What (if anything) do you buy other than food and paying bills? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 44 Old 11-23-2010, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You probably buy food. You probably pay rent or a mortgage. You probably pay electric and maybe an additional amount for heating fuel. You probably buy basic toiletries like shampoo, toothpaste, soap. If you have pets you buy their food, and cat litter if you have felines. You may have a car payment, and probably fuel your car if you have one. You might pay for loans - student loans, credit card bill you're trying to get rid of. TV, internet, phone, cell. Insurance - health, auto, home.

 

OK, but what else? What do people spend their money on after the above? (I don't think the above is all necessities, but it does seem to cover the basics for the mainstream American lifestyle). I'm not looking for bills I might have forgotten - like trash pickup, maybe, or building up your savings account. But rather, what are the "optionals" that people frequently spend on?

 

Do you buy DVDs? CDs? Do you update your wardrobe frequently so you're always in fashion? Do you buy lamps and curtains, or furniture? Electronic gadgets? How much discrentionary income do you have, and what do you spend it on?


Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#2 of 44 Old 11-23-2010, 11:42 AM
 
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I'll play.  We moved this past summer- so a good deal of discretionary has been spent on paint/curtains/little repairs.  We also have a regular date night where we go out to eat.  That is a sanity keeper for us.  Occasionaly (like about 4x/year) I treat myself to a new bottle of nail polish or a cute target pair of earrings.  I buy clothes- but not so fashionable- just what we need.  Well except my new boots.  DH bought me a new pair of uggs since my old ones were falling apart.  Gosh- I sound like I spend a lot- but not really that much.  I did do a bunch of custom knitting this fall and used that money for my childrens Christmas gifts.  So fortunately I don't have to really budget anything for that.  Oh- I guess I spend money on yarn or fabric- but I really count that in the clothing category since the children really need mittens/hats and the new baby will need diapers and longies. 

 

no electronics, a couple of times/yr a new dvd off the clearance rack or $5 bin, no booze or wine, no music or books.  we are pretty content with the library and free entertainment- oh and no cable/satelite either. 


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#3 of 44 Old 11-23-2010, 11:51 AM
 
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yarn and knitting needles, sometimes knitting/sewing books.

 

earrings.

 

thrift store clothes and household items.

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#4 of 44 Old 11-23-2010, 12:02 PM
 
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Chickens.

 

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#5 of 44 Old 11-23-2010, 12:04 PM
 
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My discretionary income changes each month based on bills. This month I bought cheap fast food lunches twice for us because I was craving it. Normally with whatever extra we have that isn't for bills or savings I get some sort of food treat for us.

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#6 of 44 Old 11-23-2010, 12:05 PM
 
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although we don't eat out nearly as much as other families, we do spend quite a bit in that category. (primarily at Chipotle. I think I spent more there last month than any other single purchase)

 

 

 

 


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#7 of 44 Old 11-23-2010, 12:14 PM
 
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Children's clothing. 


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#8 of 44 Old 11-23-2010, 12:21 PM
 
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Lets see - I buy fabric and yarn - more than I should, but I've been really good since the summer. I just bought some knitting needles because they were a size I didn't have and I couldn't borrow them.

 

This week - kinda discretionary - I bought: Footies pjs for school-aged daughter and some more pants for new born boy. Also bought a boppy cover and it makes me happy when I look at it. Bought a moby wrap earlier this season - again, I consider this pretty discretionary. I do buy clothes, but not a ton. I buy shoes when they are on-sale.

 

We just had the yard landscaped. Well - cut down from jungle status and a tree removed.) We need to plant it. That was a major discretionary expense, but the yard was unusable.

 

After that - more money on books than we should - book fairs, fundraisers and trip to Barnes and Noble.

 

And - events - $60 on live theater tickets for the 3 of us. DH has season football tickets (wish he did not!). And then just - food, eating out and snacks. We don't really buy music or any kind of games. I only buy make-up every few years and it's from the drug store. We're not long on electronic gadgets but DH did just buy a netbook. Neither of us have new cell phones or other PDAs. DVDs- maybe 2-3/year at Christmas. DD got new curtains last March when we bought a new washing machine (20 year old tank finally died - but actually only the cord). That's really it. The rest of house is set for curtains and decorations. Oh - I bought a chalk-board thing off a co-worker for $10. New in box - they had never put it up.


