It should come as no surprise that, being a frugal person who is diligently working on achieving the ever elusive Financial Independence, I dislike spending money on most consumer products and services. My wife is on-board (for the most part) so in general, we spend much less than the peers in our income bracket on such things as cars, clothing, shoes, electronics, home furnishings, toys and other consumer staples.
We’re also less exposed to the service industry by insourcing most of the work that can be just as easily performed by a professional, if one desires and so often does in this country. I’m talking about services like landscaping, home repair/maintenance, car and motorcycle repair/ maintenance, bicycle repair, any other repair, computer and networking, dry cleaning, house cleaning, cooking, exercising, etc.
We are at the bottom of the middle class consumer scale, which I have no doubt is quantified in some fancy corporate literature. We are not doing enough for the country’s struggling economy. We are not contributing as much as we could to the GDP. The last time I checked we’ve been averaging 65% savings rate so for every dollar earned after taxes we save 65 cents. We are Bad Consumers.
So do I feel bad when everyone including the President is urging us to spend, spend, spend? Not in the slightest. I feel bad WHEN I spend.
Yet, there are things that I love to buy. Just like some people get a high from buying another iJunk, I get a rush from another monthly investment in a Vanguard fund. While others gripe about having to pay their mortgage, I smile when I make the regular payment, noting how the interest portion decreased yet again due to additional monthly principal-only payments that we regularly make to pay off the loan in less than 8 years instead of 30. I will feel even better when I make the final transfer to pay off the mortgage… just under 3 years left to go! Once that’s done, it will be a total financial game changer since for the first time in my adult life I will truly have zero debt. They say mortgage is a “good debt”… whatever, I don’t buy that. I no longer feel like being personally associated with anything called a “death contract“, unless maybe if it’s for business and investment purposes.
I also like spending money on vacations and travel. We’ve traveled to a lot of places in Europe, which wasn’t cheap, yet I’ve never regretted all the money we spent. However, we DIY and optimize our vacations as well, staying in affordable places because all the cookie-cutter hotels are not what we remember anyway. For our upcoming trip we booked a room in someone’s beautiful house on airbnb.com for less than half the price of the cheapest hotel. There are just so many more options now for these unique and affordable travel experiences than ever before! And as far as food goes, we’ve had expensive dinners in Italy followed by brown bag lunches from a grocery store the next day. Like it always is with frugality – it’s all about getting the balance right.
So I’m going to continue being a Bad Consumer of goods and services and save my F… You Money instead of spending it all on stuff. After all, what can be more American than being self-reliant, self-made and independent, free to pursue whatever it is your heart truly desires instead of punching the clock until you drop dead?
I’ll leave you with this definition of F… You Money aka Financial Independence: “F… You Money is any amount of money allowing infinite perpetuation of wealth necessary to maintain a desired lifestyle without needing employment or assistance from anyone“. Doesn’t it sound nice?