Not driving your less-frugal friends crazy

by Philip Brewer on 24 June 2009 39 comments
Photo: Philip Brewer

A while back, I heard an interview with a guy who, troubled by the Exxon Valdez oil spill, decided the right response was to quit driving. The bit of the interview that stuck with me was the part where he talked about how surprised he was at the negative reactions. He wasn't telling anyone else that they shouldn't drive, but people were treating him as if he was a walking criticism of their lifestyle.

Eventually, he went on to say, he realized that they were right. He never said in so many words that they should quit driving, but just the way he lived his life amounted to perpetually criticizing the way they were living theirs.

Living a frugal life can be like that.

There's actually a long list of ways that choosing to live frugally can annoy your friends, neighbors, and relations.

  • Maybe you can't (or won't) participate in group activities that exceed your budget. The guys you used to out to lunch with can be excused for finding your conversion confusing. You make as much money as they do, and they can afford to eat lunch out--why can't you? It can be tricky to explain that it's about prioritizing the things you care most deeply about (whether it's retiring early, starting your own business, putting your kids through college, or taking a fabulous vacation) without sounding like you're prioritizing whatever it is higher than your friendships with the lunch-time gang.
  • Maybe you can't (or won't) contribute to joint expenses. Your cousins want to throw a huge party for the grandparent's 50th anniversary and get pissed that you don't want to kick in as much as they do. It's the only 50th anniversary your grandparents are going to have, they point out. What's the big deal? It can be tricky to explain that your share would be double your entire year's budget for entertaining.
  • Maybe you don't spend as much on keeping your lawn weed-free. Yes, you take care of the mowing, but you're not hiring the company that sprays poison to kill the dandelions. Don't you care about property values? Answer: probably not, since they scarcely matter to someone who isn't trying to sell or refinance.
  • Maybe you don't spend as much on your clothes as they do. You can hide this to a certain extent by developing a style built on classic items (and by shopping at thrift shops and vintage clothing places), but you're still going to look different. (Bad enough if it's just you. Woe to everyone if it's your kids looking out of fashion!)

Anybody who lives a frugal life comes up with strategies for dealing with things like this, but this can be one of the tricky parts of making the adjustment.

A few general tips:

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  • Make sure that what you do is about you and not about them. You're trying to get your spending aligned with your values. Their spending should, of course, be aligned with their values. Explaining this won't eliminate all tension, but it can help.
  • Be careful zeroing out categories. Deciding to brown-bag your lunches is a great idea--healthy as well as thrifty--but if lunch-time socializing is important among your friends, keep a few dollars in your budget for an occasional lunch out.
  • Know the value of the token gesture. Spend a couple of conspicuous days pulling dandelions (and dropping dark hints about cancer-causing herbicides) and suddenly you're just a friendly kook rather than an evil depreciator of home values.
  • Choose a category to embrace. The guy who refuses to spend money on stuff everybody else spends money on is always something--often a miser or a skinflint. But there are lots of other possibilities. If it otherwise matches your inclinations, you could choose to be a bohemian, for example. Better yet, resist categorization based on what you don't spend money on. Try instead to embrace one based on what you do think is important in life--parent or bicyclist or gardener or RV enthusiast.

Like the guy who gave up driving, though, understand that living your life in accordance with your values isn't just going to seem like a steady stream of criticism of the way other people live their lives--in a very real sense it actually is a steady stream of criticism, even if you have no such intention. Telling people that you don't intend it that way doesn't help. (It just makes you sound like a pesky nine-year-old claiming that he isn't hitting you, he's just swinging his arms and you're the one standing too close.)

Just living your life makes you an advocate for your values. There's no avoiding it. All you can really do is make sure that the values that you're advocating are your true values--the ones that you would choose to advocate if that (rather than just living your life) was your goal.
 

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Guest's picture

You make some very good points. The examples you depict are great, with some well thought out solutions. It really does boil down to "your lifestyle" and your immediate family's. Though you do have to deal with the social aspects of it as you mentioned.

