45 Comments

  1. Okay–so I don’t have any great “I met Mr. Right and stopped blowing all my money on clothes” stories. BUT, about 6 months ago I decided to just give dating back to G-d (just don’t feel like carrying that particular burden anymore) . And since then, my makeup, clothing and accessories purchases have plummeted. So I can relate!

  2. Wise words! I never really thought about it quite like this but I definitely can get caught up in unhealthy impression management. Fortunately I’m focusing on that and working on improving myself. Working out for “free” in the apartment gym to lose weight and gain muscle; the right clothes won’t matter quite as much if I keep it up. Can I use my 401k balance and savings rate for impressions? 😉

    • Mr. Groovy

      Wouldn’t it great if we could use our net worth/savings/401k balance/etc. to help seal the deal, so to speak? In meantime, I’m afraid, we’re stuck with the old superficial standbys (physique, clothes, car, etc.). Sigh. Thanks for stopping by, RL. I really appreciate your thoughts and your frugal approach to getting into shape. Cheers.

  3. Thankfully my wife isn’t too much on material impressions, although she did say she would have never considered me if I had my old car (crappy paint job, crappy interior, etc.) instead of my still new-looking Mustang at the time. She would have seen me as “cheap.”

    Before marriage, we focused on “impression management” more than we do now. We still want to look good professionally and when we do go to town. We intend to teach our own children to not be as materialistic as regular society for the reasons you mentioned. The feeling of the need to impress is causing many people to greatly misspend their money on today instead of spending it more wisely for tomorrow.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Josh. Better to be modest, clean, and financially healthy than flashy, clean, and financially broke. Do I really need a Louis Vuitton wardrobe? As you correctly pointed out, the “need to impress” is causing a lot people to do a lot of stupid things with their money. Thanks for stopping by, my friend. It’s always great hearing from someone who does “impression management” right and is a Mustang fan. Cheers.

  4. Jacq

    I’ve never been very fashionable, thanks to lack of paying attention & growing up wearing hand me downs. I mostly blame the 80’s and 90’s and their love of neon.
    I match my socks to my pants (black/grey) or shirt, typically. I went to Catholic school for many years and having no choice in socks, I continue to rebel with ‘fun’ socks. It also makes them WAY easier to match up. I have blue, purple, green argyle. Raining cats & dogs blue, TARDIS socks, and sharks that look like they are biting your leg, but unless you lift the pant leg, just look like grey socks. 🙂
    Speaking of my dad’s socks though, back in the 80’s they had plastic things that looked like a pince nez, to put socks in so they stayed paired in the wash & drawer without balling them and killing the elastic. Since retiring, dad requests white exercise socks as gifts because he bikes or runs daily (outside or in the work out center), and wears holes in them quickly.
    Thanks for a great perspective and a bit of nostalgia!

    • Mr. Groovy

      Thank you, Jacq. I really appreciate your kind words. And I also appreciate your contribution to our conversation. Socks with sharks on them? I would love a couple of pair of those. And I forgot all about those sock clips that kept your socks together in the washer and dryer. That’s something I could use even today, my friend.

  5. My dad was…unconventional. Tie-dye shirts. White athletic socks. He did what he wanted, wore what he wore…he was a “take it or leave it” kind of guy. I still have A LOT more to learn from my dad than I thought when I was a kid. HAHA!

    • Mr. Groovy

      Indeed. It’s always special when you realize the wisdom of a parent. It’s even more so when you’re able to tell them about your revelation. Thanks for stopping by, Claudia. And thanks for sharing a little about your tie-dye-wearing-take-it-or-leave-it dad. We love characters here at Freedom Is Groovy!

  6. Aww, how incredibly sweet to both your dad and Mrs. G.

    I know my mom embarrassed me growing up (not so much my dad,) And I know that at least some of that was part of growing up…setting myself aside from my mom. Now I know my mom was super-cool in the “I’m gonna live my life my way, full steam ahead” way. But it took a long time to appreciate it…I had to become a mom myself to really understand the full extent of her coolness.

    I will say I knew Jon was probably the guy for me when I met him and noticed that his nice red button down was both neatly ironed and so well-worn that I could see the white threads showing on the side of the collar.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Thank you, Emily. I definitely won the lottery with my dad and Mrs. G. And it certainly looks like you did as well with your mom and Jon. Anyone willing to live her life “her way, full steam ahead” has my respect and admiration. And anyone who cares for well-worn shirts like they were purchased yesterday has my respect and admiration too.

  7. Your dad sounds like a great guy! I kept thinking about “dad shoes” while reading this post, haha (which, fyi, are those new balance sneakers with the big N on the sides).

