Post # 1
I know it’s prudent to have savings, and its sensible to avoid being in debt. Save for the future and plan for the unexpected.
At the moment I’m working damn hard to pay off some debt and save a little for a rainy day. I want to get rid of the debt asap, because I don’t like having any debt, it’s only in the last 3-5 years I’ve found myself having credit cards or loans to pay off. Granted they were “needed” but I’ve always believe you should only borrow what you can pay off in a year. I’ve got 7 months left, and all being well – jobs- circumstances-everything else staying the same I’ll be debt free by October. Lovely.
However in doing this, I don’t have a whole lot at the end of the month for “things” I’d like to be able to buy new clothes regually, go out for meals more often and to get some new furnature for the house and I COULD do this if some months I only paid the minimum on the credit card etc, but then I think yeah it’d be lovely to have a pretty bedroom (our room isn’t horrendous at all, I’d just like to “do it up a bit) and more clothes in my closet, but I’d actually rather have no debt than have debt and nice things.
Then I see my friend buying a whole new outfit/new gadgets for the home/a car etc etc
And I then I think, oh I want that too…. and I switch between these two feelings ALL the TIME.
Does anyone else feel like this?
Post # 3
@Soon2BeeMrsG: I used to be like this, but really it comes down to discipline. If you can suck it up and put the majority of your money towards your debt, then you will be able to buy fun stuff guilt-free eventually.
I’ve been out of debt for a few years now and it’s definitely a relief. My SO helps me budget since I’m not the best at it. It feels good to finally be able to buy stuff without thinking “ugh my credit card balance is growing”.. and go on vacations, and actually see a healthy balance in the bank. I just had LASIK done and I paid it in full since I was able to save up for it for the past 7 months. A few years ago I would have just put it on my credit card and hoped for the best.
Getting out of debt is definitely worth it.
I am fairly materialistic.. I like my designer bags, diamonds, clothes, general “stuff”, but I will not go back into debt for any of it. I have my monthly fun money and when it’s gone, it’s gone.
Post # 4
Hang in there, girl. What you’re doing will pay out in the long run.
My family (nor FH’s family) has ever “had” alot, and we have been scraping by to save up money for when we’re married. I love to shop…but I just can’t right now. So I’ll browse thrift stores, or yard sales, and it’s just as much fun! I’ll save up for a few months and when a store I love is having a great clearance, I’ll go with a bit of cash and force myself to only spend that amount (usually like $20).
There are ways around it. Trust me. And it sounds like you have been doing a great job. I know it can be frustrating when it seems like others around us have everything they could ever want and need, and have seemingly no financial concerns. It is really tough. But be content in yourself, and have your man encourage you along in the process.
Post # 5
I like nice things, but I don’t use credit for anything. I save for things that I want and/or get then on sale.
We have a mortgage and my car loan (done in August!) but that’s it – everything else is cash. I think it’s dumb to buy things on credit…like you said, why go into debt for stuff? You will be a lot better off in the long run than people with furniture bills and clothes that they charged, in my opinion 🙂
Post # 6
I’m a mixture.
We have a siginificant savings, have almost paid off all our debt (can’t do much about a mortgage), have a nice nest egg and continue to work to make all those things better.
That being said – fuck yeah I’m going to enjoy my material things. I work to live, I don’t live to work and we’re not in a place where we NEED to eat ramen day in and day out and put ever penny towards our savings. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the things in your life. There’s obviously a line that can be crossed where problems develop but it’s healthy and normal to have something in your life that you enjoy – whatever that may be. That also being said, that doesn’t mean we just buy what we want, when we want it. If there is something we really want, we weigh the options, determine if it would be wasteful spending, and if it isn’t and we’d get use and enjoyment out, we buy it.
We’ve worked too hard to get into a good financial place to not take advantage (unlike our BIL who lives in the lap of luxury but is in fact up to his eyeballs in unaffordable debt). I hate that simply loving something or wanting something gets slapped with the label “materialistic” – as if you’re a bad person.
It’s not an either/or situation. You CAN have no debt AND have the things you want. We paid for a wedding AND paid off debt AND built our savings AND bought a house. For some that would be an either/or but it was possible for us to do all of that.
Post # 7
I’ll put things on my credit cards but only things I can pay off the next month. You can put things on credit to get points/rewards as long as you know you have the money to pay them off! I put some of my wedding deposits/expenses on my credit card even though I had the cash so I could get the points. Just turned around and paid the balance. So if you use them right, they’re not necessarily bad.
