I’ve been on a journey of budgeting and frugality for years now. I’ve made mistakes, both small and large, but overall I have always had some financial sense.
I really believe much of this is personality and innate. My two siblings and I all view money a little differently, so I can’t help but feel like we all picked up some lessons here or there but a lot of it is just who we are. That said, budgeting and frugality, like any lifestyle, is something that can be learned and acquired.
The Odd Man Out
To be good at budgeting and being frugal, you have to be okay with being the odd man out. Dave Ramsey always calls the people who go on his show “weird” in a joking way as in, “Don’t your friends think you’re the weirdest person ever for paying off your mortgage?”
And he’s right. The vast majority of the population does not budget. More than half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and we live in a culture that does not support basic financial education.
That means that if you want to get your finances in order for 2015 or start getting on the right track, you should know the ride might be a little bumpy.
There Will Be Times…
There will be times you feel like the only person on Earth who isn’t having any fun.
There will be times when you’ll be jealous of your friend’s shopping trip that she posted on Instagram.
There will be times when your own family members make comments about your frugality in a negative way.
There will be times when you can’t give your children everything they want and there will be times where you will be able to because of your budget.
There will be times when you have to remind yourself you’re better off for living this way, even though your neighbor’s new car seems really freaking nice right about now.
There will be times when you’ll cry, so frustrated that you’ve worked so hard at budgeting and yet still feel like there’s not enough money to go around.
There will be times you’ll have to say no to friends and going out.
There will be times you’ll feel ashamed of your ugly Craigslist couch.
There Will Also Be Times…
There will be also be times when you’ll see your mutual funds grow on their own to awesome numbers.
There will be times when you can take an amazing vacation because you went three years without one.
There will be times when you have to get a $700 repair on your car, and you don’t blink an eye because you have it.
There will be times when you can make the decision to start a business, change jobs, or simply quit working when you’re unhappy because you’re cushioned by a massive emergency fund.
There will be times when you’ll inspire someone else. And that someone else could be your own child who grows up to invest, budget, have an ugly couch, and save for an amazing vacation, and they’ll be so, so much happier for it.
So, what do you say? Do you have the courage to be the odd man out?
28 responses to “In Budgeting, There Will Be Times…”
Love it, Cat!
Yeah, I don’t mind being the odd man out I guess. I have always been a practical person and that translates into my financial life as well. I don’t want to pay for my bad decisions later in life either- I’ve watched far too many people go down that road.
Love this Cat! All true statements. I haven’t been at this very long yet, but I feel like I’ve already learned a lot. I still have a lot left to learn too, but I’m getting there. Thanks for sharing your experience with us 🙂
Totally agree with this! There will definitely be times where you feel like you are the only one not having fun… but in the end you have to stick to your bigger goals and accept that sometimes you are the odd man out sometimes. It probably means you’ll be an odd man out later in life in a good way.
“To be good at budgeting and being frugal, you have to be okay with being the odd man out.” –> Yes. It’s exactly what Dave Ramsey talks about. You hit it right on the head. I will say that the blogging community makes it easier. That along with books and podcasts to keep me on track. Remembering what you’re doing is the right thing helps make being the odd man out a lot easier, and these resources do that for me.
I actually feel pride in doing things a little differently than most at this stage in life. It’s quite freeing and the quality of life I live is a blessing and not having to be in debt in order to do it is pure awesome sauce. 🙂 Love this post!
Love this as this is my actual life right now, more along the lines of all the things I have to say no to. In fact tomorrow’s post touches on that a lot! But you’re right in that you gotta do what you gotta do!
Nicely put and very inspirational Cat! Next year is really going to be an uphill battle for me in order to get my finances in order and I imagine I will be sacrificing quite a bit. But I don’t mind being the odd one out or the ‘weird’ friend because I know everything will pay off in the end. The other day my friend compared me to an old lady because I was talking about setting up my retirement fund. I couldn’t help but laugh it off and some times you have to take people’s responses to your lifestyle with a grain of salt because it’s so true, many Americans don’t take budgeting and personal finance seriously.
Great post! I feel like the odd man out often and it can be tough. It’s harder, but comes with its own benefits for sure.
