Frugality Fatigue?

guitarman_mississippi_john_hurt_poster-p228414021729600531tdcp_400[1]Hey, I have found a new label for my “maybe bad judgement” – it is called “Frugality Fatigue.”  I bought an Epiphone acoustic guitar last week.  I really couldn’t “afford” it – like in terms of  “having the cash on hand” for the purchase.  I did have a Visa that I use a lot less than I used to, though.  I have always heard that Gibsons (an Epiphone is a poor man’s Gibson) were easier to play than  Martins.  I am here to tell you there is a night and day difference.  I sure wish Neal Young hadn’t been a Martin man, I might not have been led astray for so long…

Justifying my temporary abandonment of frugality, is a trend recognized by the WaPo that as the recovery is taking shape, some people are out charging again.

So bloggers, is it time to start spending that one cannot really afford?  I think it is NOT, actually.  But I had a moment of weakness.  Still on the WEBlog wagon – so not all is bleak.  Bloggers what is your spending like these days?  Financial advice considered here.  Thanks.



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22 responses to “Frugality Fatigue?

  1. I have heard that in terms of one’s credit rating, it is better to have a small credit card balance that one could conceivably pay off in a month, than it is to have a zero credit card balance. Is that true or some disinformation campaign perpetrated by credit card companies? Inquiring minds would like to know.

    • wicked

      I have a friend who pays her bills with her credit card, then pays off the balance each month. The card limit is astronomical, at least to me. 🙂 While looking into buying a new house, she checked her credit rating and discovered she was dinged (a little) for having no balance. Not a big ding, but a ding, nonetheless.

      So the answer to your question is “yes”.

  2. I do know that too much credit available can hurt your credit score. Closing cards can hurt your credit score. And, those two work in tandem to keep you from the optimum.

    You have a card for Dillards, one for Penneys and then a Visa — all with zero balances, but because you’ve been very careful and conscientious with credit you have high “credit available.”

    Although you’ve never done anything irresponsible, the potential for a mother-of-all spending sprees exists!

    Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

  3. The first year our insurance company began using credit scores as part of pricing their homeowner policies we were not offered the very best discount because of this too much credit available!

    I haven’t been madder than that day in a long time! We’d been a customer for thirty years, they should have been able to look at that payment history, that lacka claims history and learned what they needed to know.

    Anyway, after talking to everyone up the ladder at American Family I did get my point across! It was my crusade for about a week, hard fought and victory was sweet.

  4. Last week I had a birthday which qualified me to be paid by the government. 🙂

    I’ve spent that monthly check (in my mind) about a dozen times so far.

  5. Isn’t there a graduated age increase on eligibility for social security? I am thinking that I have to be 65 to get it, whereas those younger than me will have to be 67 – I think that is right any way.

    • It’s only the ‘full retirement age’ that gradually gets older. The first age one may choose to begin receiving social security retirement benefits remains 62. If you choose that first eligibility date the benefit is less than if you wait until older. Plus, between the first eligibility date and full retirement age if you have earnings there is a maximum you may earn without affect on your SS retirement benefit. It changes annually so this is only an example:

      If you earn over 14,000 your SS benefit would be reduced by $1 for each $2 earned over that limit.

      At full retirement age (this is the one that is gradually increasing) there are NO limits on what you may earn and no penalty — you continue to get the full amount, regardless of earnings.

  6. On a related question, does anyone know of data on the impact of the economic downturn on seniors who still want to work?

    • Any senior who has reached full retirement age (that used to be 65 for everyone, but is gradually increasing) may work and earn while still drawing full social security retirement benefits.

      Only those years between the first eligibility age (62) and full retirement age are affected by earnings.

  7. As soon as I posted my last question, I remembered the “Unsilent Generation” which is in our blog roll.

    The downturn has had an impact on “old white guys”:

    James Ridgeway (the writer of “the unsilent generation”) also has a serious of posts on the demonizing of older people as the ones responsible for opposing health care reform. He legitimately asks the question, “for more to gain healthcare, the elderly have to lose part of theirs?”

  8. I know many are saying Medicare benefits will be affected negatively by any or all of the proposed health-care reform bills being considered.

