Confessions of an Over-Saver: Why I Hate Spending Money

confessions of oversaverEveryone is talking about the crisis among twentysomethings. We don’t save enough. We’re behind on retirement. Our loans are untenable. We have high credit card debt.

Not me.

I’m a 27-year-old legal consultant in New York City. I don’t make six figures, but I make a comfortable income. And I like saving. A lot. Maybe a little too much. I max out my 401(k), have a robust savings account and no credit card debt, and I paid off $34,000 in student loans in less than a year. Even my parents think I’m an over-saver, and they save a lot.

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oversaver

The author at her mother’s wedding, where she wore a dress from Filene’s Basement and made her own bouquet.

What Made Me This Way

I was raised on Staten Island, New York in a middle class family. My dad was a teacher, and my mom worked for the government. We were generally financially secure, though somewhere below what would be termed “comfortable.” But for some reason, I got it into my head at a young age that we were poorer than we were.

It probably had something to do with the fact that both my parents came from poor families. My dad’s parents were both factory workers who lived in Brooklyn in an apartment with no heat. When the factories would close down for a month in the summer, they went on temporary welfare.

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My mother grew up the oldest girl of seven kids in a two-bedroom house in Queens. She went to Queens College even though she was valedictorian of her class, because it was all her family could afford. I think she’s always regretted that she didn’t go somewhere fancier, so she’s made it her goal to give me and my brother as much as she could.

For this reason, she tended to spoil us. I had several dozen Barbies, the Barbie dream house, the Barbie limo, the Barbie yacht (that thing had a working blender on it) and nice clothes. Of course, my mom bought everything on sale whenever she could, because that’s just how we roll in our family. And the rest of her money she saved and put in savings bonds … so she could give it to me and my brother later. (She gave my brother the down payment for his first condo and money for his next home with his wife, the result of saving a little bit of each paycheck since the day he was born.)

I walk to work—it takes a half hour each way—rather than spend $2.50 each way on subway fare. That also saved me from getting a gym membership.

I saw my parents fight about money a couple of times, and they were separated by the time I was eight. Though I later found out that their divorce was for very different reasons, I think that in my head I at least partly attributed their separation to money, which made me think that more money equaled less discord.

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  • ladyluck

    This is great! Some good advice. However, for many of us our parents don’t or can’t save for even graduate school for their children. Graduate school is way more expensive than Undergraduate. I too went for free due to the level of poverty of my parents as well as a scholarship based on my GPA. I will probably end up in a college that many look down their nose at just because I refuse to pay six figures for Graduate school. Also, it’s important to note that in order to earn a merit based scholarship you must be perform quite a bit above average (On GRE or LSAT or other). May people have learning disabilities or just don’t fare well in standardized tests, so merit assistance can be thrown to the wind. I do like the overall point of this article, that it’s doable. For the more average of us, however, that probably means community college and less prestige.

    • Beth Gibson

      Community College is fine. Many years ago, I was bounced from the College Preparatory School because my parents didn’t pay the tuition (they never paid for anything) and thanks to a boyfriend, Leon South, I was able to enroll in an alternative high school, graduate and attend Laney Jr. College (all in Oakland CA). Well, I emigrated to Canada, finished undergraduate here, then graduated law school at the University of British Columbia and found that nobody really cared about my high school or my junior/community college or even my university undergraduate. After a year or so after call, no one even looked at my law degree. It doesn’t matter where you go to school (less the scam schools, of course), people are much more impressed that you came up from poverty.

  • http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/ Michelle

    I used to be a crazy saver and never really enjoyed things because I was always thinking about money. Luckily my fiance is the exact opposite and we can balance each other out!

  • Name

    It’s great that you are so responsible with your money, but I can’t help but feel like you’re missing out on a lot of nice things because you think of everything in terms of money. Sometimes you need to just let loose and live a little. You only live once and you can’t take it with you.

    • Marie

      Agreed. It’s good to be an aggressive saver, but you need to find some balance in your life, too.

      I was surprised to read her rationalization about not using her vacation days. This is not a situation where she is a temp or something and doesn’t get paid leave. To not take any time off seems like a quick path to burnout, plus most places limit how much you can carry over from one year to the next (“use it or lose it”).

