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s/o Oprah thread--frugality for the high income crowd - Page 5

post #81 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by bellee View Post
SO totally, you are spending nearly 700.00 a MONTH on food! Damn, that's just nuts honey. How much is that wasted? How often do you take home leftover and toss them? I would start by either eating out less or (my personal choice) buying less food for the home.


I am quite frugal and do not find $700 a month to be nuts at all. Especially when eating organic/local/fair trade. Maybe it is regional, but I buy zero convenience foods, I cook everything, even bread, from scratch, eat seasonally, and still find myself in the same price range monthly for food. Yes, I *could* feed my family for $200 a month in this area, but we would be eating a lot less nutritiously.
post #82 of 141
actually i decided to just shut my mouth for the night. lol.
post #83 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Hmmmm.... I posted earlier with a couple of suggestion of things we do, being in a similar financial boat.....solidly middle class living in a society that tells us we are supposed to live above our means.

Moderation. You are in a place where you can still do that.
:

Like I posted earlier, we have always lived within our means, sometimes living more moderately, and sometimes living very frugally.

The extreme frugality times were where we were trying to meet a financial goal. For instance, we used extreme frugality when saving up 6 months of emergency funds, also to save to become parents, and also to save for a downpayment on a house. We have also tackled debt (student loans) and paid off other things early.

Then, when we met those goals, we could relax a little and live a bit less frugally, but still within our means.
post #84 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by dachshund mom View Post
Also, you are married, there should be no personal account and joint account. If nothing else, someone has to be there to hold you accountable for your spending. Maybe when you are spending DH's salary, you will rein in the shopping.
I imagine AO addressed this, but she's not married. That said, I see NOTHING wrong with married people maintaining their own accounts. I've seen WAY too many of my friends get shafted because everything was joint.
post #85 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by avengingophelia View Post
Another thing I want to add about my situation, just so everyone understands, is that this having money and being able to buy things that are wanted/needed is new for me. I grew up poor. Not starving, but only not starving because of subsistence farming and hunting. New clothes didn't happen. There was no TV or clothes dryer. We flushed our toiled with a bucked for years because we couldn't afford to get the plumbing fixed. I'm familiar with poor.
I hear you (as you know). What about leaving ALL of your credit and debit cards at home for a while? I've (finally) figured out that if I don't have any credit cards with me, there are a lot fewer "must haves" that I run across every day.
post #86 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by frog View Post
I hear you (as you know). What about leaving ALL of your credit and debit cards at home for a while? I've (finally) figured out that if I don't have any credit cards with me, there are a lot fewer "must haves" that I run across every day.
Along those same lines, I've often employed a 24 hour or 48 hour waiting period, to think over purchases and consider them within my budget.

I don't like to make spur of the moment purchases.
post #87 of 141
OP: the thing is, according to the numbers you posted, you have a deficit each month. until you are truly living within your means, most likely you ARE adding to the cc debt. it just doesn't add up any other way, unless someone is gifting you that extra money, i just don't see where else it is coming from.
post #88 of 141
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fancyoats View Post
OP: the thing is, according to the numbers you posted, you have a deficit each month. until you are truly living within your means, most likely you ARE adding to the cc debt. it just doesn't add up any other way, unless someone is gifting you that extra money, i just don't see where else it is coming from.
Well, the discrepancy is that the overage includes making a credit card payment that is way bigger than the overage (if that makes sense). I was over by $500ish, but I paid $1,100 on credit cards, or whatever. So I'm not adding to the debt. I had over $11,000 in January and have just under $5,000 now. Definitely not adding.
post #89 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by fancyoats View Post
OP: the thing is, according to the numbers you posted, you have a deficit each month. until you are truly living within your means, most likely you ARE adding to the cc debt. it just doesn't add up any other way, unless someone is gifting you that extra money, i just don't see where else it is coming from.


yeah, I have to agree with this. To meet any financial goal, I've always had to first start with cutting things I wanted so that I could live within my means. Income = spending.

Then, to meet other financial goals on top of that, I either worked more to earn more, or cut back expenses to spend less. Sometimes, and most often, I did both.

Once you get your debt paid off and savings built up, then you can spend a bit more and still manage to be within budget. Your credit card payment alone would pay for a lot of nice things, once it's paid off. You can use that money for other stuff you want.
post #90 of 141
Thread Starter 
OK, I think maybe I wasn't clear. The credit card payments I am making aren't minimums--they are my trying to pay down the debt. The minimum payment for my CCs is less than $200.
post #91 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by avengingophelia View Post
OK, I think maybe I wasn't clear. The credit card payments I am making aren't minimums--they are my trying to pay down the debt. The minimum payment for my CCs is less than $200.
That does change things. I think you're making progress on paying down that debt.

That's significant reduction in a short time.

