Hi, everyone! I wanted to jump right in and highlight the stigma with frugal living. I really do think it is a shame that people have this weird stigma against people that have a different mindset than the popular status quo. Simply put, frugal living just isn’t “hip” to the vast majority of people and I think that really sucks! I read an article today by Chris Reining called To Be Rich Be Unpopular. When you’re done with my article, you should definitely give him a read as well! I’m a big fan of him since he was able to retire by the age of 37. I’m a smidgen envy-struck by his early accomplishment.
Anyhow, I was reading his article today and I wanted to really just drive the point home about how against the grain being frugal and retiring early really is. The problem is most people don’t like things that are out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, that means that if you’re trying to be frugal and mindful of your spending so that you can retire early, people are going to look at you very oddly. Ok…they might not give you odd looks, but they’re thinking you beat to the sound of your own drum! They literally think you’re out of your mind.
People often tell me they think that I’m “living like a poor person,” when I’m actually not. I don’t deprive myself of anything at all. I even regularly go out and get massages! (Gosh! They feel SO good!) I would say that I just don’t spend money on useless crap that I don’t need. I do clothes shopping at the local thrift store here in Colorado and find a lot of really great clothes that I wouldn’t have found if I was just looking in the popular stores for new things.
Actually, one of my boyfriend’s friends told me a year ago that my dream to retire early is just a pipe dream and that I was never going to do that. Let me tell you, that comment knocked the wind out of me a little bit. The guy definitely deflated my ego. But you know what? I put myself in his shoes. He’s a programmer and probably makes a hefty income but he also bought a house a fairly expensive area in the Denver Metro area. He comes from a very large Catholic family that values having a small village of immediate family members. His goal is to have about 5-10 children. No wonder he thinks my goal to retire early is a pipe dream!
My point is, living a non-consumerist life is not the norm. Most people don’t realize that living a non-consumerist life is even an option! People don’t realize that you don’t HAVE to have a ton of kids! People don’t realize that you don’t have to spend every cent you make. People don’t understand that they should be living their lives for themselves and not to show off to other people! People don’t realize that you don’t have to spend 40-50 years working! If you challenge their school of thought, you’ll likely just be met with skeptical looks and nay-saying. Frankly, you won’t be winning any popularity contests.
But you know what? That’s ok. You’ve figured out what you want and maybe they have too! It’s perfectly ok to want a small village as your immediate family. It’s ok to want the big house and the fancy cars. It’s ok to love your job enough that you couldn’t imagine life without it. It’s really just about different strokes for different folks! You don’t have to change their mind about their lifestyle and they don’t have to change yours. You just keep doing you and when you’ve met your goal, maybe they will take a moment and say, “huh, maybe my way wasn’t the only way.”
Cheers, my frugal friends! Keep on keepin’ on!