Saving isn’t necessarily “easier” for people who save more: A deliberately controversial rant

One of those bloggers who makes a ton and spends a ton and is always complaining about debt/bragging about purchases/letting other people buy hir necessities often talks about how it’s just *easier* for other people to not spend money on luxuries and trips.  Other people just don’t enjoy such things as much as zie does.  Other people aren’t *really* sacrificing.  Other people don’t know what it’s like, having friends who like to go out and spend money, wanting to go on trips, wanting to buy nice things.

Every time I read something like this, I want to say @#$#@ you.  I mean seriously.  You are not a special snowflake.  @#$@# you.  Sacrifice is NOT fun.

It isn’t easier for me to not have things I want.  I don’t get my kicks from saving instead of spending.  I would *love* to take vacations and eat out all the time and live someplace amazing and buy all sorts of fancy stuff.  But I don’t.

Why don’t I?  Two main reasons:

First:  That feeling you’re always complaining about?  The one where your budget comes up short and you don’t know where the missing money is going to come from?  The one where you’re getting lots of sympathy from your blog followers?  That one.  I HATE that feeling.  I hate it so much that I have something called an emergency fund.  I hate it so much that I set my fixed expenses low enough that there’s some extra every month.  So much that we’ve never had consumer debt and we paid off our loans ages ago.

Second:  You know how your family bails you out when you don’t have money for a broken appliance or the kids’ tuition or a whatever the latest emergency is?  Yeah, I don’t want my parents, my parents who make less money than I do, to be bailing me out as an adult.  I don’t want them to @#$3ing sacrifice their wants because I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my own.  Emergencies happen on a pretty regular basis and you should plan for them.  If you can’t, then you can’t really afford those trips with friends.

So yeah, @#$@ you.  Sacrifice sucks for everybody.  That’s why it’s called sacrifice.

And maybe it’s easy to spend less for people like Mr. Money Moustache or Frugal Woods, but you don’t have to be an early retirement extreme junkie to be responsible with your finances.  And even with MMM and FW, it may just be that their values for the environment or for early retirement are stronger than their desire to spend.  That doesn’t mean they don’t have a desire to spend, just that there’s something more important to them than spending.

It’s not easier for other people to not spend.  It’s easier for you to let people bail you out or to have those regular feelings of panic than it is for the rest of us.

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81 Responses to “Saving isn’t necessarily “easier” for people who save more: A deliberately controversial rant”

  1. Our Next Life Says:

    I love this. Because first, it’s ridiculous in any circumstance to imagine you can speak for others when you truly have no idea what their life is like. And second, because I find the level of judgment in (some) PF blogs to be truly maddening (not to mention totally privilege-blind). Thank you for this rant!

  2. SP Says:

    Sounds like an infuriating blog to read!

    Being bailed out by family is not really an option for us, and it has made a difference in how I approached money from a young age. But at some point, you just need to be an adult, even if your parents can bail you out.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I think both our sets of parents could bail us out at this point, and DH’s has bailed out a sibling (job loss right away in his first job when the recession hit because he works in the auto industry and also they’d just had a baby), but I feel like before we dip too much into our wants, we should have a strong cushion so they won’t ever have to bail us out.

  3. jjiraffe Says:

    That IS infuriating, and there is nothing controversial about this post – it’s just common sense. Also, anyone enabling this behavior (parents, blog commenters, partner, etc) is perpetuating that blogger’s cycle of entitlement that they deserve all the things. How annoying.

    Why I like your blog (and some personal finance books) is personal finance should be pretty simple at the end of the day. Financial security means sacrificing luxuries, but not being in debt, fretting over bills you can’t pay and getting anxiety is a great trade-off. However, the “grass is always greener, poor me, always the victim” personal finance personalities may get attention because people gravitate towards drama.

  4. Emily Jividen Says:

    We’ve cut back our spending a lot over the last couple of years so we could do other things we wanted to do. It’s not easy. it gets easier to say no to nice stuff, dinners out, etc with practice, but it’s still not easy. And I get jealous sometimes of those who don’t cut back, particularly those who get lots of outside help. You know what? When things change (and they will) and that outside help is no longer available, those folks will truly struggle because they’ll have no choice but to stay within their own resources. Much better to adjust and plan now.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That always seems so inefficient to me. People who make a lot of money shouldn’t have to truly struggle in the future because they can save for future rainy days or extended stormy years. They should do that!