      • Name

        Yes, my employer provides PTO, but if I don’t use it I basically “lose it”. I’d rather take the time I need to wind down and continue to love my job than work too much and burn out.

  • Naomi

    It’s so refreshing to hear a woman strive to be rich, not just get by! I find a lot of us 20-somethings tell ourselves that creating wealth is a fantasy and people should only do what they love (even if it doesn’t pay). But I think a goal of creating a comfortable live and THEN SOME is very commendable. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • facepalm

      I agree, Naomi! We get sucked into this mentality where striving to be wealthy makes us uncomfortable. I’m 25 and I realize that it’s not really the money I’m after but the freedom to enjoy life without worrying about future financial security.

  • Elissa Backas

    I’m the same way. I just get a lot more satisfaction from saving money than spending it. I did spend a lot of money last week on our upcoming trip to CA. I keep reminding myself that it’s worth it, but it’s really hard for me.
    In the end, it’s just money. You can always get more money, but you don’t get more time to do things.

  • Josie

    How did you only spend $100 per month on groceries?

    • JenInBoston

      I have a two-person family (1 adult, 1 child) and we only need about $150 p/mo in groceries. It’s easy–and delicious and healthy– if you cook meals from scratch and don’t buy any processed foods except maybe bread and minimally processed items like pasta, yogurt, and peanut butter.

    • lucy00

      I live along and manage about $100 on groceries. It’s a mixture of budgeting, coupons, sales and cooking at home. Some people like to always buy the more expensive brand, but some products are the same whether it’s store brand or not.

      I wish I could save the way she did, but I don’t have parents to cover things and I always seem to have expensive emergencies pop up.

      I agree with some of the comments about balance. I want to enjoy my money as well as watch my loans decrease. I want to retire knowing I did all the things I wanted while I was still young and able.

    • cultura

      Agreed. Other places maybe, but in Manhattan, even shopping at Trader Joe’s (which is one of the very cheapest groceries in the city), I don’t see how that is possible. Buying bargain food and cooking meatless for myself, I still spend $200 a month here.

      • Nonya Bizness

        I think she shops weekly,so that helps to eliminate wasted food. She buys what’s on sale.She knows what store prices are in her head, so she knows not to overpay.

    • blah

      thats how I am, I spend $100 or less on groceries, about $35 a week. I dont like eating out since I like to cook healthy so my meals last me. Plus I dont have much time to eat either since having both full time work and school so it’s not like I eat 3-5 meals a day like others. My stomach is use to having little food.

  • Betty

    I am very similar to this girl. I reached six figures in net worth before I turned 24, and I’m 24 now. I have never met anyone like me who is so interested in building their net worth by savings and actually goes through with it. I wish I could discuss with her how to invest, because savings without a good investment strategy will have you lose real purchasing power on that money over the long run due to inflation. If the editors of learnvest happen to read this, I would love it if you could put us in touch.

    Btw, I am not a financial advisor or anything, just a a personal finance enthusiast!

    • rthomas

      I agree! I’m 26, purchased my condo at 22. I have paid off all my student loans and my only debt is my mortgage. My friends think I’m crazy for planning to max out retirement and use my remaining income to pay off the mortgage in the next 3-5 years. We should all be friends!!

      • Ana Armstrong

        Completely agree! We should start a facebook group and have a picnic or something to discuss our maniac saving obsessions. When I tell people I save over 30% of my income, they look at me crazy and I look at them like, “umm…why aren’t you?” Paid off $36K in student loans by age 27 and people looked at me like I accomplished the impossible. It’s not that difficult when you make it a part of your lifestyle and PLAN PLAN PLAN, then AUTOMATE AUTOMATE AUTOMATE!!

        • LibbyKane

          Hi there! If you’re interested in connecting with each other personally, please feel free to email me in the next few days and I’ll be happy to put anyone who volunteers in touch. It’s libby@learnvest.com

    • Rightsidepath

      Hey! I have a few questions for you in terms of saving strategies. How would I be able to connect with you?

  • Matthew

    I wish I knew more people like you. Most people our age don’t seem to understand the benefit of having savings or how much money they spend on alcohol and food that is unnecessary. I’ll admit I do sometimes envy some people for buying what they want or going on trips without worrying about the cost. As a result of my saving though I am now in the process of considering a purchase of a house just to eliminate my rent since that is a big pet peeve of mine. The envy doesn’t usually last for long.

