I have been reconnecting with friends last week and it was so good. My group of closest girlfriends always tries to get together when I am around and we spent a lovely day at the beach, catching up on life and creating new memories. While we were there, my friend’s husband said something like “Oh, Pauline is wearing Pauline’s jacket. Do we need to send you a care package to Guatemala so you can wear something else?”.
Hey, man: I never need my jacket in Guatemala, it is too warm. Before I flew back for a routine-to-me ONE MONTH HOLIDAY you’ll never take in your whole life, the jacket had been packed for 6 months. Prior to that, I did wear it on an almost daily basis while touring Europe and the US on a motorcycle. For 6 months in 2011, and 6 months in 2012, I traveled on those two continents, rode about 50,000 miles and had to limit my belongings to whatever fits in a side pannier (the other one was for BF and the topcase for common stuff like sleeping bags). Hence the unique jacket.
It is a $100 jacket I was happy to buy in late 2010, because it is made by Columbia so it is good quality, yet it is a light pink and doesn’t look too outdoorsy to wear outside of a National Park. It is not even three years old (I have known this guy for 15 years so he has seen me in other jackets), it fits well and is very comfortable, so I don’t see why I should change it anytime soon. Meanwhile, in the 30 months since I bought that jacket my net worth has improved 87%, and my friend is still to buy his first house. Pick your battles.
Every day, when you buy things, you make a decision. You decide to allocate a certain amount of money to a certain purchase. Some of the things you buy are part of your survival budget, you need a roof, some food, some clothes, gas for your car or a bus pass. Other things are your personal treats, a cup of coffee, a book, a romantic weekend. You deserve them just as much and without them, life would be boring. I am not about to deprive myself of those little pleasures, food and travel have always been top priority in my spending. I spend copious amounts on each without blinking. Other areas of spending are not that important, and spending more on them would be wasteful to me.
I have lived in 200sqft, have not owned a car until I was 28 and have been wearing the same jacket for three years. I have also bought my first rental property cash right out of college, and left to travel the world for a year with the surplus money I had saved.
While I couldn’t care less about my small living quarters and car-less life (and what people think of it), I am pretty proud of having graduated college with enough savings to buy a flat. And still confused as to why my friend, who is a year older and makes decent money, yet has only one vehicle to his name, can’t see that for every jacket, pack of smokes, and other perishable, non essential things he fills his rented house with, he is taking one more step away from financial independence.
What about you? do you get criticized about a specific frugal trait or do the ones around see the bigger picture?
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