      But they usually don’t. :/ And sometimes they declare bankruptcy when it rains and their previous support is gone. :(

    • Rosa Says:

      I don’t even envy the people who get a lot of outside help, because I assume it comes with emotional strings. Maybe it’s not – I don’t know everyone else’s family/boss/whatever. But I have avoided taking money from my family as much as possible because they’d feel like they get to tell me what to do with it, and I have always saved enough money that I could walk away from a job if I needed to – and I have a couple times. It felt good when it was a minimum-wage job i had ethical problems with, and it felt good when it was a great job but there was something else I wanted to do more.

  5. Linda Says:

    I’m glad I don’t read those blogs. I’m also of the opinion that folks like this just thrive on drama (and on ego-stroking/soothing comments, too). Day to day personal finance can be boring. I think that’s why in general the “PF blogs” I follow aren’t just about PF, but life stuff in general. The PF just fits in there with general life choices and events.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yeah, after people “figure it out” it can get a bit repetitive if they’re just using personal finance examples from their own lives. Though I do like reading people who do more advanced stuff (like leigh) because I learn about new things that might be applicable to me. Back when GRS was good, I liked that style since it had lots of varied information for people at different points in life and lots of different personal stories. But I’m not really into any of the other group pf blogs on a regular basis. Not sure why not.

  6. chacha1 Says:

    Excellent rant. I see no reason why this should be controversial. People who whine about how their own high spending leaves them pinched for money are, frankly, idiots.

    I got over a serious spending habit so that I wouldn’t always have that pinched feeling (bailouts were not an option) and it was not easy. It is still not easy to say NO to myself so damned often, but the cat needs to go to the vet, and the car needs to be maintained, and we need to have money in the bank, so I say NO pretty damned often.

    Some Internet friends of mine travel a lot and I gnash my teeth with envy because *I want to travel a lot.* But it would be financially irresponsible for me to travel a lot, so I don’t. Full stop.

    Also, of course, as a person with a normal job, I only get so much time off work before they fire me for job abandonment. Although some days that looks like a perfect solution, it really isn’t. :-)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      It must be controversial or else the comments in such posts would be different!

      Maybe it really is just super easy for everyone who saves to save instead of spend. It could be that all people who have emergency funds and don’t go on expensive annual vacations get pleasure from Scrooging everything away instead of buying goods and services. And that’s why they can save instead of being perpetually broke (despite high incomes).

  7. omdg Says:

    Geez! It sounds like this person’s post made you really upset! I hope this blog has other things to offer you that don’t make you this angry.

    • omdg Says:

      I guess I should be more understanding about this. I definitely found it irritating when some colleagues who shat on my residency match complained about how expensive their new city was going to be and woe is me I will not be able to afford it. Of course their parents bailed them out. Naturally. So ok. I retract previous comment, except to say that I no longer talk to these people (much) so as to feel less pissed off all the time.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Spoiler: this was the last time I read the blog(s) in question.

      Also: deliberately controversial post means you could disagree!

  8. Leah Says:

    My controversial response is that this is a tiny bit ironic given the trying to figure out what to do with all the extra money posts here ;-) But I say that mostly to poke fun and not to judge you. I agree that blog posts like this (or people like this IRL) are infuriating. I even get frustrated when people don’t get bailed out but are paycheck to paycheck each month with no changes whatsoever to their lifestyle; when my friends complain about money one week and then show off their new tattoo the next week, for example, tho it is their right to spend their money how they see fit.

    I appreciate that my parents are there for me, and they do help out from time to time (for example, we’re planning a vacation to Hawai’i next year with my parents, and they will pay for lodging through their timeshares). But that’s less of a bail out and more of a “we want to do this and will help subsidize you so you can afford it too.” Because, right now, big vacations aren’t in our budget. But if they weren’t there to help us out, we’d be heading somewhere more affordable.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Don’t worry! Those where to put the extra money posts were of limited duration. I was hoping to have a lot more of them before DH’s company went on the fritz. I was really looking forward to the possibility! Hopefully we’ll have more of those in the future, but with the potential gov’t funding freeze it may not happen. (Though DH’s company does take a lot of DOD money, which may be getting easier to get… we’ll have to see what happens.)

      • Leah Says:

        I hope you are able to return to those! I like to live vicariously through you. That won’t be us ever/for a long time due to this second baby! But that’s what life choices are for, am I right?

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        There’s always the Planting Our Pennies, right?