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#9 of 44 Old 11-23-2010, 12:53 PM
 
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We eat out about once a week (either Sat night take out or out for Sat lunch usually). 

 

We spend a lot of money at our local ACE here lately, cause we moved 2 months ago into a 1950s house with lots of projects to do. 

 

I like to thrift for my house (see above...new house...new areas to decorate), for kids clothes, and my dh loves to thrift for clothes for himself. 

 

Mostly, though, it's bakery treats (once a month or so), fast food (once a week, usually snacks, not a full meal), and thrifting/yard sales.

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#10 of 44 Old 11-23-2010, 01:13 PM
 
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clothes, books, magazines, board games, household decorations/items (all these are sought out at thrift stores first)

 

entertainment expenses, such as eating out, going to the movies, sporting events, day trips (orchard picking, ice skating, etc), netflix and napster subscriptions (we just bumped to two napster subs; one for dh and two of the boys' - they each have mp3 players used daily, and the account limit is 3 devices) and a new one for me to use on my smartphone (whose expense would probably fall into this category as well.  a cell phone is a necessity for me, but my fancy gadget smartphone is a luxury!)

 

hobbies; for me that's yarn (though that's also a business expense, since virtually all yarn I actually purchase is for design work)  for DH, that's athletic gear (he's currently training for a triathalon)

 

kids' activities, such as sports, school events, piano lessons, church trips

 

family vacation and short-term mission trip (both once a year, budgeted for all year and paid in cash)

 

gosh, that looks like a lot.  Honestly, we're not big spenders, lol! (obviously, not all of these things are purchased every month; that's more of a yearly overview) we have a low mortgage, have two cars that are paid off, DH's tudent loans paid off (and mine almost paid off but no in deferment b/c I'm back in school) and have scrimped and saved and budgeted for years to get to this point where we are financially comfortable.  we don't use credit cards; everything is budgeted/planned and paid for in cash.

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#11 of 44 Old 11-23-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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i feel like a trip to the goodwill is a shopping splurge! :) i notice that if we have leftover change it goes to used books. toys, clothes for our dd. sometimes i splurge and buy some yarn for knitting. 

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#12 of 44 Old 11-23-2010, 01:23 PM
 
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Well we don't really have much discretionary income. We really shouldn't have any and put the little money we have at the end of the month into savings.

 

Dh's income pretty much covers our necessities (although I don't think we had pet food budgeted here, should've though). I keep a couple of children part time for that discretionary income. But much of it is still spent on necessities such as children's clothing, shoes, occasionally bedding, one summer trip, holiday money... None of this is really consistent month to month.

 

The one thing we really don't have to spend monthly that we choose to is alcohol. I've tried limiting dh to $20 bucks a month, but it pretty much falls at $30.

 

I'm trying to get back to a yoga class once a week, but I don't think I can budget more than twice a month at this point.

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#13 of 44 Old 11-23-2010, 01:31 PM
 
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Recreation is where we probably do the most discretionary spending.  Ski passes for me and DD.  Ice skates for both kids (and me, but that was a one-time purchase), and paying to go a rink about once a week.  Bikes and rollerblades for the kids, new tires for my hand-me-down bike.  Swimming lessons.  Gas for traveling.  Campground fees.  Some time in the near future, I'd like to buy a bigger tent, sleeping bags for the kids, and a new backpack for me.  I need to look into riding lessons for DD and see if we can manage to afford them.  I'm thinking about archery equipment, too.  And maybe setting up a slackline in our woods.

 

I have a vegetable garden, so I buy seeds, tomato cages, etc.  I also sometimes buy perennials for the flower beds.  I could spend way, way more money on plants and gardening equipment if we had it to spare.

