What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
Frita
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by Frita »

Well, I use the Law of Thirds for many situations. I figure a third will respond positively, another third will be neutral, and the last third will react negatively. That is my baseline expectation. It creates detachment. Most of these reactions are from the bottom third:

My mom periodically asks if we’re okay, if we need anything. She likes to control with money and enjoys awfulizing. Our contentment with having enough drives her crazy. It is quite amusing.

My spouse’s mom and stepdad used to ask us for money frequently. Not anymore, they think we’re broke! I think they believe we can’t get credit to enjoy the fine things. They have filed bankruptcy twice.

Some acquaintances obviously don’t understand why one wouldn’t want the best of everything, as much stuff as possible, etc. I guess it would be embarrassing to have us for friends. Whatever.

Funny story, last year our teen brought home a permission form to participate in a program for students who will be first generation college graduates. His guidance counselor gave it to him saying that it was just for kids like him. Uh, my spouse and I each have one more degree than the dude. I don’t think that he realizes he could plan ahead and have more choices of how to spend his life. Should I hook him up with Dave Ramsey?

The friends who are more live and let live accept us as we are. They tend to be quirky and nontraditional in their own ways. We talk more about interests, not frugality. This is what I’d consider the top third.

Matt3121
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by Matt3121 »

Frita wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:49 pm
My mom periodically asks if we’re okay, if we need anything. She likes to control with money and enjoys awfulizing. Our contentment with having enough drives her crazy. It is quite amusing.
My dad does this too, though not with ERE (he loves that I'm living frugally lol). Every time I suggest something he's like "no there's no way, it'll never work". Like recently we were on a trip, I pulled over, stopped the car to use the bathroom, got back in and the car wouldn't start. So I said "Okay here are the jumper cables go over there and stand by the side of the road, lets see if someone stops (I was going to open the hood and do all that. He was like "There's no way anyone is going to stop, just call a tow truck place and we'll wait. This is just never going to work, no one would ever ever stop". lol

We were on a very busy road so I felt pretty confident someone would take mercy on us. He wasn't even out there 2 minutes and someone actually turned around to come back for us. And they wouldn't even accept any money for it.
Frita wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:49 pm
My spouse’s mom and stepdad used to ask us for money frequently. Not anymore, they think we’re broke! I think they believe we can’t get credit to enjoy the fine things. They have filed bankruptcy twice.
This is almost a benefit of ERE. When people who I know aren't good with money ask for some I can tell them the truth "I'm on a very tight budget right now since I'm not working" lol

thrifty++
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by thrifty++ »

Matt3121 wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 10:41 pm
What are OP shops?
Must be a New Zealand term. Op Shops means opportunity shops. Which are second hand stores. I think they are called thrift stores in the USA maybe.

horsewoman
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by horsewoman »

Matt3121 wrote:
Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:32 am
This is almost a benefit of ERE. When people who I know aren't good with money ask for some I can tell them the truth "I'm on a very tight budget right now since I'm not working" lol
Huh, I never in my life got asked for money (apart from something like a friend forgetting their wallet so you lend them 20 bucks for a few days)...
I wonder if I project poverty due to my second hand clothes and beater cars, or if this is not "a thing" in Germany to ask for money? Do people actually go around bothering other people for money?

Seppia
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by Seppia »

We never get any sort of comment tbh.
This is probably because we have a few “upper middle class” items.
For example:
I drive a 1 year old BMW 3 series. It’s a company car so I don’t pay a penny (not even for my personal use), but it looks nice and says “well off financially”
We live in an expensive part of town, and most don’t know we only have a 1br, so they probably think we pay a lot as they’re assuming we rent a 3br or so.
We (before the kid and pre-corona) vacation overseas, and most don’t know I always add the holidays on the back of a business trip (so my flight is free), I pay DW’s flight with miles and the hotel with points.

So even if there’s a few “oddities” like very old phones, “only” one car etc, from the outside people see a young family living in a nice part of town, driving a BMW and vacationing in Japan —> nothing to see here.

