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We're not at that "OMG what do we do?" state so our budget has some fat. I lived poor too long to do it again so I wonder about posting TMI. I have the cable service i want & even though I don't need it, I want it enough to keep it. 3 trucks & only 2 drivers, but none will be sold - especially not the one with the $600 payment. We're going to keep nice things, have a little pocket money, etc, but are going to trim out some fat & reduce some retirement savings.

Greetings, SeeFoolRun, I think in many ways you are doing great! But I highlighted portions of your post above to make a philosophical comment: if you have ever felt any stigma from feeling poor, it is a mindset that can haunt your future consumption choices, too, unless you try on the concept that you really ARE NOT poor.

Here's what I mean: I am quite decently paid in my job - others make a lot more than I do but I have struck a balance between hours and compensation that I am satisfied with. I grew up feeling like there was a sufficiency of resources, not lacking for anything but neither flush with wealth. The point is that I am, and always have been, surrounded by others who either outearn me OR outspend me. But because I did not grow up with the burden of feeling lessened by what I did or did not have, or could get, I also grew up without STUFF having any special allure for me. In a sense, that is my freedom today. I am not driven to acquire nor to hang on to what costs me in payments or upkeep, and I am far more free to direct my earnings to where I wish them to work hardest for me, rather than to consumables out of an effort to reassure myself that I CAN.

If you love what you spend on, and if you are not pinched by it, then I would already say that you have vaulted over the prior stamp that feeling poor could have left on you. It doesn't have to be indelible! But if you feel like you are still trying to spend up to some standard just to tell yourself that you must not be poor, then you could still be chained to the notion that underneath it all, being poor is your fate.

Not so! Consider re-tooling your self-perception. If you rid yourself of any sense that you consume now because you CAN, then some of what you consume now may truly be optional and may not be as satisfying as you'd thought, given what other options are available to you for employing your money differently than you might have reflexively considered.

Secret stigmas are the toughest to unmask. If you have made a conscious choice on how you save and spend, and are satisfied with it, that is great. But if you give everything a look-see and recognize that any part of what you are doing is related to silencing a nagging fear or doubt, expose it for what it is and decide that your future does not have to be dictated by your past, and make your choices accordingly.

I am finally debt-free except for the mortgage, having retired almost $150K of student loan and credit card debt. I've got to say that it is a daily blessing and a daily freedom of the sweetest sort NOT to have to parcel out my earnings to my creditors - far sweeter than acquiring any more STUFF has been - and since I was immune to who thought highly or lowly of the state of my consumption, I was not influenced by needing to spend up to my income. As I have said here many times, I am secretly proud of living modestly in relation to my income and the debt-free future looks ever brighter! That does NOT mean that I refuse to spend any money, far from it - in fact, during the entire time I was paying off debt I was simultaneously saving for retirement (yes, it is IMPORTANT to do this year by year despite the debt!) but I was also making conscious choices about which expenditures had the most joy for me and I spent for those and decided to not spend for others. And there was NO feeling of deprivation, only an ongoing sense of personal power and pride that I had taken control of my financial future. So think things over: do your nice things own you? If debt is a monster to you, why not do what it takes to shrivel it to nothingness so your future is free of such monsters? What you do today decides the financial future for the you of tomorrow, and you are right - you are NOT poor - but if some of your habits of consumption are a throwback to when you were, or felt, poor, give some thought to how you might now arrange your repayments and your saving/spending differently to truly secure your future. Reducing retirement savings now eats into your comfort later and you can't go backwards to make up for what you did not set aside - your present self is in charge of your future self's resources so you have two SeeFoolRun's to take care of, so consider making it easy for the you of today to salt away what the you of tomorrow will need once you get there.

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