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Saturday, September 19, 2015

80/20 Frugality?: Spend more on...What?

Mr FS and I have a combined age of 124. We are close to retirement if we really want it. In fact, we are too old for early retirement. Not that we wanted it. What could be more rewarding than yapping about literature?

Every now and then, I make a vow in this space. Generally, I do not keep my vows. Everyone knows about the Pareto Principle, right? That's the idea that everything is 80/20. You get 80% of the results with 20% of your effort. Then, to get the other 20%, you need to put out 80%. This works with stuff also: we wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time; we use 20% of our cookbooks 80% of the time, and so on.

This would mean that--in my frugal path-- I've gotten 80% of the benefits from 20% of the effort. For a long time, we put in the extra 20%: we wanted, for instance, to make sure our kids graduated college without debt. DONE. We wanted to pay off our house: DONE. 

Thanks to the recent swoon in the stock market, I have reverted to my 2008 behavior: I no longer look at retirement balances. Time is no longer on our side: whatever we save now will have a relatively small impact in the long run. 

That is disappointing, but freeing. It's hard to change habits. But I herewith vow to try to do only the 20% that will garner the 80% of results. 

So I'm trying to figure out what add-ons we should indulge in. Frugal Son wants us to treat him (and ourselves!) to more of the pricy restaurants in New Orleans. So we're doing a bit more of that.

I can't think of anything else. Any ideas?

Have you ever deliberately INCREASED your spending? On what?


Michele said...

I suspect many people would immediately suggest travel, if you enjoy it. We are both more both homebodies, and enjoy the idea of seeing new places more than the reality, plus we have cats to care for. Spend more on your home, maybe? Some small extra that you've thought about often, a fountain in your garden, a real library ladder, good quality tools--whatever your dearest interest is, perhaps? I'll be anxious to hear what you decide.

Janice Riggs said...

Plane tickets. ... sigh.....

Janice Riggs said...

Plane tickets. ... sigh.....

tess said...

Travel is lovely and very expensive, so that would quickly dispense with any surplus.
Charitable giving, planned like making a point to click every day on the Hunger Site (and related sites, clicks, not money), monthly donations to Habitat for Humanity, or food pantry; spontaneous like having $5 in front pocket to a person on the street, one guy said, Thank you, Baby! I regret not being prepared in a deli line, an elderly lady was clutching her $2 and waiting for thin slivers of ham. I wish I thought and acted fast to give her a twenty so she could buy enough for a meal or three. I replay the scene in my mind with a happier ending.

Shelley said...

I had a health scare earlier this year that turned out to be only 'atypical migraines'. In the few weeks where I feared the worst I thought about how my lifestyle and what I would consider doing differently. What I came up with was to eat out a bit more, to replace the toaster that wasn't working properly and to buy more shoes, which used to give me great pleasure, to see if that still did. We went to a nearby restaurant last night to celebrate our anniversary and the toaster has been replaced. but I've not got around to shopping for shoes...

Connie Wood said...

Besides travel, weekly massages and time to walk and do yoga. More on high quality clothing. Strangely, I save money this way because I don't indulge in more ephemeral pleasures like Diet Coke, junk food, etc. Wish I had figured this out eons ago.

Atlantic said...

Repairing things around the house so that your environment is lovely and works well for you. Costs a lot but a great thing to get out of the way: my retirement age friends joke that these are "terminal projects". Improve insulation, replace storm windows, fix quirky plumbing, get a nicer faucet. Repaint if the colour is not pleasing or it looks shabby. Cast an appraising eye over furniture and rugs and get rid of anything you don't actually love. And if your mattress is older, absolutely get a wonderful new mattress, great down pillows and wonderful sheets.

Pricey restaurants are not my thing but might be yours--do you love the experience? really love the experience? If not, what about hunting down wonderful small ethnic restaurants instead? or establishing a monthly tradition of having a lovely breakfast/brunch out en famille?

Consider things that take up time and that you do out of a sense of duty but do not love:
--if selling things on ebay is a hassle, give yourself permission to donate it all instead
--hire out for unpleasant yard chores
--hire someone to clean the house (if you don't do so already)

Buy nicer food and wine--if you enjoy it.

If you enjoy live music, consider concert tickets...

If you would enjoy biking, consider getting yourselves really great bicycles

(I skipped travel since I think you already prioritize this)

Duchesse said...

Well, what do you long for? Don't judge yourself for it, do something about it. If you do not know what you long for because you have drilled it into your head that you don't "need it", experiment a bit!

Only you can say whether a gorgeous new rug, regular massages, cookware so durable you can hand it down to your kids, or building a decent wine cellar make it into the 20%.

(Personally I think travel is not always worth it, and the environmental issues concern me very much. I do some, but would rather buy art than take a cruise.)

If you buy an object that does not earn its 20% designation, you can donate the mistake.

And I am all for giving more.

Frugal Scholar said...

Thanks everyone. I see that I have most everything I want! We travel every summer; I have great quality bed linens, pots and pans.

My 20% is so far going to gifts for the kiddos: a waterproof ipod, some tools, some art supplies. So much fun!

Duchesse said...

Dadgummit, Frugal, buy some good pearl earrings. There, I got it out of my system.