Maybe what I would do then is cut back on a few things you buy a couple of times per week. Like the wine. I like good wine too. And I like to live...

Maybe instead of 2x per month, maybe once per month. Or something like that, depending on how often you buy things. Not just the wine, all things. Don't deprive yourself, just cut back here and there. It will add up and help.
post #92 of 141
I'll be back to this thread. Just wanted to say I think it's a great one to have. Sometimes I feel hesitant to post questions about my spending/budget because I've read other MDCers explicitly stating they feel this forum is for low-income mamas. I realize that it's not, and that not everyone thinks it is, but it does tend to focus on thrift and frugality out of necessity.
post #93 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by sanguine_speed View Post
I'll be back to this thread. Just wanted to say I think it's a great one to have. Sometimes I feel hesitant to post questions about my spending/budget because I've read other MDCers explicitly stating they feel this forum is for low-income mamas. I realize that it's not, and that not everyone thinks it is, but it does tend to focus on thrift and frugality out of necessity.
I agree.

I think frugality and simplicity only when necessary kind of defeats the point. It is necessary when income is low to make ends meet, but it is necessary and good when income is higher because it allows you to respond to leaner times better, retire earlier perhaps, or give you more time and money to do other things in life.

And it's good for the environment in a lot of ways.
post #94 of 141
When you weigh the cost of things you are considering giving up, also consider how much interest you are paying on that money - every dollar you don't put into your debt, costs you more down the line. So if you are on track to eliminate the debt right now in 2 years with your current payment amount, then every $20 you spend now instead of adding it to that payment is accumulating interest. So you ask yourself - is this $20 item really worth 30 to me? Because that's what you are actually spending on it.

I am not saying you should do one thing or another, its just a way to think about the true cost of things.
post #95 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by avengingophelia View Post
OK, I just want to make a couple of things re: my situation clear: The extreme frugality lifestyle some of you are talking about, where nothing extra is ever purchased and the #1 and really only goal is to be completely out of debt is not something I am interested in. I understand that for a lot of you it is the holy grail, and that's fine, but it is very, very important to me to not be miserly and to enjoy my time. While I definitely agree that there are things we can and need to cut back on, cutting out everything that is not 100% necessary completely is not something I'd do even if I thought I had the willpower for it.

Another thing I want to add about my situation, just so everyone understands, is that this having money and being able to buy things that are wanted/needed is new for me. I grew up poor. Not starving, but only not starving because of subsistence farming and hunting. New clothes didn't happen. There was no TV or clothes dryer. We flushed our toiled with a bucked for years because we couldn't afford to get the plumbing fixed. I'm familiar with poor.

I totally understand. I think a lot of posters have suggested just cutting out some things and budgeting for others (like maybe crafting and thrifting comes from your $100 mad money). That is what I was saying- I hope you did not think I was saying don't spend a dime.

I grew up poor too and as a result have not always made the best financial decisions. When I got my first apartment and jobs our of high school at 17, every single time I got paid I went and bought a pair of shoes. Every single time. I was getting 2 pairs, sometimes more a month. I realized after awhile that I was doing this because I could and the idea of getting shoes when I needed them was an emotional relief and a novelty. Similar thing for a few years when I pretty much only shopped at new department stores and bought things I really did not want that much. I also have helped family members even when I really did not have the money because I felt obligated because I was doing so well. So while my childhood taught me valuable life lessons like how to shop for groceries frugally, how to eat well from scratch, how to eat well when I have little $$ it also left me with some financial hang ups. It took some time but I have managed to get to a place where I can moderate my spending and prioritize things. Part of that was buying a house and part is being a mom but most is just growing up and setting priorities for myself. Like I said in my post above, we are of similar income and age (and apparently also $$ background).

While still allowing a budget for the fun stuff, I think you can pay off that cc debt very quickly.

I am frugal...but I spend money on a ton of stuff that might scandalize some here including classes and books for my son, vacations, date nights with my spouse. I am not rich, but that does not mean I don't have money for some things that I want in addition to what I need. And I am richly blessed to have what I do have. One reason I can afford the stuff we do splurge on is because we cut back in other areas to make it possible.
post #96 of 141
I think I'm in a similar situation as the OP, making a decent salary for the first time, paying down debt, and finding each month that I'm not quite where I want to be financially, but also not feeling the need to move toward extreme frugality. So these are the steps I've taken in the past year:

-having some conversations with my partner about short term and long term financial goals (for us this includes emergency fund, paying down debt, charitable giving, saving for house, saving for retirement).

-setting monthly amounts for each of those financial goals, and taking that money out of our checking accounts as soon as we get paid.

-paying our fixed monthly expenses next (and those are really pretty modest and easy to pay for with our current salaries).