Otherwise I’ll put more on some no-interest type of cards (think Best Buy, furniture) where I can take a few additional months paying for free (no interest). But that is only for large purchases when it’s actually something we need, so definitely not ones I use all that often. I would never max them out though.
When I was younger (in college) I had more debt on credit cards but it was still around or below $1K so it wasn’t tooo crazy.
Since we’re paying for part of our wedding I have definitely not been shopping as much! Most of my would-be free money I’m saving right now. I’m not that big of a shopper though. But I get tempted to spend my $ going out to eat and drink frequently!
Post # 8
@Soon2BeeMrsG: It’s easy to feel like this when you’re comparing yourself to other people. I am also fairly materialistic (anyone who says they’re not materialistic at all is a liar, IMO) so I understand where you’re coming from.
Whenever you look at what they’re buying, and feel jealous, try think to yourself “Is it worth it for me to perpetuate my debt by purchasing these things?” No, it’s not, and your head knows it, even if your heart wants those same thing. Also, have you considered the possibility that your friends are in debt or going into debt just because they’ve purchase those things that you’re also lusting after?
It’s sort of like the common mantra that many folks who are losing or have lost a lot of weight say: “I love being thinner and healthy more than I love food.” Sort of the same thing, only replace “thinner and healthy” with “not being in debt” and “food” with “things.”
Post # 9
It’s not just about not having debt. You need to be doing some serious saving for retirement on top of not going into debt for stuff you don’t need — at least if you live in the U.S. Othewise, you’ll have to work until you die, and you might not be able to — then what?
For me, being financially secure is sooo much more important than buying stuff. It’s very liberating to not have to worry about money. I really only buy things if I need them. My frivolous purchases of stuff are flowers for the yard — I like it to look pretty, books, sometimes a cute, cheap dress from Target (because if I wait until I need it it will be gone).
My other indulgences are food and travel. I like to use spare money for experiences and good times.
Post # 10
I’ll be honest, I love me some shiny things. I do spend some money on these items, but never on credit. I make sure the bank account is above a certain amount, and check with DH before I make any larger purchases (like over $100). We have his car loan and student loans for debt, but we own our home and my car so it’s not like we’re really hurting. Sure I could not buy anything and pay it offer slightly faster, but to be honest I don’t think it’s worth me feeling like crap about the appearance of our home and myself. I’m sure that’s very superficial of me, but it’s the truth!
Post # 11
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
We bought a fixer upper house, with a 6 figure down payment (that was just to get us to 20%, gotta love DC metro housing prices), paid all closing costs (multiple offer situation), and have a kid going to college in 3 years. My parents just re-financed their house, sucked out the equity AGAIN, and completely re-did the interior. I spent several weeks feeling envious that my Mom was getting to pick paint colors, buy new furniture, buy new floors, etc. That’s what I so long to be doing to my own home. I want it soooooo bad.I seriously went into pouting mode because of this envy. So unbecoming.
But then I remind myself that after living in that home for 30+ years my parents have drained the equity yet again, will have mortgage payments well into their 80s, my Mom can’t afford to retire even though she’s in her 60s and so done with working, they have credit card debt, they don’t have a dime saved for retirement…. basically they have f’d themselves royally. And for what? New furniture? A trip? It’s not worth it. As much as I want to re-do our house right this moment and say to hell with financial planning and responsibility, I know I would just hate myself if something happened and I wasn’t able to pay Teen LK’s tuition bills or had to cheat our retirement savings plan just to get by. As hard as it is to delay gratification, Mr. LK and I are both fully committed to that plan. We’ll retire at 65 and be able to live very comfortably for 30 years. If we start having to take furlough days (which is getting closer to reality with each day that Congress does nothing), we’ll be able to absorb the hit without touching savings because we live well below our means. That financial security and ability to sleep peacefully at night is worth more than new carpet, IMO.
Post # 12
I’m a big saver. Don’t get me wrong … I like nice things, but i’m not spending money on crap. It has to last. I’ve been “working” since I was 12. Saved money… I’m a MISER …..I don’t like spending money at all, and now that our insurance is going up 25% I’m glad we have a little bit from savings to cover the gap. thank you obama
Post # 13
I’m a “saver” rather than a “spender” but to me that’s not the same as “materialistic.”