        DH was still working for the university and about to quit without a new job lined up when we had our second… I have to say I much prefer the “where do we put extra money” questions to “what can we cut” questions when it comes to you know, actually living those questions.

      • Rosa Says:

        A baby really is the answer to “what could I do with some extra money”, isn’t it?

        Congratulations, though.

    • Leah Says:

      I hear you. And, yes, the PoPs remind me what I could have been without kids. Good thing I really like my kid ;-)

      We just found out family premiums for health insurance will go up 29% starting July 1 (our plan year). Blegh and ugh. We’re in the “what do we cut” mode, but at least it’s “what do we cut to make savings goals” and not “what do we cut to pay bills.”

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Ugh, that’s awful. Are you on a salary schedule or can you argue for a raise?

      • Leah Says:

        We can negotiate our contract, but I don’t know many people who do that unless their job title changes. I did negotiate when I was hired, which has worked out well for me. We are not on a schedule like public school teachers but get raises regularly based on board votes — typically 3-4% per year. I actually just got my contract today and have a nice little extra bump due to admin investigating parity for my cohort versus other independent schools. It is a complicated system, it seems. But, as I said above, I like my job, my kid, and my life, so I think it will all work out.

  9. Angela Says:

    I feel like this about one of my siblings right now. Ze is 30, lives at home with my mom, and doesn’t have a job right now. Every time I pass a now hiring sign my blood pressure rises because it is one more job that ze could have but doesn’t. Ze can’t be bothered to show up at work on-time (when employed) and so gets fired even when the employer is impressed with my sibling’s work when present. It would be one thing if this sibling were helping my mom with the care she is giving my grandmother or helping her sell her house, but ze isn’t. It makes me crazy.

  10. Nanani Says:

    Wow, I’m glad you didn’t link to the blog in question. Makes it easier to never ever read it.
    Sounds like a pretty narcissistic thing to claim that other people don’t really feel things or have desires o.O

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      If they did have desires, then obviously they wouldn’t have emergency funds. I mean, obviously.

      • chacha1 Says:

        I wonder if there is any demonstration that works. Such as, here is my expensive apartment in Beverly Hills and here is my custom-made Chinese cabinet full of jewelry-quality beads, and here are my credit cards with zero balances and $20,000 in available credit and here is my ever-fattening emergency fund.

        Luxury and GOOD SENSE are not mutually exclusive. Hmph. Of course I’ll bet I am at least 15 years older than this nitwit who thinks savers save just because they don’t want anything. I did commit some financial nonsense in my youth, too. :-)

  11. Zenmoo Says:

    I don’t know, I think it is easier for some people to save/sacrifice than others. It’s partly about how well developed a persons sense of self control is and partly about values and partly about laziness. With references to the first two points- I came across a Joe Biden quote that was something like “Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value”. I thought about that in the context of my own budget and it becomes pretty obvious my values are education, family and health. So it’s generally (for example) easy for me to want an expensive car because I just don’t care about it.

    Along side that is that I’m quite lazy and indecisive when it comes to shopping. I just don’t want to have to go look at stuff and make a decision to buy – it takes a fairly desperate situation (like a rip in the bedsheets that I’ve mended twice already) to drive me to the shops. In fact, I’ve just commissioned a stylist to shop for a bunch of furnishings for me because I’ve got the money for the items but not the inclination!

    • Zenmoo Says:

      I meant NOT want an expensive car

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yay, deliberately controversial conversation!

      I really want a Tesla… just not as much as I want other things (like financial security) that cost $80K.

      Doesn’t hiring a stylist cost more money than shopping for yourself? I would totally spend money on that if I had way more money and had needs and security taken care of first. (My sister already does that!)

      I think a big thing here is that there’s a level of how much a person wants something or how easy it is to save, and also the knowledge of the opportunity costs that each thing you want has. So… is it that it’s easier for you to not buy an expensive car because you value other things more, or is it that you really don’t actually want an expensive car?

      • Zenmoo Says:

        It’s a trade off, yes I could shop for this stuff myself- but it would take FOREVER and she’s working to a set budget. I figure it’s easier for her to be all like “no, don’t consider this nice item because out of budget” than for me. Because I might get into the shop and be all like “enough already! Just buy it!” So my total spend might end up more than my budget through creep via shopping progressively and getting fed up. I have quite a list built up of stuff I have put off buying for the last 3 to 5 years…

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Not saying that you *should* hire a personal shopper for everything, but if you didn’t care about savings etc., you probably would. And (s)he would help you get rid of those pesky unwanted savings. Sadly, you probably actually care about retirement and emergencies.