 

We buy a lot of books, but almost all at yard sales, thrift stores, or library book sales, so it's not a big expense.  We pick up random fun or useful things at yard sales as we see them - a metal detector, kids' games, a balance board, a fishing pole, a $10 computer.  We occasionally eat out somewhere cheap, or pick up snacks at a convenience store.  We buy the kids nets to catch frogs and insects, and containers to keep insects and other small critters in.

 

We don't have a mortgage or car payments, which helps.

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#14 of 44 Old 11-23-2010, 01:37 PM
 
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Clothing pretty much all comes from thrift store other than good shoes that are purchased new 95% of the time.

Most books come from thrift store or ordered on Half.com and supplemented with library as well as our own personal library.

 

Eat out - maybe 2 times a month - used to be more, but moved in Feb 2010 and now it's a 15 minute drive to closest restaurant, so most of the time we just eat at home.

 

We buy tools, garden seeds, misc supplies for projects (paint, fabric, small tools, nuts bolts, etc) as needed.

 

We do make larger purchases time to time, this year we bought a new laptop, new digital camera, used ATV and a used truck camper.

 

Also spent money on new tires for the truck, new brakes, and a trip to visit family some 1200 miles away.

 

On a normal monthly basis, we don't have these larger expenses, but *could* afford to do so monthly.

 

Aside from daily living, we send a large portion to savings each month, as we are saving up to buy land. Sure we could afford to have cable TV and a new car, but we try and save as much as possible instead.

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#15 of 44 Old 11-23-2010, 01:37 PM
 
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Toys for dd, clothes for dd and myself, we eat out at least once a week, craft things for dd, nights out with the girls.. I put a misc section in my budget, eat out, gym, out, babysitter, etc. So I know how much I have in each section to work with.

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#16 of 44 Old 11-23-2010, 01:58 PM
 
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-Travel

-Eating out/ take away

-New clothing, but often at charity shops :D

-I think I'm going to get a new DSLR soon. I saw that Target has the Canon Rebel on sale on black friday AND it comes with telephoto lens.

-Books. I bought 4 books this weekend :/ But usually not nearly that many, and almost always second hand books.

-I spend $15 a month on music. That gets me like 3 albums, through an online service.

-We buy "fancy" food that certainly isn't groceries. Things like local herb olive oil, or fun wine, things like that.
-Stuff for my kiddo

-Coffee dates with friends

 

We very rarely buy DVDs, I think two in the past year or so. Rarely buy CDs. We have pay-as-you-go mobile service and maybe spend £15 every two months. I do have satellite service, I would get rid of it, but my husband likes it.

Our discretionary income is enough that I never have to worry about not having enough in the account to pay for something. We owe no money, but that's about to change, we're planning on buying our first home. Getting a bit nervous about it actually, who am I going to call when the shower is leaking into the dining room?!

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#17 of 44 Old 11-23-2010, 03:08 PM
 
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~travel - either weekend getaways or longer

~house reno / fixing / decorating - paint, replacement windows, rugs, gardening

 

~smaller items; lunches out (i work out of home), eyebrow waxing, children's clothes, magazines, yoga (did this pre-baby, trying to get back into it), shoes/boots for moi.

 

~developing photos; mounting photos,

 

~movie tickets, performances

 

~in the winter: downhill skiing, a few times; indoor skateboard park

 

About 50% of my income goes to mortgage, food, bills, gas, insurance, etc., including a minimal amount for savings; 25% of my income goes to savings and the other 25% is discretionary / savings for renovations, travel etc. (student loans paid off, car paid off, etc). This is not always used; what is not spent goes to savings


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#18 of 44 Old 11-23-2010, 04:46 PM
 
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We actually have a lot of discretionary income at the moment because we have no debt (no mortgage, car loans, cc).  We're spending it on buying a rental property and since we aren't likely to have a renter until May-ish, that's where most of that monthly extra will go.  :)  Unless we find a relocation short-term renter (which is possible, I'm just not banking on it).  But that's more investing than "discretionary spending"--right?

