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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am so proud that Dh and I are debt free and it took us a few years to get to this point. We have now been debt free for a few years and we look towards future plans now instead of worrying about the debt we used to have and the sleepless nights it caused us. We are saving for a down payment on a home and waiting for Dh finish his Doctorate Degree this year before we take on a mortgage or car loans. We want to see how much he'll make (not assume a big salary). Then based on actual numbers, we'll decide on what to purchase so that we don't buy more house or car than we can afford.

For some reason though in our real world we can't share that we are debt free with family and friends, we are an oddity! In some cases we are lectured about getting newer cars, since ours are almost 10 years old. We are pitied by some and looked down upon because we haven't bought a home yet and we are living with hand-me-down furniture from our college days. Friends and family always seem to be encouraging us to spend money. They don't know our financial situation or our long term goals, yet they volunteer suggestions for a new this or that, when we don't appreciate it or ask for their advice. In fact, we think most of them have made very poor choices for themselves.

A really close friend of mine recently confided in me that they live paycheck to paycheck and she doesn't see that changing any time soon. We live in the same area of the state. Dh and I rent an apt. for now, while we save and wait for Dh to finish school and have a higher paying job. Her and her Dh bought a house 2 years ago. They make 5 times more than my Dh and I and she told me they can't dig out of their debt because they don't have any extra money left over at the end of the month. She then told me that she assumed that all people had debt and were in a similar situation. She wants to be a SAHM like me, but they can't afford for her not to work. I know she feels "stuck" and I feel bad for her. On the other hand, I don't feel like I can tell her that we are debt free and have been for 3 years. Her and her Dh aren't the type of people that would change their spending habits in order to make their financial situation better. She's someone I have felt looks down upon us for not having a home, nicer furniture, or newer cars. I don't think she would understand living like us in order to not have debt.

I felt like one of the crowd (in my social circle) when Dh and I had debt, now I feel like we are outsiders. We stopped trying to keep up with everyone and we are just content with what we have and no one would understand that. I think they would be jealous that we don't have debt and then confused as to how we can have more money saved than them, when we make 4 or 5 times less each year than most of our family and friends. Does anyone else feel this way? That they have gone down a frugal path that friends and family are unwilling to follow and are now looked down upon for being debt free?
 

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We're lucky, our friends are savers and we are the spenders.

Our friends have been very supportive now that they know we are trying to get a handle on our debt.
 

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Sometimes you have to just let go, and not worry about what others think. Go ahead tell people, tell them you have no debt and the freedom it affords you.
Drop hints about what you are working towards, remaining a SAHM, savings to buy house, etc, etc.

Most of our friends are poor. They make stupid choices regarding money (at least they are stupid to me). But there poor choices don't affect or change my behavior.

Likewise we have some friends that are more than likely living beyond their means. I know they have debt, student loans, car loans, mortage, etc. They can go out and drop $300 at dinner for 4 people and not bat an eye. I enjoy hanging out with them, but even thou we "could" afford to do that on an ongoing basis, we choose not to and limit out time with these friends.

I don't think any worse of any our friends for their choices with money, but at the same time, they are not in charge of my wallet.

Go ahead, tell people your goals, you don't have to beat them over the head with your ideals, but at the same time you keeping silent doesn't do anything other than cause you additional stress.

My friends all know I'm debt free, they know what we are working towards, but it doesn't really change anything.
 

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Congratulations on your success, your wise decision making and you bright debt free future! Your post really touched me.

Not many people feel comfortable talking about their debt (because inside we know it isn't a good place to be) and I guess not many feel comfortable talking about being debt free because it does make us stand out, sometimes "holier than thou," and a possible target to be hit up for loans like a bank.

Greebo and I have been very open about our success on the DR plan because it made such an incredible impact on our lives and future together. As he was the spender... it made a tremendous difference to him on a very personal note. We were almost evangelical for several months because we were so enthused with how much of a change in our lives it had made. I'm sure my friends got tired of hearing it but I do see a change in their spending behaviors as well. :D

My Mom used to make comments about me shopping at the "discount stores" or using the "cheap" products but as she has seen my future brighten with Greebo I am hearing fewer comments about it. She has also retired and now has a very fixed income so she has seen her lifestyle change to fit within her new "means." She is slowly "getting" it.

I don't feel we are looked down upon because when we talk about our journey. We openly discuss where we started from with tens of thousands in consumer debt, we talk about the things we cut back on, how we track our budget, how we started to redefine our wants and only purchased needs, so people get more information than they ever bargained for and see the real "work" that went into making that frugal path possible. It's up to them to decide if they want to be envious or start to actively change their lifestyle.