Guest's picture

Seems I'm always in the middle; too frugal for some of my friends and family but not frugal enough for others.

If I let their opinions influence my spending and saving, I'd never reach my goals. I've tried to adopt a "spend and let spend" attitude, but if the truth be told, I'm more concerned about being considered a spendthrift than I am about being considered a skinflint.

Guest's picture
fern

"Like the guy who gave up driving, though, understand that living your life in accordance with your values isn't just going to seem like a steady stream of criticism of the way other people live their lives--in a very real sense it actually is a steady stream of criticism, even if you have no such intention."

Gee, i couldn't disagree more. The way you live your life reflects the choices you make; it's not a condemnation or endorsement of anyone else. To project that it's a criticism of anyone else's lifestyle is really a stretch. If others choose to perceive it that way, that's their problem.

Guest's picture
mes

It's the same as when somebody goes on a diet and needs to tell everybody about it. It's really hard for them to do it without sounding judgemental of the people who aren't on the same diet. Drives me nuts when somebody tells me how many points each food item is worth. Probably as much as I drive them nuts when I talk about what a great bargain I got using double coupons.

Guest's picture
Guest

As one who has not been historically frugal, I can attest to this annoyance. I have had the opportunity to observe my more thrifty friends in action, and while the situations you depict are sometimes per se annoying, they are often only noticeable when accompanied by something very small that will really get you talked about. This is so fixable! Rounding your part of a split check up to the nearest dollar from time to time goes a long way toward remedying your status as the group "miser." Offering to handle all the planning or labor for a family event in exchange for a smaller financial stake can also be an easy fix. Now that I'm cutting back, I make myself scarce for lunch time, and I don't answer calls after 9 or so that I know are just my friends wanting me to go out. It's not always easy, but it's possible not to be an jerk about your frugality.

Guest's picture
Khürt

Sometime one's frugality is only possible because of ones reliance on other. E.g the guy who won't buy a car but is always asking his friends for rides. Or the guy who won't buy a TV and never entertains but is over at your home whenever the big game is on to drink your beer.

Philip Brewer's picture

@ Khürt:

Yeah, freeloading is a delicate topic.  There are so many levels.  Sure, there's the guy who always wants a ride--very tiresome.  But there's also the guy without a car who rejects most offers of group outings because he can't offer rides and doesn't want to be a freeloader--sad for his friends who'd be glad for his company and miss out.

My own sense is that it's definitely okay to freeload to the extent that I'm piggybacking on something that was freely offered (i.e. I didn't request an invite, or even hint that I'd be pleased to be invited) and already happening (e.g. riding in a car that's already going that way, watching a TV that would already be turned on).

But what if that second isn't true?  What if I know someone is going out of their way to help me out?  How much such help can I acccept?  I don't know the answer. 

Even harder, how much help is it okay to ask for?  Quite a bit, I'd say, if you're in a position to reciprocate.  Maybe not so much if you're not--but how much?  None at all?  I don't know those answers either.

Guest's picture
Val

I know people in both camps and they're distinct. My frugal friends are self-sufficient and ask for nothing from anyone else. They're just selective with their spending. The mooches disguise themselves as being frugal when they are really just opportunistic, selfish mooches.

Guest's picture
FrugalZen

I personally am much more "well-to-do" than most of the people I work with having sold off some businesses..I went back to work because I was bored silly and I get Health Insurance here.

I've been on a couple of Cruises with others from work and enjoyed them but they keep pressuring me to take more time off and "spend more of my money" enjoying myself.

I can't seem to make them understand that taking a couple of vacations a year is not exactly how I've set my life up...I'm perfectly content to stay home and read a book on the chaise lounge in the yard...the only difference between the back yard and the cruise ship is...is...actually my chaise lounge is more comforable.

At this point of my life (as a single person) it's more about doing what "I" want to do when I want to than what other people "think" I should do.

I got the same arguments 4 weeks ago after I was hit on my motorcycle by a hit and run street racer...other than a totalled bike and some road rash by some miracle I was fine.

