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Thread: I just kicked Joe Dominguez in the nuts

  1. #21
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Like many of our forum members I came across YMOYL a long time ago. At the time I went through all the steps, but the one that had the most meaning to me was tracking expenses. I was already reasonably frugal because that's always been my nature, but the tracking step and applying the life energy calculation showed several areas where I felt like I was overspending for not much bang for my buck. Things like eating lunch out on work days were wildly out of wack with where I wanted them to be. For about 3 years I tracked expenses closely until I was pretty happy with how the chart looked. Then I stopped tracking.

    A few months ago I thought about tracking again so I decided to start with a macro view. I crunched the numbers (ok, actually I took my last pay stub from 2016 and then added info that wasn't on it) and figured out the following big picture. I spent 35% of my income on income taxes and social security withholding, 31% went into savings (401k, roth ira, a few non-tax-advantaged investments) and the remaining 34% covered all the things I actually spend money on (rent, food, eating out, travel, car expenses, etc.) This with me not really making an effort to watch what I spend. Admittedly I don't have a lot of expensive tastes. I wear jeans and old pullover collared shirts to work. I own a 15 year old Honda that I inherited from my father. (with only 34k miles on it. Assuming that it will last to 250k miles, given how little we drive I will be dead before it's worn out...) I still have most of the furniture I got in my first apartment in NYC. But we drop $100 or so every week eating out on Friday, usually with friends. And are wine club members at several wineries. And take at least one big vacation per year plus several smaller long weekend type trips. In other words I spend money where I enjoy it and not where I don't.

    The reality that I'm not depriving myself but still only spending 34% of my income made me realize that I really don't need to don a scratchy hair shirt and deprive myself just for the sake of saving a few sheckels. The biggest part of my actual spending is rent. Yes, we could maybe save a few hundred per month if we moved out of this city, but the reality is that we LOVE our neighborhood and our apartment and the convenience of being close to things.

    The reality is that I still enjoy my job so I don't really feel any urgency to quit it. But if I decided tomorrow or next week that I did, I could. At my current burn rate, even if my assets only keep even with inflation I could live 20 years. That's probably not enough to retire on since I'm only 50, but if I keep working another 10 years it likely will be, especially if I continue to save during that time. So with all that in mind I've decided not to start tracking my spending again.

  2. #22
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    I think oldhat makes a valuable point about the difference between living simply voluntarily and living frugally. In my experience, the two often are at cross purposes. I have been known to buy an item or two while I'm out on errands even when I know those items are more expensive where I am -- because it's simpler than driving to the other store where those items are cheaper (or than ordering on-line).

    I also think there's also a difference between a splurge ($3.99 raspberries) and regularly (out)spending one's income to keep up with the Joneses -- to be on the edge of things financially with a new-car payment (or two) and a McMansion payment and fancy new clothes and house décor all the time. Sort of like a "cheat day" on a diet -- you have to keep it liveable.

    We're not ready to kick anyone anywhere. For us the big challenge will be ensuring we're financially stable through the several years between when we quit working full-time career jobs to the time we reach 66-67. We had a lot of big expenses this year so I'm hopeful next year will be a good time to return to when we routinely could bank more than we spent. By American standards we are still way ahead of the game. But we can't quite see the finish line yet.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  3. #23
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    Being frugal is so different to each and everyone. It is only a luxury when you have it to be frugal with. We have been on all sides, poor so we never even knew we were poor. To wow we had a cushion in the bank of one check. To Oh the boom years, then the Oh no what ifs happened. To today peace.

    You can not take it with you, but you can't run out before. Oh that is the dilemma, like how many licks does it take to the center of a tootsie pop.

  4. #24
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Love your tootsie pop analogy, BikingLady!

  5. #25
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosarugosa View Post
    Love your tootsie pop analogy, BikingLady!
    I know, that is funny!

  6. #26
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    I've lived the frugal life so long that I've grown to like some aspects of it. My accumulations have allowed me to spend more where I might have scrimped a few years ago, but it's mostly improving the quality of what I already have rather than getting more things. I get quality clothing and footwear, good tires, a car that I don't have to worry about breaking down, good insulation and windows for the home, and nicer computers and music center electronics. I'd mostly rather cook at home than eat out and am not comfortable in motels. I'm a little preoccupied with my carbon footprint which keeps spending down.

    Maybe things will come up and I'll spend it all, but I don't feel any strong obligation for that. Maybe the nursing home will get what's left or maybe some nice charity will benefit. I just don't think about money as much anymore, which is very nice.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar View Post
    I've lived the frugal life so long that I've grown to like some aspects of it...... I just don't think about money as much anymore, which is very nice.
    These 2 statements sum up the value of all the hard work of YMOYL. It is truly a blessing not think about money anymore.....we earn....we save....we spend.

  8. #28
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmc View Post
    The wife wants a new Lincoln SUV. There really is no reason not to get one, her old car is 7 years old now.
    I generally keep cars 15-20 years or so. I don't put many miles on them, and if you get a decent car, it seems to last. My personal regular drivers are a 1998 (small convertible), a 1999 (big truck), and a 2003 (fast sports/GT car). None has more than 40,000 miles on the odometer.

    This summer, I was thinking of getting a 4-door sedan, as we are squiring around more guests, and taking more cross-country driving trips with people who don't appreciate being stuffed into a small sports car or noisy truck. I was going to get the boring choice - a Tesla Model S. However, another American company, Dodge, makes a truly stupid and insane 4-door sedan, with > 700 hp, which does the 1/4 mile in the 10 second range, and has a top speed of > 200 mph. I was sort of lusting after this insane supercharged V8 Interceptor, but it's too stupid. My wife sweetly pointed out "Dear, your reflexes and eyesight won't ever be any better than they are now, get the race car now, and get the Tesla next time you upgrade. Enjoy yourself!"

    So here's my new Tesla.... Which is not frugal or simple, but I could easily afford it, and my wife was right, it's not like I'll enjoy something this silly more...later.


  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by bae View Post
    I generally keep cars 15-20 years or so. I don't put many miles on them, and if you get a decent car, it seems to last. My personal regular drivers are a 1998 (small convertible), a 1999 (big truck), and a 2003 (fast sports/GT car). None has more than 40,000 miles on the odometer.

    This summer, I was thinking of getting a 4-door sedan, as we are squiring around more guests, and taking more cross-country driving trips with people who don't appreciate being stuffed into a small sports car or noisy truck. I was going to get the boring choice - a Tesla Model S. However, another American company, Dodge, makes a truly stupid and insane 4-door sedan, with > 700 hp, which does the 1/4 mile in the 10 second range, and has a top speed of > 200 mph. I was sort of lusting after this insane supercharged V8 Interceptor, but it's too stupid. My wife sweetly pointed out "Dear, your reflexes and eyesight won't ever be any better than they are now, get the race car now, and get the Tesla next time you upgrade. Enjoy yourself!"

    So here's my new Tesla.... Which is not frugal or simple, but I could easily afford it, and my wife was right, it's not like I'll enjoy something this silly more...later.

    I hear they run on electricity and tax subsidies. If enough people buy them, Elon Musk will be able to colonize Mars. We're going to need more zip codes.

  10. #30
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LDAHL View Post
    I hear they run on electricity and tax subsidies. If enough people buy them, Elon Musk will be able to colonize Mars. We're going to need more zip codes.
    Well, my "Tesla" seems to run on fermented dinosaur blood and the whimpering souls of liberals.

    (I honestly can't believe they sell cars like this right-off-the-lot to random people, it seems very unwise to put an inexperienced driver on the street with something this ill-considered.)

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