  • sam_the_cat

    I, uh, do not have this problem, so it was very interesting to read the perspective of someone who’s my financial opposite!

  • Joanne Peterson

    This is great to see! I in my early twenty’s was not so savvy handling money. It took some hard knocks before I learned how to handle money. By this point, I had made some large mistakes, and into my mid to late twenty’s learned how to be frugal in my mindset, and in spending.

    You are using the very techniques that any money course advises to get out of debt and learn to save. The money courses also recommend using cash to keep a handle on spending.

    You, by your choices to spend your money wisely on your own, have the freedom to spend as you dictate, rather than your debt dictates how you spend your money,

  • thrifty

    I think that this person’s obsession with saving is not laudable–it’s more of an anxiety disorder. It’s not normal or healthy to calculate the cost of human interaction like dating. It’s also sad that this person does not take time off and enjoy work-life balance and instead holds out for the extra $300 per vacation day. I grew up poor — first world poor. I’m the daughter of immigrants who grew up third world poor. I honestly can not understand why the idea of her parents being poor has made her this anxious about saving money. I am conscious of my spending and having a 6 months emergency savings account, max out my Roth IRA and am paying a little towards my student loans each month even though I am still in school and not in repayment. I only buy stuff on sale. This person does not use credit cards, and that is not a smart financial move sinc eyour FICO score is incredibly important for securing a low-interest loan. I think this author thinks she will never need to get a loan for anything, and that she will always have enough cash, and this is simply not true. I understand that her story is just one way of saving and budgeting, but I definately don’t aspire to live how she is living.

    • Nonya Bizness

      People who don’t plan on going into debt don’t care about their FACO score. You need to read about Dave Ramsey STAT.

      • Bonnie

        The problem is that FICO scores are no longer used only for securing loans. The reason she’s never needed it is because she’s living in her dad’s apartment in a city where she doesn’t need a car. If she tries to rent from a non-family member, they’ll see that she has no credit score and will be more wary of renting to her. Even car insurers & cable companies check credit scores now.

  • Shelly Steffler

    THANK YOU! I’m not quite as responsible as you are, but still, I’m always frustrated when I hear about – and see! – people in their 20′s prioritizing drinking and clothes over debt and saving.

  • ruby

    It’s great you save money, but honestly live a little! I value my money spent on experiences of vacations, concerts or anything that gets you excited. You live in NYC and shouldn’t be cooped up in your apartment all night. I’m honestly sad for you because it sounds like you are constrained by saving too much and are missing some valuable life experiences, which you can do for very cheap! Live outside your comfort shell, you never know where it will take you.

  • Crystal Kopp

    I’m real glad you acknowledged how much your parents really did help you. I’m still living at home and only recently started getting my financial life together but I am always very thankful about what parents do for me (they don’t charge me rent, they pay my phone and car insurance). I think it’s real important to realize how lucky you are and to be thankful because not everyone is fortunate enough to have such parents.

    • a_s_a

      And having that house in NY made a HUGE difference for her!

  • Frugal

    I could have written this!! I will caution the author though – sometiimes the savings aren’t worth it. Right now, I am sitting at home counting my unused vacation days while my boyfriend is on a 10-day trip to Yosemite with MY friends.

    • a_s_a

      I’m frugal also, but the spending that I do allow myself is travel. My company also will not pay out vacation, so it’s a use-it-or-lose-it kind of thing, so I take my time off. But sometimes I do freelance jobs or mystery shopping to get extra money during that time off.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sandra.ellzey Sandra Ellzey

    I’m on the fence about this person’s tactics; checking your net worth every single day must be the most anxiety-driving thing ever. Certain things should not be “valued” in dollars, especially dating. And I can’t imagine when/if this person becomes a parent, how she would justify her costs. Would you need an ROI spreadsheet to value the outpouring of funds into a newborn? And check with your HR to make sure you won’t lose all those extra PTO hours; many companies only allow you to roll over “X” amount and lose the rest. Best of luck. You have the savings part down, now you need to live a little. Take your mom on a vacation, STAT!