I replaced the bike and all I've gotten from everyone is grief that I didn't buy a car instead...I have an older model truck and if I wanted to run around on four wheels I would have just used it....I LIKE the motorcycle and as my brother said after putting 45,000 miles on the old bike the law of averages just caught up with me.

I don't follow the herd mentality and it does get to be a pain sometimes.

Nora Dunn's picture
Nora Dunn

Thank you, Philip for this great post!

Perceived criticism tends to happen when somebody you know does something outside of the friendship or group norm. Even if the changing person doesn't preach about their new ways, those "left behind" can feel that there is a certain degree of judgment being passed over them. Some particularly prevalent examples I've seen are:

  • Reformed Smokers. Quit smoking, and suddenly the taste and smell of tobacco doesn't seem so nice, and your wallet doesn't seem so perpetually empty. Your smoking friends, though may feel like they're being made out to be lesser people for not quitting themselves. This may be an entirely self-imposed feeling of guilt or shame, and have very little to do with the reformed smoker's actions or words.
  • Born Again Parents. Having children changes your life; no doubt about that. But when parents (usually new ones) talk about how life without children has no meaning or direction, people without kids aren't left feeling like they add much value if a childless life is meaningless anyway. This is usually unintentional on the part of the new parents, but can create sometimes unpassable rifts in the friendship.

As for freeloading, I agree with your points, Philip. Accepting an offer of generosity is not always freeloading; especially if you would do the same for them if the roles were reversed, and if the offer is voluntary - not invited or expected.

But there comes a point when relying on the generosity of others too much (even if the offers are genuine) can cross a line and go too far into the freeloading category. Where the line is, is dependent on the type of friendship and individuals involved.

Julie Rains's picture

As the non-yard person on my street, I do appreciate your post. Apparently, besides my yard not being  too noticeable to many passerbys as I live at the end of a dead-end street, I have been deemed socially acceptable b/c I have supported the neighbor kids in their efforts to raise money for school, scouts, etc. And of course, we do cut the grass and do a bit of tree and shrub trimming.

It is not logical that one person's choices will condemn another's opposite choices but apparently there is truth there. In fact, I attended a conference a few weeks ago and the speaker said that many people feel that way and urged the audience to accept others as they are, and not feel threatened by other's decisions.

But as the yard example indicate, sometimes our choices can directly affect our neighbors. And (I have thought about this before), I do intend to learn more about gardening but if any of my neighbors intended on selling their homes soon, I'd hire some assistance.

 

Guest's picture
Guest

What irks me the most is when friends are cheap when it comes to hanging with a group but splurge on themselves. One of my girlfriends closest friends is notorious for this. She has Apple everything, an expensive SLR, and a pretty new car(that her parents pay for). But she ALWAYS asks for rides, complains about not having enough money, and constantly asks how much everything costs. It sometimes brings the whole group down. I can understand if you are overall frugal but i can't stand when people are cheap around friends and spend tons of money of themselves.

Guest's picture
lisa p

I am the person frugal around friends, but splurge on things I like. I dont know about how you treat this person, but my friends know to keep the budget down if we hang out (Which they do or they suggest we meet up after eating/drinking). I have made my needs clear, and they accept it, and make a point to not invite me to expensive (they know my limits) outings. That is the compromise, I like it, and I know they are considerate friends because they do this for me.

When you have a frugal friend, why invite them to things where there are high price tags? Just dont invite them to go shopping, or to Ruth's Crisp. Meet up afterwards. I really think you guys aren't being considerate of her, actually. I guess I am lucky, didnt realize until I heard you ranting about this girl who share my frugal characteristics.

Guest's picture
Rosa

Some of the stories about my partner's frugality are so famous in our friend group, my own cheapskateness goes mostly unnoticed. That's kind of nice.

What's a little uncomfortable is because we have a little kid and avoid a bunch of expensive or environmentally unfriendly things (they're often the same) people assume it's because we can't afford it and give us things. Often people who clearly can't really afford it themselves give things to my son - the biggest is that some charity gave every child at his daycare a coat, because so many of the kids there are low-income. It's rude to say no, so we don't, but it makes me feel bad.