    • Katherine Says:

      I resisted buying an expensive car last week! I hit a deer in my car about two weeks ago, and there was a choice about visiting multiple body shops until we found one that could locate used parts to do the repair for a reasonable price or calling the car totaled.

      We decided that even if the car was totaled, we wouldn’t buy a new one (at least for a while) since going from two vehicles to one would be an inconvenience but not a big lifestyle change for us right now. I did spend some time thinking about the hybrid I might buy, If I were buying a new car, but my current car is a pretty good car and I know I wouldn’t be able to handle the stress of diverting retirement and other savings into a car payment.

      Luckily, the second body shop my husband went to found used parts and can do the repair for what we think is a reasonable price!

    • Rosa Says:

      Laziness is such an effective force for not buying things! We have to buy a new car – I actually just got the check from the insurance company for totalling this one out. And we HATE car shopping. So it’s already been a couple weeks and it’s going to be at least one more week.

      But part of the laziness comes from the frugality – we’re going to have this next car for 10 years or more, and we want it to be reliable and not expensive over its whole life. That makes shopping for it more work than just going to a dealership and saying “ooh i like that one!”. There’s a whole middle range between the two laziest options (buy on a whim and put it off until actually forced to buy) where people do research and bargaining and thoughtful buying but also go and do it instead of putting it off.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        If cars were free, would it be easier to shop for them? That is, is car shopping itself unpleasant or is it the tradeoffs you have to make from spending the money on a new car instead of on security or other things?

      • Rosa Says:

        I think I would find it inherently unpleasant. But we have enough savings that we can both buy a car and have a fully stocked emergency fund, so there’s no tradeoff in my mind if we stay within our car budget. But if we had less of a budget constraint the process would be easier and faster, and I’d dislike it less. So maybe if cars were free this would be fun? I like shopping for bikes and part of what makes that fun is that I get a new bike basically whenever I feel like it, so it’s a low-stakes decision.

        Actually the real constraint is that I share a car with Mr. Hates Change. And that’s less because of cost and more because of where/how we live – therea’s no place to put a second car and we don’t remotely need one. I think couples that have 2 cars are more likely to have a “well I don’t like it but you’ll be driving it” attitude.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        If you were willing to spend money, you could *buy* a place to put a second car.

        Perhaps the original blogger just has more imagination than do the rest of us. And that’s why we spend less.

      • Rosa Says:

        I couldn’t buy a convenient place to put a second car in my neighborhood, which I love, though. I mean, if I really wanted to have a second car, I could find somewhere blocks from here to pay to park it. A friend of mine has a horse and treks out to the suburbs to visit it! But in terms of having a car that would be more convenient to drive than to not drive, there’s not really any way.

        Hmn. Possibly my imagination is limited and that’s why I don’t feel deprived. We have family friends who live in a small, cheap town, who own an entire house just for storing things (mostly construction supplies for their business). If I had so much money that I could buy the house next door without really thinking about it, we could park a car there. But then we’d have to either not have neighbors, which would make me sad (and guilty! there’s an affordable housing crisis here), or be landlords, which looks like a pain in the ass.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Or there is some money amount that could get a car owning neighbor to sell you their slot so they are the one schlepping blocks.

      • Rosa Says:

        see i bet if i could afford it I would get used to it but that seems like the kind of thing an evil moneybags in a teen novel would do. You know? “Hey kid! How about you walk through the snow every morning before work so I can store my SECOND CAR.”

        Long time ago I shared with a friend who is older and richer and more into cars than me that it made me really uncomfortable biking to work past the homeless people waiting outside the overflow shelter or sleeping up against the hot air grates on the outside of our office building. And it really is uncomfortable, on a bike you’re right there, people talk to you, you can’t just ignore them without a ton of effort, especially at stoplights. And my friend said, yeah, try stopping at that stoplight in a Porsche. I think I just don’t have the constitution to look rich. Even if I wouldn’t mind BEING rich. It’s like how much more comfortable I am with how people treat me when I’m working events in my janitor shirt than when I’m at the exact same event in my regular clothes and all the staff call me “ma’am.”

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I dunno, for 100k I would happily park my car a few blocks away. Seems like a good bargain for most people.

      • Rosa Says:

        for $100k i could just hire someone to drive me around!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Let the limo driver deal with parking.

