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Do non-frugal behaviors of others sometimes make you cringe?

post #1 of 125
Thread Starter 
I consider myself frugal, but I do have my splurges. But I see things that my family does sometimes that I just can't understand. And I think I'm a little crazy for it.

My mom for example, is very high maintenance. She HAS to have $30 mascara from the mall and new custom made running shoes every 4 weeks. She has to go through McDonalds drive-thru twice a day for extra large caffeine free diet coke with no ice. Her definition of what she needs to survive are totally different than mine.

My sister uses a towel once and then they don't use it again. They have two kids, so that's four towels or more (probably 6) a day that they only use once. She does laundry just for towels three days a week. She spends $500 a month in groceries and it's all pre-packaged junk like fruit snacks and poptarts. They buy everything on credit and it has to be top of the line. Their computer was acting up and was really old, so they had my boyfriend (IT guy) look at it. He recommended a Dell desktop for $399 that fit all of their needs and then some. He told them it would be cheaper to have them buy that then for him to build one for them because he couldn't make it that cheap. They bought a XPS for over a grand. Why? Because there was no interest for 2 years and they were approved for enough to cover it.

I'm the one who researched coupon codes forever before I got my computer and saved $750 off of it. I use coupons, don't eat out often, spend $75 a month on groceries, use $5 mascara and buy my top of the line running shoes on sale when I can't use the ones I have anymore. I said something to my mom when she brought over chocolate milk in 6 pint size individual containers for my niece and nephew about how it was the same price to just buy mix or the gallon and she said this way was just "easier."

I understand that everyone's different, but it's amazing to me to see what others consider essential to living.
post #2 of 125
My co-worker, whom I love dearly, is obsessed with jewerly. Fake stuff, real stuff, it doesn't matter. She watches the jewelry television network everyday and is always buying new pieces and sets. She doesn't dress fancy - she's a blouse and khaki's kind of girl at work and even more casual at home. Yet, she has this need to amass a huge stock pile of various semi-precious jemstones. She has 4 different wedding rings...I kid you not. To each his own I guess but I really don't understand this. Most of her stuff just sits in a box. When I told her that I was cutting back my spending to live a more frugal life she told me she was doing the same thing. Her plan is to eat out less so she can afford to buy more jewelry. Mind you, she's a nurse, doesn't make boat loads of money, and has plenty of debt. Sometimes, I get so tired of hearing about her latest jewelry transactions I just have to tune her out.:
post #3 of 125
Yeah, it is hard because we live in a society that so highly values stuff, convenience, and immediate gratification. My DH and I often have to remind ourselves of the long-term goals we have that are being met by our choices to live a different lifestyle than the norm - being in a situation where I can choose to stay home as much as I want; raising children who see the value of imagination, quality time, and hard work and not just the value of stuff; being able to choose jobs that truly make us happy because there is no debt monkey on our back; being able to be generous with others who really need help; and the list goes on ..........
post #4 of 125
I try not to judge individual families on this issue, because everyone is on a journey and I'm not perfect. However, I have a big beef with the corporations and marketing schemes that work to convince people they need all that stuff. When I told my MIL that I wanted to make my own butter, she said, "I don't trust butter that doesn't come out of a machine." That is some hard-core marketing brainwashing there.
post #5 of 125
Oh yeah, I see it everywhere. I am really perplexed by the four wheeler for each member of the family mentality seen around these parts.

My mom and dad have a television/speaker/etc. setup that is worth almost as much as their home.
post #6 of 125
It doesn't so much make me cringe as it does make me worry, but I have a relative who really stresses about money. But at the same time he is so scared and stressed about money that he can't think clearly about it. So he'll be irrationally frugal in some instances but more often he's irrationally non-frugal. He is simultaneously scared and entranced by money and I feel like it rules his life. :

I think he both looks down on us and is envious of us because we live modestly and frugally.
post #7 of 125
There are instances where dh and I look incredulously at each other, shake our heads and move on.
But whatever, it's their life. I try not to let it affect me or my mood. If our neighbors want to have two mortgages, lease cars and not save for retirement, fine. But I don't want to hear them complaining about their predicament ten years down the road.

OP - I am curious, what kind of shoes is your mom getting that she needs new ones every month? Last year I finally threw out some old sneakers from eighth grade (so, uh, 14-15 years ago), and I wore the same pair of sporting-goods-store sneakers for 2 years since I didn't want to stretch out my new pair (when I was pregnant). Maybe I'm just in my own warped little world...
post #8 of 125
yep--i have a sil who has to have "nice things", judges those who shop target, etc, child must have natural or wooden..to me that is overboard.
post #9 of 125
i suppose frugality is a ymmv situation, as a frugal purchase to one person might seem to be extravagant for another.

but WASTEFULNESS and MINDLESS CONSUMPTION? that irks me to no end. dh's dad and his wife will order a full appetizer, salad, entree and multiple desserts per person (i'm not kidding...they'll order 3-4 desserts between the 2 of them. and they will eat a few bites of their food and that's it. when we used to go out to eat with them, smil especially would judge us that we're so low class because we would take a doggie bag home with us.: meanwhile, there would be several portions of perfectly good food that they would waste. fil told us that she does this because she grew up in abject poverty, and now she's making up for it by ordering anything and everything that her heart desires, just because she can (they are quite well off).
post #10 of 125
Yes and no. OP, your mom's spending habits are a little crazy I cringe at my own mom all the time - she buys a lot of stuff that goes unused, crafts that don't get finished (or started), duplicates of gardening supplies she's forgotten she has and didn't use the first time, gifts she forgets to send. That stuff makes me crazy. I also know a ton of people who own homes they can't afford and take out loans for big screen TVs, but that makes me cringe more because it makes me look like a weirdo more than anything else. OTOH, I love good design and the feel of good quality, so I certainly don't judge when somebody spends $30 on mascara. I probably ask to borrow it.
post #11 of 125
Your OP made me cringe all the waste. : I feel bad when people think they need to have all these "things" in order to be happy or for others to think they are fab. Its amazing to see all the debt they amass.

