Some people are inspired by uber frugality blogs. For me? They make me feel guilty that I spend too much money.
MMM, I can sort of handle. I just look at the parts about relative frugality, renting vs buying, how expensive cars are, savings rate time to retirement, etc. I don’t look at how much his family spends each year.
Other blogs in which people rave about how little they spend are really counterproductive for me.
I inherited the money scarcity mindset that my mom has or maybe had as she seems to be spending money more easily these days than she used to. When I was younger, I refused to let myself spend money and would guilt myself over it. I’ve finally mostly acquired a healthy relationship with money, thanks in part to my spending plan and in building a good nest egg.
I’ve never had a need to have the money scarcity mindset. Yet I’ve had it for most of my life, feeling like I can’t afford to buy a pair of pants I really want or a nice purse or to refresh my wardrobe. In high school, I saved 80% of my paychecks by transferring 80% of my income to my savings account immediately. That much was probably a bit excessive.
I would play games with myself as to how cheap I could get my grocery bill.
I would tell friends I couldn’t afford to do X activity when really it was that I didn’t want to.
I hated buying good bras because they’re really expensive. Eventually, I set myself a budget for bras that allowed me to buy 4 per year (now it’s up to 5) and not worry about the cost.
I set aside the cost to renew my passport, my Nexus/Global Entry card, and my driver’s license every month, despite the fact that I could easily cash flow any of these things.
I’m only just now in my late twenties starting to take care of my hair and skin because it seemed expensive and complicated.
I didn’t have a texting plan on my cell phone at 22 because I was too cheap. So one of my friends texted me repeatedly to try to convince me to get one. I eventually got one when I started dating someone and texting more.
I agonized and agonized over how expensive my rent was after college. I mean, I went from my parents paying my $350/month in rent in college to me paying $1,500/month in rent, which is definitely a huge jump.
I hate buying cell phones, computers, and electronics in general. Decision paralysis totally kicks in, plus spending guilt. I guilted myself when I replaced my four year old iPod that would no longer hold a charge several years ago. Mine wouldn’t hold a charge! And I still guilted myself!
There’s a difference between being frugal and cheap. I’m finally frugal and I’m proud of it. Some people have a terrible relationship with money in their 20s due to overspending. Mine was from unnecessary financial guilt and anxiety.
We all have to find our own level of frugality and then not let lifestyle inflation kick in from there.