Why I´m a frugal jerk

Something Grasshopper said the other day rubbed me the wrong way. He is one of those people who love to have the perfect clothes, hat, shoes, travel bag, etc. for every occasion. Apparently he´d been looking for a cool overnight bag for some time and last week he found a very nice leather bag with 75% off at 35€.

While I think this is a great price for such a bag, he justified the purchase by saying he wouldn´t get any snacks during his shift for a week, to make up for the money. That is what ticked me off. He doesn´t have a latte factor, he has a sandwich factor at 5€ per day! That´s 120€ per month! On sandwiches!!


Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

There I was am not buying things I really really need kinda want and he is spending a fortune on eating out by himself. So I tried to let it go but actually let it simmer for a couple of days before I told him that it bothered me. And even though I thought it was nicely phrased and non passive-aggressive (I´ve a tendency to do that), I was actually being a jerk and here is why:

  1. Grasshopper gets 200€ per month in food checks that can only be cashed at certain restaurants near to where he works. He uses those for his snacks, even though he gives me half to spend with my friends. None of his coworkers do that.
  2. He has constantly talks about all the things he wished he had, but last time he bought something for himself was, um, November.
  3. We have a fully funded emergency fund, that I imposed, saved his entire Christmas bonus, and save a minimum of 10% of our combined income a month.
  4. I´m not really the buying kind, so it´s not like I´m missing out on buying experiences, I just choose not to buy.
  5. I sometimes am an irrational Frugalzilla. Oh yes, and a jerk.

(Sigh), maybe this is something I should add to my list of things I need to improve.

Have you ever blown a little expense out of proportion? Did you feel silly too?


Unemployed budget madness

By the time I started working, I had been reading personal finance blogs for a while, opened a IngDirect account from my allowance savings and sponsored a woman in conflict through Women for Women. Because I knew how hard it had been for these bloggers to track their pennies and keep their spending under control, I wrote every single purchase on a sheet of paper with the month and year as heading and attached the receipts with a clip.

Aproximately a year after I had a regular income, I started dating Grasshopper and realized that I no longer needed to keep such close tabs on my money. I was in control, and knew what I could indulge in and what I couldn´t. At the beginning of each month, I´d put about half my salary in savings and just didn´t worry about how I spent the rest. Whatever money was left at the end of the month, I´d just roll over to the savings account. On top of that, I started tutoring a lovely ADD kid, and made an extra $100-200 a month. This money, paid in cash, I kept as an emergency stash/Christmas fund/random trips fund.

I know I´m a money nerd because watching my savings, and the interest grow, makes me feel a little fuzzy inside. Grasshopper calls it my serious problem with saving. I call it my Ant personality.

Anyways, even though I worked part-time for near minimum wage, because I´d been so dilligent in my savings, I could afford to take an 8 month break from work to concentrate on getting my degree, and make a big deposit to Grasshopper´s and my Living together emergency fund. And I still had a big personal cushion to lean on when I finished my internship in August. However, when I paid my Master´s last week, I spent all that money, apart from $300, which is my new much leaner cushion. The stash had long ago left the building.

And now I´m getting worried about my spending again. I tutor 3 people at the moment, earning roughly $300 a month. About $150 goes towards petrol and publc transportation, with the rest I need to save for my new, much more expensive insurance, get Christmas presents, give to my sponsored sister, and start a car fund to save for repairs, which will most likely be much more expensive that my old old car´s. So I´m trying to find a way to make more money and keep the money I have. It seems like I´ll go back to the list until I can figure out a better way to manage my irregular lifestyle.

Thanks to Stuart Miles for the pic.

Car troubles and are we the crazy ones here?

Grasshopper´s car died. It doesn´t even make that wheezy sound you get when your battery still has some juice left. And the hood got stuck so we can´t change the batery or try to fix it, like we have done in the past. The car is now officially dead.

Grasshopper now works at a 6 minute walk from work so it´s not really pressing, but he lives somewhere with bad public transport and he hates having to ask me or his friends for lifts all the time. He has had two interviews for a job in his field, and is waiting for the third and final one. That job would be much better paid, permanent and with long term prospects, but he would need a car. So, even though he wants it now, though I think we could probably wait a few weeks or until he has the other job.

We are now looking for a replacement we can pay for in cash. We planned to build our joint emergency fund before moving in together, and we were halfway through when this happened. So we are planning on spending half of that on a new-to-us car, which, in the current market will get us something not too shabby.

We first asked everyone we knew if they had a car to sell in our price range, or if they knew of anyone who did. And, though they tried to be helpful, almost all of them suggested we buy a new car. Now, in our current situation, I´m a full-time student and Grasshopper has 6 months left on his current contract, that is not a good suggestion. But when we try to point that out, they all give us excuses why we totally should.

Now are we the crazy ones here? We know we can´t put off credit forever, we will have to get a mortgage eventually, but burdening ourselves with debt at this point in our lives doesn´t make sense to us and not doing, apparently doesn´t make sense to them. Grasshopper´s dad even offered to pay for a few payments, but he won´t just give us the money to get a better used car. I don´t think that makes sense, do you?

What do you do when your friends and family insist you make certain decisions you know are not good for you?

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