We might feel like "outsiders" to some of our friends but we are "insiders" to others.

Thank you for posting this. :D

Nicely said Denvergirlie!
 

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Get "frugalvillage.com" tatooed on your forehead. Then you won't have to say anything :loop:

I wouldn't particularly be in -the- face about it, but I'd let anyone know that I wasn't a slave to banks and HAVE to earn $xxx to maintain my standard of living. If they didn't like it, they could either shut up or reconsider their lifestyle.

(getting closer every month)

Lee
 

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I would tell my friend and be proud..You said a really Close friend..so I would tell her, tell her the sacrifices that you made and your future goals.. if she see you arent really where they think you are..she might be open to getting help and doing something about their situation.. Then maybe you could offer to help her obtain her goals..being a SAHM...

You know I have never based my friends on their income...and if these people do..then that is not much of a friend.
 

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Congratulations to you for being debt free for 3 years and waiting buy things until the right time.

I would tell your friends and family that you are debt free and that you are living the life you have chosen. That you don't need brand new furniture or cars to be happy.

Recently, I am going through a divorce and when I tell people I am keeping the house, they are shocked that I can afford it. I just tell them that I have a car loan and a house loan and that's it! No credit cards or other debt. I have had the same furniture for 9 years (since I moved into my first apartment!)

Sure, they will be jealous of you! But, let them be jealous!
 

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It truly amazes me how clueless people can be. Although my husband and I nowhere near being debt free, and still have a lot to learn about living a frugal lifestyle, we are going very through similiar things with our family and friends.

Your DH is finishing his doctorate with no debt!?!? That is such an amazing accomplishment!! You need to feel good about yourselves, not embarrassed for not owning an iphone or a house! I understand that rationally you know these things, and by posting here you are just looking for support... this forum has been a huge help for feeling like I am not alone. Lately, I have been much more open about my love of Dave Ramsey and my frugalness to my friends and family. They are even starting to ask me for help!
 

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I think its sad that you have gone through all the work and sacrifice to be debt free and then feel you can't talk to the people you are closest with. I don't think you should be throwing it in their faces; but you should be able to tell them and be proud of it; especially because of their comments about you getting newer cars and furniture.
 

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First, congratulations on being debt free. Second, it doesn't matter what others think. You can and should be proud that you're out of debt. Of course being proud doesn't mean you need to shout it from the rooftops or even point it out to others. Often it's better not to discuss finances at all unless someone asks a direct question. If someone wonders why you don't have a new car, it's perfectly OK to tell that that you prefer to spend your money on other things and leave it at that. Congrats again on becoming debt free. Don't feel embarrassed or guilty - ENJOY the peace of mind being debt-free brings!
 

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I'm in awe !!! Congratulations--some folks might say stuff to you because they're jealous. I know I am !! LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you, I just wondered if I was alone with this issue. It always seems to amaze me that our family and friends are so different in their thinking than Dh and I. In the past we have told family and friends we are debt free and staying that way when they have brought up things we should buy, because ours are so old. Then they always questioned how we did it, then they voice excuses for why they can't have that for themselves. It also bothers me that those "excuses" they came up with for not being debt free were also digs at our life.

For example: we still rent, make do with our old furniture, clip coupons, shop sales, go to yard sales, save for the purchases we choose to make, and eat out with coupons. We have been told that coupon clipping is too time consuming for them or doesn't save them very much. They feel deprived if they have to save to buy something or we've been told yard sale items are "sketchy".

Now I don't even mention that we are debt free and want to stay that way. We just listen to them tell us we should have: x,y,and z like they do. We nod our heads and tell them we are happy with what we have. I guess that's why I don't share any advice with family and friends. I think if someone asked me to help them I would offer advice. I feel bad for my close friend though and I know she thinks we are "deprived" because of our lifestyle. I feel I can't admit we are better off than her.
 

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I guess it's all in how you define "better off". We all have choices. Yours is to live within your means and debt-free. Your friend chooses to "own" material possessions that she really can't afford. Is that better off? (I don't think so.)

There's a big difference between living within your means and being "deprived". The suggestion that they are the same thing comes from a mindset of entitlement. How realistic is it that a person should feel they're ENTITLED to buy things whether they can afford them or not? It's not an entitlement. It's a choice to be in debt and live beyond one's means.

I think you made the right choice and your friends who think you are "deprived" are putting themselves in a financial position that makes it more likely they'll get to learn what true deprivation is.
 