The only exception is my dad, who is instinctively good with numbers and knows how much I make.
He from time to time rants that we should rent a bigger house and stuff like that, but nothing that really bothers me

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Stahlmann
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by Stahlmann »

Frita wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:49 pm

Funny story, last year our teen brought home a permission form to participate in a program for students who will be first generation college graduates. His guidance counselor gave it to him saying that it was just for kids like him. Uh, my spouse and I each have one more degree than the dude. I don’t think that he realizes he could plan ahead and have more choices of how to spend his life. Should I hook him up with Dave Ramsey?
hmm. wasn't it your overreaction?
it seems that you/your son wanted to play (unconsciously) some "loophole" (prolly because it's income based and you as ERErin have larger stash so you can play "poor" person/family on papers) and the teacher wanted to be just nice person. maybe, it's mine overreaction, because I don't know details :lol:. yes, I'm funny person on parties

personally I'm allergic to such situations (online), because I'm socialist, but not so much to get from my goverment :lol:

curious to get details just to update my book of worlds factoids :lol:

now we can back to regular programming.

Frita
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by Frita »

Stahlmann wrote:
Sat Jul 04, 2020 5:33 am
hmm. wasn't it your overreaction?
it seems that you/your son wanted to play (unconsciously) some "loophole" (prolly because it's income based and you as ERErin have larger stash so you can play "poor" person/family on papers) and the teacher wanted to be just nice person.
Sure, perhaps I did overreact. I probably overreact to things all the time. This program is federally-funded and based on parents’ education, not income. No judgment on others, I just don’t feel comfortable gaming the system.

FruGal61
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by FruGal61 »

Hmmm. People's reactions to my living frugally have mostly been negative. Just turned 59 and as I look back it would have been a whole lot easier to follow the herd, do what I was supposed to do and be a good, enthusiastic consumer. Fitting in and being like everyone else has it social benefits and that's why so many people do it. To be an outlier is to be an outsider. I had a good time though, with experiences that many people only dream of.

It would have been easier had I married in my 20's, bought a house and had 2.5 children and drove higher model vehicles. It would have been helpful if I had the nesting/mothering instincts that women are expected to have, that I really enjoyed home decorating, was more "domestic" and made this a priority, had I married that nice guy from high school who liked me and would have "made a great husband". None of that happened. Well, I do have a little nest that is fine for me but others mainly don't like it and don't approve. These unsolicited comments endure and have eaten away at me. Over time, your level of consumerism does determine your place in friendships and family relationships. I don't comment on others lifestyle except of course, to offer praise and appreciation for their million dollar home or keen eye for decorating or talent for design/renovating. What did happen is I led a creative musician's life, because that's who I am, how I was born - a naturally introverted, creative person. I had to become extroverted and a reasonably good consumer in order to get through life. But early on it became clear that the regimented, corporate, consumeristic life, the drudgery and work for 45 years to fit in did not appeal to me. I became self-employed in my early 30's to pursue music and freedom yet my education allowed me to work part time in a "respectable" profession. It worked for me but honestly, most days I'm too much of a people-pleaser and too thin skinned to really enjoy where I am currently. Social isolation and avoidance helps but it's always there in hushed tones: "you're not good enough so you're not a member of our club".

Everyone loves art and music but "starving artist" and "never marry a musician" ring true. If you're a succe$$ful musician or artist, well, that's a different story.

You have to have a thick skin to march to the beat of your own drummer and live frugally because you endure constant comment, criticisms and questions about why you are choosing not to consume at the level of your peers. I have throughout my life and continue to endure questions about my chosen lifestyle. For instance, I did not buy property, I rent and that is a *big*, big issue for so many. Thus unsolicited questions and advice about where I live, how long I'm going to live there, and so on. People who buy houses rarely have to answer such questions, including how long they're going to live there, how much money they're "throwing away" on their mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, associated stuff. My choice to live in a modest, still quite affordable apartment allowed me to save over 1M dollars but I have "nothing" to show for it so it doesn't matter. Yes, I should have bought property 20-30 years ago. It just wasn't a priority. My lack of real estate savviness has cost me socially and I wish I was different in that regard.