  12. becca Says:

    I don’t know.
    If this post were about food, I’d tell you were wrong, neurologically speaking. That is, typically overweight people get *less enjoyment per bite of food*. It could therefore be *identically difficult* for everyone to stop eating give a threshold amount of “fullness” signal, but the “signal” of enough is different for different people. If it were the same with spending, then you are just a lucky person who is predisposed to get a lot of joy per dollar.
    Mind you, it might well be different with money, and so much spending is driven by habit or emotion that until you *realize* why you spend the way you do I don’t think it matters whether you have a predisposition. In any event, I think with either food or money, if you don’t “know yourself”, you can’t improve.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Food and spending are biologically and functionally different. I’m not sure if I should say thankfully or unfortunately there, since I wish both worked like money where the more savings you do the easier it is to save because of compound interest. Or maybe if you’re in a bad spot it’s better to be like food where you burn more calories when obese (as opposed to losing money on interest payments when in debt).

  13. Rosa Says:

    to add some very slight controversy, I do think that there’s a certain amount of inborn risk tolerance/aversion that makes it easier for some of us to save. My emotional response to possible friends who spend a lot of money every time they get together is about like my emotional response to “friends” who want to go jump off bridges for fun – and it’s not “ooh i want to hang out with you more!”

    Plus, there’s this thing where your preferences are pretty set and don’t change very quickly, I forget the word for it. But people’s idea of “normal” differs, so what seems like normal to me (public schools, mid-range sedans, bachelors degrees from public universities, taking the bus to work) feel like failures and letdowns to other people – i know a couple people who are the black sheep of their families for not having masters degrees, or having them from non-Ivy League schools. Adjusting to reality has to be harder for those people.

    And then, there’s peer influence. My husband never ever ever ever feels the need to buy expensive clothes. He’s a computer programmer. He can give a professional talk in a job-logo polo shirt. If he were a lawyer or an accountant he’d feel like he needed to wear a suit in a similar situation. If I were in real estate sales I’d be embarrassed of my car and probably buy a fancier one, and replace it more often, and do more cosmetic repairs on it.

    So I really do believe it’s harder for some people than others, emotionally and practically. But part of growing up is learning to adjust yourself to reality.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      So does risk tolerance make it easier not to spend or does it make it hurt more to not save?

      Similarly with the other examples– is it just easier for some people or are they getting more stress from the other side of the equation?

      • Rosa Says:

        For me, low risk tolerance makes it easier not to spend. But that second question is really interesting – is it taking less pleasure in spending (watching my child daydream about what he *might* do with the money people give him he clearly gets a lot of pleasure from it) or avoiding negative emotions? I think for my husband it’s more negative – he’s both anxious about not having enough savings and anxious about making bad spending decisions. Some people get a lot of pleasure from getting really good deals on things and that feeling totally misses me.

        And then there’s the question of how much is kind of innate and how much is learned, and how much of that learning/habit is something you achieved yourself.

        Me, I fail the marshmallow test every time so I have had to learn a lot of habits and tricks to avoid temptation. I had a big head start from the way I grew up, though.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        My life is also a kludge of commitment devices. We have a post on that, but I’d have to search for it to find it (and, of course, I can’t, because I have leechblock on!)

      • chacha1 Says:

        I’ve got a monkey wrench to throw in. For me, low risk tolerance makes it easier not to spend. (I still resent it, but eh.) For my husband, low risk tolerance makes it *harder* not to spend. He will spend a lot of time and money trying to fix something that should really just be replaced. Nearly always ends up spending more than a new whatever would have cost. This has hit us multiple times with cars and computers. He has also, on several occasions, given money to somebody else to tell him how to make investments *instead of just putting that money in the bank.*

        So I don’t think risk tolerance is a deciding factor. I think peer influence is much stronger than that, and ego is stronger than both.

      • Rosa Says:

        Yeah I can definitely see the low risk tolerance being applied to other things than money (for instance, a lot of people just can’t bring themselves to live in neighborhoods that “feel” unsafe to them, or risk making a wrong decision and so pay for expertise they don’t really need, like you said). But for me I feel a clear risk if i don’t have a savings buffer, so I have always had one. Like “I’d rather walk 3 miles and eat out of the dumpster than have literally no savings” levels of risk aversion on that one.

        There’s a ton of individual variation!

