Am I A Savings Snob?

I’ve written before about my friend Shelly, who makes probably about twice what I do and spends probably about 3 times as much.

She was complaining recently about how much money her financial planner is making her save for a down payment on a house. Apparently he has already told her that she’ll be adding her pay raise (and then some) to her monthly savings, for a total of $1500 per month. She’s secretly cutting back her 401K contributions to compensate. Oh, and she hasn’t told him about her 401K loan because she’s worried he’ll make her pay it back more quickly.

She was clearly looking for someone to agree that saving $1500 per month is ridiculous and that $1000 was already a lot to be saving, but all I could think about was the bottom line on my budget: $1800. She seemed confused by the fact that I wasn’t impressed with what she had managed to save – $10,000 last year, she crowed.

I am happy that she’s saving, and I know that going from not saving to saving $1000 per month is a huge leap.  But it’s hard to be impressed when she takes home $1500 more per month than I do and complains about how hard it is to save money.

(On a completely unrelated note, she also told me that it’s useless to try to put down more than 3% on a house because you pay PMI no matter what (and I guess it’s not even possible to come up with the full 20%?).  I stopped talking to her then because I wanted to pull out my hair at all the things wrong with her logic.)

But maybe I’m a savings snob.  I have Chad, so I don’t have to go out to get social interaction when I crave it.  We share an apartment (although we do share a really small one, which she might not be willing to do), so that helps us save.  We don’t do anything that requires a big outlay of cash, most of the time we like hiking or just hanging out on the beach.  Perhaps I’m a snob because my personality is one that welcomes alone time and enjoys simpler activities.

And the weirdest thing is, if she was a PF blogger, I would be impressed with (and jealous of) her savings & earnings and I would cheer her on.  I’d encourage her to indulge when she felt deprived, although I might go off a bit in the comments about her 3% down payment spiel.

What do you guys think?  Am I a snob?

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9 Responses

  1. Wait, why are you a savings snob? Because you’re unimpressed with her savings to date and the current savings plan?

    I would think that snobbery entailed turning your nose up at her savings because “yours are so much better,” or because she’s doing it “wrong” or some such. I’m not getting that from you. My read on this is she’s … whiny. It’s hard to be impressed by someone who complains about what they’re doing, even if they’re coming up with lots, versus someone who is earnest and only saving half of that. Perhaps it’s the negativity in her attitude that makes the whole effort seem less impressive. Also, the secretly cutting contributions, and hiding loans from her financial planner? It’s her choice, but it seems juvenile. I mean, she’s paying the planner to help her, but seems to be acting like a child with an overbearing parent instead.

    I think it’s awesome when people get raises, save money, get to do and buy new things they can afford, but less so when their attitudes are disrespectful, demeaning or inconsiderate. (Speaking generally, I’m not saying she’s any of these as I don’t know her.)

  2. @ Revanche: I guess I started thinking about it because she seemed confused that I wasn’t shocked at her being able to save $10K last year; I wasn’t impressed because I managed to save nearly twice that. So while I’m not explicitly saying, “Oh, I am better than you at saving and you should do it my way!” I guess I didn’t muster up the right amount of enthusiasm and her reaction made me fel like maybe I’m just elitist & ignoring the fact that it’s a good thing that she’s saving at all.

    You’re probably right that it’s the complaining. After, I save a pretty decent amount but I almost never feel like I’m deprived, so it’s annoying to hear complaints about saving on a six-figure income.

  3. Holy cr&p. Your prior post about your friend really hit home. I too, need time to myself after socializing and I too have a spendthrift friends. (I’m glad I’m not the only one!)
    Anyhow, I don’t think you’re a snob since you’ve actually been very supportive of my attempts to save. (I guess you’re right that you’re more lenient on PF bloggers!) Secondly, I think your friend was fishing for compliments by bragging that she saved $10k – – and that will turn anyone off. Thirdly, I agree with everything that Revanche mentioned about her maturity in dealing with her own finances. I guess the only thing you could do is to nudge her in the right direction and hopefully she’ll be inspired by you to become more financially responsible. Good job on not telling her what she wants to hear, by the way.

  4. Ok, that makes sense. I didn’t think that your lack of enthusiasm in this case meant that you were playing a superiority card at all.

    In case I didn’t mention it before, I deem you non-snob.

  5. I don’t think snob is the right term, it simply sounds like you are less than impressed. You are perhaps a bit hard on her, you say she has made great progress in saving even a little. I do think it’s weird she hides stuff from her financial planner, if she feels guilty about it then why is she taking out 401k loans etc. Also I agree that in LA, SF, NY etc 20% down is very tough for first time buyers. You are looking at $100k+, which it will take her 10 years or more to save. Most likely her income is too high for any downpayment assistance programs, perhaps too high for the $8,000 tax credit. Is the $1000 on top of her 401k and any other savings or does it include everything? I only save ~$500 per month cash, but I also put money into retirement funds and investments.

  6. I think some people are naturally good savers, and some people suck at it if they don’t try.

    You are right, if she was a pf blogger, I’d cheer her on too. But in real life, if I see someone making much more money than me but saving far less, it is hard to say “great work!!” when they are fishing for compliments.

    I agree about the immaturity comments. If she were being mature and thoughtful, and saved 10k a year, I think I’d be more impressed.

  7. Agreed. Totally hard to cheer someone on when they make more than you do ANYWAY, and if they managed to save $28k instead of $10k, do you think you’d be more impressed since she makes $1500/month more than you?

    I think it’s just a bit of green eyed jealousy, which I get sometimes….

    And 20% is a bit daunting to put down all by your lonesome. Hence why I am thrilled I have BF who is a major saver and can def. put down 20% no problem, or even pay 50% in cash. *sighs with PF happiness*

  8. Late to the game here, but I just recently found your blog. You definitely don’t sound like a snob. It would’ve been snobbish if you started talking about how you had saved more than her and only make half as much and saying how she should be saving twice as much, but it doesn’t sound like that happened.

    That being said, my stomach lurched when you mentioned her cutting back her 401(k) contribution, so from my perspective you’re completely justified in not being impressed with her handling of her finances.

    Also, it seems really weird that she’s hiding money things from the person who she’s paying to help her with money. Maybe she just has to get used to saving and get more comfortable with the planner before she comes totally clean.

  9. No, you’re not a snob. Sometimes it’s painful to sit there and listen to something that (to you) sounds insipid. I’m sure you just want to grab her by the shoulders and give her a good, hard shake. Anyway, I’m in no position to talk at the moment, as I discovered shopping within the last year, and with it, financial ruin. I’m currently in the market for a good 12-step program.

    Incidentally, my name is also Sarah, and I’m also 25. Heyhi!

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