you'll have lots of time to find things to spend money on in the empty nest phase (trips to visit your daughter wherever she goes to school, plus all the fun trips you hined at).
 
Well, although I am still working I can certainly relate to habitual frugality. It is a mindset that once set to is very hard to break.

However, I'll point out that either you don't really believe in the 4% SWR or you are saving it for some unmentioned thing at a later time.

Take some of that extra cash that you could have and treat yourself to something... anything. A better car, a great trip, some new electronics, a high class porn collection, whatever.

- You can't take it with you. Your life is suffering somewhat because of your mindset.

- What are you saving it for ?
 
We are still in w@rk mode but have an end in sight.  Our spending is leveling off after doing some house interior work and other stuff.  Our expenses are pretty high by most posts I have seen on the board but it is all relative to income and assets.  

What might be frugal for some would be extravagant to others.  $50k/ year funds a certain level of spending.  $100k a different one and $300k even more so.  Somebody here posted a $500k/year income.  That will buy a lot of Cheese Nips at Sam's Club.   Cannot imagine that much income.  :eek:

Our spending projections are unique to our needs, wants and desires but are limited by our assets to support the income needed to fund the desired level of spending.  NORDS is a good example of living below your means by limiting your spending to that which you wish to afford.  Some folks here can live on a very small income while others choose to live higher up on the hog.   The price for high hog living is more assets to generate more income to fund pork chops instead of pigs feet.  

Our spending plans support our desired lifestyle and will change over time as our desires and abilities change as well as the location of our kids and grandkids.  Family is the focus of our initial FIRE plans so our spending is linked to how we wish to be involved with our families, our community and ourselves.  
 
maddythebeagle said:
I thought mick was on a cruise right now (actually spending some dividend cash).

Many cruise ships have several pc's hooked up with internet access...
 
To quote you out of context:
Nords said:
Life is good.

Nords, you strike me as a happy satisfied person who has tremendous self discipline. What do you need to spend money for?

If I had to bet, I'd bet you never become a big spender. Your preoccupations aren't acquiring stuff, but instead doing stuff. Maybe someday you'll even write a book.

Me, I never was in the military and its enforced discipline. I didn't start saving for the future until my late 30s. I don't push myself physically to the extent I need copious amounts of ibuprofin. I rarely correct my typos. And I tend to like to accummulate stuff. I want to build a new house. I want to reupholster all my living room furniture. I spend money on motor homes and oriental rugs.

I bet I am no happier than you are and I certainly seem to worry more than you do.

Enjoy the surf.
 
(Cute Fuzzy Bunny) said:
Many cruise ships have several pc's hooked up with internet access...

Yeah, but they charge 50 cents per minute for access. I think unclemick is too cheap for that steep price tag.

Besides, who would voluntarily abandon their frosty beverage of choice and miss the sun sneaking behind the horizon to post on the internet? UM may be curmudgeonly, but not crazy.
 
Nords said:
So, those of you in the withdrawal phase of your lives, is anyone else baffled by habitual frugality? What are you spending it on?

Now that the new house is mostly furnished, we will get back to travel mode. My daughter will be working for the summer at the Utah Shakespearean Festival (Cedar City Utah) which is near Zion National Park and about 2 hours from Las Vegas. So, we will spend a few days with her, see 3 or 4 plays, visit Zion and Bryce Canyon and then spend a few days in Vegas. We invited our son to come along at our expense to see his sister. Then in October we have booked a cruise to the eastern Mediteranean (Rome, Monte Carlo, Nice, Athens, Mykonos, Olympia, Santorini, Turkey and Venice). We will spend a few days in Venice when the cruise ends.

I have had less trouble than Nords in letting the purse strings loose. We recently hired a cleaning service for the house that does the heavy cleaning every other week. We got tired of the "my back hurts from cleaning the floors (me)" and " my neck hurts from vacuuming the rugs (her)" so the $180 a month is worth it. I also hired a landscaping company to do all of the yard work (mowing, mulching, fertilizing, etc). Now, when DW drags me shopping and I see something I like, I buy it and don't sweat the price tag. That is a vast change from our LBYM lifestyle while we were accumulating the nestegg. Even with these changes we are spending less than our FIRE plan assumed.

Grumpy
 
Nords, I can help you with your problem, just send the extra money my way and you should see your problem solved.......
 
Martha said:
Nords, you strike me as a happy satisfied person who has tremendous self discipline. What do you need to spend money for?
If I had to bet, I'd bet you never become a big spender. Your preoccupations aren't acquiring stuff, but instead doing stuff. Maybe someday you'll even write a book.
I bet I am no happier than you are and I certainly seem to worry more than you do.
Enjoy the surf.
You're absolutely right. My idea of "big spender" is upgrading from coach to business class. And the surf has been surprisingly good this month!

Cool Dood said:
Nords, I can help you with your problem, just send the extra money my way and you should see your problem solved.......
You're right too. At some point the excess should ramp up our charitable donations.

MasterBlaster said:
However, I'll point out that either you don't really believe in the 4% SWR or you are saving it for some unmentioned thing at a later time.
- You can't take it with you. Your life is suffering somewhat because of your mindset.
- What are you saving it for ?
Whoops, not so fast. We believe in the 4% SWR (maybe we even believe in the 6% SWR) but we're not deliberately trying to save money against some future calamity (or cat food). We just don't seem to get up off our ragged assets and spend it. It's not as bad as "Brewster's Millions" or those shopping-spree contests but the things that we enjoy at this point in our lives don't soak up 4%. I see that lanai project (yes, "patio" for you Mainlanders) as a huge investment of time & energy-- and a worthwhile one too-- but I bet we'd be hard-pressed to spend over $20K.

I also see chasing after more possessions or more experiences a different sort of suffering.

So maybe we believe in dumping the extra shekels in a bull market? I don't know. This post is mainly an effort to see if this is a problem in search of a solution.

justin said:
Yeah, but they charge 50 cents per minute for access. I think unclemick is too cheap for that steep price tag.
Besides, who would voluntarily abandon their frosty beverage of choice and miss the sun sneaking behind the horizon to post on the internet? UM may be curmudgeonly, but not crazy.
I've been on a couple NCL cruises and those access prices are just short of being mugged. For what I do in a day online I could buy my own satellite channel. No value!

What's almost as bad is the people topside as the ship heads into port. They're waving their cell phones in the air hoping to find a tower signal before they make landfall. Then they call people on the Mainland and say "Guess what-- I'm on a Hawaii cruise ship heading into Nawiliwili! Can you hear me now?"

You're right-- the last thing on your mind is checking your e-mail. I bet UM comes back into port with quite a few memories of Norwegian widows who really enjoyed his, um, Dickies...
 
grumpy said:
Now, when DW drags me shopping and I see something I like, I buy it and don't sweat the price tag. That is a vast change from our LBYM lifestyle while we were accumulating the nestegg. Even with these changes we are spending less than our FIRE plan assumed.

I am beginning my spending mode phase but it will take me awhile to let go of the purse strings and buy "retail". I have lived most of my life with the spending attitude, "if it isn't on sale, i'm sure I can live w/o it" Man, am I tired of living on bread (whole wheat of course) and water (at least it's NYC water) :D

MJ
 
Nords said:
I bet UM comes back into port with quite a few memories of Norwegian widows who really enjoyed his, um, Dickies...

:LOL:

My wifes been reading the forum too much. She asked what I was laughing about and I just read her the line and she got it.

I paid three bucks to see if I won something on ebay or not while on vacation. Turns out I didnt :(
 
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