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Thread: Rethinking some aspects of frugality

  1. #11
    Williamsmith
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    I think we have genetic predispositions to a certain level of prudence but that is modified by our life experiences and our mentors. It’s inherent in our humanity as a species to try to survive as long as we can. But Industrialization and the consequences of oversocialization undermine these natural tendencies. We take macro trips to foreign countries because as an advanced society, we have the means....not because we need to ....to be happy let alone sucessful as a person or community or country. If we had the means we would be taking trips to the moon and out into the infinite space. And given the ability, we would refuse to die.

    Clearly, these decisions have already been predetermined. You will do what you do regardless of the wrestling of ideas in your mind. And in retrospect you will regret some things and be thankful for others. Isn’t that what the pursuit of happiness is all about. Different ways to get there? Follow your natural leanings toward self preservation but realize imprudence is going to occur along the way because taking risk and brushing up against danger is also things we crave.

  2. #12
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    "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 think it's kind of a false dichotomy, as the first friend really should not take the "opportunity" if it is going to damage her financially, as she is already damaged financially. The second friend may or may not be acting prudently; only time will tell. As to "is it better to grab opportunities when they appear, rather than hold onto your money so you can end your days in a nice nursing home" that is also kind of a false dichotomy. Most people want to live at home as long as they can before needing to go into a nursing home, and that takes savings. If this really is the question, whether to take the opportunity now or to have more money for a nice nursing home, then the answer depends on so many variables we don't have here, such as general health, how much money one has saved, whether one is trying to leave money to heirs, etc. Unfortunately, for most people, we don't know enough about our own futures to know that we will arrive safely at that point where the choice is spending on a current opportunity such as prestigious travel and paying for a nice nursing home. There is so much ground to cover before getting to the nursing home stage.

    But I would definitely say that friend 1 should not take the opportunity--and if it is prestigious, then will someone else pay to fly her there and pay her expenses? I say we don't know enough about friend 2 to know whether she is making a good choice or not, but if the choice she is making leaves her with greater peace of mind, then she is making the right choice.

  3. #13
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I am reading Atomic Habits by James Clear. It's a great book, and just this morning, based on some of the insights, I created my own historical money feedback loop (it's not in the book--he simply inspired me to do it) to understand how I might do things better money-wise in 2019 and to try to gain insight from past patterns.

    So it started out with the basic survival need (as WS pointed out--that's where our habits start) of living within my means to ensure basic survival for the family. However, for several years, I wasn't able to do that. I lived in an environment of uncertainty as many "poor" people do.

    So, I decided to maximize my income in order to achieve the basic goal. But what happened then? I achieved that goal, but didn't stop there. Because of the "higher order" end benefits/rewards I got--comfort, security, lack of stress, ability to send kids to school and the good feelings that came from that, being able to make some impulse purchases--it set up a a certain new "craving" for those newfound rewards. This led to going into debt and going BEYOND the original goal of living within my means--kind of negating the purpose of the original goal and creating negative feedback loop. Now I had more money, but also more debt. I realize I'm not an unusual case. Lots of people experience this negative feedback loop.

    So I still feel I haven't mastered the art of pulling back from financial edges, and so for 2019 I am going to try to re-learn new cue/craving/response/reward patterns.

    I think this anecdote is relevant to the OP question, and also to Tybee's response. Somewhere there's a place between foolishly putting your basic needs at risk and feeling guilty about something you can clearly afford and would enjoy. All the stuff in the middle requires discernment and self-awareness. It's not either-or.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  4. #14
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    We had discussions of nursing home costs on xmas eve.

    $85,000 annually in rural Iowa.
    $97,000 annually in Southern Illinois

  5. #15
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    My parents are paying about 110,000 annually for two, which is a bargain. They are in the rural South.

  6. #16
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    we may or may not EVER be able to save that nursing home money and EVEN IF we could for ourselves, we may not be able to save it for our parents or if we do for our parents it may blow any chances we had to do so for ourselves (and I can't get mom to be financially not stupid and wasting it all on a sibling on completely worthless crap with little resale value pretty much, no matter what I do). So it is what it is. I give up on that!

    Frugality to me is things like the choice to buy a vest and pair of pants or not. 1) I may not be employed much longer so if I don't buy it now I maybe won't ever - this triggers a psychology for MAJOR IMPULSE SPENDING, I can be aware of it, but it's hard to fight 2) I may not be employed much longer and who knows how long I'll be unemployed and so maybe I'll regret buying it then (although that money doesn't go that far on rent and healthcare and food and gas and bills ... clothes are relatively inexpensive comparatively).
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

  7. #17
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    My FIL retired at 62 and basically sat in a chair for the next twenty years - either in front of the TV or a computer. He always said he could travel anywhere by watching travel shows and avoid all the hassle and expense. He never wanted to spend any money as he wanted to leave it to his kids. He died with a hefty savings account and so it will pay for MILs assisted living until it runs out.

  8. #18
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    When I put my friend into a Alzheimer’s nursing home she could do basic self care and a shared room was 1650/month. It was a small town an hour from where we live. Once she had to be in the locked wing her fee rose to 3700. It was a decent place. Only 3 people ended up for very short stays in homes. My dad 1 week, my grandma’s 6 months and 1 year. So I am not very concerned about it. I intend to travel and spend my money while I can. I lost 3 friends between the ages of 59-67.

  9. #19
    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    I’m frugal so I can pay for my diving.

  10. #20
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    I am really thinking about this as I plan retreats this year. I dropped my living expenses however i may have to choose between my savings goal and my retreat goal, with a balance in between. I get frustrated with how I missed study time over the years and then recall i was raising kids. So I am leaning towards retreat goal, there is no guarantee that this chance will last

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