Luckily there are people who accept me the way I am, I'm fortunate to have long term friends. I've been told I'm not very judgmental, I'm kind and a good listener and this attracts people to me, so I'm rich in that department. I can chat up anyone in a bar (well, pre-coronavirus) and make friends easily, although I've learned that women in the 50+ group can be especially difficult and judge-y regarding your stuff, your possessions/how you decorate, your clothing and your overall "status".

Overall, my frugal, non-consumerist, wanting free time rather than stuff lifestyle has cost me socially and in family standing. Yeah, I think thrift store shopping is fun, rewarding and entertaining. Others think it's odd and well, beneath them. They want to buy new so I should do the same. I'm also environmentally conscious so I'm into recycling and using pre-owned items. This has become more in vogue in recent years. Choosing the right paint colors and furniture, to entertain others in a comfortable and well-decorated home with style and grace definitely has its social benefits. It would have been easier to adapt and be like the others. But that's not what happened.

Maybe I'm just having a bad day. Not too many people can sit around a campfire and play and sing 100 songs or sit down at a grand piano and play show tunes. People seem to appreciate this skill but they also want me to have a beautifully decorated home and take lavish vacations, and "live a little". I'm living just fine, thank you very much! Maybe they're envious, jealous or otherwise miserable in their own humdrum lives. I guess it all comes down to the quote: "You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time."

ertyu
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by ertyu »

@FruGal, you are me but female and 20 years older. I get exactly what you describe here, down to the "I am aware it shouldn't get to me because I know I live my life according to my values and am successful on my terms, fuck you mom who thinks I should find a wife and start a family -- but it does." People don't like to admit this, but they love someone to feel superior to. The thinly veiled disappointment that I don't fit familial expectations and the condescension for not living a shiny, flashy life of high earning/high debt/high spending get to me some days, too. I, too, often take solace in my NW number. You kick utter butt for having saved 1M, btw, and for doing that while living a life where you had ample free time, you actively pursued your creative passions, and you managed to do that unburdened by entanglements you didn't want but were pushed on you because society says so. Rock on and enjoy life. And get better friends :D

Always good when someone similar to you shows up and it turns out you actually have sincere appreciation for them and are full of "fuck yeah screw the haters find some good people" vibes in relation to them. And then you go look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself a raised eyebrow :lol:

Anyway: you're awesome, and I'm glad you are happy.

FruGal61
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by FruGal61 »

Aw shucks, thank you ertyu. I re-read my post and realized it sounded a bit "poor me" but the truth is: I'm not poor, I'm rich in so many ways, in life experiences, in certain friendships but living in an expensive, relentlessly competitive northeast city I can't shake this feeling that no matter what, it comes down to being defined by my possessions.

Glad you were able to relate to my story. You nailed it: a lot of the human nature driving consumerism is about feeling superior to others. My goal is to rock on and enjoy the rest of my life regardless of how others perceive me. It's a work in progress for sure.

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Sclass
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by Sclass »

Yeah I loved your post @Frugal. Find better friends. No friends temporarily is better than crap friends.

I have a lot of judgey family and friends. At the end of the day they aren’t really friends. They suck as people. Seriously what kind of schmuck gets up in other people's business and tells them how to live? Or forces them to conform? That just sucks and it tells more about the people who do that kind of thing.

I have experienced a lot of jealousy. From friends, coworkers (frenemies) and family. My lot is a pretty competitive one. They can get upset if they perceive you’ve beaten them in some way. You find out that your friends aren’t really your friends. And your family is just a bunch of schmucks. And know what? They’re the same people they’ve always been. I’m the one who changed and then they singled me out. Perhaps it’s a maturity thing.

I guess at the end of the day people pile on the material glam for status. And what is a bigger status spoiler than pure wealth? It’s gotta hurt. I’m just happy I’m on the other side.

Another guess is while I was accumulating money I looked like a pauper from the outside. People may have been comforted by that till they learned I had a thousand times more wealth than them. Perhaps they feel duped. At the end of the day saying “I cannot afford that right now pal” is kind of a lie I told over and over.

Depressing. I think I’m going to sew some thick fabric.

