Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
Scott 2
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Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by Scott 2 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:50 am

Controlling costs means I don't throw things away. I buy used, I repair, I make due, I do without, I don't get caught up in appearances, etc.

The net effect, is I'm living a life with old stuff, behind the curve on just about everything. I am easy on my possessions. They rarely break or wear out to the point of replacement. When I decide to get rid of something, often nobody would want it.

Objectively, one could say my quality of life has dropped over the past 10 years because of this. It's hard to buy things degraded to my minimum acceptable state. So I was living richer when I first established myself.

I also locked into choices that are suboptimal, but would be wasteful to undo. My 4 person kitchen table was great for a 1 bedroom apartment. Moving into a townhouse, we stuck the leaf in the table and called it done. For 10 years. Our dining room would hold an 8 person table.

My car... It's fifteen years old now. Low to the ground, rusty, worn shocks, mediocre night visibility, limited hauling capacity, etc. Not at all what I'd buy today. But we got a deal in 2008 and it's still running, so I'm not replacing it. The insurance is so cheap.

This all happened so gradually. The individual items don't bother me and life feels normal. Stepping back and looking at things objectively though, I pretty much don't own or use nice things. A lot of people would have a real problem with my day to day standard. I'm not intending to change it, but there is definitely a trade off.

slsdly
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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by slsdly » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:56 am

Is it a downside? I tend to mentally high five myself when I notice how far behind the times I am. Don't know whatever the latest technological fad is until a few years later? Good job me, not spending my attention on things I don't care for. I think of the Left Hand of Darkness and how in their religion it is a compliment to remark on one's ignorance. That can be taken too far, but hardly if it is a just general rule for the noise in society.

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by Kriegsspiel » Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:02 pm

On the upside, you should eventually come to have well made, durable, classic things. In Fiskerian terms: Day Twentying.

Augustus
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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by Augustus » Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:03 pm

Isn't the whole purpose of ER to be free? You are free to go work some place for a week to buy a new toy if you want it. No one is going to stop you or look down on you. The main criteria is already satisfied, you can go work a little to trade time for something you want because you choose to, it's a choice. Having the choice is what's important.

That's how I look at it at least. It's trading. There are trades I see as worthwhile for some of the luxury items I want. I really want a hot tub one day. After I hit my number, I will work a month or two, and get a hot tub, because I consider it a fair trade, 1-2 mos labor for hot tub is an acceptable trade to me. Fancy cars and clothes don't do it for me and I'm fine for the cheaper older alternatives for most items, but I think everyone has a few luxuries they consider to be worthwhile trades.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:09 pm

I love having old shit! It's easy to replace and I rarely get upset if someone dings my car, I might misplace an item, etc.

It also doubles as stealth wealth. People just assume you're frugal by necessity.

Jason
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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by Jason » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:04 pm

Since we cancelled streaming, we've become DVD dependent. The unit was always there, but we weren't really using it. Now that we are, we have come to realize that its not functioning well and it will need to be replaced. So our first few months of saving on streaming is negated by a capital cost. I hate the idea buying a piece of technology, but there is no way around it. To put into your terms of trading, its worthwhile.

In context of thread title, with such low trading costs these days, it's a share of stock I would prefer to own. And there's nothing better than owning old stock.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:05 pm

Yeah, that's why a very high proportion of the few items I own were purchased for me by much more affluent, slightly less frugal boyfriends. Makes them look bad to be seen in public with me when I get too shabby. Also appeals to their "rescuer" drive, as in "When I met you, you were wearing a worn-out bathing suit instead of underwear, and sleeping on a pile of thrift store comforters instead of a bed." Whatever...

Scott 2
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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by Scott 2 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:13 pm

I wouldn't say there is a major downside for any one individual item. More like an accepted compromise, erring on the side of minimizing consumption.

The computer desk in my living room was pulled from the trash at our apartment 12 years ago, for instance. It's a $100 desk new, basically a glorified table, but will never fall. We extend the capacity with a stereo cabinet from my wife's childhood bedroom. I'd date it to the late 70's.

In aggregate, I wonder about the impact of all those small compromises. If you need to make a change in life, you don't try harder, you remove other drains on your will power and time. Maybe the collective set of compromises acts as a sink, making me less flexible or resilient in other ways. That is a possible downside.

