Living frugally in the US has its fair share of challenges. A Quora user wanted to find out how hard people found living frugally in the US when posting this thread. We have sampled some of the best responses from the post here.
Flawed Education System
Bruce Epstein notes that the US education system is flawed, “The education system in the US no longer provides high school graduates with the basic skills needed to obtain any employment beyond minimum wage, and minimum wage is no longer sufficient to live above pure subsistence, if at all.”
People Have To Keep Up With Living Costs
“Overall wages have not kept pace with living costs, so even if a frugally-minded person wanted to live within their means, it might prove to be elusive. My daughter lives in a high-wage but high-cost-of-living area, and her apartment is smaller than even the first one I lived in over 40 years ago. But she’s managing to do it while avoiding going into debt,” Bruce added.
People Keep Up With Trends
Simply Lisable said it was hard to keep up with trends in the US, “Don’t buy into the trends, and you’ll be fine. And I mean, forget the latest “greatest” thing… the Apple products, the Starbucks on your way to work, Organic foods only; start living by your mean. 🙂 Believe me, you don’t need the new iPhone. As a matter of fact, unless you are a professional who absolutely needs the iPhone feature, you’ll be just fine with a smartphone that costs a third of it. Don’t even get me started on Starbucks. 😀 C’mon people, make your coffee at home; it might take 5 more minutes, but I guarantee you, you will save money in the long run….”
Neil Kumar says peer pressure can be hard to keep up with, “I drive a Prius while most of my friends have Teslas, BMW, Mercedes or Lexus. One friend used to have a hard time finding a woman to date. He used to drive an 8-year-old Honda Accord. Then his company gave him a BMW to use, and, all of a sudden, women were far more amenable to date him.”
Health Care Costs Can Be High
“If you are a healthy person who does not require constant medical services, prescriptions, psychiatric services, counselors, and so forth, then you are well on your way to living a frugal life. Healthcare costs and health insurance can be very expensive in the United States, particularly if you don’t have a job that pays the bulk of your health insurance premium and/or you are in poor health and constantly need to see doctors, specialists, and therapists who charge for every visit and/or prescribe expensive medications,” says Patty Hearst.
Rental and Living Costs Are High
“New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, Miami, and other places with a high cost of living, “ added Patty, “Always try to live in places that are less central even if you have to commute longer distances to work and/or forgo the convenience of certain types of entertainment and amenities.”
Abundance Rather Than Scarcity Makes It Hard To Be Frugal
Brian Miles notes that you get too many choices in the US, “The difficulty isn’t in the scarcity but in abundance. We are surrounded by goodies clamoring for our attention. I would argue that while you can live frugally anywhere, it’s more difficult in the US compared to many other places due to the combination of the relative abundance of high-paying jobs and a market that caters to every desire imaginable.”
“Speaking from personal experience, it is not that difficult to live a decent life in the US. You just have to sacrifice plenty of weekend parties, outside food, and trips,” notes Nikhil Pawar.
Lack of a Support Network
Jeremy notes that people who are frugal have a good support system compared to people who are not, “Having a supportive network of friends and family who also live frugally can provide encouragement and help to make frugal living more manageable.”’
Too Many Subscriptions
Bob Troxwell says TV subscriptions in the US make it hard to be frugal, “ I grew up with 4 broadcast TV channels. For movies, we could go to the cinema or drive-in. That was it. But now, having many TV options is the status quo. I know people that canceled TV service and returned to broadcast TV, with or without internet options like Hulu, Amazon Prime, Youtube, etc. “
It Is a Necessity
John points out that frugal people do not have many options in the US, “Unfortunately, almost all net worth is sequestered by just 20% of Americans. That leaves 75% of workers living paycheck to paycheck. This means that a supermajority of Americans have to be frugal – or go into significant debt.”
Shawn Duffy argues that fast foods in the US are expensive and readily available, “Food? Minimize eating out, even at McDonald’s. Learn to cook. A big thing for me is making up days of meals. Before the China virus sent me home to work, I would make my lunches for the week, or at least 4 days,” he adds, “Once a woman I worked with was buying lunch and asked why I was not, said I could not afford it. If you buy lunch, usually you spend 1/2 hour or more of pay a day!”
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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.