  14. Debbie M Says:

    I can go both ways on this one. On the one hand, it’s easier for me to save on food than for people who don’t know how to cook or don’t have recipes they like. It’s easier for me to save on clothes than for people who love researching what’s in style up to the minute and than for people who are grossed out by used clothing. I do think some kinds of practice make things easier because we get better at it. And sometimes once you try a lower-cost way of doing something (potlucks instead of bar hopping), you realize you actually like it more.

    But some kinds of practice make things harder. Like I can eat beans and rice today no problem. Maybe even all week, happily, especially if I also get cheese and cumin. But it gets really old after a month not to mention a couple of decades; the longer it lasts, the more deprived you feel. Same with that one year in college when I tried to buy nothing but food. I loved saying no to one of the 2.5K loans, but eventually your shoes wear out.

    I do love prettier (more expensive) cars than my 2008 Toyota Corolla, but I love, love, love dependable cars and feel that this dependability is actually the most important luxury. So, I stare at other people’s prettier cars when I see them and sometimes buy miniatures of them to put on my shelves and look at whenever I want!

    Usually I think it’s very easy for me to save money. I actually prefer thrift stores to malls and I prefer my spaghetti and chocolate cake over restaurant spaghetti and most restaurant chocolate cake. But once I got angry after reading about how the average American has a lot of debt and of course this reduces their spending for new stuff because a large part of their budget has to go toward interest and paying off old stuff they already bought. So with my having no consumer debt, why did I still feel like I was having to be so frugal? I mean how can average people have bigger houses than me and ridiculous gas-guzzling SUVs and go to hair stylists all the time and have all those clothes, etc.? I really don’t know.

    And last year, I went to Norway and Spain, thus saving negative money. (Still no consumer debt, and actually my savings still increased due to the stock market, but I withdrew money from my Roth IRA. Yikes.) I will say that hanging around spendthrifts and temptations can make it more difficult.

    I agree with you about valuing cash flow over the expensive things that I am not getting. Being able to fix things stress-free (aka continuing to live in the style to which I have become accustomed, even when things break or annual bills come due) is awesome.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      You could always hire a personal chef to make spaghetti etc just the way you like it.

    • chacha1 Says:

      I also get angry when I read about how people are so stressed out about money, when the examples are people in huge houses with lengthy commutes in inefficient cars, people with iPhone Latest and $200/mo cable packages and yes the salons and clothes. I just want to slap them all. “OF COURSE YOU ARE STRESSED OUT YOU SPEND LIKE A DRUNKEN SAILOR.”

      Because I do say NO to myself so often, and it does foster a feeling of deprivation. I spend plenty on food and I have decent clothes and I have a reliable car, but I don’t travel, and I don’t go to the live theatre anywhere near as often as I would like, and I don’t support local cultural things as a member, and and and.

      On the flip side, the average American who is carrying a load of consumer debt is also overweight and sick. I’m pretty sure there’s an area of research into the correlations between economic stress and ill-health.

      I may feel deprived sometimes, but I do it from a position of robust physical health. So there’s that.

    • becca Says:

      “I do love prettier (more expensive) cars than my 2008 Toyota Corolla, but I love, love, love dependable cars and feel that this dependability is actually the most important luxury. So, I stare at other people’s prettier cars when I see them and sometimes buy miniatures of them to put on my shelves and look at whenever I want!”
      LOL this!!!
      I mean, I also feel this way about dependability with cars.
      I feel analogously about shoes- for me, the most important thing is comfort or keeping water out, or whatnot. So I would totally look at other people’s shoes and put them on my shelves if that were a thing, but I’d never be tempted to buy crazy beautiful heels to *wear* them!

      Also, I have been mostly-vegetarian for so long that even though I buy really expensive meat, I still feel like I eat all I could ever want. I just want meat like once a week- which is apparently unfathomable to my partner and many other people.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Ha ha, Becca! It sounds like you could use … Barbie for grown-ups! (With beautiful high-heels that you don’t have to wear yourself.)

  15. Kay Says:

    I dunno….I think this would be way more controversial if your conversation included those poors that need to just “stop being poor” and take allll the personal responsibilities….

    BTW: I am poor
    Anon in Mass

  16. Dave Says:

    I find it harder to spend money than save. I don’t like shopping (hate clothes shopping, food shopping is OK) and there are not a lot of things I want. I do like having money. When I was single and had a decent income I saved about half of it. When my income was lower then of course I didn’t save as I like to have a minimum decent standard of living. When I was in debt as a student I did try to spend less money though not that hard, but once my income was higher the money just piled up without making an effort. Of course, as I got richer my spending has gone up, but mostly lagged income. I also have low risk aversion when it comes to investing.

