I am not a saint when it comes to my spending habits. However, one of my guilty pleasures is observing the spending habits of others. Particularly those of coworkers, family members, and people on social media. I guess it could be considered judgmental but I think it’s a trait of most financially responsible folks.
I think subconsciously it reminds me that I have bigger goals for the future and throwing away money on frivolous things will hinder me from achieving those goals. I try to limit my spending to hobby related items. I still shop around and will buy those items used if possible. For example, I started bowhunting this past year. I bought a new compound bow only because I did my research and found a bow that I was interested in for a reasonable price at a local shop. They took measurements for my draw length, installed my peep sight (used to see your sight at full draw), and other services that I did not have the knowledge to do myself. The bow came with a rest (holds you’re arrow when drawing the bow back), sight (used to aim at target at various ranges), and a stabilizer (helps to keep bow steady when aiming). I recently decided that I wanted to upgrade those three things. I looked through the classifieds section on the Archery Talk forum and have been able to slowly upgrade those items and plan on selling a few of my own items to recoup some of the cost.
I feel that if I can keep my monthly expenses low enough and put as much money into retirement as I can every month, I can justify buying a few reasonable items for myself. I also keep in mind that I still have a couple of student loans weighing me down. So that means I do my best to pack a lunch, cook at home, etc. I’m not going to list all of the money saving tips that are regurgitated everywhere else (Most people only have one cable bill to cut!) That’s why it is difficult for me to comprehend certain spending habits of others.
I know people that always have the new iGadget. Whether it is the latest model of the iPhone or an Apple Watch. They also order take out while at work, which seems counterproductive to me. They change vehicles when they get bored with their current model. They tag themselves on social media eating at restaurants multiple times a week. They believe they are entitled to go a vacation every year, sometimes more than one. They also post pictures of their trips and new toys on social media. I know for a fact that a few of those individuals are in debt up to their eyeballs. So it irks me when I see the posts on social media glorifying their lifestyle.
I believe that I have always been somewhat naturally frugal and I cannot comprehend the spending habits of some people. They would not have to pull overtime and/or work multiple jobs if they could control their urge to spend. They could even retire a few years sooner! A coworker recently told me that she took out a car loan with an interest rate of 24% WTF. I have tried to initiate a few coworkers but it seemed to fall on deaf ears. Buy groceries at Aldi instead of Wal-Mart, pack leftovers instead of spending $15 on lunch, and get a prepaid cell phone plan are a few insights I have offered. I will continue to offer advice to them if asked but I think some may have to crash and burn before they change their ways.