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The Problem with Being Too Frugal or Tight with Money

When I was young, I didn’t have any money other than from allowance (which I pretty much was taught to save).

In fact, I was so frugal as a child, I hardly spent any money at all because of the belief that I needed to save it all.  While my financial picture was always pretty good, I missed a lot of great childhood and young adult opportunities because of the belief that spending money on them would be a waste, and saving like a miser was the way to go.  This is one part of my past that I would love to change, but that window has past and I can’t time travel.

Once of the most vivid memories of being too tight with money was when I was in the school cafeteria and a very pretty girl caught my eye.  She was strikingly beautiful and hot all at the same time.  I couldn’t help from keep glancing over at her.  Well she caught me looking at her a few time, and with about 5 minutes left of the lunch period, she got up from across the lunch room walked over to the area where I was sitting and asked me out on a date.  I wanted to go badly, but instead I made up some excuse because I didn’t have a car and I didn’t have money for a date.  The girl was a knockout in every sense of the word, and I could kick myself for not taking action back then.

Girl Walking Away

Similar events have happened before in college.  There were numerous times when friends would go to a concert or something that require a bit of money, and I would pass on that occasion because I felt like it would be a waste of money, and because of my own natural frugal behavior.

Not that I’m married with children, I don’t want my kids to behave the same way, but at the same time I don’t want them to spend wildly either.  It’s a balance that I’m trying to teach them and myself at the same time.  I have progressed though.  I no longer get nauseous when I spend money on smaller and medium priced options.  I was very pleased when I bought my son a laptop and I didn’t feel ill at all.  It was a wonderful feeling in fact.  Of course I knew that I wouldn’t have to go into debt to accomplish the purchase too, and that always helps…

I have to wonder if I’m alone in my money management style.  I rarely read about anyone with issues of spending, and in fact, I seem to be in the minority with my particular money skills especially since I’m totally debt free…

I’m not going to let the same happen for my kids, in a future post I’ll reveal my plans for them…

So readers, do you have problems spending, and are you trying to establish a perfect balance as I am?

MR

 

13 Responses to The Problem with Being Too Frugal or Tight with Money

  1. There are definitely situations when people are TOO frugal and miss out on opportunities. I was like this last year a bit and didnt see my friends as much as I wanted to because I avoided them and spending money.

  2. As you know, I’m like you. It actually takes effort to make the decision to spend in many areas of my life. I don’t like shopping and I don’t like parting with money. It takes a conscious effort to spend. Unlike others, I have “spending goals”, not savings goals. My spending goals include things like vacations, planned home improvements, skills/activities for the kids (like learning to ski).

    It’s more good than bad to resist spending. When you do spend, it ends up being a thoughtful expenditure. The only time it bites me is when I wait too long to buy something and then have to impulse buy out of desperation.

  3. The cafetia opportunity is priceless. I was terrified of girls until I was about 17 and probably would have fumbled it as awkwardly as you, money issues aside.

    I can relate to this seniment. As I was completing high school my friends planned a trip away. A beach vacation for fun, drinking, and burning off steam from years of study. But, I declined as I didn’t want to spend the money and wanted to make more money at my part-time job. Regret. Today the money doesn’t matter, but I can’t get that time back.

    Time really is a more valuable asset that money.

  4. I am a bit of a roller coaster when it comes to the balance of being too frugal and spending too much. I tend to side with spending though. I feel that as long as I am meeting my reasonable savings goals, I should be able to enjoy life.

    I also create spending goals similar to First Gen. When making large purchases I research, find the best deal, and sit and think for a week. If I still feel it is a good purchase, I buy.

  5. When I was in college , I did not have a car or much money, but I found ways to overcome these issues. I still think as though I do not have much money and find creative ways to stretch or expand how I spend my money.

  6. I’m frugal, but not that frugal! I read on another blog recently that frugal = smart, while cheap = stupid. I think it’s a fair comparison!

  7. The key — as you’ve said — is to know that you are not spending money that you don’t have(AKA credit card debt). In fact, as you felt, using money wisely can bring lots of happiness like the laptop you bought for your son. I think anything extreme is bad for our happiness including frugality.

  8. Sounds as if you have the opposite problem I had to work through in my youth, 20’s and 30’s. It is definitely not easy to change spending habits, especially ones ingrained in us during our childhood. Congrats on the purchase of the laptop and I hope your kids grow up with a balanced and healthy view of money.

  9. A healthy respect of money is very good! The problem most people have is that the very moment they start to respect money and save to retire, they realize their time horizon is too short. I want my kids to start early saving and investing, that way they’ll have options and understanding of how to spend later in life.

  10. You’re right – it’s hard to establish a perfect balance. Frugal enough to save, invest and retire early – but not so frugal that you miss out on the fun things in life… or your children grow up believing that they’re poor.

  11. Good lessons learned. Money is to be saved and conserved, I do agree with that concept. However, as you allude to, we can’t miss out on life experiences due to our view of money being scarce.

    Turning down a date from a great looking girl who asked you out? Can’t be cheap in that type of situation!

  12. I really identify with this post. My parents were “Depression” babies and very frugal. I would never even ask my parents for a couple bucks to see a movie. The good side of all this is that I retired young (40 years old) and married a man who is generous as I am frugal. He admires my ability to save and I admire his generosity. Tonight I did an internet search because I’m too frugal. Going out with friends for dinner, I did not order drinks (too expensive). I gave the waiter a 25% tip, but honestly he deserved much more. (He gave the 12 of us three free appetizers because they made us wait for a table).

    I get sick to my stomach when I make big purchases. In order to spend money, my husband and I put in a $80.00 a piece each month into an entertainment fund. We spend it on shows, plays etc., but, the entertainment fund is now overflowing with a couple thousand dollars. We do quite a few things, but I always find good deals. It is hard for me to pay full price.

    I feel as though I’ve missed out on some adventures. Yes, I’ve traveled a lot, but it takes me awhile to book a trip because I need to find a great deal. It is exhausting sometimes. I will spend money on travel and education because my parents valued both, but it is hard when you always calculate the cost of things.

    Wish I could let go of the need to save.