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Thread: Rethinking some aspects of frugality

  1. #1
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    Rethinking some aspects of frugality

    Please excuse the ramblings of this post. It reflects the state of my thinking right now.

    I've got two friends on the opposite spectrum of financial responsibility. One friend is a hot mess. Disorganized, piles of debt. However, she has just received an incredible honor. She has been selected to compete a prestigious event on the other side of the country (will keep the nature of the event private on the very off chance she is on this forum too).

    My other friend is uber-frugal. She wants to take a trip to Asia but has put it on hold due to some repair bills and the volatility of the stock market.

    My first friend cannot afford her trip but she is going. My second friend CAN afford her trip, but is not.

    Right now I am envying my first friend. I had the same opportunity she did several years ago, but declined due to being over practical. I'm in my 60's now, with more years behind me than ahead of me. I will regret my decision for the rest of my life. There is a good chance it may never come again.

    So I started to wonder, is it better, at this stage in life, to grab opportunities when they appear, rather than hold onto your money so you can end your days in a nice nursing home?

    Someone once said that you often regret more, the things you did not do than the things you did do.

    I just got back from a very un-frugal vacation in which I was able to cross about 10 things off my bucket list.

    But I found for every item I crossed off, I discovered two more things to add on!

    Anyway, I'm finding I'm on the side of the friend who has decided to go for it.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    IMHO frugality does not end with being able to make the eagle on the quarter scream in pain from being held so tightly. Frugality is saving money in areas of life which don't matter so much to us so that we have the money to spend elsewhere -- perhaps things or experiences other people would consider extravagant.

    I think you'll find many examples among our own little group -- people with expensive hobbies or second homes or a willingness to travel. These same people are buying simple used cars (because they don't need a brand new car that makes other people ooh and ahh) or they're living in a smaller space so they can go on spur-of-the-moment trips.

    Sure, all of us could save that money for later in our lives, but you never know when that will be. If having the flexibility and money for "grabbing opportunities" is important to you, then be frugal elsewhere in your life, know it's what you want to spend your money on, and spend knowledgeably, but spend. Especially if you're closer to the finish line than the starting blocks...
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    People here will be telling you to spend the money and go on your travels. I guess that’s what I will tell you as well.But we have to save money for our old age. Without specifics of dollars, it is difficult to advise anyone. The whole thing about a “nice” nursing home does have some validity in certain areas. One real issue, today anyway, is that Medicaid will not pay for a single room so that is something to consider, although by the time we are old there may be no double rooms or wards.

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    Just placed MIL in a mediocre assisted living facility, ie about $60K a year plus extras so maybe more like $90K. It's a conundrum if you're not wealthy to know how much to spend now vs later. However, regrets are not nice things to live with...

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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkytoe View Post
    It's a conundrum if you're not wealthy to know how much to spend now vs later.
    Yes, you hit the nail on the head. We just don't know how it's going to end for us. I think we all know someone who died suddenly and we probably all know someone who lingered for years in a nursing home. What is in store for us is a mystery.

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    Steve - Yes, I think the closer I get to the finish line, the more financial risks I'm willing to take. I had a bad injury about 5 years ago (because I'm an active adult who refuses to act her age), which kept me laid up for a long time. I wasn't sure if I would ever be able to resume activity again. I regained most of my mobility, so I decided to take an extended vacation to visit several major national parks and do what hiking I could while I could. I discovered that every time I stepped out of my comfort zone, I found I could step out a little further the next time. I find myself leaning towards taking more of these adventure trips with the understanding that I may end up in a mediocre nursing home. At least I'll have my photo journals and memories...

  7. #7
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Interesting thread.

    Is there an option for the middle ground? Do some of the things that are fairly important but not as costly as the dreams while saving where possible elsewhere.

    Some of the decisions may be based on personal differences as well. Using one example, some women dream about a lavish wedding that they will remember all their lives, others will choose to get married at a courthouse but dream of travel to Europe years later when the money is saved for it.

    i prefer to have a number of special times that are not elaborate or beyond my ability to pay up front. I so dislike debt of any kind that I will be pleased with simpler or less frequent joys than another might be.

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    I think we should spend when it feels like we should 'do it'. I side with friend #1.

    We went to our Bowl game last year and dropped a wad in 60 hours. Took in a Lady Gaga concert as the game was early and there were seats that night. No regrets. It was a blast! Others would say we're nuts and that's OK.

    We have no debt. Our retirement is well-funded. We lived on 35% of earnings this year-our finance guy tells us we don't spend any money. So dropping a few grand on something fun? You bet! I'm in.

  9. #9
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    I don't really relate to either friend, I mean I guess I'd like to go to the prestigious event, but piles of debt would probably scare me off it.

    I think the downside of frugality is all the psychological stress it causes to pinch the penny hard and worry about spending that much as opposed to just stressing it all less.

    Closer to the finish line it may make sense to spend more, less close to the finish line, well so much can go wrong before you reach that finish line, so many days with a chance of rain (aka those rainy days one saves for).
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Gardenarian's Avatar
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    Is it possible to do most, or all, of the things you want in a frugal way?

    For example, friend #1 could stay at an inexpensive Airbnb while on her trip, get food from groceries rather than eating out, etc. - even ride-share rather than fly out.

    Adventure trips don't have to be expensive if you're camping.

    I can relate to your comment about not acting your age - I'm still getting over a 3+ year-old hip injury due to thinking "that mountain doesn't look that steep."

    I think a lot of people live joyfully and not miss a thing without spending lots - but I kind of enjoy seeing how little I can spend.

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