Certainly it's all readily affordable to replace, but the waste would trouble me. I could even get a hot tub. However, it'd be in direct conflict with the values I've established over decades. My bias is that it's all consumer BS and I shouldn't waste energy

No question it is stealth wealth. My wife's family is confident we are barely getting by. I'm happy to create that impression. I think they'd have a hard time with the reality.

I do wonder about the gradual adaptation to a "lowered" quality of life. Sure, the rusted snow shovel my parents had as an extra is good enough. Usually our townhome association takes care of it anyway. But maybe that's also one more thing not quite right, which in sum, is bad. The adage that you don't realize how much hitting your head on the wall hurts, until you stop doing it.

Scott 2
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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by Scott 2 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:27 pm

@7wannabe5, certainly you and others on this forum take it even further than I have.

I see streaming vs. DVDs as a lifestyle choice, but contending with the broken player is an example of things getting old. I might try grabbing one at Goodwill, even though I could easily order from Amazon.

Scott 2
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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by Scott 2 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:32 pm

My wife's reaction to Jean's video of his place got me thinking about this. We can attribute that to Wheaton levels, but I'd also objectively say that heat and a flush toilet are nice to have.

Especially as resources are available, I'm wondering about that line.

George the original one
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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by George the original one » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:50 pm

Jason wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:04 pm
Since we cancelled streaming, we've become DVD dependent
We never became streaming-dependent (or dependent on cable/satellite TV). On the other hand, our 18-year-old 300-disk DVD changers are breaking down and technology has ruled them antiques with no modern equivalent except streaming. One can rip the DVDs to a NAS, but that ripping does not preserve the DVD structure, is time-consuming for large collections like ours, and is totally illegal compared to ripping CDs.

Streaming doesn't suit our current locale, either. Satellite internet is generally fast enough, but the data caps would quickly be blown away by a few hours of video.

Anyway, it feels weird to go backwards technically to a single-disk player, so we keep plugging away with the one that still works.

Augustus
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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by Augustus » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:05 pm

Scott 2 wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:13 pm
I could even get a hot tub. However, it'd be in direct conflict with the values I've established over decades. My bias is that it's all consumer BS and I shouldn't waste energy
I think that's where we diverge. You're looking at it as minimizing waste. I'm looking at is maximizing enjoyment. I don't derive any joy out of most consumer goods because they don't appeal to me, to me those things would actually decrease my enjoyment of life, because they all have costs and I'd have to work more (which decreases my enjoyment) to get them. Instead I focus only on what I find enjoyable enough to be worth the cost. I look at everything as a trade, and only things where I find the trade is acceptable is what I'll end up doing. 1-2 mos of work for a hot tub hits that sweet spot for me. We'll see, I've never owned one, I may end up trying to resell it later if I don't get enough joy out of it. It also of course needs to be done after the primary goal is accomplished and I hit my number, because I don't want to delay that anymore than I already am. But I don't have a problem spending a little extra time here or there, as long as overall I'm getting as much joy out of life as possible.

That mindset could get out of hand of course, you could start thinking you'd want to buy everything, which is what the typical consumer ends up doing. I think I've got that handled though, I enjoy free time more than anything else. If I had to work say a year for the hot tub, it would no longer meet my criteria for an acceptable trade. If I had to work only a day for one I'd probably buy one tomorrow.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:14 pm

Maybe the collective set of compromises acts as a sink, making me less flexible or resilient in other ways. That is a possible downside.
Good point. Two thoughts.

The first would be that all of us have to recognize that until the day CRISPR technology installs chloroplasts into our cells, we are consumers. In order to survive and grow, we have to consume complexity and create waste. Likely this is as true for our lifestyles as our bodies. Being thoughtful about quality of inputs is important.

Second thought would be that giving thumb to median social expectation should not be confused with denying your own aesthetic. I would hazard to guess that denying one's own aesthetic in environment could eventually have effect on creativity or maybe even ability to accept vulnerability in self and others.

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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by jacob » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:56 pm

The zero-waste community seems to have no problem using money to churn stuff as long as it doesn't enter the waste-stream from their home. For example, donating clothes back to the thrift store in order to replace it with new-used clothes or selling old stuff online to buy new stuff and airmailining it despite the CO2 emissions.

