I find it very interesting that everyone has such different views on what is a comfortable amount of money to spend on living expenses.
People who are fairly frugal are usually categorized as ramen-eating, penny pinching, student-like cheapos who don’t have any fun at all and are choking the fun out of their money.
E.g. Cooking at home or bringing their lunches to work are a couple of activities, every dollar is stretched and saved.
They see people who spend lots of money as wasteful, extravagant overspenders who try to consistently live above their means, totally unaware of what ‘normal’ living expenses are.
E.g. Thinking a million dollar home with 2 cars, a nanny, a gardener and a cleaner is “normal” for someone who is middle-class.
Which one is right?
Neither of course!
And they’re both shaming each others’ situations, safe in the thought that their way is the right way.
Really, it all boils down to what you consider to be essential expenses such as food, shelter and clothes.
Then it’s just a question of whether you buy a $5 shirt at Old Navy or a $5000 shirt from Saks Fifth Avenue with what you have.
(Neither option is “wrong” by the way depending on what you consider reasonable and what you can afford.)
I like to be somewhere in the middle
Fairly good with spending my money and making sure I don’t buy more than what I want or need, but also not feeling like I cannot buy what I want just because I want to save a dollar for a retirement 40 years away.
I agree with spending AND saving as long as they’re reasonable with your lifestyle and what you can afford.
Take traveling for instance: people might think I’m off my rocker by wanting to spend $10,000 on a trip around Asia. They’d probably rather keep it, earn interest on it and have that security. Me, I want to enjoy it within reason, and I find $10,000 reasonable for visiting 7 cities and 3 countries.
The only 3 Golden Rules you have to keep in mind:
- Spend less than what you earn
- Be mindful of your spending
- Don’t get into unmanageable debt until/unless you have a plan
Rather than saying that either side is wrong for being too cheap and not “living life” or being too spendthrift and living life at the expense of your futures, just consider what you think is reasonable for your lifestyle and earnings, and stop the whining. No one has your situation, so don’t compare yourselves to anyone but yourselves.
Scale back, or scale up as you see fit and keep the 3 Golden Rules in mind.