 

We have built into the budget things that others might find discretionary--mostly kids activities.  But we homeschool, so I don't find that to be discretionary.  I curbed my book-buying issues long ago and make great use of the library & paperbackswap.com.  We eat breakfast out once every 2 weeks and that's totally discretionary, but it's the cheapest meal to eat out.

 

I've been wearing the same clothes for years.  Thankfully, I have clothing in 3 sizes for both me and dh because we go up and down in weight.  We wear "classic" type clothes, so we don't look dreadful.

 

Otherwise, I guess Christmas gifts are discretionary.  Again, we don't get nuts with it.  Partially because that's not really what we want it to be about for our kids.


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#19 of 44 Old 11-24-2010, 12:21 PM
 
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i had to think about this for a minute. we buy candles...off brand candles, they aren't that costly, but we love the smell-especially during the holidays. i buy henna for my hair once every couple months, an occassional magazine, sometimes a dvd (something we will watch over and over...latest was ratatouille). we also get beer or wine once a week. i think that's it! if i see something i really love i will buy it. latest was an etsy find-a necklace for 50$, but that was a Christmas gift i chose for myself. i'm currently trying to lose weight and don't buy many clothes.


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#20 of 44 Old 11-24-2010, 12:40 PM
 
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Adult and children's clothes. Cosmetics. Home furnishings, though we don't go wild with that, tend to buy good quality that lasts a long time. DH buys computer equipment, but that is work related.

 

Theatre tickets, movie tickets, museum memberships. We rarely eat out because we prefer our own cooking, but have the odd brunch out now and again. Occational car rental because we don't own a car.

 

Biggest spending is on travel. My family lives on one continent, DH's on another, and we are on a third continent. So that takes up most vacation time, and a lot of money, but I think it is worth it both for the bond with our families and the experience of other cultures for our kids.

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#21 of 44 Old 11-24-2010, 03:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post

You probably buy food. You probably pay rent or a mortgage. You probably pay electric and maybe an additional amount for heating fuel. You probably buy basic toiletries like shampoo, toothpaste, soap. If you have pets you buy their food, and cat litter if you have felines. You may have a car payment, and probably fuel your car if you have one. You might pay for loans - student loans, credit card bill you're trying to get rid of. TV, internet, phone, cell. Insurance - health, auto, home.

 

OK, but what else? What do people spend their money on after the above? (I don't think the above is all necessities, but it does seem to cover the basics for the mainstream American lifestyle). I'm not looking for bills I might have forgotten - like trash pickup, maybe, or building up your savings account. But rather, what are the "optionals" that people frequently spend on?

 

Do you buy DVDs? CDs? Do you update your wardrobe frequently so you're always in fashion? Do you buy lamps and curtains, or furniture? Electronic gadgets? How much discrentionary income do you have, and what do you spend it on?


Not much. Once our bills are paid, and we've got the essentials, we don't HAVE much discretionary income. Not enough for travel, or buying clothes just to buy them, or to buy electronics or fund hobbies and stuff like that. If I eat out four times a year, that's a lot. We go on a vacation each summer for two weeks, but that's just to stay in DH's family's country home, so all it costs me is the gas to get there.

What we do have, though, tends to go on non-essential food spending. We're big foodies, here. If I have extra money, it's likely to go on the organic and local meats and cheeses and wines I can't normally afford, or on food-preparation-related items like the new food mill I just bought, or the new saucepans I really need to get. DH spends on bicycle parts, but those come under the same heading as car repairs, since he commutes on his bike, so I don't count that. I don't buy books for myself anymore-- I rely on the library-- but I do buy books for the kids occasionally. I don't buy toys often-- the toys they have are mostly gifts-- but sometimes I'll buy toys if they're good high-quality stuff I know they'll play with for awhile. Oh, and we do spend a bit on outings-- we have a zoo membership, and a few times a year I'll take the kids to a museum or a concert or a movie. Not often, though.

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#22 of 44 Old 11-24-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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You might consider this a bill but we have very high life insurance policies beyond what most people get-- I do feel this is a luxury.