I hate it though when I see waste waste waste just to waste because someone can. Its sad.
post #12 of 125
When I see people paying $4 for a 20oz. bottled water at the amusement park, yes I cringe! (Especially when the sign says you can bring your own!) But like a PP said, it's their life. I really try my best not to judge, either. You can bet I'm a pretty frugal person, but some things I do would be considered frivilous by many. What is important to one person isn't necessarily important to the next. I think that's important to keep in mind.

What makes me sad though is how people equate things with happiness. I know way too many people like this, unfortunately. I also worry about the people who are choosing to go into debt (not things like medical, etc.) without really thinking about the ramifications. I agree with a PP who talked about wasteless and mindless consumption.
post #13 of 125
Uh. Nevermind. Who knows who knows me and might be offended if I talk about them here.
post #14 of 125
When I see my sister (single, no kids, working) spend $100+ on highlights in her hair.
When I see her spend $90 on getting her finger and toe nails done.
When I see her spend $150 on just *HERSELF*for a fancy dinner with her boyfriend.
When my parents and sister think nothing of dropping $100 on an outfit.
When my Dh buys fancy sparkling imported water ($1.25 for 2 cups worth), instead of bulk tonic water ($1.25/2L), and $5 a box cereal that lasts all of a week.

I cringe...
post #15 of 125
I cringe at many spending habits, but I also cringe at a lot of other habits, too. Wastefulness is bad, but not the worst thing one can do. I just try to live the way I believe.
post #16 of 125
Yeah, sometimes.


-When people buy juice by the bottle or carton. WHY? Concentrate is so.much.cheaper.

-DH and I have lots of relatives who live in extremely rural areas, where they have some acreage, well water, and pay $$$ for trash pickup. Yet they buy disposable stuff (diapers, dishcloths, etc.) like crazy and dry all of their laundry in the dryer. I don't get it.

We live in town, our trash and water come on the same bill, our trash is very reasonable, and we never put out half of what we're allowed to, because we compost and we avoid disposable stuff like the plague. Our yard is small, we have a big giant clothesline that I use whenever I can. It's not inconvienent, and it saves us a lot of money on electricity.

Our rural relatives, who have more room, pay more for trash and don't pay for water would still rather throw stuff away than wash and line dry a cloth diaper. Again, I don't get it.

-An aunt of mine, who stays home with her boys, constantly complains about being broke. (I mean, serious complaining. "Oh, I have to go to the food pantry because I have no money for dinner". "Oh, I can't go anywhere because I have no money for gas.")
She's college educated, her husband has a good job with benefits, they drive nice late model cars, both have cell phones, have sattelite, have high speed internet and a new computer, she always has new clothes, the boys have every toy known to man, they have a lovely country home on a few acres AND a vacation cottage on the lake, the house is always packed to the rafters with convinence food... and yes, she uses sposies and dries everything in the dryer. I loaned her the Tighwad Gazette, but I don't think it did any good. I want to just tell her: you are always broke because you spend money right and left!

On the other hand...

the last time I went food shopping I spent $30 on a bar of chocolate, a container of stevia and a bottle of Bragg's Liquid Aminos. :
So I have my downfalls, too.
post #17 of 125
Well the one that takes the cake is when my mother informed me that my brother buys his socks at walmart so he doesn't have to wash them. That's right. He wears them one time and then they go into the trash!

My mother buys EVERYTHING possible in disposable products (she LOVED the idea of the one use toothbrush). For things like food and toiletries she is all about individually wrapped and travel size. Always has been even when I was living at home. You can imagine how disgusted she (not to mention my brother LOL) are that we use cloth diapers and I use mama cloth as well. Oh yes ofcourse my mother was sure to buy the disposable wash cloths for both my kids even though she knows how I feel about them.

The "have to" get their hair done at $60-80 every six weeks is one that baffles me.

I'm sure I could think of more...
post #18 of 125
My sister lives on disposables. I mean, I could see taking disposable Solo cups out to the lake or something but she uses them all day everyday at home and then tosses! EEEp!
It's wastefulness that I hate so much.
We need ~$1020/month for our budget, she told me it would take her and her bf over $1700 per month for just two people! They want cable AND DSL and two cell phones and two cars, etc. etc. etc. Remind you that she works only part time and he has worked more jobs in the past year than DH has worked in 5!

Yes I cringe when my mom forgets and buys two of something, or if she buys stuff "just because it's on sale" She isn't frugal but I guess she doesn't have to be (compared to me). Her house and cars are paid for, and her job is just "extra" income to them. I just hope that my parents are saving enough for retirement in a few years!
post #19 of 125
yeah totally!!

then again, i am frustrated by extreme frugality too like when i go to visit my dear sister and one of the kids has dropped the tp in the sink so instead of throwing it out she puts it in the dryer and then we are all left to try to peel the now stuck together and crunchy paper apart to wipe our heineys
post #20 of 125
Originally Posted by scrapadoozer View Post
Oh yeah, I see it everywhere. I am really perplexed by the four wheeler for each member of the family mentality seen around these parts.

My mom and dad have a television/speaker/etc. setup that is worth almost as much as their home.

Hey, I live in your parts, and it's actually the "live in a single wide trailer with a stick built garage for the truck that cost more than the trailer and the snow mobile that cost almost as much" mentality.

Truck payment= $500
Snowmobile and 4-wheeler payments+$350
House (trailer) payment=$300
Electronic payments= $150

But yeah, they can't afford a "real house" because those other things are "essentials"!
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