Alphaville
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by Alphaville »

FruGal61 wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:14 pm
competitive [...] NE
did you delete something to this effect earlier? because i think i read it, and now it’s not there, but it reminded me of this quote that’s been circulating the internet for years now, and here i’ve fixed it for you:
neither_gibson_nor_freud wrote: Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by Massholes.
:lol:

you’re doing great, keep up the good work— maybe consider travel/relocation?

Frita
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by Frita »

horsewoman wrote:
Sat Jul 04, 2020 1:14 am
Huh, I never in my life got asked for money (apart from something like a friend forgetting their wallet so you lend them 20 bucks for a few days)...
I wonder if I project poverty due to my second hand clothes and beater cars, or if this is not "a thing" in Germany to ask for money? Do people actually go around bothering other people for money?
I wonder if it is cultural but also a function of lack of access to credit at a low interest rate. In my spouse’s family, asking for money is common.

When I see what someone has or is wearing, I don’t assume that it correlates with wealth, especially in the past 30 years when it has become so easy to get a credit card and borrow more than one can afford. If anything, some who appear to have a lot may very well have a lot...of debt. Who knows?

But I strongly feel that lending larger sums of money to friends/family is a bad idea because of the stress it creates on the relationship. If I needed something; I would rather cut back, work more, and/or secure a loan through conventional means. Now, if I know that someone is truly struggling, I would rather just gift them help without the strings (and anonymously, if it’s money). Typically, those asking for handouts have made some poor choices and won’t suddenly start making better decisions with another person’s money (We have learned this the hard way.).

Matt3121
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by Matt3121 »

Sclass wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:55 pm
Another guess is while I was accumulating money I looked like a pauper from the outside. People may have been comforted by that till they learned I had a thousand times more wealth than them. Perhaps they feel duped. At the end of the day saying “I cannot afford that right now pal” is kind of a lie I told over and over.
Yeah, I think people think that too. Like, "Oh he doesn't have a washing machine because he's poor", and it's more like, "I'm rich because I don't have a washing machine". Washing machine is a bad example because they aren't that expensive and if you have to do a lot of loads then it makes a lot of sense. But I was everything in a bucket. Instead of going to the laundromat and spending 20 bucks a month I'm saving $240 a year. And rather than buying a set for $800 I can just save that money.

One of my neighbors had free ones that worked they were giving away but I still didn't take it lol. I just don't need it. Strange I know, but I don't mind. Takes me like 30 minutes total and I get great sundried clothes (plus your clothes live longer without using a dryer). I think I mostly do it because I don't like the headache of dealing with repairs if I have to make them, and somehow saving $4 every time I do it makes me happy inside.

Matt3121
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by Matt3121 »

Frita wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:08 pm
But I strongly feel that lending larger sums of money to friends/family is a bad idea because of the stress it creates on the relationship. If I needed something; I would rather cut back, work more, and/or secure a loan through conventional means. Now, if I know that someone is truly struggling, I would rather just gift them help without the strings (and anonymously, if it’s money). Typically, those asking for handouts have made some poor choices and won’t suddenly start making better decisions with another person’s money (We have learned this the hard way.).
That is for sure. I try to not lend them money, I'd rather give them a couple hundred bucks if they really need it. At least I'm helping and I don't have the stress of getting it back. I've had such a hard time getting my money back from people (I always do contracts now if I loan money). I gave my sister a float loan once for 20k and she was like "Oh, I thought you were saying I could keep it". "Uhh no lol". She is completely reliable and paid it back, but it was awkward for about 6 months.

Frita
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by Frita »

Matt3121 wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 1:03 am
I gave my sister a float loan once for 20k and she was like "Oh, I thought you were saying I could keep it". "Uhh no lol". She is completely reliable and paid it back, but it was awkward for about 6 months.
Bingo! And that was a good outcome in that she actually paid you back. How is your relationship post-loan?

FruGal61
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by FruGal61 »

Alphaville wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:51 pm
did you delete something to this effect earlier? because i think i read it, and now it’s not there, but it reminded me of this quote that’s been circulating the internet for years now, and here i’ve fixed it for you:


:lol:

you’re doing great, keep up the good work— maybe consider travel/relocation?
:D Yup. I may have deleted something as I realized I wrote a verrrry long post and accidentally posted it before I got a chance to edit. Yes to travel (but maybe in 2021) and maybe to relocation in my golden years which seem to rapidly approaching!