  17. Katherine Says:

    Last week my 3.5yo niece asked me, “Aunt Katherine, why do I wish for things?” I told her it’s part of the human condition. Maybe the blogger in question would think I gave the wrong answer.

  18. jjiraffe Says:

    I think the mention of ego being the most important factor here is interesting, and that resonates with me. I definitely have known people IRL who thought they were entitled to things because they “deserved” them. A great house in a great city, trips & travel, jewelry – they wanted that stuff, and the implication was they deserved it more than others. Sure, there were usually justifications (often elaborate and filled with complicated logic) as to why: xyz has one, I never got this and so-and-so did, I was raised to expect a certain kind of lifestyle, etc…

    And usually these people didn’t limit their wants to things either: for example, they deserved the perfect partner who provided the kind of life they want, kids who never troubled them, friends that worshipped them and did their bidding, etc, etc.

    Ultimately people like this are doomed to go through life being unhappy. When you can’t control your wants, I don’t think you can ever be satisfied with what you have. And there is research on diminishing returns of happiness and purchasing beyond the basic needs. So, even though this blogger may get tea and sympathy on the internet…real life probably sucks for them.

    This is why I love stoicism. It helps me with stay grounded in what really matters and temper my material wants.

  19. First Gen American Says:

    Like Angela above, this rant reminded me of lazy relatives who are “too busy” to work for their money and are looking for handouts because “I don’t need the money as much as they do”. This also applies to people who mooch off their parents well into adulthood.

    And apparently, it’s much easier for me to work over 40 hours a week for my money because “I’ve always worked a lot of hours.” and “I’m lucky to have a good job.” (Well, showing up really helps that part.

    Yes, I would also love to live a life of leisure and could very easily fill my day with all my various hobbies and interests, BUT the panic that financial instability creates is not worth the free time I would gain.

    Grass is always greener on the other side isn’t it? I’ve worked my butt off since high school, yet certain people have selective memory about things. They see the good job and high standard of living but not the work that went to getting there. always came easy to me.

    • First Gen American Says:

      I realize that came out as terribly bitter after re-reading it again. The reality is that I’m just fine working hard for my money. Always have and probably always will. Just don’t think it’s fair when other people think the fruits of that work ethic should be shared so that someone else can have more leisure time. I’m fine with people having a lot of free time and not resentful that they have more than I do, even when sometimes I fantasize about going off the grid. I just don’t like it when someone wants to have their cake and eat it too. You can either have excess time or money. It’s rare to be able to have both without earning it first unless you’ve inherited it.

  20. Sara Says:

    This is a recurrent point of contention with my in-laws. My husband has siblings who earn a lot more than us and siblings who earn a lot less than us. One of the ones who outearns us also has massive debt and relies a lot on handouts from their parents to pay the bills, even while spending hundreds a month on booze and tickets to sports games. When we were surprised by a huge medical bill, my husband didn’t understand why I turned down their help, even though it meant dipping into our long-term savings, considering their help was a lot less than the give most of his siblings. But we have no idea what his parents’ financial situation even is! For all we know, they’re planning to work until they die rather than have to stop helping out their kids, and I refuse to be a part of that. They can work their whole lives if they want, but it feels like stealing their money even though they offer.

  21. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    Belatedly – I’m so happy I don’t even know which blogger that is because that’s all bullshit.
    It’s easier? No, you’re lazy and choose not to do the work that we all choose to do instead of leaning on others to be good with money and sacrifice instead. I’m totally comfortable calling them straight up lazy because anyone who actually tried to do it would understand it’s not easy at all. Even if you said you couldn’t do the necessary thing, which is also childish and immature, at least you would know that it’s not easy. Hmph.

  22. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    I should admit to being exceptionally short tempered today with that particular argument having had it used on me about how something Quite Hard for me is “easier”. The only reason it’s easier for me than them is because it’s a trained skill that I’ve spent years and years working on and being punished for not having. Said person has not been punished to the point for not having that skill and so felt that it was just harder for them to use it. TOUGH NUGGETS. I refuse to have that emotional labor of “oh poor you, you haven’t had to develop that skill so let me do all that work instead.” Nope. And me being me, I said as much. But I’m still mad.


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