    • skt

      I’m very much like the author of the article and I don’t consider it anxiety inducing at all. It’s a form of comfort to me in some weird sense. I thought about dating the same way, so I did dates that were low cost like meeting for ice cream. I went on a date once or twice and felt I spent too much money on someone I wasn’t going to see again. I thought after the date, what a waste!

      • a_s_a

        The author admits that a certain amount of anxiety drives her behavior, but I suspect that the saving itself is a reward for her. I’m the same way—I swear I can feel the dopamine surge every time my expenses come under budget and I get to move the extra over to the high-yield savings account!

      • Nonya Bizness

        I agree. I used to ck my student loan balance all the time, and made extra payments to watch how much less interest I was paying. That was fun to me-watching the numbers go down.

  • Tania

    I wish I was more like you in my 20s. I don’t see anything wrong with you walking to work, bringing home lunch and being so focused on paying off your loans. For the dating though, I do think you should let someone pay for your dinner once in awhile though :-)

  • Tintin

    Not taking vacation days might be a mistake, unless you love work more than time off, or are seriously planning a sabbatical, period away from work, or early retirement. Otherwise, I’m with you- saving and budgeting can be a fun ‘sport,’ as long as it doesn’t interfere with your happiness.

  • JenInBoston

    You are doing a FAR better job than I did at your age. I didn’t have the advantages of free tuition, help with tuition, or a free place to live. But even if I had, I wouldn’t have made as wise decisions as you have. Great job!!

    Now, as an older girl than you, I’d just offer one piece of (IMO) wisdom: there are some amazing life experiences that you just can’t have later on in life–especially as a female. In my twenties, I saw the world on the cheap. I’m talking serious cheap–as in I’d buy the airplane ticket and go for a week with $100. Once I went to Paris with $40 (not many people can manage that but I bet YOU could!). I didn’t go that way because I was frugal. I went that way because I was broke. But I desperately wanted to see those countries, meet other young people, have adventures to remember in my later years etc. I had romantic, global affairs with incredible guys who were also unwilling to have a geographically limited youth despite having little money. I met amazing people of all backgrounds and ages. I sat alone and looked at some of the greatest art and architecture ever created–with no timetable, nobody to tell me they were bored or the baby needed a diaper change. I went clubbing all night in London and in the morning, took the Chunnel because breakfast in Paris with an old beau sounded more interesting than sleeping off the hangover with 5 other girls in a small apartment.

    And now I am so glad I did it. I really miss those days of freedom and discovery, as I suspected I would. You can always travel later on, but with the strictures of a job, with a spouse, kids in tow, bills to pay at home…it’ll never be the same as the freedom you can experience before your life fills up with grown-up duties.

    Live it up while you can! And if the thought of spending galls you, just do it as if you were broke, like I did! =)

  • monalisset

    Thank you for sharing your story…I always appreciate hearing about how other people manage to save (or spend). Congratulations on your 4 degrees and no debt!

  • April Hunter

    That’s lovely, but you’re missing out on LIFE. Didn’t drink til you were 21? Barely traveled? These are some of the best lessons one can have. Not having a car and being a vegetarian is smart, but girl…you gotta live a little. On your death bed, you’re not going to be thinking about saving money. You’re going to wish you DID things in life.

    • skt

      What’s wrong with not drinking until the age of 21? I didn’t drink until I was 24. I had absolutely no interest in it. Besides, that’s underage drinking. I understand the traveling part though.

    • Laura

      I do agree with this. You can’t take money with you when you die, and who wants to go through life having no experiences and always saying no to things just so they can have a big pile of money sitting there untouched?
      I’m 26, have absolutely no savings but I have travelled solo around the world, had many amazing experiences and ended up coming home with $40. I definitely could not have done that as 45 year old who was in a position to afford it.
      I’m amazed at the author’s dedication to saving but still, live a little! My favourite moments in life are going out for a great dinner with friends, buying loved ones presents and taking off for a spontaneous trip. Worrying about metro fare while going on a date is so foreign to me. I’m not rich, but I’m rich in experiences.

      • Nonya Bizness

        You can’t pay your rent with experiences.

        • rockclimbdotpro

          You can if you are living in dad’s apartment…

    • older and wiser

      she traveled to Australia twice..And she is still young.

