Frugality even at a high income

This is a totally valid question from a reader in response to my post about going back to work but with a lighter heart.

FB, if you are making so much money, why are you so frugal?

Those weren’t her exact words, but … it’s a good point.

I’d never really given it thought, but I guess I’ll try my best to answer.

It has become a habit now

I’ve just been so concentrated on being disciplined to clear my debt and save, that even with all the money I am making now, I am still in the same mindset to be frugal and to keep the money I’m making instead of spending it as freely as I did before, when I didn’t make as much.

It’s not a regular salary

I’ll spare going into the details again, but I’m essentially a freelancer. There are fat years and there are lean years. I need to save for the lean years.

I want to be more of a minimalist

I can’t really be one if I keep buying stuff, now can I? I am planning on moving soon and the more I accumulate, the more I have to pack and carry to move. Ick.

I also just feel (now) that I don’t need a lot. I’d like less actually.

Increasing my net worth is a real motivator

I really want to just see my net worth shoot up into the sky. And this sky, has no limit. I want to see myself hit $100,000 as soon as possible, and to just feel proud of what I’ve accomplished.

I thought that getting to $0 as my net worth instead of being so deep in the negative would be more exciting than what it was, but it was a bit anti-climatic to be honest! Hhahaha! I was pretty excited, but it didn’t feel like a real $0 net worth because a lot of it was my assets, and I still had a good chunk of debt left over.

I just hope I don’t go crazy and overdo it and become some sort of Miss Scroogette.

I want to feel safe

Having a lot of cash in the bank as my emergency fund, in savings and in retirement will make me feel ‘safe’. I will feel even freer than before (actually I feel it now), but it will make me feel secure and prepared for the future.

I plan on having kids in about 3 years

So when I have kids, I may or may not be with a corporation and I may or may not have maternity leave. If I have to take off at half my pay, I want to have a cushion to make sure that I can take the time I need to be with my kids without having to worry about being forced to go back to work too soon before I’m ready. This sounds like a really long-term kind of thing, but it is something I need to consider.

I like being financially independent

I’ve gotten a taste of it and I love it now!!!

I feel that every woman should be financially independent (even if they love their significant others very much and will grow old together until the end of time) because it gives you a real boost in your confidence, self esteem and security.

I’ve seen what it can do to women who have no idea what is happening to their finances, and then their spouse leaves, dies or just ends up screwing up things and screwing up their lives as a family, causing turmoil. Then the fights begin…

I didn’t know you invested ALL our money in the stock market!

Well YOU didn’t want to help out with anything so I had to do it all on my own!!

And so on.

Plus, being financially savvy and independent, is a real sexy turn on for other spouses (especially my BF) because they don’t feel like Atlas as though they have to hold the whole financial burden on their shoulders.

Even if I make extra money now….

It doesn’t mean I need more money to live.

I don’t need to spend it all to be comfortable. I can be pretty comfortable at $1500 or even $2000 maximum a month. But just because I make more money, doesn’t mean I need to increase my lifestyle.

Besides, I like being the way I am right now. If I ever drop down to making $30,000 a year, I can still be happy and comfortable as if I’m making $200,000 a year. To me, the expenses are fixed, I am still being frugal (as a habit) and the extra money is just a bonus to save for the lean years.

Does that make sense?

Even though I have more money now than I could’ve ever imagined in my wildest dreams making at such a young age in such a short amount of time, I am happy I am wise enough to learn how to manage it well (but also not to deprive myself and to enjoy life within my means).

But you all know I have a weakness for shopping, so I am not a saint (far from it!) and I will definitely be splurging and impulse buying for the rest of my life, but in a more moderate amount.

Any and every PF (Personal Finance) blogger will say:

Once you upgrade your salary, don’t think you have to immediately upgrade your lifestyle; just save the rest into an account.

You won’t even miss it.

It’s so true.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.