I try my best not to be materialistic but sometimes I get caught up in wanting to buy something that I have strongly mixed feelings about… the utility is low for the cost, or the product has more ethical issues than other options. I also hvae recognized with tremendous guilt that I’ve bought some things for myself that I barely or never used. I strive to not be materialistic, but I’m only so-so at meeting that goal.
It’s really easy for me to save rather than spend though. The first time someone used the phrase “this money is burning a hole in my pocket!” I really had a lot of trouble grasping what they meant. I prefer to always have some “in the pocket,” I guess because if it’s empty, what if something comes up and I need the money? So I’m more relaxed when I know I/we have savings to fall back on. Plus I donlt want to waste it (see my efforts to avoid feeling guilty about it, above).
Since I’m not a miser about it, my FI loves this ability about me…we discuss all large purchases together… it helps him temper his “spendiness” to only things he really wants rather than all the impulse purchases he used to regularly make before he met me. He is also good as assauging my feelings of guilt if there’s something I really do want even though it’s not all that utilitarian.
BTW, it’s not true that “anyone who says they’re not materialistic at all is a liar.” If someone believes that they just haven’t met a person like that yet. My uncle is an anti-materialist. His home is very sparse because he does not want the distractions…. oh, he has the money! He doesn’t believe in buying any more than people absolutely have to. He’s not trying to impress anyone… he’s kind of a loner. If you want to know why he does it, it’s because he believes he cannot be his philsophical/spiritual best self with too much material clutter filling his life or brain. That’s what he really cares about. It’s pretty refreshing going to his place… of course one down side to visiting him is that he only has one chair 🙂
Post # 14
@Soon2BeeMrsG: I absolutely feel like this! I am completely debt free since I rent but I do without a lot of wants. I used to go shopping all the time but I have really had to cut back to save myself from debt.
I have a really good friend who has a lot of great stuff. Sometimes I am envious of her but then I remind myself that I am not drowning in debt like she is. I would rather be safe and secure than have the new Ipad, shiny overpriced apartment, new car, new bike, etc almost completely paid for by a credit card. When it comes down to it, I’ll still have money for vacations and clothes as long as I save for it instead of just charging it.
Post # 15
@claireos: “I work to live, I don’t live to work … There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the things in your life … That also being said, that doesn’t mean we just buy what we want, when we want it.”
100% agree. DH and I work hard for our money and don’t feel bad spending some of it on golfing or dive vacations or purses or TVs, etc. But the only things we will take loans for are cars, houses, and boats (hopefully one day!). Other things like electronics, purses, clothes, etc we put on a credit card and pay it off in full at the end of the month (aka the money is already in the bank and we could have paid cash, but I want the points/cash back on the credit card). We also are constantly putting away money into savings and investments.
I don’t think I’m materialistic because I don’t feel the need to always have “the best” of everything to put on some sort of front for the world around me. But I also don’t see anything wrong with treating myself to things that DH and I want, but don’t need, on occasion.
Post # 16
I’m going to share this story in the hope that it may help you or someone else. I used to be so materialistic, I am somewhat embarrassed by it. BF and I were fortunate to get fantastic jobs at a young age and were able to make more money than we ever dreamed we would have. We quickly became way, way, way too into “stuff”. It was not uncommon for us to buy a $900 Burberry coat on a whim or a $5000 watch for a birthday. We had crazy cars and a monster house and 5 star vacations and wadrobes to die for. None of it meant anything – clothes got old, vacation memories faded, the house was a pain in the a#$ to vacuum and there was always something newer, nicer, better that we were wanting. The wanting more and more never stopped no matter how much we had.
Through a meeting at work, they offered us a free consult with a financial planner. My colleague (and best friend at the time) went together and I was floored that at age 32 she and her husband had over $1 million in assets saved. No joke. Between her cash savings, their 401K’s, equity in their home and investment portfolios they had more than a million saved in her early thirties. Me and my BF had the same income and had a lot of stuff to show for it but not $1M. That was a rude awakening for me. Since then, I have re-prioritized and the material stuff doesn’t mean so much to me. I save and invest instead of buying crap at Neiman Marcus. Is it as fun, not always but being financially independent is an unbelievable freedom. I am getting close to achieving my aggressive saving goals but it is disappointing to think about what I would have had today if I had started investing younger. Compounding interest is a powerful tool. Anyway, I hope that you find a good balance between saving and “stuff”. I wish you the best.