      • April Hunter

        Not that big of a deal. By the time I was thirty, I’d traveled all over the world. I learned more doing that than I could ever learn in a school. Defend all you like, but it doesn’t change my opinion. My mom just died. You can’t take it with you. The year before she died, she wanted to DO things. Before cancer, she saved money. So we did things and went places and ate different foods, saw museums and danced on boats. That made her happy. You need to experience life in order to live. That’s my point. Hanging around inside just checking your bank balance isn’t exactly…inspiring. And, you CAN do both…live AND save. I have. Read The Art of Non Conformity. There’s a wealth of info on managing both.

        • Nonya Bizness

          If your mom hadn’t SAVED, you wouldn’t have been able to do anything. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t live without money, and life experiences don’t pay the bills,money does. If you were to lose your job and end up homeless today, would all those vacations help you to eat? NO,but savings would.

    • bill

      Don’t forget that immediately after you’re on your death bed you will die and you will not remember your life. You are not missing out on life. You are in fact living it, no matter what you do.

  • Brandy

    It’s nice to hear a story about saving. I am personally terrible at it. I wish that wasn’t the case. In regards to your paid time off or vacation time I would seriously look into the laws in your state. Most states only allow you to roll over 40 or less hours per year so you may be losing $300.00 right and left. In CA where I live I can roll over a lot of time, I don’t know the exact number, but I’ve rolled over well over two weeks before. I also do not believe it is the responsibility of your employer to let you know if you have exceeded the amount. Just something to think about because no one wants money going down the drain.

  • liz

    I think most of what she does is great – brown-bagging it, nixing the cable, buying clothes at 50% discount. But like others have posted, saving your vacation days only works to a point. If your work will let you cash out an unlimited number and you won’t be there too long, fine, but most places let you carry over few if any days, and most people get burned out after a year or two with no vacations.
    I do something similar when I’m tired or just vaguely ill: because I’m paid hourly and have no sick or vacation time, I don’t get paid if I don’t work. So, if I ever feel like staying home for a runny nose or because I couldn’t sleep the night before, I tell myself that losing $200 is not worth it. If my office is closed for a Monday holiday, I don’t get paid, but can work 4 ten hour days the rest of the week to avoid losing the pay… you can bet your sweet bippy I always do.
    I do take REAL vacations, because travel is a big passion, and you never know if you’ll die young, so it’s important to have fun now. I lost a good friend at 33 to cancer. I don’t want to be putting all my money away for when I’m 67 and retire, just in case I’m dead or too sick to travel.

    • Nonya Bizness

      My last job didn’t pay you if you missed the day before or after a holiday. I came down with Appendicitis the day after MLK Day. Ended up in EMERGENCY SURGERY. Went back to work and was NOT paid for the day after the holiday, when I was in surgery. I kept telling my ex husband-”Just take our son to daycare for me. I’ll lie down for a while” while he kept saying, “No, I’m taking you to the ER,” “I can’t miss work” I kept saying,”I won’t get paid.” Well, I didn’t get paid, but at least I didn’t die.I also quit that job.

  • Rowena

    This may sound rather extreme, but I find it refreshing to hear that there are people who don’t long to go spend their money, but instead thrive on the challenge of stretching the cash they in creative ways. Good for you!

  • Matthew Gordon

    Big Red represent!

  • Frugal

    Just a note on the vacation time… the company where I work allows people to roll over up to 248 hours (that’s over 6 weeks). I always try to keep the maximum in my “bank” in case of emergencies. Plus, if I ever get laid off, that’s an extra 6 weeks of pay to take with me!

  • Devil’s Advocate

    You want to be rich? It will never happen and here’s why. Let me play the devil’s advocate for just a bit. You took from your parents, you took from your school, you took from taxpayers, take, take, take. You are terrible at dating because you are a taker not a giver. You cannot even share yourself, much less anything else. That is selfish not thrifty. Your motivation is not to accumulate money but rather to see if you can get something for nothing or as close as you can. You isolate yourself by your selfishness and inability to give. Your justification is that you don’t want to be obligated. Well, here’s some news, you were obligated from the moment you were born. Before you can be really rich you must be a giver. Takers never care who they take from as long as they can get a “deal”. Givers give to see things get better and usually for everyone. Takers are only interested in themselves. Do you have some good advice? Maybe in some aspects but your overall agenda is exactly why we live in a world where no one knows their neighbor, people are murdered while others walk the other way or look the other way, and why so many special interest groups are only out for themselves no matter what anyone else wants. I challenge you to go through the drive through of a fast food restaurant and while you are getting your food, pay for the guy in the car behind you. Do this at least three times a week. You have been blessed and you should try to share your blessings with as many people as you can – also read the book “Retire Broke”.