The other thing I've noticed is that it's the sudden conversion that is such a pain for people - we hardly ever drive and I'm pretty sure most people don't even notice (except for a few old friends who live in far-flung suburbs and have heard me & my partner try to figure out multi-purpose trips around our visits to them.) But if we used to drive out there for dinner twice a week and suddenly stopped in a fit of conscience, I'm sure they'd be hurt.

Guest's picture
Kitwench

If you receive things you don't need, it's ok to quietly pass those on to folks who DO need them.
Especially of it's a grouped donation such as the one to your child's daycare.
When we were in the military, the command gave every family a Christmas dinner and toys for the kids.
We were not in need.
But the local church had a long list of families who were, and they knew exactly where to pass that on.

Guest's picture
david in norcal

I've got a friend who is very frugal and that doesn't bother me too much. But when she sees an opportunity to save money --even if it's by having me pay more --she takes it. So since she is always looking for an advantage, I now make sure that in every interaction she's not taking advantage of me. In other words, she has hurt a good friendship and it's not the same.

Case in point: she wanted to go to the mountains for the day and I ended up driving. I didn't ask for gas money and I never do. On the way back, she said I should pay $3 more for dinner because hers was less. So I said, "that's fine, tell you what, you just put in $7 more and we'll call it even over the $10 in gas money you owe me." We settled on splitting the bill equally and I didn't ask for gas money.

Guest's picture

Random thoughts: Mooching off your friends in the name of frugality is NOT frugal. To me, frugality is "big picture" and I try to think beyond my own monetary share. One year we told our daughter that she could keep the left-over money in her candy account at camp. This backfired because she never got any candy and instead mooched off all the other kids!

My frugal son has chosen not to have a car in college and he ALWAYS pays for ALL the gas when he gets rides from friends.

It is possible to annoy people with frugality. I have done so many times. Sometimes, the annoyance is a consequence of their own guilt. But we frugal types need to watch out for "frugal anorexia."
I've been meaning to write on this for a while! Maybe I will!

Guest's picture
bogart

I'd say the only time getting in a car that's already going somewhere isn't (potentially) freeloading is ... well, basically never, honestly. Chances are good someone drove at least a block out of their way, or changed their schedule, or had to move the child's carseat out of the back seat, or vacuum away the dog hair, or will have to stop for an extra pit stop on your behalf. Not a big deal, necessarily, but not free.

Easy to solve ... if someone gives you a ride and stops for a fill-up, offer to pay for it. Otherwise, provide or offer occasional gifts to anyone who drives you regularly ("I just brought over some jam I thought you might really enjoy." "Let me know if you'd like me babysit some evening/afternoon so you could get out and enjoy some time to yourself (or run some errands unfettered)," or the first time anyone drives you anywhere. And if you borrow a car, always, always, always return it with a full gas tank, no matter where the gauge was when you borrowed it or how far (not far) you didn't drive it.

If doing these things proves more expensive than owning a car, then you use one enough that you should buy one.

Guest's picture
Rosa

The big picture goes the other way, too - we have a car. We use it quite a bit, for people who like to think we don't drive much (1 or 2 days a week, generally). We also enable a friend to be car-free by lending it to him (he generally babysits in exchange). It makes me feel better about the car and, since trustworthy babysitters are priceless, it's a good deal.

Guest's picture
katy

Last week I was invited to a lecture for a group I thought about joining. It turned out the lecture was before a barbecue. I then asked my friend how much it would be for the barbecue. My friend said it's no charge, just go. I felt uncomfortable.

I didn't want to look like/be a freeloader. I couldn't say I didn't have a few dollars to donate (which she knows but 'forgets' )and I didn't want to freeload. So I said I was sick. She's mad.

This is a tough call. But not being a freeloader is critical.

Philip Brewer's picture

Obviously it isn't freeloading if you can (and do) reciprocate--and it doesn't have to be equal, as long as it isn't too much and it's spread around some.  All my friends and I gave one another rides to car repair places after work when someone neeeded to pick up a car that was in the shop.  I have no idea if I got more rides than I gave, and it didn't really matter.