    I actually had an opposite approach to my dad. My dad was/is a simple guy but he did like to buy new trucks and have a big house. I was always dismayed by his and my mom’s materialism and it’s what got me interested in personal finance from an early age.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Colin. It could be a generational thing. For some reason, my dad’s generation was very satisfied with a 1,600 sq ft home in the suburbs, a car, a three-kid family, and a dog. I never once heard my father, or any of my friend’s fathers, express a desire for a luxury car or a bigger house. I also never heard my father and my friend’s fathers complain about someone having more than them. And yet my generation and the ones that followed seem to be obsessed with stuff and social ranking. Sigh. I’m glad people like yourself are finally challenging this mindset. My your tribe grow exponentially, my friend.

  8. OMG that quote at the bottom gave me the giggles. 😊 When I met Rick he had a brand spanking new 1995 Dodge Ram. I think I fell in love with the truck before I fell in love with him. 😊 Yeah, that need to impress and be impressed with stuff sure is a freaking waste. BTW, your dad sounds like one amazing man. You are doubly blessed. Smart wife, great family. 😊

    • Mr. Groovy

      Thank you, Laurie. I did luck out. Mrs. Groovy and my family really are great. And Mrs. Groovy’s family is pretty awesome too. I knew Mrs. Groovy was pretty special right after we met. I picked her up in a Chevy beater for our first date and she couldn’t have cared less. If she were into cars, I doubt we would have had a second date. But I understand why girls use cars as a proxy for success. It’s a poor proxy, but they need some clue to determine whether a potential date is an unemployed loser.

  9. How do you feel about knee-high black socks with water shoes?

    Impressions are tricky. Sometimes I don’t care what other people think, but I have to play by the rules a little to keep a job and stay out of jail.

    After that, it’s fun to test the boundaries.

    • Mr. Groovy

      That sounds like an awesome combination! Do the water shoes have the toes in them? You get extra points for that.

  10. One of my very favorite things about my dad is that he’s always had his “uniform”. As a mechanic, he wore a uniform every day at work. But he’d go to work in blue jeans and a sweatshirt (black, navy, or burgundy generally) and come home dressed the same. He’s been such a great counterweight my whole life. As a teen, I’d obsess about clothes, and he’d always be there to tease me about the $80 “distressed” jeans that looked like someone already wore out. This was a fun post, Mr. G!

    • Mr. Groovy

      I love it. Your dad had the capsule wardrobe going before it was a thing. And what would we do if we didn’t have our dads gently teasing some common sense in to us? I know I’d be a real mess without that kind of wisdom.

  11. There was a time when “impression management” was high on my list, but comfort quickly grew to become more important. My wife and I will occasionally have a discussion as to why I should or shouldn’t wear black sneakers to a dressy event, so perhaps I’ve gone a tad too far…

    • Mr. Groovy

      LOL! I love it, Gary. The right black sneakers can pass for shoes from a distance. So if you’re having a bad foot day, why sacrifice your comfort? Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

  12. Didn’t you know, the stuff you have and how good you look correlate heavily with you ability to put food on the table 😉. There’s only one problem with your plan. Instead of moving to early with your date risking an STD now you need a protection from identity theft. How do they make a financial condom?

    • Mr. Groovy

      Excellent points, FTF. And I never considered the threat of a financial STD! Perhaps someone can create an app that acts like a financial condom. I can see it now. Trojan Finance: Share your net worth and not your identity.

  13. First off, your dad sounds kick ass. And to teach you to treat the ladies with respect is something I wish was the norm this day in age. He got it right, that’s for sure. As for the socks…well, it could have been worse. My grandpa (90) is now wearing all his tube socks with the top bands cut off. The are frayed and roll up but he insists they just feel better. It doesn’t matter the occasion, when he sits down the crazy cut up socks peek out for the world to see. We giggle and laugh but my mom and her sisters are still horrified with embarrassment. Haha, it never gets old!

    As for your last statement, I agree whole heartedly. I wish we could stop judging people by their looks and material belongings but it’s soooo hard! I also wish that we could at some point look past the money as well and start judging by the Kindness one gives. Why doesn’t Kindness have more value in this world?? In my opinion, it weighs way more than gold.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Haha! Your dad sounds kick ass too. And I agree with you. We have to work on getting past the looks and the material belongings. And then we have to work on looking past wealth. Kindness is the most important trait of all, but that trait unfortunately wasn’t as important to our survival as the drive to reproduce and overcome scarcity. Damn evolutionary biology!

