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17 Frugal Choices Boomers Regret Not Doing Growing Up

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Millennials tend to give the boomer generation a hard time, especially regarding financial choices. However, there is no denying that their experience can still be valuable. Regret can be hard to swallow, but if the older generation can offer advice to change a younger generation’s life for the better, then their sacrifice isn’t a waste. Someone asked the community what frugal advice they would offer their younger self. Here are the top responses.

1. Live With Your Parents (As Long As You Can)

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One user recommends living with your parents for as long as possible and not caring about if anyone judges you for that decision. They said, “Times are different from what they were when I was younger. It’s ok to live with your parents. Just make sure you help them out a bit.”

2. Avoid Acquired Taste

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Another user believes that many costly expenses are due to an acquired taste. If you can avoid acquiring that taste, you’re life is no worse, and you haven’t paid for the privilege. An example the user shares, in particular, is buying coffee regularly, “I know people who have three bought coffees a day. That’s a $5,500 after-tax habit right there!” Another example given is not developing a daily habit of buying cigarettes.

Another person said, “Don’t say yes to an expensive experience (festival, travel, night out, meal) unless you’re genuinely excited for.”

3. Learn DIY

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Someone suggested learning DIY (Do It Yourself) in your spare time. They add, “Choose any/all things that appeal to you and learn to do them for yourself. Then, when times are tough, you can fall back on these skills to make money go further.”

4. Skip College

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One person said they wasted $60,000 on a worthless law degree at a university. They said investing that money in a basic index fund would be worth $155,000. They add, “That’s a handy little lump sum for a house deposit.”

Another user said people could delay enrolling in college at a later point in their life. By then, they can study for a degree relevant to their interest and industry demands. They said this advice would benefit a 17-year-old leaving high school and not knowing what they want to do.

5. Talking About Money With Your Partner

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Talk money with your romantic partner to see if they have the same goals and ideals as you. For example, a user shared, “You could save yourself a lot of grief in divorcing someone who has an entirely different perspective and value on money than you do!”

6. Stop Buying Unnecessary Stuff

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“In your younger years, you want so much [stuff],” a user said. “People don’t realize how much [stuff] is promoted via advertising and your social network.” Another person said their general rule when buying things is to ask me if I want to deal with them in my space or if it will just create a mess and another thing to manage.”

7. Buy a Used Car

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Buying a new car is tempting, especially once you graduate high school or get your first job. But, a user said, “Don’t buy new cars or finance them. You’ll end up spending a significant amount more.”

8. Buy Quality Shoes

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Good quality shoes can go far compared to cheap ones made from poor materials. A user said, “I’m a 31yr old woman, and instead of millions of cheap shoes I’ll barely wear, I’ve invested in some dr martens boots & sandals, & also have some Converse sneakers.”

They said they’d gotten so much use over the years with only three pairs of shoes: “When I was a teen and early twenties, money was super tight, so I could only ever buy cheap shoes & they’d barely last a year.” So saving up to buy better-quality shoes has saved them money in the long run.

9. Buy A House

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This user’s advice is to invest early and not try to time the market. They said, “I’m a natural cheapskate, which was great for saving, but it also led to me thinking I could time the markets.” They didn’t buy a house because they thought the market was about to turn around. They also didn’t buy stocks during and after crashes because they felt more crashes would come.

Another user recommended buying a cheap house wherever you can, disregarding location and forgetting how much work is needed. They observed that house prices double in 15 to 20 years regardless of what you do it anyway. So, they say, “As soon as you can afford it, just go for it…It doesn’t matter if you rent it out, sell it or use it as equity to buy your ‘real house.'”

10. Avoid Fashion Trends

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A user adamantly told people to “STOP BUYING ENDLESS CLOTHES!” Instead, they lamented, saying people won’t wear half of them and, instead, save literally $20,000. Another user added, “No one cares if you wear the same top or dress to a party that you’ve worn before.”

11. Maintain The Same Lifestyle

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When you get a raise, it’s easy to increase your lifestyle. However, a user recommends people “try just to keep your lifestyle the same.” Your standards will creep up on their own, but if there’s a delay, you get lots of savings for basically no pain

12. Creating and Sticking to a Budget

woman using calculator
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Some baby Boomers expressed their regret about not establishing a budget earlier in life. Such regrets stem from realizing how beneficial it is to have a clear financial plan for managing income and expenses. Having a budget helps in understanding one’s financial situation, controlling spending, and avoiding financial issues.

13. Having an Emergency Fund

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Regret might arise from not prioritizing the creation of an emergency fund. This fund acts as a safety net during unexpected financial crises, preventing reliance on high-interest loans or credit cards.

14. Creating Multiple Income Sources

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Many Baby Boomers might regret not exploring diverse income streams. Having multiple sources of income can significantly contribute to savings and financial stability. Regrets could surface from not seizing opportunities to increase income through side jobs, investments, or freelance work earlier in life.

15. Not Traveling More When Having the Opportunity

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Many users shared how they regret not prioritizing travel experiences when they had more freedom and fewer responsibilities. The value of enriching experiences gained from travel might lead to remorse for not exploring the world more extensively earlier in life.

16. Not Making Healthy Habits Like Working Out a Priority

healthy man exercising
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Many baby boomers, especially those with health complications and weight issues regret neglecting health and fitness earlier in life. Realizing the importance of exercise and healthy habits for the long term can enable you to have a much better and longer life.

17. Valuing ‘Things’ Over Experiences at Times

man is a businessman and rich
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Recognizing the lasting value of experiences over material possessions, some baby confessed their regret for not appreciating valuable moments earlier in their lives.

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