    I haven’t seen where that is true. I will however admit that most of the reading I’ve done throws in sooooo many figures and guesses and estimates I get lost and confused.

  9. jammer5

    Concerning the use of credit, it was a major played in the recent financial collapse, just as it was prior to the great depression. While people are paying down their credit cards now, reverting to the ‘old days’ is anything but good. That doesn’t mean making all purchases via credit are bad, but spending beyond ones means should be avoided at all costs, regardless of income.

    The price of oil is rising at a rate far greater then stocks, and if it continues, will effect the stock market, making credit even more risky. I’d say to be on the safe side, use those credit cards very sparingly.

  10. I just put two airline tickets to Boston on my credit card. Is that helping our economy? Sure hope so, ’cause it won’t help my bank balance any.

  11. anniethemoose

    Demographics are going to slow down any recovery we might have. Boomers are the biggest group out there. The first wave of that demo are retiring. Typically people entering their 50’s and up tend to not buy that much stuff.

    Same thing is happening in Japan, Europe and Russia.

  12. lilacluvr

    I work with alot of health care professionals (in their 30’s & 40’s). These people have the biggest houses, the newest cars and trucks, jet skis, boat, RV, their kids are in private school, their wardrobe does not come from WalMart and and for them to go get a burger with the kids means they go to Red Robin not McDonalds.

    From all appearances these people are definitely living above their means but then I discovered their secret.

    These people refinance everything they possibly can and as many times as they can. As long as their monthly payments are manageable, then they are happy. I never knew that cars can be refinanced.

    I am 56 yrs old and I have never refinanced any car or truck. In fact, I am driving my 1994 Mercedes that is paid off while my co-workers are driving newer cars and trucks – but my car is the only ‘luxury’ car in the bunch!

    When I think about it, it makes me sad to think these people will probably never know what it feels like to really ‘own’ something. In reality, these people are only ‘renting’ what they buy.

    • lilacluvr

      This is really showing my age, but I remember when people had a mortgage burning party. Does anyone else remember those?

      Today people treat their houses like a commodity that can be traded rather than a home they plan to live in and raise their family.

      When will our insatiable thirst for consumerism and materialism be quenched? How much stuff will ever be enough?

      Will that be our eventual downfall? Our arrogance and selfishness? We think we are better than everyone else and we actually deserve all this stuff?

      Our country used to be full of people who took pride in themselves – their work, their houses and their families. Has that all gone by the wayside because we are all too busy buying more stuff to pile in the garage or storage bin because our house is too full for anymore stuff?

  13. Two years of recession does wear on people of all income levels. I like that term, “Frugality Fatigue.” As we know, the official designation of recession was made in December of 2007 but we were in a recession long before it became official.

    At some point probably everyone spends more than they need to. Because it’s really easy to get your wants and your needs confused in our materialistic world.

  14. “In reality, these people are only ‘renting’ what they buy.”

    This is a very sad truth and remember, you read it here.

  15. PrairiePond

    As an adult, my opposition/defiance disorder manifests itself in a cash only life. I cut up all my credit cards 15 years ago, and havent had one since. At the time, I was making a ton of money, and didnt need credit.

    Now days, with my circumstances seriously reduced 🙂 having no credit is worse than having bad credit. I dont even have a gas card, and have no hope of getting any credit cards. It’s circular logic at its best. I cant get credit because I have no credit.

    But I manage to get by without credit or debt. Sometimes it’s a bitch, but I am creative and I manage. I even sometimes rely on the kindness of strangers 🙂

    It’s not a very smart way to live, but I am free and not under the thumb of any financial institution. I eat what I kill. And you dont see me losing any weight! heheheh!

    I couldnt do it though without my friends, and without assets. I totally won in the parent lottery.

  16. PrairiePond

    I’m trying to think about what I’d do to beat the frugality fatigue. I guess I’d buy a new truck or put siding on my house. But somehow, that doesnt seem the same as splurging on something purely for pleasure. I guess it’s the farmer in me.

    Much like the farmer who won the lottery, I’d just farm until the money was all gone….

  17. PrairiePond

    Ha! Upon further reflection, I do like old whiskey and young women. Neither of which I can afford right now, so “one night in Bangkok” would be a splurge I could only dream of!