Reciprocating in some different coin gets more complicated.  How many jars of jelly equals a three hour drive the car was making anyway?  If you come over to watch the game, bring a six-pack, and drink three of the beers yourself, is that freeloading or not?

A side issue here is that sharing can actually raise everyone's standard of living--and raise it by a lot.  I don't know of a more powerful tool to make everybody in the neighborhood better off.  Excessive worry about freeloading is one reason we don't see more sharing, which is a shame.

Guest's picture
Lisa

Yes, there are people who freeload. I won't let it change my offers of service and sharing. It is pretty easy to determine who does and does not get the concept of mutual mooching that must exist for both parties to get the benefits of sharing.

Guest's picture
Ashie

Your article and the following comments really struck a chord with me. I work heaps of hours at a casual job because I'm trying to get a small biz up & running; I'm also incredibly frugal. Most people at that job are students who live with their parents, hence work little & spend heaps. Previously, I could feel their wonder at the fact that I worked so much and didn't "blow" it all; now i can defend myself with the biz story, and they think I'm ok.

Freeloading also really bothers me. I don't drive, and coworkers have offered (And have) dropped me home sometimes, when they don't need to make detours. I know it doesn't affect their driving or fuel expense, but I feel guilty. I cant offer them homemade cookies, because then the others at work would feel left out - and I don't want to bake cookies for the whole office (it's a really huge office!). Plus, I don't want them to think I'm "paying" them since that might be offensive to them (they incurred no extra cost to drop me off on their ride home).
Ugh... I hate freeloading but I love sharing... thanks Philip for your take on the benefits of sharing, also.

Guest's picture
Kitwench

I don't think it would bother the rest of your office if you came in from time to time with a small package of cookies and handed it to 'Jane' or 'Lee' saying "I just wanted to thank you for giving me a ride last week :)

Guest's picture

I like this article. It's more about how others perceive your actions & abstentions than about what kind of decisions you should you make. I hadn't really thought about how my personal decisions (like not eating out) might be perceived by my co-workers. I never thought about it in that way.

Still, you should always do what you think is right, even if others might not understand right away. Their opinions shouldn't coerce you going along with the crowd, but you need to take those opinions and misunderstandings into account. Seeing yourself the way other perceive you is very hard, and maybe it's a matter of having realistic expectations, not making others feel "left out" or trying to act "better than the rest of us." That doesn't win many converts.

I see this I myself when I sell on craigslist. Buyers will say "I don't drive, but..." when I live near Glendale and they live in Santa Monica, as if because they don't drive I should drive over to them at my own time and expense so they can hem and haw over the price or decide whether they really want it. People like that are annoying and selfish. They have the internet (they're reading craigslist after all) so they have Google Maps. And they can see in my post where I live. So there's nothing stopping them from looking it up. I know it's hard with 2 strangers over email to negotiate a polite and fair agreement, so I try to be patient. I used to "not drive" and I remember being an imposition on others back then (always needing a ride, being limited by the bus schedule, etc.).

Vegetarians do this too. "Oh, I'm a vegetarian... I don't eat meat..." Yeah, you know you don't have to explain it to me. Most of us, by now, know what that means. The vegetarians who give all the other vegetarians a bad name are like finicky little 5 year olds who crinkle up their mouths unless you feed them only what they like. I feel like saying "Did you bring your own food?!" It's very manipulative, a way of forcing others to indulge you, unless you're a considerate vegetarian who does their best to be easy to feed. But I have my own eating preferences too (there's certain food I just can't bring myself to eat, not even to be polite!) and I remember how others have had to accommodate me at some point. I try to be easy to feed, but I find it too easy to get annoyed when other people claim "special needs" when it's really just something they decided at some point. Being lactose intolerant, that's not a decision or indulgence. Allergies too, you need to respect anything that can induce anaphylaxis. Kosher or religious diets, yeah, you've got to honor your mother and father. But diets people just pick up, just to feel special or superior, that's annoying.