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We have been debt free for a couple months and people have been trying to get us to buy things. Kinda funny,kinda not.
We finally bought the new dishwasher(cash of course) and now my own Dmom is nagging about a new mattress we need. Literally saying -you can't do w/o out that. Finally today I said-You sure do know how to spend my money. She laughed and said yes I do! A signal that she got it.
My point is-She doen't need to know your debt free. She won't understand why you won't spend the last dime anyway. Keep it like a sly secret. Tell us!!
 

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Congratulations on being debt free and having goals! :clap:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
FrugalWarrior2, isn't it amazing how quickly other people can spend your money for you :)? My mom is the worst at suggesting what we need: A new car, a new kitchen table, a new couch and chair set, new cell phones, and a big screen tv (because our 10 year old one is too outdated). My mom tries to save and live within her means and then falls off the "frugal wagon" really hard and then goes on spending sprees for a long time, before trying to climb back on the "frugal wagon" again.

She can't understand why I don't fall off and don't want to. She enjoys spending money she has or doesn't have, she even likes trying to spend our money for us. I don't shop with her anymore. I only shop rarely and when I do it's for a specific item, not a random item that she decided I should buy while we are out shopping. In fact, I either shop alone or with my Dh. Sometimes I bring Dh so that he'll talk me out of buying something that might catch my eye, but wasn't what I went out to buy. He's a good "frugal buddy," I actually think that's why our relationship works so well. We even try to one up each other with how old some our clothes are (and still in good shape). :)
 

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Congrats on being debt free!!!

This is fantastic.

If you don't feel comfortable sharing that information, then don't. But there is no shame in living responsibly. You've got a freedom most people see as impossible.

We have minimal debt. aka a mortgage. We gave a healthy savings, we have a nice start on our retirement fund. I was really surprised when i opening it last week. It's growing quickly now. I have one more fund to hit, then we'll hit the mortgage hard.

We do this on a 1.5 income. Which is STILL less than most of our family's single income, and they have 2 working. Less than 1/2 of their family. BIL and SIL make approx 300K a year. We make under 70K. LOL. We have a small mortgage, theirs is massive, infact more than their house is worth. They refinanced things every 2 years. They can't anymore. They are maxed out on the house. I think there is a second mortgage and I know there are a couple loans. And they are talking their 9yo house has to be renovated. EEK.

We say nothing. We keep driving our $500 cars, replacing when needed or desired. We don't take trips, by choice. THey keep telling us we are so deprived. Sure, we are, deprived of sleepless nights wondering if we can pay the mortgage. Deprived of creditors calling. Deprived of...... financial stresses, other than I want more savings..lol.

So head up high. You have accomplished GREAT things. You don't need to share it, but don't be embarrassed by it either.
 
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I think that what you're feeling is a general sense of not fitting in with societal norms. I think that can happen whenever you choose to do something most people don't - people who choose to be vegan, or choose to not have a televison, or choose to have 19 children, or follow a small religious group, or live debt-free. All people who do somethign differently have to figure out at sometime how to interact with the larger group that doesn't do what they have chosen to.

Some people choose to withdraw and minimize all interactions - give up being friends with people who don't share your views, move to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, whatever. Some people choose to evangelize about their beliefs and try and convert eveyone to "their" way. Some people just try and hide what they believe. Some people just act all high and might about it (I'm better than you because I have no debt! I'm better than you because I don't rot my brain out with TV! I'm healthier than you and I'll live longer! etc).

I think it's a rare person who can feel comfortable enough interacting with others that they can just be who they are, and just accept others where they are. I struggle with this sometimes too. It's probably exceptionally hard since money issues are all around us. Every day we need places to live, clothes to wear, transportation, and food. And all of those things cost money. I would feel really awkward knowing that I couldn't talk to a friend about any of those things. If I mention my new car, does that offend you because you drive an old one? If I ask if you want a bigger house, does that offend you because you're frugal? Maybe in someways, you're just really sensitized to the whole issue of money and how it permeates our lives. If you're so focused on frugality, it becomes easy to see how everything can be about money - from the cars you drive to the clothes you wear - and maybe your friends and family aren't really that focused on it.

If I get the occasional comment about my old car, I just say something like "It works now, we haven't figured out yet what our next car will be." I don't smile and nod and secretly start thinking that I am so much better off than the other person. But it's taken a long time to get there.

And I freely admit, I have major issues with TV. I don't have cable, and I judge people who do horribly. But that's my next thing I'm working on.
 
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