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

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

Post by Lemur »

@Alphaville

Where I live, I'm a fairly successful white-collar worker. An epitome of completing college with good grades and getting past entry-level work.

When I commute to DC/N.VA, I'm just a ant. Barely a ant. You get racked and stacked upon first meeting with a Washingtonian. "Where do you work / what do you do for a living" is the very first question 99% of people ask you in that place...

I couldn't imagine living a ERE lifestyle in a HCOL city and trying to explain that to peers....I've never experience that. Out in the rural areas, minus the go out and buy stuff when you need it, being frugal is still seeing as a positive trait depending on who you meet.

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

Post by Alphaville »

Lemur wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 12:05 pm
When I commute to DC/N.VA, I'm just a ant. Barely a ant. You get racked and stacked upon first meeting with a Washingtonian. "Where do you work / what do you do for a living" is the very first question 99% of people ask you in that place...
ha ha ha ha! pretty much, yeah. "what's your GS level?" :lol:

i was an outsider who resided in the sketchier parts of town for freedom and adventure, and every once in a while i'd go drink from the temporary worker well to support my epicurean/boho lifestyle. i witnessed a lot of dickishness in those k street offices.

gentrification after the control board era booted me and my friends out of town: it just became too difficult to live there on peanuts.

it's okay though, everything is always changing and it's a different city now. even if i could go back, i can't go back in time.

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

Post by Matt3121 »

Frita wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:13 am
Bingo! And that was a good outcome in that she actually paid you back. How is your relationship post-loan?
It was like 20 years ago now and things were fine after, but I've also had other people I've loaned money and it was like pulling teeth. Now since then I've done contracts with people (for much lower amounts) and it worked out well.

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

Post by ThriftyRob »

This is interesting. I think we put out confusing signals. On the one hand, we live in a large house in an expensive area but we haven't 'invested' serious money in expensive remodelling. On the other, we buy used cars and run them until they become uneconomic to repair. DW and I both drive battery electric cars which we charge using either our self-generated solar or cheap overnight rates. DW has had her car since 2012. Other than two colleagues who have bought Teslas very recently, none of our friends/acquaintances own electric cars. We definitely stand out as oddballs in our road because we don't have a Porsche/Volvo/BMW SUV!

Because professional dress is important in my day job (on the rare occasions I'm still required to do it), I have a couple of smart business suits. One was made bespoke, the other, originally made for someone else on Savile Row, was bought on ebay and I had it altered to fit (by the tailor who made by bespoke suit). This is my equivalent of Jacob's spending on high-quality woodworking hand tools. I have had comments from people I work with about how I can 'afford designer clothes'.

We eat mostly vegetarian/vegan food and apart from staples, what I buy is influenced by what's on special offer (it's coffee and cheddar cheese this week).

We don't employ a gardener (which is definitely weird in our road) and I imagine our neighbours think it's strange that we don't have the sprinklers out watering our grass but they are too polite to comment (to our faces). Having a gardener would violate our 'why pay someone to do something you can do yourself' limitation.

I don't talk about the extent of the decorating/DIY work that I do on our home, apart from with family (who all do the same as us) so most people we know have no idea of how unlike them we are.

On balance, most people probably think we are affluent, slightly weird and certainly careful with our spending and they have no idea of the extent of our frugality.

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

Post by liberty »

They hate me.

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

Post by Sclass »

Now that is an interesting thought. What makes frugality hateful versus charming or cute?

I have one hatefully stingy acquaintance. He’s universally hated by my social circle. He brings the cheapest and most irrelevant birthday gifts found in the bargain bin. Then wastes everyone’s time explaining why this oddball clearance item is related somehow to the guest of honor. Like buying a kid a right hand side catchers mitt and explaining for ten minutes how being ambidextrous makes you more versatile in society as an adult and that nobody will ever steal your baseball glove. We hate this guy. I’d see his stingy wife smiling in the corner like they pulled a fast one on everyone. Great another win, more money for them. Eventually they are no longer invited.