 

Beyond that--

 

new computers when ours get outdated but are still usable

video games, including online subscription to WoW

$100/ month for mother's helper

new clothes for me (I have enough but love buying them-- anywhere between $300-$700 a year the past few years)

takeout on average once a month

homeschooling-- supplies, correspondence school tuition-- not necessary but I like having them enrolled

going a little overboard with Xmas gifts-- spending about $70 per child when I could spend a lot less

some cosmetics including hair color-- not a lot-- maybe $100 a year

keeping the AC higher than I need to-- I am very sensitive to heat

gardening supplies, flowers and plants (maybe $300/ year beyond basic things like lawn mower gas, grass seed, fertilizer, weed killer)

 

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#23 of 44 Old 11-24-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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A lot of our discretionary spending has been mentioned here by others. I buy mostly consignment clothes for my kids, we have older cars, a 15 year old tv, no cable tv, no snazzy cell phones, we eat out only once or twice a month as a family, rarely pay for a babysitter or go to movies or date night, rarely buy new cds/DVDs, get most books and DVDs from the library, and try to live on the simpler side...What I do spend on is:

  • Nice haircut (sometimes color) for me (every 3 months)
  • Quality clothing and shoes for DH (minimal) and myself (a bit more, but I'm not a clotheshorse), quality shoes and coats for kids
  • Sheets/Bedding 
  • Garden supplies and chicken feed/bedding
  • Ski passes this year (first time buying season passes for the family - we saved for them all spring/summer)
  • Netflix subscription
  • Coffee/bakery treats out for me and kids (sometimes DH partakes in the bakery stuff but he is not a coffee drinker)
  • Knitting supplies for me, crafting stuff for kids
  • Air travel to visit family out of state

 

It seems like a lot! DH rarely buys anything and I feel like I am buying things a lot. Although DH got a 20% pay cut about 6 months ago, and we have really cut back compared to a few years ago, I feel thankful that we are able to do this.

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#24 of 44 Old 11-24-2010, 07:25 PM
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kids programs

day trips

booze

camera accessories

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#25 of 44 Old 11-25-2010, 04:16 AM
 
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Kids activities, including lessons/classes and upkeep and upgrading of equipment (such as musical instruments) as needed.  We homeschool so I see this as a high priority.

 

Credits at Paperbackswap and SwapaCD  - this is how we buy books and CDs (we live rurally and the library is pretty far/inconvenient.)

 

This is a vague category, but purchases/services in the name of sustainability/preparedness.  Getting things fixed in our house that are annoying but we could go longer without fixing, cordwood for emergencies, canning and gardening supplies, pantry food, storage containers, some extras of essentials, etc.  To me, this is an "investment" of sorts, and I recognize that it's a luxury like any other investment.

 

Christmas and birthdays for the kids, which this year is mostly things they need anyway, wrapped up under the tree.

 

Local farmers - I spend more to buy from local farmers for some things like grassfed beef and maple syrup and eggs.  This is also an "investment" - investing in the local food supply.

 

Local music/musicians - CDs, entry to local events like concerts and dances (I often negotiate a family price if a reasonable one isn't offered).  We also sometimes buy food or pad the jar at otherwise free events.  Another "investment" - music is very important to our family.

 

Gas to visit faraway friends/family on a regular basis.

 

Thrift shop clothes for me or household items that we need, once in awhile.

 

Paint for fixing up our sad old house - still have a few rooms to go.

 

Church offering.

 

Haircuts for me and DH.

 

I wanted to add that DH also gets a Netflix subscription.  That is basically our entertainment budget.  LOL.


- single homeschooling mom to 16, 14, almost-12, and 10
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#26 of 44 Old 11-25-2010, 04:46 AM
 
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I buy quite a bit of nutritional supplements, herbs, vitamins, etc.

 

Gas for the automobile is also a frequent expense (as is oil changes, repairs, etc.)


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#27 of 44 Old 11-25-2010, 05:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post

You probably buy food. You probably pay rent or a mortgage. You probably pay electric and maybe an additional amount for heating fuel. You probably buy basic toiletries like shampoo, toothpaste, soap. If you have pets you buy their food, and cat litter if you have felines. You may have a car payment, and probably fuel your car if you have one. You might pay for loans - student loans, credit card bill you're trying to get rid of. TV, internet, phone, cell. Insurance - health, auto, home.

