Extreme Frugality is Paying Off

in money •  4 months ago

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Not spending any money most days of the week, living an absurd lifestyle, and making no bones about it. That’s the way for me to radically speed up the personal finance journey.

It’s simple and it isn’t.

The simple side is in avoiding all decisions. For me, it’s the reality that I am no longer willing to spend even one dollar more than I can afford. Therefore all spending outside of what I can intelligently afford is immediately not an option, 100%, with no exceptions.

In modern American society, you are expected to always spend more than you can afford. The “normal” thing in most of the communities I’ve been part of, is to be in debt and not be frugal.

I know very few people who are successfully and independently putting away money towards savings for many years. That’s the place I want to reach, ASAP. The epiphany for me was obvious but difficult — that I just have to break away from all of the dumbness of modern society.

I set “extreme frugality rules” for myself, which will be removed after my first goal benchmark. Here’s what it looks like:

Rule 1 — Dont Go More Than Walking Distance From Home

I can’t afford it. Without at least a few hundred bucks in readily available liquid cash, it is not wise. Until I can have my “emergency savings” at least at that level, I should stay near home.

Rule 2 — Avoid Groups

Any group of more than 3 people is dangerous. No matter how strong my personal ethic and point of view are, if several people are agreeing about spending money on something, the group is going to do it. And since most people my age spend money as a compulsion, this is inevitable.

They’re going to go to a movie, a show, or a restaurant. If I try to either not go, or to go and not spend, it’s a bad look. Better to avoid the situation in the first place.

Nobody has ever wanted to be the guy hanging out with their friends at a restaurant drinking a glass of water. I’m avoiding groups at all costs for now.

Rule 3 - Don’t Spend a Single Dumb Dollar

This is really hard to do. Any avoidable expense that isn’t “guilt-free,” i.e. in the budget, is dumb. Right now the budget is literally nothing but groceries for a few weeks, and about $5 for some coffees to get me out of the house.

If I can follow this to the extreme for just a month or so, as weird a lifestyle as it is, I can be completely caught up on all debt payments.

The Final Goal is to Catch Up on Debt Payments

Once I’m back on debt payments, with not a single one behind schedule (about $800 due to me being two months behind on two debts), then these three restrictions go away. I just need to be able to put aside some genuine “guilt free” money before I enter situations where I know I’ll be tempted to spend it.

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Nice post. Americans are VERY wasteful. I've wasted a lot of money myself.

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VERY!!! It's so weird to "wake up" to how wasteful it all is. I have a hard time understanding how everybody expects to have their own car. That's so expensive. Ergh

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It would be cheap if it wasn't for the government. You can get a car for $1,000 but taxes and insurance sure do add up. Government fees cost me more than gas and maintenance.
You might want to self upvote or sign up for @dustsweeper.

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That has nothing to do with this post, stop

Well done. Like you say, the best way to avoid spendng money is to stay out of situations where it is going to happen. Keep going!

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I feel like I'm 50 years old... "Oh I won't come out to the bar tonight, I think I'd like to get up early and grab the $1 coffee special near my house..." lol thanks dude!

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Yeah - the $1 coffee special is the giveaway!

I can totally relate to this. I'm not really sure how we got to this point but it's scary and most people aren't even realizing it. I really hope you'll achieve your goals.

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Thanks so much grobens, I think theres a lot of us out there. It can be hard though, especially in the more progressive/math scenes we are in, since people are so pessimistic at times. Positivity must win out

This is a really smart and important goal, debt is the worst. Living boyond our means leads to all kinds of misery. Keep up the frugal work!

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Thanks Doug

That is a great way to live and grow your savings. I am always sort of disappointed when I see people wasting money. Keep saving, am sure you will be glad you did

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Thanks Eric, I better be glad lol

Getting rid of debts has to be a priority. That's expensive money. I admire you for sticking to this. There's a lot of cultural pressure to be seen to be consuming. I very rarely go shopping. I just buy stuff when I feel I really need it. We could save a lot if we didn't need a second car.

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I am just grateful that it isn't worse! It would be really depressing to have six figure college debt like some people end up with.

For the first time in a long time I made a budget, for June. I spent May analysing my spending to see where I could cut and what I was actually doing which then influenced the budget in June. So far I have stuck to some of it but went way over in other parts. I really like your approach and I'm going to consider this post now that I'm starting to make July budget and try to balance the current one. Thanks.