    • Eryn

      She wrote that she donates $100/month. That’s more than a lot of people, and pretty much the definition of giving back. Much better than buying unhealthy fast food for someone!

    • skt

      You know why some women are terrible at dating? Because of the men who think they can prey on women who are financially savvy and think they can mooch off successful women such as the author of this article. Sorry but I think she would rather be alone.

    • finishedby45

      dude, get over yourself. Then show me just how much you gave to charity last year, in time or money. What’s that you say? Zero? Why am I not surprised!

    • Nonya Bizness

      JEALOUS HATER.

  • Eryn

    I’m passionate about saving, but the one thing I am not super thrifty about is grocery shopping. I eat almost all meals at home, am an enthusiastic cook, and spend around $100/week for two people (and that’s with being careful). I can’t imagine spending $100 for a whole month!!

    • Nonya Bizness

      She’s a vegetarian.That’s how she keeps it so low. I lose all control when I enter the grocery store. List goes out the window, and snacks go in the cart :-)

  • StillaSaver

    I feel sorry for you.

    • Nonya Bizness

      I feel sorry for you Stilla.

  • d

    We need more people like you in the world. Consider volunteering for the next cloning experience.

  • td

    While it is good to be financially responsible, you seem to be obsessed with saving. It is dictating your life and limiting your opportunities. Regarding interaction with people, don’t just value them in terms of money, if nothing, for the price of dinner/fare money, you never know what valuable lessons/experince you might stumble across. Life is for living, not just accumulating more and more. As someone before, on you dealth bed, you won’t be regreting that you didn’t work more or didn’t saved that $300 but rather all experiences that you wanted to have but didn’t do. Be wise to realize you have enough money and security and enjoy your youth.

  • RealSaver

    This is a great achievement and you have some self discipline when it comes to extra spending. But your story is not relatable by any means. You clearly make a substantial living and you manage to have an apartment for the fraction of what most pay. Try doing any of this with an average paying job starting off around $30,000. I think this story was more to brag about your own income and college success rather than to really help people learn how to save. There were some hidden tips as far as walking or preparing your own food. However, I think before you write about a topic as far as being a huge saver – try being a huge saver on minimal income, that is something people would be able to relate to and learn from. I make barely $34,000 and over the past 3 years I have managed to pay off $30,000 in debt being a divorced mother of 2 kids, owning my own home, car, daycare expenses and paying student loans. That’s an achievement! Having a $90,000 job while mommy continues to pay $600 towards your student loans really doesn’t take much to save a lot and pay off your debt.

    • Nonya Bizness

      You’re such a HATER! How did she get a 90k a year job? BY GOING TO SCHOOL AND EARNING 4 DEGREES! Why don’t you do that, instead of crying about how you’re doing so much better than her with less? Go submit your article about your self absorbed life to Learnvest, and quit hating on someone else, just because they make more money than you. She didn’t always make 90k a year.

    • Ben

      I make 35k a year and have a lot of student loan debt. How were you able to pay off 30k within 3 years??? I save like crazy and I’m extremely frugal. But I’m still looking at paying 5k a year. I just don’t see it possible to pay more.