I lean close to the OP in terms of not wanting to waste ... but I'm also too lazy to put in the effort of replacing anything that is otherwise good enough. To take the clothes example ... Sure it would be nice to have a fancier wardrobe, but when it comes down to it, I just don't care enough to spend the mental energy putting outfits together. Ditto matching furniture styles. Or upgrading stuff. I have the opposite personality when it comes to stuff than those who buy "This Old House" magazines. Don't fix it if it isn't broken.

Here there's a self-imposed "trading" cost that consumers don't pay because they either throw the old stuff out or stuff it into boxes in the garage. If there's anything that bothers me about my "don't waste stuff or energy" philosophy, it's that realizing the cost of taking responsibility for my stuff over its life-cycle means that I'm often reluctant to acquire new stuff because I know what a drag it is to get rid of it again comparably speaking. This definitely reduces flexibility... at least in the consumer sense. On the flip-side I'm much better at finding workarounds that someone who is used to replacing and rebuying.

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Jean
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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by Jean » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:19 pm

Scott 2 wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:32 pm
My wife's reaction to Jean's video of his place got me thinking about this. We can attribute that to Wheaton levels, but I'd also objectively say that heat and a flush toilet are nice to have.
My toilet do flush and my place is insulated and easy to heat.

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prognastat
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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by prognastat » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:45 pm

I used to like the latest and greatest, at least as far as technology was concerned such as my computer, consoles, TV or phone.

I've gotten to the point where I just don't care anymore though and would prefer to just hold on to my things longer. This of course is getting harder for some things such as smartphones which just aren't built to last that well. My current TV is 8 years old though and can probably go for a few more years. Not planning on replacing it until it dies.

As for non-technological items I never had the urge to upgrade in the first place.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by EdithKeeler » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:35 pm

All my stuff is pretty old, too. But I like stuff with a provinance. My stuff all has a story: “oh this table? The very first piece of furniture I bought when I graduated. I remember beings appalled by the $300 price tag, but it’s held up well for thirty years.”

I really don’t give two shits what people think about me or my stuff. If I like it, I keep it. If it’s still useful and I don’t hate it, I keep it. If I hate it, I give it away.

My mom really hates my house, and it is small.... and old! but I’ve gotten used to it and I’m mostly over wanting something bigger and newer. She said the other day: “I don’t know how you cook in that kitchen.” My response: “you liked thanksgiving dinner, right? Were we missing anything?” “It was great,” she admitted.

Ok.

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unemployable
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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by unemployable » Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:21 pm

Augustus wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:05 pm
That mindset could get out of hand of course, you could start thinking you'd want to buy everything, which is what the typical consumer ends up doing. I think I've got that handled though, I enjoy free time more than anything else. If I had to work say a year for the hot tub, it would no longer meet my criteria for an acceptable trade. If I had to work only a day for one I'd probably buy one tomorrow.
I made a hot tub in the stock market today. But I might lose three or four tomorrow.

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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by OTCW » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:38 pm

Augustus wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:05 pm
It also of course needs to be done after the primary goal is accomplished and I hit my number, because I don't want to delay that anymore than I already am.
Buy the hot tub now and work a couple extra months at the end to make up the difference, or wait until the end, then work a couple of months to buy the hot tub. Either way, you still work a couple of extra months, but the first way you miss out on enjoying the hot tub for the entire accumulation phase.

If I wanted a hot tub, I'd buy it now and start enjoying it immediately.

Augustus
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Re: Frugal Downside - All my stuff is old

Post by Augustus » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:53 pm

OTCW wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:38 pm
If I wanted a hot tub, I'd buy it now and start enjoying it immediately.
First I need to buy a house to put it on :D That should be happening later this year. I'm planning to contract a few months a year in my "retirement", so waiting makes a bit more sense in my case. My first short term contract maybe I can dangle the hot tub carrot in my face. Hot tub is lower on the list though. I'm thinking a mobile van office is first a la: https://www.businessinsider.com/app-dev ... ce-2014-12 then I can go down to the beach, work a bit in the back, surf for lunch, and eventually... dip in the hot tub after.

Been wanting one of those for a long time too. I also enjoy having multiple things to look forward to in the future. Always a new adventure/pleasure on the horizon to look forward to.

Top of my list is still hitting my number, I want that more than I want a hot tub or a van. That's ~2 years out.

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