Then we have this other one. He’s actually quite lovable. It’s comical and charming when he whips out his phone and splits the bill to the penny and makes perfect change with his change purse made from an old sock. Or makes sure the tip is exactly 15% to the penny. Or how he insists we wait ten minutes to make happy hour before ordering. “Let’s just talk a few more minutes. It’s free.”

So why was one guy so much better to have around? Maybe it’s because the likeable guy tries to save my money as well as his own while the hateful one just tries to hoard more money at the expense of anyone (even friends) else.

Strong word “hate” made me think about this.

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

Post by ertyu »

we don't like to face how much about us is motivated by the need to service our ego. some recognize it's a trap and work to see through the psychological bs they pull on themselves. others are motivated by ego and ego only. which was a long-winded way to say that humans LOVE having someone to feel superior to. "i am doing better than that guy with his sock wallet, look at him, lol, who even wants to live like that." those same people, before they made it, combatted their sense of social inferiority by trying to convert it to minimalist-superiority ("why do i need to spend money at bars! it's much nicer to get beer from the store and drink at the river park" -- which is an attitude that lasts about as long as it takes them to start earning middle class salaries. i have friends like that, reformed minimalists who finally got a professional job and now are free with dispensing condescension to anyone who appears to be making less). Now they all bond around discussing how the apartment X rented with his gf is inferior because of its being one of those deals that are right under the roof and have slanted walls.

so, even if you're not a cloying miser, hating/looking down on people for their frugality is a tempting one. frugality, after all, is just another type of otherness.

ps: all real examples. if you are reading and you recognize yourself, yes i am looking down on you back and i think you suck :P
Last edited by ertyu on Mon Jul 20, 2020 2:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Post by Sclass »

ertyu wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:41 pm
which is an attitude that lasts about as long as it takes them to start earning middle class salaries. i have friends like that, reformed minimalists who finally got a professional job and now are free with dispensing condescension to anyone who appears to be making less).
This happened to a lot of my friends in grad school. We were all really resourceful at stretching out stipends. We were eco conscious and shunned materialism.

Then one day we all graduated and got paychecks and spouses. Everything changed. You could barely recognize these people. Their political parties changed. They started hating on groups they defended as students.

It was like now that they had something to protect they went belligerent on anything that threatened their stake. Frugality was gone. Minimalism was replaced by Costco. Folding chairs got swapped for plush outdoor furniture and natural gas fire pits.

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

Post by Seppia »

It seems like normal evolution to me though.
It’s much easier to be in favor of a higher minimum wage when you’re making minimum wage.
When you graduate to being an employer of minimum wage workers, all of a sudden you see how it’s a terrible idea.
Most humans are driven by personal interest alone.

I am 100% certain I would be more right wing if I were an entrepreneur, for example. Or that I would be leaning more left if I hadn’t been lucky enough to make a decent living.

Some people are particularly shameless, but I think very few people are immune to this.

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

Post by ertyu »

When you graduate to being an employer of minimum wage workers, all of a sudden you see how it’s a terrible idea.
And when you graduate to being able to see the economy and society as a whole, you see it's a great idea again.

But that is a derail.

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

Post by Seppia »

I happen to 100% agree with you.
But being a salaried man that money for the higher minimum wage doesn’t come out of my pocket so it’s an easier decision.

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

Post by tonyedgecombe »

I'm not sure about that. If you take the minimum wage as an example it was introduced in the UK by the most cosmopolitan government we had seen in a long time. The prime minister at the time stated he was entirely comfortable with people getting filthy rich and seemed to include himself in that. It certainly wasn't the poor or envious giving themselves a raise.

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

Post by ertyu »

Exactly: when you give the poor a living wage, they have money to spend on your shit. If you want to do expansionary macroecon policy, putting an extra dollar in the hands of the poorest is about the most delta GDP you can get for your buck — not to mention that crime, addiction, homelessness etc. joyful side effects of poverty are now reduced which places less strain on social systems and sets up the next generation for getting an education in a stable environment. The rich don't realize that while it might not seem to be in their individual interest that the poor get a livable wage, it is in their collective interest.