  • Brad

    You are missing the point…life is not about being secure but enjoying those moments called every day. Sure you do not have to spend loads of money to do so, but you are taking a stance (as a lawyer I know you know what that is) that is extreme and not reasonable. Money in and of itself is worthless. It is seriously a piece of paper with mint sprayed on it. It is what it brings to your life (security, happiness, etc) that is what makes it so valuable. You seem obsessed with saving so you can take care of your mother, which is admirable. I fortunately grew up in a two parent home and even though they did fight about money I do not see that as the root of all evil. I feel you are very feminist or “mother” oriented and it is fine but being that way and thriving in that way of life does not make it right. I do not know what your social life is like but enjoying the day to day is truly as important as saving into 401K’s and the like as they can be stripped from you just as easily as an unneeded pair of shoes or vacation. Look at the market, tap into your legal education, and think if your values are truly the best. Maybe the best for you…

    • Nonya Bizness

      I don’t think you got what she was saying AT ALL, and YOU MISSED THE POINT. She doesn’t feel like she’s missing out on anything! She doesn’t have to do what she’s doing-she chooses to.Life is all about PRIORITIES. I know that, and that’s what I got from this article.Some people sleep better at night and enjoy their days more when they aren’t saddled with debt. You don’t have to be in debt to enjoy life. She enjoys spending $25 a week on groceries. She enjoys walking to work, and knowing she’s saving over $100 a month. She enjoys taking her lunch to work.She’s not obsessed with saving so she can care for her mother. She’s been saving since she was a teen,hence the 4 degrees, and low student loan debt. I think instead of JUDGING HER AND MAKING ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT HER, YOU SHOULD READ THE ARTICLE AGAIN. You feel she’s a “feminist” or “mother oriented”. Where the heck did that come from? I feel you’re in debt and delusional.

  • Deb Kelly

    It’s not bad being a saver, but this is a little extreme. Instead of hoping to be rich to help your mother later, why not have her save the money she is giving you and have her save it for later? I am a saver as well – no credit cards balances, student loans or mortgage. I tend to save money every month as well, but I will go shop when I need something, go out to lunch or dinner with my friends at least once a week (sometimes twice), go to the movies every month or so. I think a balance is a way to go; otherwise, you will have money, but will be alone.

  • Beau

    With your financial discipline, you should be using a credit card for every purchase you make – a credit card with some kind of travel or rewards plan of course. And every day (or two) simply transfer from your bank account to your credit card to pay off what you charged. You won’t pay interest, and you will probably get enough travel/reward points to get a free trip somewhere nice every year or two! Not to mention having a good credit score become more and more helpful down the road.

    • Nonya Bizness

      I started doing that last Nov when my credit card switched to one with 1% cash back.I don’t pay my bills like PG&E or Cable with it(maybe I should) but food,car down payment,couch, basically things I’m buying and already have the cash for,I put on the credit card. What sucks though is my cash back rewards that I’m paid in Nov only amt to $201.14 so far. That means I’ve spent $20k on my cc! Sounds like a ton compared to the measly $200 I’m getting back, BUT that is $200 free dollars, because I didn’t buy anything just for the rewards.

    • booch221

      You don’t have to pay off your credit card every day–just pay the full balance at the end of each month. I have it automatically deducted from my checking account. I haven’t paid a cent in fiance charges.

  • lafucil12

    Keep saving and stacking, let all these broke people attach having a fun, exciting and interesting life to wasting money!

  • SheilaE

    I love this article. I’m 25, and I do several of these things. I was fortunate that my parents paid for my BA, and I lived at home until I was 23. I saved the majority of what I made and when I got laid off at 25, it wasn’t the financial nightmare that it could have been because I have savings. I’ve been having a hard time finding a new job, so I’m grateful everyday that I saved on the the little things while I was working.

    I’m a huge believer in the saying, “watch your pennies so you don’t have to count your dollars.” With today’s economy, you can never be too careful. In my experience, “friends” (or really, “frenemies”) who give you a hard time about frugal are jealous about the stress free lifestyle you have compared to them.

  • frugalfannie

    if she paid of 34,000 in student loans in less than a year, she makes quite a bit. That’s more than my after tax pay, and I make about what the average American makes ($50,000)

  • Liz

    My hobby used to be saving. I was spectacular at it. I worked two full time jobs for many years and lived a relatively spartan existence. I saved an amazing amount of money. It enabled me to buy a house and renovate it… all cash. Its amazing how much the gov’t. has screwed us savers by offering us zero percent interest on our hard earned money. May as well spend and enjoy!

  • Bob Bob

    I personally think that you save too much and you will pass by good memories because of this…. you’re not a slave, so take some vacation and live a more fulfilling life then just controlling every aspect of it… I still find that you make good choices like walking everyday and etc, but in the end you still control every little part of your life to an extant that money is becoming your only purpose in life.

