For anyone that is frugal, making big purchases comes with a lot of planning and research. People often postpone their big purchases in hopes of landing better deals, which is probably the motivation behind OP’s lifestyle.
Here is the thing, OP drives an extremely old car (2001) that is extremely beaten up. His wife drives a 2013 sedan.
Both their cars seem to have extreme wear and tear, thanks to the high mileage he highlights. In addition, OP’s car does not have an A/C, and he says driving in summer can be unbearable.
However, he says he will not be getting rid of it because it is still “driveable.”
It’s not just the car situation. OP and his wife have rented a space from a family in a low-cost area. Their rent is only $400 per month, utilities included.
They have been planning to buy a home every 6-12 months. When it is time to actually make the purchase, they never do it. He says moving is difficult for them when their current lifestyle has saved them tons of money.
Living Below Their Means or Just Being Stingy?
OP and his wife have adapted to living way below their means. But this leaves you wondering, how far should one go with their frugality?
Interestingly, he says he is not frugal in other things, such as eating out or taking trips. The problem comes only when they consider making big purchases, such as upgrading their cars or buying a house.
He goes ahead and gives information about his financial situation and hopes to get some advice on whether he is being financially responsible or just being too frugal.
Here is some info he gave:
- My wife and I combined make $115-120k a year ($6,500/month after taxes)
- We currently have 130k in stocks – VTI, S&P, etc. (not including retirement)
- We have 40k in savings
- We put about $2,000/month in an HYSA
- We put $1,000/month into our IRAs
- Credit score: 785
If you are wondering why they are always reluctant to pull the trigger, OP says he looks at the people around him, like his friends and siblings, and it seems like he is the least successful financially. He acknowledges that this is why he has always strived to save as much as possible.
The Masses Weigh In
Here are some great pieces of advice OP received from Reddit users.
Creating a Clear Budget and Vision Board
One commenter thought OP was always reluctant to pull the trigger because he could not see where he would be in a few years. The commenter said, “Do you have a line item in your budget that says: Car purchase savings, House down payment savings? If you don’t, start there. Write down your purchase goals. Put them as line items into your budget. Sometimes separating the money intended for specific purposes can help make the purchases more tangible.”
Having an idea of what you are saving for and incorporating it into your vision board and budget is excellent.
Another one, in agreement with the above comment, added, “Yup, this is the answer. What’s the end goal? Save for the life you want. Not saving for the sake of saving. Can’t take money into the afterlife.”
It Is Your Life To Live
One thing that came out clearly is how worried OP was concerning how people around him perceived him.
One commenter encouraged him to drop that mentality and live his life. He said, “Don’t feel as if you need to meet the expectation of others – you don’t. Do what brings joy to you and your immediate family.”
Another added, “This, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being frugal. Don’t let the consumerist US society fool you into believing otherwise, OP.”
Sticking With the Old Car Is Not Worth It
One commenter thought buying another car should be top of OP’s priority list. He said, “Get a newer car. Safety standards have drastically changed in the last 22 years, and your life is worth more than the money you’re saving by driving a vehicle like that.”
A handful of other comments stated that a newer car would save OP money in terms of fuel efficiency.
Is the life OP has chosen financially responsible, or is he just being too hard on himself?
This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.