-only spending what is left over on everything else. So if I want to go out to dinner, and I want a hair cut, and I want to buy a suit that is on sale at a consignment shop, and I want some new towels, because mine are ratty, and I want some new shoes because mine are really worn-even though none of those things are a shocking splurge for a professional person making a good salary, if I look at my bank account and I only have money for two things on that list then I can only get two things this month.

In the past I have justified getting the whole list, putting it on the credit card, and figuring next month will be different, but the only thing that ever seemed to be different was a bigger credit card bill.
post #97 of 141
I have some of the same issues you have, consistently outrunning my monthly budget.

Meal planning helped me out a lot, with saving money on groceries. It is really one of the best ways to cut back, and planning and then having what you need/want on hand doesn't have to equal deprivation of any kind.

Another thing that I try to do is find things to fill my time that are not shopping. It sounds like you are creative and crafty--what if you took some of that energy and helped out a local arts charity/center--even Habitat for Humanity (you might get the same fulfillment swinging a hammer!). And volunteering is free and it feels good.

The other thing that works for me is to get obsessive about something--in this casing saving money or paying off credit cards. Again, not to the place where you have no enjoyment in life, but recognizing that achieving this goal is the best feeling I can have.

I'm almost 40--everything kind of came to head for me this year as far as my finances--I just realized that I don't want to live this way anymore so it's my new focus.
post #98 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
I am quite frugal and do not find $700 a month to be nuts at all. Especially when eating organic/local/fair trade. Maybe it is regional, but I buy zero convenience foods, I cook everything, even bread, from scratch, eat seasonally, and still find myself in the same price range monthly for food. Yes, I *could* feed my family for $200 a month in this area, but we would be eating a lot less nutritiously.
I agree. Although, we are a family of four and the kids eat A LOT. It is probably regional and depends on if you eat much meat, dairy, and packaged stuff.
post #99 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by mightymoo View Post

Invariably no matter what your income, there is generally something more you want to have, its just difficult I think to realize that someone with twice your income, no matter what that income is, will still have something more they want to have. There is always more to have, and not even wasteful silly consumer spending stuff, all things that will enrich your life, that someone who makes more than you has and you cannot afford.
I agree with this. There are millionaires that cannot live with their means. Lots of famous musician go bankrupt b/c they blow all their money when times are good.

It can be a case of "keeping up with the Jonses" as well. When you are surrounded with people constantly getting manis, pedis, highlights, brand name clothes, pocketbooks, etc, you can feel left out. I've actually had a mom outright make fun of my clothes at a playdate b/c I threw on some sweats after being up all night with my infant. Then, I've had moms at playdates making fun of what so-and-so's mom was wearing to pick up their child at preschool. When I called them out on it, everyone looked at me like I had 3 eyeballs.

I thought of another way of cutting back. I really, really want to put my son in soccer, but the money just isn't there right now. OOoh, and swim lessons too. It just goes on and on.
post #100 of 141
I still don't quite understand how being in the red - for so much - every month is helping your situation. I mean, if you continue to be in the red, month after month ... you're spending money you don't have.

I lived the really frugal lifestyle for several years so that I could relax later on. I no longer live the insanely frugal lifestyle. But, this is because I have no debt and am partnered with someone who also has no debt.

So, we go out to eat. I do swaps - love those. I give to charities. We eat all organic. We go to the symphony, the movies, etc. And we do these things without ever worrying about being in the red or not having enough money for bills or savings.

However, like I said, I can do this NOW because I went through the frugal years in repaying my debt.

It's not like you'd be living the frugal lifestyle forever - just until you were debt free. It's SO worth it - truly.

I have to ask, though, what the heck kind of food are you eating?! It's the two of us as well, and we always eat organic, we live in a fairly expensive area, and we eat out around once a week. But, we're nowehere near $700.00 a month! I honestly don't know if I could eat $700.00 worth of food every month.

Is a lot of of that for wine? We don't drink so maybe that's where we're saving.

Anyway, there are other places you can cut back - eat out less often, set a budget of $5.00 a week for thrifting - this way you don't give it up. Do only one swap a month. Make your own laundry detergent (super easy and very economical). Feeding dogs the BARF diet is 1. cheaper, 2. healthier for the dogs. I have a GSD - am heavily involved in terms of rescue and (ethical) breeding. Any vet worth their salt will tell you the same thing - raw diet it best for carnivores. It will save you money too, as a high quality kibble is WAY more expensive than the raw meat your dog would eat. My dog shares my partner's meat, lol. Except, obviously, my dog eats his raw. Teeth cleaning will be a thing of the past - my dog has NEVER needed his teeth cleaned due to the raw bones he consumes. So, there's another way to take care of both health and finances in pets.

There are really many ways of cutting back without suffering. In my frugal years, to be honest, I never felt horrible. I didn't watch TV and didn't go shopping - so no temptations. I got really creative in terms of having fun without spending money.
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