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Old 09-24-2018, 06:12 PM
 
Location: The World
3,012 posts, read 1,810,469 times
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Yeah, a lot of things that New Yorkers do are actually quite frugal. Living in smaller (and often older and rather modest) dwellings. Not owning cars. Walking a lot. Taking public transportation.

It's just that the cost of living there is so dang high...
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Old 09-24-2018, 09:01 PM
 
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Personally I found the article fantastic and on point on practically everything. Who cares if the author called being frugal/minimalist a fad, you are missing the rest of the article by focusing on that one statement.

Their point about how those who make good incomes should be able to help reduce income inequality by paying more in taxes and how the environment is much better off using things you have vs buying new "energy efficient" versions was also spot on and quite frankly refreshing to hear.
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Old 09-24-2018, 10:18 PM
 
7,551 posts, read 7,981,754 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkmax View Post
Yeah, a lot of things that New Yorkers do are actually quite frugal. Living in smaller (and often older and rather modest) dwellings. Not owning cars. Walking a lot. Taking public transportation.

It's just that the cost of living there is so dang high...
Immigrants come to NYC with nothing and many make it work. NYC gets a bad rep because housing here is very expensive and there are high taxes. But other things here are cheaper because there is more volume and competition. I am set in my ways about not "wasting" money because I was trained by family who lived during the Depression. Even if I can afford things, it's the principle and it bothers me if I overpay or pay for things needlessly. It was how I was raised and it's ingrained.
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Old 09-25-2018, 01:20 AM
 
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One thing that always makes me chuckle about this particular forum is there are actually a wide variety of posters, because the word "frugal" is rather situational and opinion-based. Compared to many (most, likely) people here, I'm probably not frugal at all, but compared to my net worth, I'm extremely frugal because I spend WAY less than my means. It really depends how you define frugal. If you define frugal as "growing your own food and cooking in a crock pot and eating the same meal every day while using public transportation to avoid needing car," then obviously I am very much NOT frugal. But if you define frugal as someone who spends FAR less than they save and far less than they could spend, then I'm probably the most frugal person on this forum.

I think what irks me about some of the frugal crowd is they don't understand relativity whatsoever. If you make $30,000/year and you bought your beater of a car for $500 and you're sitting there judging someone, like me, for buying a $28K used car, you're missing the point. You literally couldn't afford to buy a nicer car, you just did what you had to do, there's no frugality about it. You are poor and you bought a cheap car, which is logical. You don't get a golden star for making a "choice" when you had no choice. I could have chosen to buy a brand new BMW and it wouldn't have dented or affected my finances whatsoever, so for me, that is frugality to buy a used SUV. That's me choosing to save my money and reinvest it and be financially intelligent rather than wasting my money on a "showy" car.

I certainly don't judge anyone else for the cars they buy, the houses they buy or don't buy, or any other stupid material possessions. But this sub-forum is full of some of the most bizarre attitudes. I'll meet some of my dad's work friends, and I'll hear them joke about how frugal I am, how they heard this or that about how I'm so frugal, and everyone I know agrees but that's because we all have different life situations. It's not some race to the bottom to see who can spend the least and live the poorest. I'm frugal because I buy houses where I have either 100% equity or 50% or greater equity in them, rather than putting down 20% and maximizing what I can borrow. To me, that's uncomfortable living far above your means, so I don't like that even if I could afford it.

For me, it's frugal to disregard new cars with our daily driver, because I don't want to drive the car off the lot and have it lost $5-10K in value. I don't go buy the cheapest car I can find off Craigslist, and I don't buy cars with 100K miles, because that's way too many miles for my personal taste. I do go buy a 20-40K mileage used car so I can get SOME savings off the price and not waste my money. I don't care if the car is expensive to someone on CD, because that's their problem, it was cheap for me and my purchase decision was the definition of frugality -- finding the best deal I could for what I wanted and spending within my means.

For me, frugality was when I got a big lump sum payment from a bunch of investments, I took a small portion and bought a modest townhome with cash that was in an "ok" but not great area of a suburb, and the rest went right back into 4 new investments. I didn't buy a van and convert it into a mobile home so that my GF and I could be "frugal" and save more money.

