Ok, I married a millionaire, so I can see extreme wastefulness from him and his brother's family. Here's an important lesson I've observed:
EVERY ASSET HAS IT'S BURDEN
My former husband must have "owned" over $700,000 worth of cars in the garage. I had to share in helping him drop them off all the time to be detailed (at $500 a pop!!), constantly dealing with the DMV for licensing new vehicles, oil changes for a garage FULL of cars, I can't imagine what the insurance costed.
When I dated him, I watched him struggle with jet skis, needing a trailer, storage, winterizing, moving them from place to place...
How about the hassles of cleaning out and maintaining an RV? (Although I guess this saves money for big families who travel alot- no plane tickets, no hotel rooms).
A neighbor's wife has a minature horse. I asked him what she does with it, he replied, "uh, feed it."
How about limo service? Sending flowers- I can't stand the mess they make and watching them die, I know how much these cost... I can't stand to receive flowers anymore. Once I received 1000 red roses at work. The following Valentines Day I received 500. These roses cost $3 each! Flying first class or needing the "BEST" hotel suite or ship cabin.
Ok, I love receiving diamonds, but went into Harry Winston's with my former MIL and she almost bought a pearl necklace for over $100,000!! She asked me if I thought she should get it. I tried to be diplomatic, reminding her how hard it must have been raising 3 kids, but also reminded her that she could buy a HOUSE for the amount of money that necklace cost!
How about spending $10,000 on Laser Hair Removal Treatments that never worked?
I never understood people paying for both a housekeeper and gym membership. If they'd clean their own house, they wouldn't need a gym membership, and if they didn't go the the gym, they'd have time to clean their houe.
Oh, and being a former stripper, I saw men spending thousands of dollars night after night on strippers that will forget all about them when the well runs dry...
While married to him, I never bought kids' or babies' clothes- hand me downs are easy to get! I never used a babysitter or childcare. I thought cribs and stollers and fancy nurseries were a huge waste of money, so never had them. I have never bought kids' or babies' toys or books, they still seem to multiply! Long-term breastfeeding and delaying solids saved formula costs, baby food was never bought, didn't buy tampons because my period was delayed for 8 years! Playgroups and parks were free entertainment. The schools have a summer feeding program and give all children aged 1-18 free lunch (some places breakfast, too!) regardless of income. Kids will always have a great time at a birthday party no matter how simple it is. I really didn't buy my own clothes much at all, but anything I did buy was always from the thrift store. I always ask the Dr. for samples of meds we might need.
So, back to the millionaire husband... Turns out he's a wife beater... runs through a huge pile of this former stripper's savings... leaves her with HUGE bills before claiming bankrupcy himself. So, here's more that I've learned...
Why would you pay for a mail box when you can get it at your house for free?
TV isn't good for kids, why would I buy channels?
Cloth diapers and wipes save tons of money!
A used, practical, dependable car isn't what you really want to show up for a date in, but who cares?
Bearing the heat and not turning on the AC in a huge house saves money and also makes your appetite disappear! No gym memberships necessary!
I don't have time to read a newspaper, why would I buy a subscription? (Yes, I live in a bubble with no TV or newspaper)
Lots of companies will give free restaurant meals in exchange for a customer service review.
Avoiding the grocery store and trying to eat from the pantry and freezer for a month can save lots of $$.
The library has free old magazines (even Mothering!)
Now the housekeeper issue: I've found that I'm turning down work (I'm on-call) because I need to get the house clean (Ok, I'm a perfectionist when it comes to a clean house!) I feel it's such a waste to hire a someone to clean the house, but it would be less money than I'm turning down. Also, I don't want my kids to remember me always cleaning the house and never having time for fun.