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The world’s elite are shaking off their “frugal fatigue”

This article was in the January 22, 2010 edition of the New York Times: “Ready to Spend Bonuses, but Not to Boast.”

It’s bonus time for many of Wall Street’s elite and according to luxury retailers, these folks are shaking off their “frugal fatigue” and getting ready to spend their bonus money – discreetly, of course, because the rest of America is still staggering under unemployment rates, rising taxes, foreclosures, etc.

While I don’t ever see myself randomly dropping money on $5,000 earrings, I can see the dissipation of “frugal fatigue” in my own little life. Now that I don’t have every extra cent going towards credit card debt, I see myself making purchases that I wouldn’t have made a year ago (my recent vacation, concert tickets for an anniversary gift for my parents). Instead of being relieved that I have extra money, I find myself looking forward to February when I have no plans for my money past my usual grocery expenses and college debt.

What about the rest of you? Is the economy loosening enough that you’re shaking your frugal fatigue or are you being vigilant and still fighting the good fight. 🙂

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8 thoughts on “The world’s elite are shaking off their “frugal fatigue”

  1. I don’t find I have too much frugal fatigue, because this is a long-term lifestyle change and I build in the occasional splurge. However, even the definition of a splurge has changed…it used to be a week in Hawaii, now it’s a weekend getaway to the Oregon coast.

    For me this will be my way of life forever. And I will never have to worry about my money running out.

  2. The biggest change to for me has been that I really think through every purchase a lot more than I did before. “Why are you buying this?”, “What will the value be to you in 1 year? In 3 years? In 5 years?”, “Is there a better option?”, “Do you NEED this?” Doesn’t always stop me from buying something but I think it has kept me from making some bad or impulse buys.

  3. We are still in debt payoff mode but we’re not quite as tight fisted as we were a year ago. Hubby bought me some quilting supplies for Christmas (on sale) and I bought him a piece of hardware for his computer (on sale), but it was the first time we’ve bought each other Christmas presents in four years. We just bought a subscription to a Japanese learning website because we want to visit Japan after we get out of debt but want to know the language enough to get around and not look like total tourists. 😉 But the subscription was a one time payment and it was on sale for half off.

    While we are not quite as tight fisted with money, we’re still sending the vast majority of it to our credit cards. We’ve paid off over $1500 in the past three months above minimum payments. So I think we’re doing pretty good.

  4. Still fighting the good fight as you say. It is my hope that we (and others) will remain frugal and spend less than they used to.

  5. We are loosening a bit. For example, we put our youngest back in a gym class that we had quit for a year and we bought a tv. We are looking forward to getting our tax refund so that we can replenish our savings from having to buy a work vehicle for my husband. It’s better, but I’m not interested in jumping into a spending spree.

  6. I’ve gotten so used to frugal mode that now it’s just our normal way of living. I don’t think I’d even enjoy spending a bunch of extra money. Sure I can think of a few things it would be nice to have, but I’d always be thinking about what I was giving up to have them. We’ve cut the spending down to just what we consider the basics and we don’t feel like we’re missing anything. Since our salaries have gone up over the years while we were gradually cutting our expenses, the gap between what we make and what we live on is now substantial. In a normal month there is $3-4k of unallocated money after paying the mortgage, utilities, insurance, gas and groceries. Every week I skim off the excess and sent it to our retirement accounts, the kids education fund or make an extra mortgage payment. Certainly we could afford go our for a nice dinner now and then, but why would we? We’re both handy in the kitchen and we live 20 minutes out of town so is kind of inconvenient. Mostly it’s just the cost that keeps me from doing it. I really wouldn’t enjoy an expensive meal at this point. If I’m going to splurge it will be on travel. It’s the only thing that can distract me from putting all we can into our retirements accounts. We plan to retire in 2020 (at 55 & 58) and now that we have a definite target, it’s really easy to stay on track. We do take a break from adding to our savings and go on a great trip every two years, but other than that we really don’t spend on anything we don’t have to. It wouldn’t suit everyone for sure, but since we don’t put any value on new cars, eating in restaurants, or having trendy clothes or electronics, we don’t feel like we’re missing out on anything.

    My only concern is whether we’ll actually be able to walk away from our salaries in 10yrs, stop saving like mad and start drawing on our savings. It’ll be a total 180 from what we’re doing now.

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