  • Mr Dung

    You’ve made a hobby out of being frugal, good for you. Obviously you enjoy “money”, you just enjoy it in a unique obsesive, compulsive way. By determining the monitary value of everything and everyone, to me you sound like a very cheap, boring person for the most part, but I would probably like you because your a freak.

  • Australia S

    I’m a current college student (undergrad), and it feels so good to know that there are other people out there who think this way too.

    My mother says that I worry too much, and that my “obsession” with money is annoying, but for me, it’s not that I don’t like expensive things–I just don’t feel like I need them to be happy! When I stare skeptically at a restaurant’s $15 fettuccine alfredo, I’m just imagining staying home and making an even better alfredo together with my boyfriend for $5 instead, and stowing that extra $10 in the bank for something that will help my financial security, even if it’s just paying for books.

    I’m a simple, thoughtful young person, and this article made me feel a lot better.

    • Guest

      agree.. best reply, wish i married someone like you or the author :(

  • Katie

    Actually, I don’t think you do know what I’m thinking. Sweetheart, if you don’t take a day off, the toll on your mental health is going to be way more than $300, so start putting some of that mathematical energy into calculating what it will cost you to burn out on this brutal profession before you’ve even started. You’re an exempt professional–I doubt very much your vacation days roll over. Take it from a 40-something who was in your shoes once. Pace yourself.

  • lilygavin

    Being “rich” in life is not measured by the size of ones bank accounts. I am an over spender who married a man unable to spend money. The universe works in mysterious ways! I am now on a journey to discover how to live a full,balanced life & hopefully my husband will join me – so together we can save our marriage. Just as being an extreme spender leads to pain and isolation – so does extreme saving…my understanding is that usually the causes of both are low self-esteem & lack of security – we all just exhibit these inadequacies differently. Not being able to spend is a self deprivation tactic & having to brag about it is a sure way of knowing you are on a fast path toward self destruction. Saving money is great – but in balance – not being able to treat yourself when the money is there is something worth taking a day or two off and really thinking about…Working extreme hours is also a sign of numbing out & essentially self destructive… also Try treating yourself to something not on sale & see what happens…BTW – I married a lawyer who is a workaholic and unable to spend – we are now in our 40′s & he is burnt out and feels as though he has no life. My wish for you is that you take the time now to get to know yourself and love yourself – enough to give yourself a day off & splurge & have some fun (within your budget & means – of course!).

  • blah

    My family is broke too. My dad being a single father and all raising 3 kids who were a year apart each and not having a college degree was really difficult for him. I dropped out of college the first sem because we couldnt pay for it even though I had gotten scholarships due to graduating as valedictorian. Now I go to a community college for free which is fine because I can balance having full time work as well. Now that i have a job I save from every paycheck since we pretty much live paycheck to paycheck. I save money though because there are some bigger things that Im going after instead of spending on the little things I wont enjoy later. We still have fun when we can by doing things you dont need money for, but it’s hard when your poor.

  • laura

    I’m curious – are you overweight? Don’t mean to be rude but I am the $1 pizza and spending $15 on a week’s worth of lunches, makes me wonder if you pick cheap options which tend to be unhealthy? I am a saver, but I splurge on my nutritional needs

  • wish it were that easy

    I really don’t mean to be rude, but this story is more about how to just be born in a fortunate scenario. You barely had to pay for college because you got scholarships (some of us aren’t so luck), and your mother helped. It seems like everything just worked out in your favor ever time. Even as you were paying off debt, you appeared to make enough money (which most people don’t) and your mother helped you again (which again most people don’t get). This article is really just a nice story of a nice life, rather than an helpful article for people who ACTUALLY struggle with paying off debt and saving money.

  • Jenn Deloach

    I do a paid for surveys site and I make around $150 a month. It won’t make you rich but it covers my electric and water bill lol. It’s the only real way I have found to make money online. Here is the link check it out,

    http://www.cashcrate.com/5388789

  • a

    I am so like you, wish i married someone like you :(

  • mike

    This story is irrelevant because she had parents that could really help her out and she was in a position to save like rent free and car free