Stop Yourself From Saving Too Much

In our free-spending society, it’s tough for some to fathom the concept of saving so much that it hurts, but it’s possible to place frugality on such a pedestal that necessities are sacrificed.

Business Insider recommends striking a balance between financial responsibility and the ability to enjoy life. The post pokes holes in the concept of giving up current dreams to gather up a massive retirement nest egg, just for the sake of that nest egg.

While you’ll need enough to last you the rest of your life, keep in mind that you may be so old that you won’t be able to enjoy the money like you could when you were young. The mindset that you should sacrifice in order to pass on an inheritance seems sad and twisted.

It’s easy to go from one end of the spectrum to the other, but tougher to find the happy medium that will allow you to get the most out of your income while safeguarding your future.

Yes, There Is Such A Thing As Saving Too Much Money [Business Insider]

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  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    So… don’t be a Scrooge. Got it.

    (*reminded of the Christmas Canadian Tire ads*)

  2. Straspey says:

    Wait – WHAT ??

    Punish And Reward Your Own Behavior To Save Money By Phil Villarreal on January 4, 2012 10:15 AM

    http://consumerist.com/2012/01/punish-and-reward-your-own-behavior-to-save-money.html

    Stop Yourself From Saving Too Much By Phil Villarreal
    on January 4, 2012 11:15 AM

    http://consumerist.com/2012/01/stop-yourself-from-saving-too-much.html

    Ummmm….

    • BfloAnonChick says:

      Clearing SOMETHING happened to Phil within that hour… O_o

    • missy070203 says:

      evil twin maybe?

    • CanadianDominic says:

      Those posts can both coexist. Learning how to save properly is important, and over-saving can be just as bad as under-saving. You have to have a LIFE too, but while ensuring youre protecting yourself in the future. I see no issue with both posts existing within the hour :P

      • K-Bo says:

        Exactly, not everyone who reads this site has the same habits and issues. The first article addresses some, the second article addresses others.

  3. Jules Noctambule says:

    That’s my husband’s parents’ problem right there — they won’t spend a penny on anything they don’t define as a necessity. Unfortunately, frivolous things like appliances under 30 years old that don’t require routine repairs, dental work and regular medical checkups aren’t on that list, so it’s false economy and they’re miserable for nothing.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      You should show them the losses they will sufffer if they don’t do proper maintenance on their body, or the energy savings in new appliances.

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        I acknowledge that there’s savings in new appliances, but I’m not about to rip out the nearly-40 year-old oven in my kitchen and replace it with something half the usable size just to save a couple of bucks a month on my electric bill.

        When it finally dies, I’ll expand the built-in cabinet that holds it so I can install a larger oven which I’m sure will use just as much power as its smaller, older cousin does right now…so again, no savings there. Modern ovens are so insulated that one that would fit in the same space as my current oven would be about as useful to me as an EZ-Bake Oven. I did replace my dishwasher last year, but only because the existing one was broken and the parts required to fix it were not available anymore.

        My washer and dryer are bottom of the line, inefficient, cheapo units. I’m sure I could save some money on water/power if I replaced them but it would cost me $1600-$3000 to do so. I may never make up those savings in an entire lifetime of use. So, I’ll keep using my crappy washer/dryer units until they are beyond repair OR the repair cost is so high that getting new ones is justified. THEN, and ONLY then, will I get new ones.

        There’s also the hidden costs of switching appliances, and that’s disposing of the old ones. They take up immense space in landfills, and even recycling them has an environmental cost. So there’s that as well.

        Call me “cheap” but I’m going to use those major appliances until they are beyond any repair whatsoever.

    • Darury says:

      I had a pair of old uncles that lived simliar to that. They had a small fortune in the bank, but ate their cereal with water because milk was too much of an expense. I’m working on building a small nest-egg, but I’m not willing to stop living for the sake of saying “I have $X in my account”.

      • trentblase says:

        Literally? Why not just eat the cereal dry? It would be way better than with water… *shudders*

  4. Rainicorn with baby bats says:

    they can send me some of that …..

  5. Cat says:

    “Stop Yourself From Saving Too Much”

    Nice problem to have!
    Does anyone really have this problem?

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      My wife’s parents… but its part of a larger problem that he have absolutely no goddamned clue how to manage their money.

    • pop top says:

      Please save us from all ze money.

    • CanadianDominic says:

      I made a normal income and I hope to have this problem some day in the near future. Once you’ve paid down your debts, and put away 6 months of aftertax income into savings, whats next? Do you keep saving money, or do you start to diversify, find shelters, move on to the next step? To continue saving once you’ve met all your medium term goals seems like it might not be the best idea.

      • azgirl says:

        After 6 months, you shoot for a year.. if you are disciplined enough, and you are still enjoying your life, why stop? Then later if you lose or get sick of your job, you have a nice cushion to sit on…

        Or you can decide to do what I am doing- blow it all on a new kid.. HA!

        • HSVhockey says:

          I’m with you, except for the kid thing. I don’t have all my debts paid off, but they are easily manageable (and should be mostly gone after my year end bonus check arrives), and I have enough money now saved up that even with paying on those debts I could last a year or so without working at all.

