Today, I found myself reading a post of a pretty popular frugal living/financial independence blog regarding habits and how to make them/break them. As I was reading, this blogger had claimed to have tried to spend extravagantly in order to see if he frugal habits could be broken. He was doing this as an experiment, you see. But, he said that his habit is to question everything he pays for, even if it is just a piece of pie. He could not relax this habit no matter how hard he tried.
As I was reading, I found myself saying, ‘really?’. I mean, come on! This guy is so tight that he questions whether or not to buy a piece of pie? He spends time on whether this piece of pie will bring him happiness?? Hell, to each his own, I guess. If this is this man’s typical behavior, far be it for me to poo-poo it. But, is this really what it takes to be financially independent?
Granted, this blogger is much better versed on finances than I am. He has far more investments, far more savings, and is able to live on those investments and savings with his family without having to work. Bravo, I say. I’m still at the point where I need to work to save up more for retirement so he is far ahead of my curve, to be sure. In fact, I read his blog so that I can make better choices for my own life. And I can’t complain – my debt is low (mortgage and small student loan) and my living expenses aren’t off the charts high. I’m actively saving and careful that my spending doesn’t get out of hand. I have downsized my household and other than a few extravagances, we keep our spending pretty well under control.
Yet, I can’t help but wonder what happened to quality of life? Do I really need to worry about a whether a piece of pie is going to bring me happiness or not so that I can retire? Do I really need to be so frugal that I have to make decisions about the smallest thing? Isn’t there a happy medium where I can live frugally and still have some fun in life? So, I want to go out to a nice dinner. So what? So, I want to be able to do the things I won’t be able to do when I’m older, like – walk around Disneyland all day. Or, go skiing. How about hiking and/or camping? Sure, if I stay active throughout my life I might be able to continue to do those things for many years to come but then again, maybe I won’t. Maybe my health won’t allow me. Who cares?
Really, is that $65 dinner really going to put me in the poor house? I’m sure that if I put it in a savings account that earned compound interest over 40 years then, yeah, it might make a difference. Of course, I doubt I will live another 40 years. With medical insurance going the way it is, it remains to be seen……but that is another post.
Maybe I’m just too old to care about being ultra frugal. Maybe taking a middle road is a better fit for me. Maybe I’ve lived long enough to understand that life is too short so enjoy it while you can. If that means having a piece of fucking pie, then dammit, eat the pie! Just be sure to save some for later.