Sometimes, it is hard to escape habits formed over time. One Internet user wanted to know how people had escaped extreme frugality when poverty was all they knew. Other users chipped into this discussion, and here are some of the best responses.
It Never Really Goes Away
One user pointed out that this thought never goes away, “I grew up very poor and lived below the poverty line until I was 25 when I got a massive pay raise from a new job in my very niche industry…I currently have a very, very comfortable amount of money in the bank(s), and still, spending money creates an emotional AND physical reaction. I’m constantly terrified that one day it’ll all just be gone.”
Some Don’t Feel the Need To Escape Frugality
Despite doing well for themselves, some people do not feel the need to escape their frugal lifestyle, “This is the way. I went from 25k over the last decade to 6 figures and still live in my tiny apartment exactly as before. I treat myself to some sushi once in a while now, but I don’t feel the need to “escape” frugality. It is a winning strategy when you are poor and doubly so once you make a good income. The difference is that now I am accumulating savings really fast, and soon I will be able to maintain my frugal lifestyle even if I quit this job and never find another one.”
Some Have Learned To Live With It
One user understands how this thought can be managed and has done so, “I get it. I’m at $26/hr, and I mostly buy parts for the cars and house supplies. The gf makes a bit more than me but is not nearly as frugal. I put a wheel bearing on my $500 Ford last weekend. Going to buy a new window for the kitchen shortly, move the location and finish drywalling the kitchen. It’s kind of helped us. We bought this $25,000 house in 2009. I put my tools in the garage and work on stuff. I wish others would use my tools and try to get ahead.”
Setting and sticking to budgets has worked well for another user, “Set a budget to allow yourself the ‘fun money’. Every paycheck, pull that amount aside in cash, and write down what is something you would do that is fun that is outside your frugal mindset comfort zone.”
It Takes Time
“I kinda struggled (Who am I kidding? It’s still there) emotionally with differentiating between being ridiculous and having a few nice things and enjoying life,” illustrates another user
It’s a Mentality
One user has a solution to this issue, “Sit down, write out your budget, then sit down and dream and dream big. Write down all those dreams as if you didn’t have to pay for them. Then sit down and write out a 5 year plan. I want to do x and be at x. Then do it for 10 years. Take those 4 sit downs and hash out what your real goals are.”
“You don’t. My ex was born into poverty. He got his education and made it out, but that mindset never left him,” agrees another person
Prioritize What Is Important
Make priorities and stick to your budget as one user advises, “I think it’s about priorities and what is important. I make good money now and still eat cheaply at home. I don’t mind, but I do like to splurge and go out to eat twice a month. Also, I hate ordering things online and things I probably need/want.”
Avoid Making Bad Financial Decisions
One user speaks from personal experience, and how he managed to get his life back on track “Long time ago, I made bad financial decisions. Lost my job, lost everything due to me needing to sell everything just to buy food. Living in my car, etc. Fast forward 12yrs, I make good money, married to a good woman that makes even more than me. House, pets, toys, etc. What do I do differently now? Not much other than not making super bad financial decisions. Our only debt right now is our house, and if I lose my job tomorrow, I have enough in my accounts to pay it off, so my biggest worry of losing the house is gone. Outside of that, you need to enjoy life and save for retirement.”
Frugality and Poverty Are Different
One user has a different perspective on frugality and poverty, “As someone frugal with newfound money, frugality & poverty are extremely different. It’s not about wanting or needing expensive things; it’s about being able to spend any money without excessive worry plummeting into food & housing insecurity.”
Do Fun Things Before You Die
“I had this same struggle. It wouldn’t go away. I finally had to tell myself: you better go do some fun stuff before you die, dummy. That worked. I’m still weird about making sure I get a good deal and can’t bring myself to spend money on certain things, but it’s a lot better, and I do travel now with my kids,” says one user
Get a Professional To Help You
In order to be happy, one user advises getting professional help, “Have you thought seriously about getting a professional opinion on this matter? Fear is a joy thief.”
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