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How to handle envy about your "good fortune"

Last post Mon, Aug 2 2010 12:49 AM by cheapChic. 21 replies.
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  • Wed, Jul 7 2010 11:23 AM

    • Pat
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Mar 6 2007
    • Colorado
    • Posts 14,463

    How to handle envy about your "good fortune"

    I know we've talked about this before, but maybe you can help her with your own experience.

     I can't say that I have ever envied anyone's better house, car, etc.  I have had a problem with people knowing that I am very frugal and acting as though I am rich-geeeez!  I am 57 and have no debt and am semi retired by choice.  When all of my peer group was out having fun, I was home saving and putting it toward my mortgage.  I dressed from thrift shops, ate at home almost 100% of the time and always drove older cars until they died.  I went to the library, the beach (I live near it) and often used the pool at my job.  I am not at all rich.  My husband and I are comfortable and what I would call okay.  Too often, I get remarks that are rude about how I could afford anything or sure wish I did not have to work.  This comes from the same people that still shop til they drop and are always behind on their bills.  How does a person deal with this type of jealousy?

     

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  • Wed, Jul 7 2010 1:09 PM In reply to

    • Toni B.
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on Sat, Apr 5 2008
    • Seneca Falls NY
    • Posts 3,826

    Re: How to handle envy about your "good fortune"


    I'm in the same position as the Original Poster". I unofficially retired at age 51 in 2007, when my DH retired from his state job. I half heartedly looked for work but after researching it, decided we could do better if I stayed at home and streamlined our budget. I have no regrets but I do get the remarks. Part of the problem is that people want your RESULTS but they don't want to do what it takes to get there. Nor do they want to hear that how they have been spending has been wasteful.


    When people make comments to me, I turn the conversation back on them and outright say "What makes you THINK we're rich?" OR "We worked hard and sacrificed to get here." OR " I could share some tips if you're interested". I make sure to mention that I'm an active participant of the Dollar Stretcher and not ashamed of being frugal. I can't speak for everyone on Dollar Stretcher but sometimes you have to be blunt to stop the comments and be proud of what you accomplished.


    The truth is that they can see that what is going on now is not your average recession and they are scared. They know that things could get worse for them and many others. People (in general ) don't like the idea of being deprived or having their activities and lifestyle curtailed. They just want to get this recession over with and move on. They don't get that in order to get what you have requires a "Lifestyle" change. Whether they embrace it willingly or participate, kicking and screaming is totally up to them. We have forum members here who say they didn't "embrace" being frugal but they are motivated to do what it takes to be financially secure.


    On a final note, for your piece of mind and if you're so inclined, spend more time on the Dollar Stretcher website and forums. We had a recent thread titled "What are you looking for?" when you visit our site. By far the most frequent responses had to do with being around like-minded people and having a support system that keeps us motivated. Its the best way I know to diffuse the tension of envy that you get from other people who aren't frugal.


    Good Luck and Hope this Helps

    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Stages of Life
  • Wed, Jul 7 2010 4:08 PM In reply to

    • Edey
    • Top 25 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on Mon, Sep 10 2007
    • Los Angeles County, CA
    • Posts 3,869

    Re: How to handle envy about your "good fortune"

     Toni, Great Response!  

    To the poster of the original message: you know in your heart that you did what was right for you and your husband, and now you are living the rewards of that correct action. You made intelligent and calculated long-term decisions that were right for you. Others throw caution to the wind, live for the moment, and expect that income, credit and good luck will always be available. They go through life with blinders on to the possiblity that an alternate reality might happen. They made their decisions and choices and will have to live with them. 

    You shoudl be confident and relaxed, knowing that you did it right for you.  You don't owe them an explanation, comment or apology.

    Edey

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  • Thu, Jul 8 2010 6:32 AM In reply to

    • Walt34
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Dec 17 2007
    • WV eastern panhandle
    • Posts 1,406

    Re: How to handle envy about your "good fortune"

    Edey:

     They made their decisions and choices and will have to live with them. 