Love this, Cat. We’re definitely the oddballs in our family, and I’m perfectly fine with it now. Anytime a relative makes a snide remark about how we don’t spend money on this, that, or the other, I just look at them and smile and think about my awesome account balances and their consumer credit card debt 😉
I’m pretty sure I’ve been the odd man out all of my life, so I don’t even notice it anymore. =)
Love this post Cat! After three years on our “journey” we have experienced just about every single one. I am so thankful for the handful of friends and family and the amazing PF community who support and encourage my weirdness, however it does make establishing new friendships with people who don’t live a frugal lifestyle difficult.
You are so right about people like us will be looked upon as odd. I say it all the time that debt seems to be the norm and living for the moment without regards to a rainy day is also the norm. Don’t worry you have company.
Nice Cat, we just have to be sensitive to those times and be wise when making decisions. There will be times….
Exactly! I am still shocked that so many people don’t budget and I feel broke when I say I can’t do something because its not in the budget. But I’ve got goals I want to hit! I can’t stand the idea of wasting money and not knowing where it goes. I grew up with frugal parents so it didn’t seem odd until I got older, but luckily the personal finance community and other friends share the same goals and financial vision.
Exactly! It’s so hard saying no to something when it’s not in the budget, but I’ve found that having a “partner in crime” like me husband really helps. When we’re both solidly sticking to our budget, it makes it that much easier to say “no.”
I would say… there will be a time when you really don’t care if your neighbor bought a new car because you are perfectly happy with the paid for one sitting in your almost paid off house! I think you reach a point where you don’t care what everyone else is buying (or financing.) It’s a wonderful point to reach!
Dave Ramsey also says “live like no one else today to tomorrow you can LIVE like no one else.” Hubby and I have lived like no one else and today we are LIVING like no one else. It was hard at time and many times I felt left out and deprived. But when we retired years before our co-workers, and now we can afford to do anything we want, the feeling of freedom is positively amazing.
I find this to be most difficult with my family. Though they don’t come out and say it, I sense that they are judging our decisions, particularly our choice to cut back on Christmas gifts. The thing is they have a pretty general idea of our salaries to know that we can afford to do a lot more. They just don’t quite understand why we choose to set it aside for something else. But as Natalie said, I do find comfort and reassurance from the blogging community that we aren’t the ONLY ones choosing this path. That helps on the hard days.
I used to not want to be the odd man out and I made choices with the masses, but now I am actually wear my oddness with pride and I am not really bothered by the fact that I am different because I know I am making the smartest choices with my money.
It’s more fun looking at your 401K balance than shopping. And knowing that you are FI is a huge sense of accomplishment. Never let your eyes off the prize of being able to do what you want, when you want.
But do not quit a job just to live on a bare minimum lifestyle forever.
You’re absolutely right. Sometimes it is hard to say no to going out to an expensive restaurant with your friends or to resist upgrading your belongings, but seeing your account balances go up (or your debt go down) is worth it in the end.
Well said. And, yes! I’m definitely the odd gal out and I’m fine with it. We too have a Craigslist couch (I just hope no one looks at it too closely–the bonus is that it’s dark beige and in mood lighting it looks OK 🙂 ). It’s a bizarre journey to be so frugal, but it makes me so happy to read this post because then I know we’re not alone! It really is comforting to connect with like-minded folks :).
I know I get frustrated at a store when we need some assistance and no one comes by because we aren’t dressed over the top like other people. We like jeans and hoodies because it’s comfortable in the winter. The other day my wife wanted to try on a pair of boots and no one in the store was coming to help and finally I said out loud, “I don’t care what it costs, I just want to get you what you want” and two people came over. My wife tried on the boots and then justified away the expense because she didn’t really need it. Funny how society values debt and fake extravagance over smart money and true wealth. Too few people really know what it feels like to live debt free so they compensate it by going the opposite direction and accumulating “stuff.”
Love these and I think my hubby and me have experienced quite a few so far! Even recently someone I thought was one of my best friends cut all ties with me, and most of what she said was about Dave Ramsey and my get rich quick crud. Lol I LAUGHED because Dave is so not into get rich quick! But oh well less drama for me and now I can crank out my down payment fund in peace! 🙂
Ack sorry to hear about your friend. It’s always hard to loose them but sounds like you are better off!