But it's funny. I'm so quick to see this in others. But I'm so slow to see it in myself. It's like people who leave long, rambling replies to blog articles. Now that's annoying. I hate people like that. What are they thinking?!!

Guest's picture
Guest

Ian writes:
But it's funny. I'm so quick to see this in others. But I'm so slow to see it in myself. It's like people who leave long, rambling replies to blog articles. Now that's annoying. I hate people like that. What are they thinking?!!

You HATE people who write long blog replies? Really? Wow. You must be an incredibly wonderful human with no failings that you are so comfortable writing that you hate people, as opposed to their behavior that you don't like.

FYI: life is not all Twitter-length responses and NOBODY makes you read the posts, of any length.

Know what I hate? People who make comments about hating people, as opposed to focusing on their behavior and choices. Big difference.

Guest's picture
Holly

Regarding selling things to non-drivers, we've come up with a solution to this in our quest to de-clutter our home. When we list something, we put right in the title or price that it's X price if you pick up and Y price if we deliver. We live thirty minutes outside a metro area so not only do we make extra money this way, we attract more interest from city dwellers. My husband works in the city anyway so it's no big deal for him to swing by and drop off an item and collect the money. It keeps us from having to deliver for free to non-drivers and people have all been happy to pay an extra $20 or $30 for this when we're selling items over $100.

Guest's picture
Kitwench

Guest comments to Ian "You HATE people who write long blog replies? Really? Wow."

I think you missed the point.
Ian was poking fun at HIMSELF for having *written* a long blog reply..
He was admitting there is humor in getting upset over the choices of others while not noticing our own flaws...

There's value in that idea for you...

Guest's picture

Great post! I often feel people are disturbed by the fact that I can do something they can't do. I haven't bought into the more than you can afford treadmill . . .

Philip Brewer's picture

... a good sense of humor.

Guest's picture
Guest

I always thought as a freind you always respect a person when they yell you they cant afford something. or that their saving up.I think it would be rude for me or anybody to exspect some one to live beyond their means because im spending money so they should too. If i really want a broke friend and my friends have done the same for me too I'll suck it up and buy lunch. Or even better weve found the lost tradtion of going to anothers house for coffee. I use to try and keep up , now I dont , Im happier that I spend my money on the shings that I really love (eg: snow boarding.) my other broke friends like me better to now. Im finding alot of people are getting tired of wasting money to keep of with only a couple of people who can AFFORD it.

Cheers :)

Guest's picture
Guest

Guest #5 is right: a little well-targeted generosity goes a long way toward smoothing over any hard feelings. Unless you're really in dire straights, your frugal life should allow you enough slack that you can occasionally pick up the tab, bring the six pack, or pay for the gas, just because it's the nice thing to do and it makes everyone feel good.

Guest's picture
Guest

You can also invest time and creativity instead of money. Bring a beautiful loaf of home-baked bread to a pot-luck, rather than jello in tupperware. The bread will be very inexpensive to make, but it's tasty and shows care and effort, so it's a valued contribution. No one ever looks at a lovely loaf of artisanal bread and thinks, "Oh, they just brought something cheap. They didn't want to spend any money on their friends."

Guest's picture
Val

In regards to people not handling frugality well, it simply comes down to them feeling guilty about their own habits.

Deep down inside, we all know what works in life and what doesn't. Spending money wisely, saving, living within our means and budgeting are all activities that help our lives be less stressful, more empowered and independent. Eating fresh, non-chemically or genetically altered food that is heavy on the vegetable, fruit and fiber side and exercising regularly all lead to bodies that work better, enabling us to feel energetic, happy and healthy. We all know "what's good for us", right?

When we make the choice to do what is good for us, it takes integrity (aligning our actions with our words) and discipline. It's not easy, but the rewards make it worthwhile. We we make the choice not to do what's good for us, causes tension within ourselves and calls our integrity into question. We know what works and in spite of this knowledge, we act in such a way that doesn't work.

