I like restaurants and fancy food and not biking in Southern heat. That doesn’t make me a complainypants. Also, there’s no way we’re jettisoning daycare or private school.
I’m ambitious and competitive, and a career is a safe place to be that. However, if I wanted to super-size focus on that, I’d do more outsourcing. We really don’t do much of that other than regular daycare and a meal or two a week.
I don’t want to make the sacrifices to be an extreme frugalista. I don’t want to make the sacrifices to be at the tippity top of my field. The end goal of either of those outcomes isn’t what I want either.
Sure, I’d love to be financially independent. But not enough to go extreme with early retirement. I like my career. We couldn’t both quit and live off our savings now unless we wanted to move back to DH’s hometown (pop 3000 and falling) or someplace similar. That is to say, we could totally early retirement extreme on what we have saved now, but we don’t WANT to. Not if it means homesteading someplace with bad libraries. I like fancy food and access to culture and so on. Not to say that extreme retirement bloggers don’t have those, but they are potential trade-offs depending on where you settle and how much you have saved.
As much as we love our wonderful children, there’s no way on earth we could spend 24/7 alone with our non-sleeping incredibly active brilliant progeny. Sure, once they’re both school-age, but not before they can both entertain themselves. Outsourcing hours of childcare is a must. Childcare and private school alone are 20K/year, and that’s non-negotiable. (I always roll my eyes a bit at the “other people raising your children” garbage… I’d love to see them spend a 24 hour period alone with our well-behaved but energetic kids without getting completely worn out. Even my super-fit little sister can’t handle it.)
I like being able to throw money at problems. I would get bored without a career and I’d rather make money than, say, turn off the a/c when it is 100+ degrees outside. I wouldn’t be happy with a lot of the things many retirement bloggers do to entertain themselves in their free time– without a career I would need more expensive things to keep me busy (or I would get into trouble). Either books or the ability to live someplace with awesome libraries. Travel (which I get enough of through work now) without slumming (camping: not my idea of a good time). Housework (other than cooking) just isn’t my idea of fun. I grew up in an ERE-like household in many respects and I’m done with it. I like having and spending money on things like a/c and a dishwasher.
We have made sacrifices in the past to get where we are today. Fancy cheese eating didn’t come until we were debt free and had a nice lump of saving. We took care of ourselves before getting luxuries, but luxuries are nice.
I’m not putting as much time and effort into my career as I could because I do spend some time taking care of family and house things. I don’t plan all my free time to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of it. Outsourcing everything is a pain because good help is hard to find. Doing some chores like laundry together is a fun family activity in our house. I tend not to buy stuff.
It shouldn’t seem so odd to have to justify why you’re not going to extremes either way. Most of us who are living below our means enjoy some of the nicer things in life while investing but not putting everything into our careers. And yet, if you spend too much time on the internet, sometimes it feels brave and daring to say no, I’m not going to bike in this heat. And no, I’m not going to hire someone to do my laundry. And to say both of those at the same time, when they seemingly contradict themselves… horror.
But that’s kind the way things are for most of us. Diminishing marginal returns set in at a certain point and we end up investing and saving and spending about where we want to be (given our budget constraints). And that’s a good thing! Even if it doesn’t pay the bills from our blog incomes. Balance is harder to sell than extremes.
Do you practice and/or preach extreme living? Where do you fall on the spectrum? Are you a point or a range?