A Reddit user wanted to know if there are people who pride themselves in not being frugal and wanted to understand their way of thinking and what they spend their money on.
He gave an example of his aunt, who grew up poor and now only buys name brands, does not eat leftovers, and thinks being frugal is depressing. She cannot understand why the OP wants to retire early. The OP says he does not want to work until he is 70.
Many other Reddit users chimed in and shared their thoughts about this topic. We have sampled some of the best ones in this conversation.
Grew Up Poor
This is a pretty common thing for folks who grew up in poverty,” says one user and then goes on to offer an illustration, “He grew up very poor; his family was always moving to a new town every few years to stay ahead of debt collectors. Once he got a stable job, he thought he deserved everything and that if he could buy all those consumer goods – new car, pool, etc. – it would make him feel like he had made it.”
Very New Money
One user says that people who have new money can’t keep quiet about it, “I remember the first time I found out that most people don’t brag about how good of a deal they got on something. I embarrassed someone by doing it. They were very new money.”
Live to Your Fullest
One user says that sometimes being too frugal is futile and gives an example, “My dad was frugal. Looking forward to traveling after all the kids got out of the house and retiring early. Dead at 51 from cancer. Never got to enjoy the fruits of his labors. I’m a nurse in an ED, and every day I see people too sick and/or dying at an early age. Never making it to retirement or too frail to enjoy it when they get there.”
Childhood Trauma Affects Frugality
Another user says some people are pushed to spend because of circumstances they went through as kids, “Your childhood trauma can mess you up in so many ways. I’ve had two friends who grew up food insecure. One couldn’t stop eating while there was food on the table,” she says, “The other made a point of always ordering more dishes than she could eat at restaurants. She loved leaving lots of food uneaten and never took leftovers home.”
To Each Their Own
A user illustrates how his colleague spends money and keeps complaining about the cost of things and how she needs a pay rise, but since it is her money, he has no right to tell her what to do, “I’ve got a work colleague who complains about the cost of things but spends money like its nothing. She has designer handbags she brings to work, overseas holidays every year (including a Hong Kong shopping trip one year), Uber Eats most nights, new furniture on a regular basis, etc.,” he adds, “It’s just the way she is. You’ll come across people in your life whose actions are at odds with what you would do. It’s best not to worry about them (as long as it isn’t criminal!) and just get on with life.”
Spending Much Does Not Mean You Are Rich
According to one user, people who spend too much may actually be broke, “I realized how many people are in debt up to their eyeballs. Early 20s, I thought if you had a nice car or nice house, you were doing great, but now I understand those people can be living paycheck to paycheck and running from debt collectors.”
People Spend To Keep Appearances
Another user added that some people spend money so that they can create a certain image, “I used to appraise houses, and in 2008 my work changed to 95% appraising foreclosures overnight. It wasn’t the cheap or poor houses I was mainly appraising for foreclosure. 70% of them were in the 300-400k range, and that’s 2008 prices. It really opened my eyes to what people will do to keep up appearances. Some of the houses I appraised only made maybe the first payment or two and then nothing else.
Money Is To Be Exchanged for Goods
One user who admitted to not being frugal said they cannot understand why people are frugal when they are rich, “I am not frugal, so I am one of those. For me, money is there to be exchanged for goods. I do not understand people who are millionaires and are living frugally until they die. I am materialistic, but I try not to be wasteful. Life is very short; why not enjoy it as much as possible and to the fullest? It’s not a question of pride but that people should feel comfortable and happy however they choose to live.”
We Will All Die Someday
A user illustrates how her father lived a flashy lifestyle, but when he died, the family had nothing to show for it and wondered whether one should be frugal since we shall all die someday, “My dad basically lived an upper-middle-class version of Trumpian money management. He owned some “businesses,” worked the system, leveraged debt and always had new and nice things. When he died, he didn’t own anything but debt, but he had all of those things to enjoy and show off for most of his life. Not really my style, but sometimes I wonder why I struggle to stay debt free and responsible when I’ll just die one day and none of it will matter.”
Another supported this statement by saying, “Some people just want to enjoy their life, because life is short. They may not live long enough to enjoy retirement years. What I hate is when someone throws things out that could be donated or used by someone else.”
Sometimes Not Being Frugal Is Good for the Soul
Another user says that since she grew up poor, having a good thing now and then makes her feel good, “Honestly, I’m often switching camps. I grew up very, very poor. Like hungry most days I didn’t go to school poor. Sometimes it can be good for the soul to buy something you know is luxurious. 70% of people make it to 70. 35% of people make it to 80. Worrying about how much money you will have at the end of your life is much less important than living your life to its fullest.”
Possessions Are Comforting
One person said that her mother buys a lot of stuff because they are ‘comforting’ to her, “ This is my mother. Her possessions comfort her because, for her, they are a mark of “making it” in some way. Older generations had suburbia to look up to, and it was the bone at the end of the stick they were all working for. They hold these possessions dearly because it was the American dream to have a big house and nice car and to want for nothing.”
Some Do Not Like Cheap Stuff
“My Mother in Law told her Doctor to never prescribe generic pills to her because she “would never take the cheap stuff!” another user hilariously quips.
Life Is Fleeting
A user who dislikes frugal people tries to encourage them to live a little, “I think a lot of frugal people don’t realize that life is fleeting. You can die at any moment; live a little. Also, some of them think saving 5$ a week on something is going to make them retire early; no it’s not, I can promise you. They think it’s the little things that add up, ok save 5$ per week on two different things, that’s 40$ per month and 480$ per year saved. Also, not going to change when you retire.”
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