  14. Well put, Mr. Groovy! I also grew up with fashion-neutral parents. I swear once my dad wore overalls with no shirt underneath and Crocs, of all things. It was embarrassing at the time, but now that I’ve grow up a little, I see that comfort comes first. Just get the yard work done and screw anyone who wants to look fabulous while doing it.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Oh, man. I hope you have a picture of your dad in his overalls and Crocs. What a fun memory. And I totally agree with you, Mrs. PP. “Screw anyone who wants to look fabulous doing yard work.”

  15. I’ve actually become more fashionable as our mission to FIRE solidified. It was really mostly for my own happiness, though. I feel better and more put together in a dress. My work wardrobe is the same as my “grocery shopping on Saturday morning” wardrobe, except on rare occasions.

    Granted, my workplace is fairly casual and I rock combat boots with my dresses because fuck heels 😉

    • Mr. Groovy

      “Granted, my workplace is fairly casual and I rock combat boots with my dresses because fuck heels”

      Hahahahahahahahhahaha! Best comment of the year. And I hear ya, Felicity. There is something to looking sharp. It’s kinda like making your bed in the morning. In a sense, it doesn’t really matter. In another sense, though, it sets the tone for the day. Also, looking good and being fiscally responsible are not mutually exclusive. I think that’s why we see capsule wardrobes as a growing trend. Thanks for stopping by, Felicity. You made my day.

      • Haha, glad to hear it! XD

        So true on capsule wardrobes . Not sure if my wardrobe would qualify, but it is smaller than the “yeah this is a nice walk-in closet, but where are you going to put your clothes, honey?” house hunter people.

        • Mr. Groovy

          Everything in moderation. That’s the key. You know you’re in scary territory when your closet is larger than most people’s bedroom.

  16. I hate that money is a taboo subject to talk about. It’s one of my favorite topics to talk about…

    When I’m on a date, I try to hold back on discussing things about my house. I probably come off smug when others around me have student debt and a lower income…

    Anyway, (bragging again), it’s a tough balance. Thanks for sharing FIG.

    • Mr. Groovy

      It’s such a shame. If money weren’t taboo, and women preferred guys with a big net worth, guys would put more money into their retirement accounts than their wheels. Sigh. Thanks for stopping by, Erik. May a rise of financial nudity sweep the nation.

  17. Did you ever get/give horse bites? Ouch! Your dad’s comment about ‘someone’s daughter’ is similar to something I tell my 16 y/o son.

    I love your underlying message Here. So many ppl hitch their identity to their fashion or social status and totally lose focus on their true self, which has nothing to do with cars, or homes, or socks.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Wow! Just looked up the definition of a horse bite. It sounds lovely. Fortunately for me and my peers, we weren’t aware of this form of rough-housing. Our thighs would have been a mess.

  18. Black athletic socks are the thing now these days anyway, right? At least that’s what my kids wear. I think we tend to appreciate our dads and our parents more as we get older. In the moment they don’t seem so cool. I wish we could look past the superficial stuff and get to the real person first. My wife and I had a long distance relationship for awhile before living near each other and it gave us a chance to get to know each other better.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Haha! I said the same thing to Mrs. G. Hipsters and teens are now making some funky fashion statements with their socks and footwear. Thanks for stopping by, Brian. It’s always great hearing from someone who had a wholesome and thoughtful courtship with his wife.

    • Black athletic socks are totally a thing for teen boys (and I love it!) Much easier to keep “clean” than the darn white ones! Mr. G – you totally had me thinking about my dad here. He was a total embarrassment to me as a teenager. He’d put on a dress shirt and shorts, then black socks and dress shoes. He could have cared less. All he cared about was that it was clean. He can’t even figure out how to put his clothes on the right way now (Alzheimer’s). It makes me wish I could see him in the yard in “his” choice of clothes again. Those days are now long gone.

      • Mr. Groovy

        The dress shirt, shorts, black socks, and dress shoes is quite a fashion statement. It takes a man with a lot of confidence to pull that off. Sounds like your dad was a pretty awesome dude. Thanks for stopping by, Vicki. And thanks for proving that our youth are recognizing the beauty of black socks again. Perhaps our future is brighter than I think!

  19. Memories flooding in here, spot on! It continues today, with me no longer caring (“I’ve become your Dad, too!”), and my daughter is embarrassed when I “dress wrong” in public! (“my child has become me”).

    It is a sign of maturity (or marriage?) when we realize that “the little things” don’t really matter.

    Besides, think of all the money we can save when we retire with a drawer full of black socks from a corporate career, and can now use them with our tennis shoes in retirement!! Woot woot.

    • Mr. Groovy

      LOL! So true about the drawer full of black socks. My corporate career did a number on my sock diversity. It was only a year or so ago that Mrs. G integrated some white tube socks into my collection.

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