I think what some of the frugal crowd misses is there are lots of frugal people who are also rich, so what those people do or how they live may not seem frugal *on your income*, but it is on their income. The reverse is also true, too. If someone makes $40K/year and they seem to be frugal by shopping around for a used car, and they seem to be frugal by only eating out once a week during happy hour, and they seem to be frugal by going to movies on Discount Tuesdays, they might actually be NOT frugal because they can't even afford to see movies in theaters, they shouldn't ever be eating out except maybe a special occasion, and they should be taking the bus to work. Different people, different circumstances.

When a millionaire is only seeing movies on Discount Tuesdays and eating at happy hour, that's frugal. When a poor person is doing the same, they're not frugal. It's really simple, not sure why it's so hard for some people to grasp. It seems to be a real difficulty understanding the difference between "poor" and "frugal." If you don't eat out because you can't afford it, you're not frugal, you're just poor! If you could afford to eat out, but you know that it would be better to save more money for your retirement, so you CHOOSE not to, you are frugal. Frugality involves conscious choice and decision-making skills. It doesn't make you frugal because you "never travel," if you're in fact too poor to travel, then you never had a choice in the first place. You aren't choosing anything, you're just poor lol.
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Old 09-25-2018, 08:14 AM
 
5,419 posts, read 8,207,294 times
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John, there is voluntary frugality and necessary frugality. They are both about getting the best value for your money.

There are plenty of poor people who aren't frugal.
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:17 AM
 
Location: too far from the sea
17,994 posts, read 17,150,498 times
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Originally Posted by creeksitter View Post
John, there is voluntary frugality and necessary frugality. They are both about getting the best value for your money.

There are plenty of poor people who aren't frugal.
True. There are people who need to be frugal because they are poor. They are still frugal. They make a choice too. Then there are other people who are poor who are not frugal and they get into financial trouble because of it. Probably like the stereotypical person who gets their coffee at Starbucks instead of making it at home. They have expensive phones that they can't afford but they put the cost on a credit card and get into more financial difficulty. They buy a flashy car that they can't afford. They apparently don't understand short term gratification vs long term. They need everything NOW. They can't save up until they can afford it and they can't do without.

Then there are poor people who cook and eat at home, buy cars and phones they can afford, look around for the best deals on things. They are making choices and they choose to be frugal.
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Old 09-25-2018, 12:23 PM
 
11,429 posts, read 19,443,622 times
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Originally Posted by wheelsup View Post
Personally I found the article fantastic and on point on practically everything. Who cares if the author called being frugal/minimalist a fad, you are missing the rest of the article by focusing on that one statement.

Their point about how those who make good incomes should be able to help reduce income inequality by paying more in taxes and how the environment is much better off using things you have vs buying new "energy efficient" versions was also spot on and quite frankly refreshing to hear.
We’ve been frugal for years, and frankly, it’s quite irksome to be told constantly that we aren’t “living” right because we are “denying” ourselves “luxuries”.

I have stuff I care about. I have some really nice jewelry, two Rolexes, and a $4,000 Bernina sewing machine. I don’t have an expensive car, because I don’t care about cars. A car is something that gets me from “point a” to “point b” with A/C and a radio. My 2004 Toyota Matrix does that just as well as a Tesla.

Now, I have friends who adore cars. The adoration just oozes. I don’t think they’re crazy. They’re crazy for cars! Some new, some retro/vintage. Everybody should have something that fuels their passions.

We’re not living less a life because we aren’t spending money on things other people think are important.
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Old 09-25-2018, 05:40 PM
 
Location: The World
3,012 posts, read 1,810,469 times
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Originally Posted by Tallysmom View Post
We’ve been frugal for years, and frankly, it’s quite irksome to be told constantly that we aren’t “living” right because we are “denying” ourselves “luxuries”.

I have stuff I care about. I have some really nice jewelry, two Rolexes, and a $4,000 Bernina sewing machine. I don’t have an expensive car, because I don’t care about cars. A car is something that gets me from “point a” to “point b” with A/C and a radio. My 2004 Toyota Matrix does that just as well as a Tesla.

Now, I have friends who adore cars. The adoration just oozes. I don’t think they’re crazy. They’re crazy for cars! Some new, some retro/vintage. Everybody should have something that fuels their passions.