 

OK, but what else? What do people spend their money on after the above? (I don't think the above is all necessities, but it does seem to cover the basics for the mainstream American lifestyle). I'm not looking for bills I might have forgotten - like trash pickup, maybe, or building up your savings account. But rather, what are the "optionals" that people frequently spend on?

 

Do you buy DVDs? CDs? Do you update your wardrobe frequently so you're always in fashion? Do you buy lamps and curtains, or furniture? Electronic gadgets? How much discrentionary income do you have, and what do you spend it on?


We pay out of pocket for glasses and the dentist.

 

Dinners out once or twice a month.

 

Minimal amounts of clothing for 6 people.

 

Books once in a while.

 

Kid's activities.

 

Family membership to the aquarium.

 

Out to the movies 3-4 times per year.

 

Wine/cider.

 

Home improvements.

 

Some furniture and housewares.  We don't change with the seasons or anything, but things wear out eventually.  I bought the kids new flannel sheets for their beds this fall because we keep the heat fairly low and they'd never had them before.  They're all much warmer and happier at night now.

 

DVDs and CDs tend to be xmas or birthday gifts from my mil.  We do rent dvds a couple of times per month.

 

Some travel.

 

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#28 of 44 Old 11-25-2010, 06:15 AM
 
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I forgot home improvements-- we just moved to a beautiful house and don't want to let it crumble around us like we did our last house.  And we had to have the carpets removed (allergies/ asthma) and floors redone which so far has been $6000.  We had about $800 in other repairs done.

 

We also had to make repairs (hopefully most of them one time only) to make our old house livable so that we could rent it out.  New windows, lots of plumbing repairs-- when all is said and done it will probably be about $15000 but we receive $20000. yr in rent.

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#29 of 44 Old 11-25-2010, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by worthy View Post

This is a vague category, but purchases/services in the name of sustainability/preparedness.  Getting things fixed in our house that are annoying but we could go longer without fixing, cordwood for emergencies, canning and gardening supplies, pantry food, storage containers, some extras of essentials, etc.  To me, this is an "investment" of sorts, and I recognize that it's a luxury like any other investment.

 

Local farmers - I spend more to buy from local farmers for some things like grassfed beef and maple syrup and eggs.  This is also an "investment" - investing in the local food supply. 

 

I too spend more than I might at the store, to buy from local farmers. This is the one area I feel like I splurge on. I just think it's too important - for our health (the quality of the food is palpably different) and for our community (I suspect we will be grateful to have skilled farmers in our area in the future).

 

And preparedness is something I am looking to spend on, though I haven't yet (unless you count me asking MIL for a pressure canner for Christmas/birthday!). I am trying to build up a bit of savings again, though, before I spend more than maybe $10 a month on a bit of extra food or a flat of jars.

 

I hear what you're saying on the "luxury" of being prepared, but I would argue that while we SEE it as a luxury, it really is basic. Our ancestors have had these preparations in place up until modern times. We have swapped security with consumer products. "Everybody" has 4 TVs but few have more than a week of food at a time.


Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#30 of 44 Old 11-25-2010, 09:32 PM
 
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-activities with DS (zoo, rec center, etc)

-clothes and shoes for DS, who goes through 2 sizes a season lately

-Chipotle, too often

-birthday party gifts (this is getting to be a crazy expense)

-EZ pass to pay tolls to visit the grandparents

-running clothes for me (just started a few months ago so starting from scratch here)

-Mommy Bootcamp and/or rec center for me to exercise

-a few DVD rentals a month (usually try to use a free redbox code)

-fundraising, snacks, and some supplies for preschool (a co-op)

-printer ink and other computer supplies (ours are old and break often)

-international phone cards to call our family overseas who don't have skype

-international travel to visit family, about once every 1-2 years

-movies a few times a month

-dinner out, usually 2-3x a month

 

This is helping me figure out a lot of stuff we could cut...

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