When we're in that situation and come face to face with someone who actually is doing "what's good for themselves," it brings to light our lack of integrity with that behavior. Rather than admit being "wrong" and potentially making ourselves look foolish to other people, we tend to become self-righteous and take the role of the victim. This is, of course, ridiculous unless they actually are trying to convert you or blatantly criticize you.

I had to confront this myself with my vegetarian friends. Some actually were trying to guilt me out of eating meat, but most were just making that choice for a wide variety of reasons, but they were aligning their actions with their beliefs. Regardless of the camp, I felt threatened by all of them. I realized that I actually did believe a non-meat diet was more healthful and yet I ate meat anyway. My issue had suddenly become theirs! Once I realized this, I took a look at my life and values and made the choice to continue to eat meat, but on a much smaller scale. Once I had aligned my values to my actions, the feeling of being attacked or confronted vanished.

Don't let other people's guilt or lifestyle choices affect what you know to be true and good for you.

Guest's picture
Guest

Alright, I'm confused by much of this thread. Not one to spend ridiculously, especially in this none-to-bright economic forecast, but what are we saving for anyways? Trips, food, and some future security. There really isn't much else that money actually accomplishes in life, and I AM throwing piece of mind on that pile.

Anyone have some insight?

Philip Brewer's picture

@Guest:

To my mind, one spends in accordance with one's own values:  You buy everything you need, and as much of what you want as you can afford.  (Some things you want may require saving for some time to reach the goal).

The point of this post was to remind people that not everyone is thinking this clearly about their spending.  As you start to think clearly--and as your thinking begins to affect your spending--you're going to change your behavior.  And, as you do that, you're going to run into conflicts with friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, and others who were expecting your spending to stay on auto-pilot like theirs.

I was suggesting a few tips and strategies for minimizing these conflicts without having to abandon your values.

Guest's picture
Viviana

What a great post. I had a similar idea in my post do you have a secret? http://www.theleantimes.com/?p=861

I find that some of my friends just don't get it when I say I have decided to spend less on going out, for example. They argue that it will only cost £10 when in fact I know it will end up being quite a bit more. It is difficult to explain that I have had a change in my attitude to money, without offending or sounding judgmental.

I am working on getting the hang of balance between who I am now and who I was.

Guest's picture
Guest

For 15 years my frugal partner has chided me for my spendthrift ways. Basically, this doesn't mean I buy lots of shoes or jewelry or take trips...this means I did not save. I lived paycheck to paycheck and went out with friends and such. I lived the typical American lifestyle. Sadly, I was recently disabled and now we must live on my frugal partner's salary.

He resents this, saying, rightfully, that I wasted my money. However, we always used my car, for example. He never had to buy clothing or shampoo or body wash or toothbrushes all those years because I always had plenty to share with him and bought him clothes for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. I also provided all of the luxury foods and such for the household...organic fruits and chocolate and such. Now, he says we can have no luxury items. Again, I don't mind. But when I got a small monetary gift from a friend, I purchased some organic apples for myself. Maybe that money should have gone into the household accounts, maybe it's really not mine. But I viewed it as mine and I was resentful when, without asking, my partner started eating the apples. I asked him if it would be okay to replace them with "his" money. He said, no.

Yes, I agree that if I was as frugal as he is...maybe I wouldn't be in financial difficulty now that I can't work. I agree that it is very nice of him to take over the necessities of life and I agree we must be careful. I suppose, I am hurt because for all those years, I shared freely with him...and he begrudges sharing with me...and then...he takes what little I have without even asking, something he's always done, while...sorry...judging me for spending money. I feel bad for getting upset about something as trivial as a few organic apples...but, they were something he decided not to waste money on...therefore...doesn't that mean he shouldn't eat them?

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GuestKitwench

I don't agree with this at all.

I am frugal in areas I can or don't mind being so, and spendy in areas that matter to me.
I believe that my friends do exactly the same, and it does not and should not matter if our choices differ.

Oh, and I'll start worrying about the ways my frugality annoys my friends and family the day THEY start worrying about the way their constant whining about being too broke to pay the bills the day after posting about yet another excessive pointless splurge annoys ME.