We’re not living less a life because we aren’t spending money on things other people think are important.
I like to spend less on what's not important so that I have more to spend on what IS important.

Of course, what is and isn't important to me is different from what is and isn't important to others.

For example, I don't mind doing things to save money on groceries. I even think it's kind of fun. What I do love and refuse to stop spending money on (although I do try to save money on it when I can) is travel.

I prefer to have a smartphone, but I'm not someone who always has to have the newest and fanciest one, either. I don't care about having an expensive vehicle (although it is important to me to have one that is reliable.) I don't care about expensive jewelry, either...costume jewelry is fine by me.

But, I do have horses, which isn't a cheap hobby.

That's me. Someone else might not care much about traveling and might not give a flip about having horses, but perhaps they would prefer to buy fancier groceries or dine out more or buy nicer jewelry or have newer phones.

Or, living in a big city isn't important to me, so I live in a lower cost of living area. But to others, it might be worth the sacrifice to have to spend more on housing and whatnot to live in a certain city.

We're all different and have to do what works for us.
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Old 09-25-2018, 05:50 PM
 
24,724 posts, read 26,794,844 times
Reputation: 22714
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonathanLB View Post
I think what irks me about some of the frugal crowd is they don't understand relativity whatsoever. If you make $30,000/year and you bought your beater of a car for $500 and you're sitting there judging someone, like me, for buying a $28K used car, you're missing the point. You literally couldn't afford to buy a nicer car, you just did what you had to do, there's no frugality about it. You are poor and you bought a cheap car, which is logical. You don't get a golden star for making a "choice" when you had no choice. I could have chosen to buy a brand new BMW and it wouldn't have dented or affected my finances whatsoever, so for me, that is frugality to buy a used SUV. That's me choosing to save my money and reinvest it and be financially intelligent rather than wasting my money on a "showy" car.
You make a valid point. But you also can come off as a bit out of touch when you talk about eating out as being more frugal than cooking your own food.

And there's also a case to be made for absolute frugality. The earth's resources are wasted by excessive consumption. The typical American lifestyle consumes more than any other society in history has. I think a lot of the environmental movement has been hijacked by power hungry control freaks, but they do have a reasonable point about consumption of resources and damage consumption does to the environment. We've become blind to our own waste, and from lots of different angles, I just can't see that as a good thing.
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Old 09-25-2018, 07:45 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
11,048 posts, read 11,460,740 times
Reputation: 17206
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallysmom View Post
We’ve been frugal for years, and frankly, it’s quite irksome to be told constantly that we aren’t “living” right because we are “denying” ourselves “luxuries”.

I have stuff I care about. I have some really nice jewelry, two Rolexes, and a $4,000 Bernina sewing machine. I don’t have an expensive car, because I don’t care about cars. A car is something that gets me from “point a” to “point b” with A/C and a radio. My 2004 Toyota Matrix does that just as well as a Tesla.

Now, I have friends who adore cars. The adoration just oozes. I don’t think they’re crazy. They’re crazy for cars! Some new, some retro/vintage. Everybody should have something that fuels their passions.

We’re not living less a life because we aren’t spending money on things other people think are important.
I understand, sort of. I think of myself as very frugal, but I live large. There's nothing minimalist about my lifestyle. I have 90 acres in a beautiful area, a creek in the back yard, a completely updated house with custom finishes, and am about done with a 36 x 60 shop and office. Electricity is our only utility bill, and it is less than $100/month. Total property taxes are $1600/year because I picked the area carefully. I haven't had a mortgage in years. My newest vehicle is a 2005, and it looks and runs like it just rolled off the showroom floor. The house has amenities that most people have never heard of

People who visit think I've got a lot of money. I don't. I live on an average SS account, a small pension, and some savings. My lifestyle is the result of many years of planning and hard work, crawling around under the house to install insulation on the plumbing, ductwork, subfloor, replacing all the windows myself, doing my own concrete, painting, wiring, carpets, plumbing and landscaping.

I had a 15 year mortgage that I refinanced twice as interest rates dropped, but I never lowered my payments. I kept right on making payments like it was an 8.5% mortgage, with the result that it was paid off in 11 years instead of 15. Everything since has been paid for up front, and I'm a serious value shopper.
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