    You shoudl be confident and relaxed, knowing that you did it right for you.  You don't owe them an explanation, comment or apology.

    Edey

    I couldn't agree more. We also sometimes hear snide remarks - one SIL said "You guys never go anywhere". Well, that's because we didn't spend all our income on hotels and restaurant meals, our vehicles are going on eight years old and hopefully we'll keep them at least another eight years.

    That SIL and her husband lurch from one financial crisis to the next because "We have to go to the beach" and "That SUV got bad mileage so I traded it in" on a new car and now they're looking at another four years of car payments, and they have three cabinets full of Fenton art glass. As far as we can see they'll be slaves to the credit industry for the rest of their lives.

    And while DW and I have never been to Hawaii or Europe, we also achieved Zero Debt ten years ago.

    "Good fortune" has nothing to do with it. It's called Planning Ahead and Living Within One's Means.

    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Money Management
  • Thu, Jul 8 2010 9:06 AM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: How to handle envy about your "good fortune"

    I believe I would put it plainly that I lived a frugal life and saved to get there.

     

     

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



  • Thu, Jul 8 2010 9:20 AM In reply to

    Re: How to handle envy about your "good fortune"

    This is the same this as me "hating" skinny people! I want to be thin like they are, but I don't want to eat right & exercise to be that way.  It's more fun to sit on the couch eating cupcakes than to exercise, just like it's more fun to go shopping and spend money than it is to stay at home and clean house! 

  • Mon, Jul 12 2010 2:28 PM In reply to

    • Bern
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Mon, Jul 12 2010
    • Posts 2

    Re: How to handle envy about your "good fortune"

    You owe no one any explanation, live happy and free.  You earned that life by living the way you do.  Most people are so far in debt and now they are seeing the results of all their spending to keep up with or surpass the "Jones".  Be happy.

  • Mon, Jul 12 2010 3:45 PM In reply to

    • ennaid
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Mon, Jul 12 2010
    • Posts 1

    Re: How to handle envy about your "good fortune"

    You will never help these personality types. It is unfortunate but true. You set your priorities and it paid off. They set theirs and it paid off as well. You have earned the right to enjoy. In life we sometimes have to smile and nod. Smile

  • Tue, Jul 13 2010 10:53 AM In reply to

    Re: How to handle envy about your "good fortune"

    whitney37354:

    This is the same this as me "hating" skinny people! I want to be thin like they are, but I don't want to eat right & exercise to be that way.  It's more fun to sit on the couch eating cupcakes than to exercise, just like it's more fun to go shopping and spend money than it is to stay at home and clean house! 

    Sure, but that doesn't mean you would go around saying to them, "Boy, it must be nice not to have to worry about what you eat."  For myself, I've made the decision that I'd rather carry around a few extra pounds than go hungry--so I live with the consequences, and I don't snipe at people who choose otherwise.  Similarly, a person who chooses to live a non-frugal lifestyle and doesn't complain about the "good fortune" of others may be a little imprudent, but isn't being rude.

    Anyway, it's quite true that you don't owe any sort of explanation to people who make snide remarks like this.  All you really need to do is deflect them, and there are several ways to try:

    1. Turn it into a joke: "Oh yes, that's us, Mr. and Mrs. Astor, ha ha.  Excuse me, I need to go get my chauffeur to drive me to the spa."

    2. Turn the envy on its head by emphasizing your past struggles: "Yes, it certainly is a relief to have those lean years behind us now."

    3. Take the Miss Manners approach and make it clear, in an impeccably polite way, that it's none of their business: "Thank you, it's so kind of you to take an interest."

    My Ecofrugal Living blog: ecofrugality.blogspot.com
  • Wed, Jul 14 2010 9:17 AM In reply to

    Re: How to handle envy about your "good fortune"

    Take it as a compliment, and say "Thank you, we worked hard to get this far".  Can't do a thing about hard-hearted jealous people-if life doesn't soften their hearts and give them empathy, nothing will.  They may believe that you owe them some sort of emotional entitlement program, but you have no debt to them, either.

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