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The Dangers of Pride in Your Frugality



I”ll be the first to admit that I take pride in how I handle my money. I genuinely like saving it, investing it, growing it. Building alternate streams of income through a variety of sources has been a great experience, and I expect more in the years to come. If anyone wants to hear about how I save my money or organize my finances or the goals I”ve set to be debt free and live perpetually in that fashion, I”m more than happy to help! But there”s a fine line to walk between offering advice and talking down to someone who doesn”t handle money as well as you do.

Take a recent article at Frugal Dad, for example, explaining the mentality of the “perpetually poor.” I happen to agree with him, of course, that too many people bemoan their situation without ever taking steps to improve it. My roommate, for example, complained that he needed to make more money at work because he totaled his car driving too fast on the high way near our apartment. He was worried about getting enough money to buy a new car and having enough to pay rent and other expenses. This same friend also orders pizza out 3-6 times a week, smokes like a chimney (not allowed in the apartment of course), and his car of choice is a new Mazda that will stretch his limits.

I”ll be the first to admit that this kind of behavior gets under my skin. It genuinely bothers me that people make more than enough money to cover their living expenses but struggle to pay rent every month because they blow it on frivolous, unnecessary crap.

However, it”s also not my place to dictate to people how they should spend their money. I”ve offered my help in the past, and been met with “Ya, I should do that…” You know the tone, when someone says they “should” do something but you”re quite sure they”ll never get around to doing anything of the sort. Beyond paying rent and utilities on time, how my roommate handles his finances is not my business and ultimately not my place to judge, either.

I think that offering to help those you care about understanding the importance of handling their money well is a great idea, but you also don”t want to be “that guy/girl,” making snide comments when you go out shopping with a friend and they want a $150 pair of Oakley”s.

Sometimes they do slip out, though….

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1 Comment on “The Dangers of Pride in Your Frugality”

  1. #1 Pablo
    on Jun 9th, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    You make a great point and I appreciate you covering this topic. I’m slowly becoming the guy that tells people, “you don’t need that, you want it!” And I find that some are receptive and can be guided to some extent but some have started to avoid me a little, I’m guessing for fear that I’ll challenge their bad habits when they complain about money.
    I think from now on I’ll stick to “well, can’t tell you what to do but I’ll tell you what I did when I got in a similar bind”.