Another thing I've learned in my many years on the planet: there are a$$holes everywhere. Definitely some where I live. And there are cool, awesome people everywhere too.

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Lemur
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by Lemur »

I only have one good friend I keep in touch with and he basically just boxed me in the 'cheap ass' category. I've known him for over 15 years now (we grew up next door to one another)...I tried explaining the reasoning behind everything I do...my dreams, goals, etc. all in explanations at one point but I still get hit with those cheap shots so I gave up on the ERE topic.

What did work though was asking my friend one day if he really saw life as a 9-5 everyday grind until you turn 62 as a real way to live. He responded that there has to be another way. I boiled this down easy for him and told him he just needs to have enough money saved up in investments to produce interest & dividends to cover expenses. I asked him how much he needs. He says $100k a year would be good. I said 'cool then all you need to do is get $2.5 million." He states...well hell that could take forever. I told him well ...you probably won't get there being a salaryman. I suggest starting a business. At this point I told him "I gave up the dream on being rich, wealth to me is maximizing the utility of the dollar and thus I only need $600k by current calculations...you remember SMART goals in college? The R stands for realistic. This is certainly achievable then trying to save $2.5 mil.

This framing helped him "get me" a lot more. So now my frugalness is not seeing as crazy, but part of a plan.

I still get called a cheap ass though :/ so lol.
Last edited by Lemur on Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

FruGal61
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by FruGal61 »

@Sclass...
Thank you...I've read your posts in the past and could definitely relate. I am fine being alone and the last few months for me personally have been a relief in that I don't have to socialize. Naturally, I'm not happy about the pandemic but you know what I'm getting at. The insidious judgment and condescension from these friends and family members is tough to take. Although it is annoying to have to deal with the constant competition I realize that their need to be on top and be the winner speaks to their own insecurity and misery. Happy, self-actualized and content people don't have to belittle and "one up" other people. And when one gets to this desirable top with homes, cars, possessions they then have to compete with other$, witness the "who has the biggest yacht" competition of the ultra-rich.

Speaking of boats, last summer I was on one owned by a relative. Another relative who is big into R.E. and works in accounting/finance was in attendance. I guess since she did well in R.E. she is rather bossy and has provided me with unsolicited advice over the years. She's in her 60's and still works full time for a firm. Several years ago she counseled me with a very serious tone that I should get a full-time corporate job as it would become more difficult to get hired over age 50. And I'm thinking, but I don't want your life and I prepared to not have to work full time for "the man". She does indeed have a good side and I like to think she did this out of caring and her sincere belief that her path is the right path.

Anyway, back to the boat. The conversation was something to do with personal finance, retirement and social security, and as she got on the boat I distinctly remember her crowing very loudly: "Sorry people, but you're all gonna have to work until you're 70!" I'm thinking, yeah, right. If you want to own a large boat, maybe. :lol:

Alphaville
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Re: What are other people's reactions to your living frugally?

Post by Alphaville »

FruGal61 wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:22 am
:D Yup. I may have deleted something as I realized I wrote a verrrry long post and accidentally posted it before I got a chance to edit. Yes to travel (but maybe in 2021) and maybe to relocation in my golden years which seem to rapidly approaching!

Another thing I've learned in my many years on the planet: there are a$$holes everywhere. Definitely some where I live. And there are cool, awesome people everywhere too.
hahaha yeah, everywhere, but some places more than others. also different types.

i used to live in dc. very uptight place in many ways, with so many government workers. even the punks were uptight.

in any case, i pulled up this funky list for you.

https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation ... of-america

not to say that you’re a hippie, or that this would be your scene. just that there might be a more relaxed social hierarchy in each of them. i can attest to takoma park in the dc area, though indeed (per the article) it’s no longer what it once was.

btw, in your region, more or less, i’ve heard good things about northampton, and i had a great time in burlington and new haven. never been to unity, maine.

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