Friday, April 25, 2008


My brother and I don't understand each other's money decisions. I can't imagine spending $10 a week on chocolate, and he finds my habit of turning off my computer and switching off the power strip whenever I'm not using it laughable. My brother focuses on using his money to increase his current happiness, and I definitely fall more toward the frugal end of the spectrum. In fact, I suspect that growing up with someone like my brother may have pushed me to suppress some of my materialistic urges since his desire to acquire sometimes bugged my parents.

My brother has described me as, "the second cheapest person in the country," and finds it really baffling when I want to spend money on anything. He cheerfully accepts parental subsidies, reasoning that they have more money than he does, whereas I figure every penny they spend on me is one they won't have for retirement or their own current wants. I haven't been able to explain to him why I would prefer to keep my apartment for an extra month if I could instead of moving home. He sees only that it would cost hundreds of dollars for rent and utilities and that I'm not generally someone who spends that kind of money needlessly.

The point of saving is to have money later for needs or wants. There are a lot of things I want but don't get, but once in a while I find something important enough to me, and my usual habits mean I have the savings to afford it. In this case, the point is probably moot, and it looks like I'll be stuck spending the month before institute alternating between staying at home and sleeping on my friends' couch since I can't renew my lease for less than the full summer and haven't been able to find anyone who needs someone to sublet. If all else fails, I bet my brother will let me sleep on his couch once in a while.


Jim ~ said...

I'm not sure how much I like how cheap gets confused with frugal. At the same time, money is finite. There is only so much of it, and what we do with it determines how much spending power we have. The common logic is that retirement is so far away that it isn't a priority, so materialistic things become a focus. There is a difference in living in the now and living for the future. The people who are stuck in the now will limit their future, because they didn't consider it. At the same time you don't want to lock yourself away like a hermit and only come out when there's a sale at the grocery store to spend some money. Watching our money carefully is one thing, and having a life is just as important too.

I wouldn't worry so much about how you differ from your brother regarding how you spend money. There are spenders and savers out there, finding a balance between the two is important. Hope your transition period works out well this summer.

Ms. MiniDucky said...

That's pretty much the same dichotomy that exists between my brother and me. (So, who's the first cheapest person in the country? :P )

What's really sad is that I remember, when we were young, we joked about how I was going to be uber-successful, and I wasn't going to let my deadbeat brother mooch off me. Apparently I was never going to tell him where I lived.

It was funny at the time because he was so utterly disinterested in academics and I was a complete nerd, but it's a bit depressing that our pointed banter seems to be coming true.

Fabulously Broke said...

You know what - there is totally a difference in how people think.

As I said in my post earlier, sometimes it's a bit of nature and nurture

Your parents enable him with subsidies yet if they give you $$, you don't see it was your god-given right...

I have the same kind of thing with my brother except he's just penny wise and pound foolish

DogAteMyFinances said...
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