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

Post by EricaR »

Both my Husband and I are trying to live frugally for early retirement and saving some extra money for a bank deposit..People insult us as greedy people.. But we don't mind..We have a goal and we do need to achieve it.. So, we don't mind other opinions..Because We're living happily while being frugal.

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

Post by Laura Ingalls »

The flip side of this is who are the people in your life that spend more that annoy you and those who don’t. People who spend more because they have more children, give more to causes they care about (as long as the causes aren’t out and out offensive to me ;) ), or provide support to disabled family members don’t bother me at all.

People that need new cars every other year, compulsively shop, complain that they are broke, and admit to using Edward Jones for investments annoy the cr@p out of me.

People who don’t look for grocery deals as aggressively as me are probably both not as time affluent and have different wiring systems as me. I wish I had more people in my life that found that interesting too since I currently bore my family with this topic. They don’t care if the yogurts were $.10 they just eat them.

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

Post by Peanut »

I think most of them just assume we have less money than we do. I try not to mislead anyone.* But money is always important to me in making decisions, so whatever the event is, I usually want to know what it costs before I decide whether or not to participate. Hence people know I'm someone who cares about what things cost. (Sometimes even that much kind of marks you out as unusual, perhaps sub par financially?) It's not the only or most important factor, but probably others assume if I don't join them on a dinner or show or trip it's only because I find it too expensive. Really it's just because it fails my value to money assessment, and generally fails it hard. I'm also never concerned about missing out, as I've found that skipping things tends to enhance rather than diminish your status as desirable company.

*I recently discovered one friend has the wrong idea about our financial situation. She tried to give me cautionary advice a couple of times that just wasn't relevant because we are not living paycheck to paycheck. I can only go so far in reassuring her 'we're ok' because the ironic thing is her house is worth three times more than ours but she indicated they may not be able to afford the property taxes if they continue to increase. IOW she is or should be significantly wealthier than us but yet is in an untenable situation. I feel like it would almost be potentially humiliating for me to say we're very sound.

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

Post by Saltation »

The following are thoughts that are expressed in someway.

My Pa: Tells me I'm a cheap bastard. (He has lots of debt, no assets.)

Close friends #1, #2: Cheaper than we are. Usually point out inadequacies in thrift as we are slightly competitive. (One retired by 50 with a vineyard to pave his retirement. The other will have a house paid off by 33 and plans on working part time afterwards.)

Numerous close friends: Don't care. They spend less than the average. Understand I live a lifestyle that affords me flexibility.

Older family 55+ years old: I live in the old school age of cloth diapers, scraping containers, making everything from scratch and DIY. Think I am an example of financial responsibility and industriousness.

Coworkers: I'm the cheapest guy at the company.

My wife: Accepts that I'm very frugal by most people's standards and it is a lifestyle decision. She knows that waste is something undesirable.
Last edited by Saltation on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by mooretrees »

I had a funny moment with two coworkers recently. I was talking about getting rid of our small window a/c unit. One coworker said her next big project was to put central a/c into her house. I said I'd never do it as it was too expensive. The other coworker asked 'how expensive?' I said I don't know but it doesn't matter as it would be more than I wanted to spend. We all started laughing. They thought I was ridiculous, but since I'm so cheerful about it and don't care what they do, it's just funny.

I have had a dear friend gently suggest seeking therapy for dealing with money, I guess I was talking about it too much! Mostly people think I'm odd for wanting to work less, live in a schoolbus etc. But, I don't hide stuff (I'm too excited about new ideas to hide things) and since I've stopped preaching at people, they just usually leave me alone.

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

Post by catpepper »

@mooretrees

That's good. I think being too evangelical over your beliefs kind of turns people away from frugality.

My close friend is also cutting down on unnecessities and improving liquidity for investments recently. He's selling his car off and buying a road bicycle which was really surprising to me. He has always been more frugal, but I always thought he sees his car as a necessity. But I guess he's starting to see the cost of owning a car. With the cost of loan repayments, parking, gas, fines etc, while having the flexibility of calling an uber, it still cost 3x less a month to own a car than just taking an uber wherever you wanna go. Not having to look for a parking spot, ability to read a book on public transport etc, lots of benefits than owning a car in the city.

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