          Though I will admit I don’t invest towards my retirement in the least. I don’t see “matching” as free money when I don’t get a say in how that money is used. I’ll greet at WalMart when I “retire” or just use all my savings and buy a dive bar somewhere and sling drinks till I croak.

        • trentblase says:

          Once you have a year, shoot for 5, then 10, then 25. Once you have 25 years of expenses saved, retire.

      • Cor Aquilonis says:

        I plan to invest for retirement and save for a home once I have my emergency fund in place. YMMV.

    • loggg says:

      Answer: oh yes!

      I am over 40 and have no house, no wife, no kids. Years of saving money means I could afford these things. My car is small, cheap, and old. I fear it has a bearing on why I am not married, but… I don’t want a material girl anyway. I would seem to have very low status indeed, in a country that sees money as status, and what girl wants that? I like a quiet life.

      Really, Americans feel so incredibly entitled. And are so quick to ascribe laziness, whining, and “loserdom” to the less fortunate. Blame the victims, even accuse them of engaging in “victimhood”. I do NOT want to play the fools’ game of Keep Up With The Joneses. My car works great, and I maintain it well enough. Even the paint is in good shape. I really do not need a new car. Nor have the auto manufacturers built much of the sort of car I like. The 2000s was definitely a lost decade for small, cheap gas sippers. I quite enjoyed the 2008 spike in gas prices. Suddenly my car was sort of cool. If the neighbors want to think I’m dirt poor, so be it. They just can’t believe there’s anyone who doesn’t play the game, therefore the logical explanation is that I must be poor. It really throws them when some hint that I might not be so poor leaks out, like the time I went on vacation to Europe.

  6. Matthew PK says:

    Considering the average person has *ZERO* savings, I don’t really think this article is that relevant.

    • eturowski says:

      +1

    • HomerSimpson says:

      Well maybe if you hadn’t wasted it all on Bon-Bons and plasma TVs, you wouldn’t have that problem!

      AmIright?

    • neilb says:

      I think many people have a hoarding mindset because they were caught with no cash a few years ago and bore some negative consequences from it.
      Think of the people sitting on the sidelines of the housing decline–too afraid to buy a house and take on the associated downpayment.
      Decent and somewhat safe investments are nowhere to be found. What would otherwise be put into a nice house or personal investments is in savings.
      The savings rate in the US is really high right now when compared to historical data…so it makes sense to worry about how to spend it.
      I can see this being an issue…but those who are saving are not doing so for the lack of things to spend on!

  7. MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

    “Stop yourself from saving too much”

    The government is way ahead of you on this one.

  8. Extended-Warranty says:

    It’s good that we are starting to tackle the real problems. Damn savers ruining this economy.

    • Necoras says:

      You jest, but that actually is an issue in some parts of the world. China comes to mind. Believe it or not, they’d rather not depend on the US to buy all of the crap they make, but there’s so much of a cultural drive to save that their citizens won’t buy enough of what they’re making. The Chinese government really wants their people to spend more, but it isn’t happening.

      Similarly, US corporations are collectively sitting on trillions of dollars in cash because they’re too afraid to spend it. If money doesn’t move, whether because people have no money to spend, or refuse to spend what they have, the economy stagnates.

  9. RandomHookup says:

    I sincerely believe that the great majority of Americans don’t have this problem.

    For those who do, there are risks to doing it either way. I’d rather not outlive my money, though (at least not by much).

  10. lifeispunny says:

    I can see the point. We aren’t promised tomorrow so have some fun now while still planning ahead.

  11. RandomHookup says:

    Something usually happens when people retire — they spend at a pretty high rate because they now have time to enjoy things and have a long list of expensive activities they have put off. They can’t keep up the pace financially, but their bodies pretty much take care of that problem for them.

  12. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Ok, I’ll get right on that, just after I stop myself from spending too much.

  13. smartmuffin says:

    People will automatically make decisions to maximize their own psychic profit based on their own individual time preferences. No “expert” can tell you how to “best” allocate your money between current and future consumption. That is a choice unique to every individual, and nobody will be able to figure it out better than you.

  14. makabe says:

    This is my problem exactly. In past years, I would wait until April to fund Roth IRA’s and SEP-IRA’s for the previous tax year, but this was creating a serious problem every April to come up with about $25-$30K to do this. This past year, I split the payments up monthly (as well as payments to Health Savings Account, Education IRA’s, and extra payments to mortgage principal) to avoid the April shock. What happened instead was that our cashflow always seemed to be lower than our spending. What it comes down to is that with an income around $95K, I can’t put $10K into Roth IRA’s, $17K into SEP-IRA’s, $4K into Education-IRA’s, $6K into HSA, and $9K to pay down principal (that’s $46K in ‘savings for those of you keeping score). It’s just too much saving.

    Next year I’m leaving the Roth IRA contributions out of the monthly payment and hopefully that will get us back on budget. Flame away.

  15. Invader Zim says:

    Can somebody give me money so I can practice saving it?

  16. Cacao says:

    I remember an episode of the “Love Boat” (don’t snicker). An elderly couple was on the cruise. The husband had just retired and the wife had been a housewife. The wife tells the husband they’ll live comfortably, she scrimped and saved while they were married and they have a number of blue chip stocks. The husband was shocked. All those years of not going out, not having fun. But I think by the end of the episode he forgave her.