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April 24, 2009


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If you think about it, it all boils down to psychology. Most people suffer from wanting that immediate gratification. Many people are materialistic and want to keep up with the Jones. This woman found a very good balance between her wants and her needs and did an excellent job on capitalizing on that balance. If everyone could suppress that need for STUFF, I think we would all be in a better place.

I've hit a point where I don't want for that much anymore. So, I've been on a savings kick and a pay down debt kick for several months now. It is really a good feeling not to be tied down to always wanting for something. That feeling drives you to spend money you don't have to get things you don't need.

"For instance, she would buy five sandwiches for $5.95 from Arby's. She'd eat one and freeze the four others for later."

Hasn't everyone done that? :-)

I remember learning the hard way while reheating one of thier sandwiches in my microwave that Arby's used a metal foil to wrap their sandwiches.

The woman probably had a decent salary. Right now social workers in St. Louis can make over $60k. She probably had pretty good benefits and pension plan.

I think one key was the lack of payments on a vehicle and house. We save a large part of our income but not as much as we pay in our dang mortgage payment each month. This is our own fault since we stretched to get the house we wanted. Get rid of my mortgage and our average salary would add up pretty quick!

What the hell is the point of amassing $1.4 million and then dying? Who do you think is going to get this money? Answer: The US Government via death taxes. Gee how wonderful is that?

When I read stories like this I CRINGE and think that it has been a wasted life to squander your life to squirrel away money.

Suffering like this isn't a virtue it's stupid. Now the government will get the money and it'll be flushed down the toilet. If this woman took vacation all over the US or over the world she would have helped so many more people.


Trask --

The point I was making (and make in all these related posts) is that you CAN amass wealth on a limited income (contrary to what most people say -- they'll use a small income as an excuse for why they aren't doing well financially.) What someone does with that wealth...that's a broader topic and for another post.

While it's true that you can amass wealth on a limited income, I don't know if this woman's life should be used as an example: she amassed this huge wealth, yet she's never enjoyed it. She died clipping coupons and left all the money to others.

I doubt a lot of people would want to follow her example. Sometimes these blogs make it sound like there are only two ways: 1) spend like crazy on things you cannot or can barely afford and have a huge debt and/or no savings or b) save every penny without ever buying a nice thing or two and live like a pauper while leaving a huge amount of money to your heirs (if you have any). Between these two extremes there is a huge in-between area. You can live within or slightly below your means, save some part of your salary and still spend some money on things you love - within reason and not all the time.

I agree with Kitty. Living within means is different from using a 30 year old car, box set tv and living off your parents furniture. Why not then just recommend living in your parent's basement and saving the money? There has to be a balance between financial wisdom and enjoying life. Also this style of living hurts economy as much as people spending beyond their means. Capitalism (a bad word these days !!!) works by circulation of money in the market and no other financial system has come close to being as fulfilling to humankind as capitalism has.

9 times out of 10 when someone talks about increasing their nest egg they mention spending less to save more.

There are two sides to every equation, rather than spending less (though I do not waste often) I focus on increasing my income to save more rather than cutting my expenses to save more.

Cutting expenses has limited potential - increasing income is limitless.

Just my opinion.

I did like the article, thank you.

Ok this is too frugal for me, there are other ways of building wealth. I save 30% of my income and live off the rest, once I run out, I wait until next income. I rather make more money than go to this extreme like the Social worker

To those who think this woman lived like a pauper, I diagree. The article specifically mentions, she DID go to Europe. She DID go to the Rose Bowl in CA. She DID buy a baby gand piano. Paupers can't afford to do these things. However, she likely focused on the things that were really most important to HER and ingored the stuff that was only marginally important. Most people have difficulty focusing on what's most important. They thing EVERYTHING they want has equal value, and try to have it all, but that doesn't work.

Personally, I would not drive a 30 year old Chevy or live with my parents until they died, but she LIKED the car and didn't mind living with her parents. She made different choices than I would have...but the point is, she made choices, and focused only on the things that were truly important to her and let the rest go.

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