The Line Between Frugality and Deprivation
A lot of people on the quest for financial independence aim to trim their expenses. This works great… until it doesn’t. Sometimes the line between frugality and deprivation becomes blurred. It’s possible to cut your expenses too much where you can make yourself miserable.
I was listening to a great podcast that the Mad Fientist put together from a Q&A at Camp Mustache which had Pete aka Mr. Money Mustache, Paula Pant from Afford Anything, Doug Nordman from The Military Guide, and, of course, Brandon the Mad Fientist.
An interesting topic was discussed regarding that line between frugality and deprivation that I thought would be worth discussing. The subject of motivation in relation to the quest for financial independence came up and the Mad Fientist spoke pretty honestly…
Well, I know for me personally, I don’t think it was motivation to keep pursuing FI. It was more I went the opposite way and went so hardcore that I made myself really unhappy during that process because I just didn’t want to do anything that involved spending money. I just wanted to get there as soon as possible.
This openness was helpful to me because I could absolutely see myself going down that same path. I want to reach financial independence so bad that it eats at me constantly. So I think about different ways to cut expenses (and, of course, ways to make more money). In the process, my natural frugality kicks in… sometimes too much.
And I’ll be honest, the only thing that really holds me back from taking things too far is my family, particularly Mrs. R2R. And she’s absolutely right to not settle for less. Although it’s a good thing to have the end-game in mind and make things happen, life is really about the journey.
If you’re not stopping to smell the roses and enjoy the present moment, you’re going to look back and regret that you wasted a lot of the years of your life.
And, of course, there’s always that morbid possibility of early death. Boy, would I be ticked off if I got hit by a bus and was too frugal for my own good leading up to it!! 🙂
A little further into the podcast, Doug “Nords” reinforced the whole idea…
You’ve gotta be careful with the line between frugality and deprivation.
[…] you’re looking at frugality, but if you’re not having fun, if you’re not feeling challenged and fulfilled and enjoying what you’re doing and making that struggle toward financial independence, then you’re probably into deprivation.
That’s the time when you take a step back, try not to save so much or try to raise your income, and try to enjoy life a little bit more, so that you feel revitalized, you feel re-energized, and you feel like you can make that journey the rest of the way to financial independence.
Damn, I wish I could have been at this event! Just a bunch of great minds all in one room at the same time!
But think about it – it’s some awesome advice. If you’re pushing yourself so hard that you’re stressing yourself out, then it’s time to step back and take a breath.
Taking a Breather
I’m going to take that advice… sort of. I think that I’m running the well pretty dry on cutting expenses. One exception is that we may revisit the idea of downsizing our house, but we’ve tabled that for another year. In the meantime, I’m going to chill a little on spending my free time digging around all our expenses looking for every nickel and dime we can save.
That leaves us with the other side of the spectrum – bringing in more income. I just hit up my real estate agent to get things rolling on finding another duplex to purchase and rent out. Next month, I’m going to work with my mortgage broker to get pre-approved and then Mrs. R2R and I will start doing some shopping for rentals. Obviously, this will require some time and effort, but I’m not the handiest of handymen, so the properties I’ll be looking for generally don’t require a ton of work. If there’s work that’s out of my league, I would bring in someone else to handle it.
So where’s the part of this post where I actually take Doug’s advice?
We’re going to take some time to ourselves as a family over the coming year to help re-energize. Over the next month, we’re hoping to book our vacation to Panama to take place in early summer. We also have a vacation already booked for a relaxing getaway to Tennessee later on in the year. Additionally, we’ll squeeze in some camping fun hopefully once or twice in the summer. Taking some time away to just recharge should be just what the doctor ordered!
Back into the Swing of Things
Once the fun of summer is over and we’re back to being de-stressed, I get to attend FinCon for the first time. FinCon is basically a convention for personal finance bloggers. I’m very excited about this and I think I should be rejuvenated and ready to go when that comes around in October.
So in a nutshell, that simple podcast has provided me with some great advice that I’m going to leverage to try to enjoy life a little more. Chances are that the coming year won’t be hugely profitable with the expenses of some of the activities planned, but I think it’s very much needed and really won’t throw us too far off track (especially if we are able to pick up another rental).
The line between frugality and deprivation can sometimes run together when I’m involved, but I’m happy to take this little break from being over-frugal for a short bit… although I’m sure I’ll find some ways to keep some of the frugality going on the trips that we do take! 🙂
Have you ever had a blurred line between frugality and deprivation?
Thanks for reading!!